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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
2 Corinthians 7

 

 

Verse 1

2 Corinthians 7:1. Having therefore these promises — Of blessings so unspeakably great and precious, encouraged by them, and in order to our obtaining their complete accomplishment; let us — By the exercise of a lively faith in them, and in God’s word in general, by fervent prayer for the purifying influences of the Divine Spirit, and by obedience to the truth, 1 Peter 1:22; cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh — All irregular appetites, all outward sin; and of the spirit — All unhallowed affections, corrupt passions and tempers, and all unholy designs and desires; all inward sin; perfecting holiness — Universal, in all things; constant, at all times, and persevering to the end of our days; not resting in a mere negative religion, but aspiring after all the mind that was in Christ, a full conformity to the image of God; in the reverential, loving fear of God — Setting him always before us, in whose presence we always are, by whom all our actions are examined, and to whom our hearts lie open; and therefore, guarding against every disposition, word, and action, whereby we might grieve his Spirit, and deprive ourselves of the light of his countenance.


Verses 2-4

2 Corinthians 7:2-4. Receive us — With that affection which is due to the faithful servants of Christ, and to those who have been instruments in your conversion and edification; for, whatever may have been insinuated by ill- designing persons to the contrary; we have wronged — Or injured; no man — In his person. We have corrupted no man — In his principles. We have defrauded no man — Of his property. In this he intimates, likewise, the good he had done them, but with the utmost modesty, as it were, not looking on it. I speak not this to condemn you — As if I accused you of charging me with any of these crimes, but to vindicate myself from the imputations of the false apostles; for I have said before, &c. — I am so far from thinking so unkindly of you; that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you — That is, I could rejoice to spend all my days with you. Great is my boldness, &c. — As if he had said, As an argument of my love, I deal very freely with you upon all occasions; Great is my glorying of you — Or my boasting concerning you. He could, with confidence, boast of them, after the account which Titus brought him of their obedience and good dispositions. I am filled with comfort — On your account. I am exceeding joyful, &c. — My joy for your obedience overbalances the pain occasioned by my affliction.


Verses 5-7

2 Corinthians 7:5-7. For when we were come into Macedonia — From Ephesus, not finding Titus; our flesh — That is, we ourselves; had no rest — Fearing he had not been well received by you; but we were troubled on every side εν παντι, in every place, or thing; without — From the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles; were fightings — Furious and cruel oppositions; within — From our brethren; were fears — Lest they should be seduced: or, he means, that in his own mind there were fears and anxieties on account of the Corinthians. Nevertheless, God, that comforteth those that are cast down τους ταπεινους, the humble, debased, or those brought low, namely, by affliction or distress; comforted us by the coming of Titus — With good tidings from you. And by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in — Or among; you — which he discovered to us; when he told us your earnest desire — To rectify what was amiss; your mourning — Or grief, for what had offended God, and troubled me. Your fervent mind toward me — Your zeal to vindicate my character as an apostle, and to support my authority; so that I rejoiced the more — For his consolation than for his coming; or, more than in other circumstances I could have done. Some critics think that the apostle’s expression in the former clause, την υμων επιποθησιν, rendered, your earnest desire, should be translated, your vehement longing; namely, to see the apostle, their spiritual father.


Verses 8-11

2 Corinthians 7:8-11. For though I made you sorry — Caused you much distress and pain of mind by the letter I formerly wrote; I do not now repent — Of writing it; although I did repent — After it was sent away, fearing it might irritate some of you, and produce some ill effect. Or the meaning is, I felt a tender sorrow for having grieved you, till I saw the happy fruit of it. Now I rejoice not barely that ye were made sorry — By my letter, for that would rather still give me pain; but that ye sorrowed to repentance — To true and genuine repentance, attended with a change of heart and life; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner — With a penitential and humble regard to the honour of God: Greek, κατα θεον, according to God, in the manner God requires. That ye might receive — Or so that ye received; damage by us in nothing — But on the contrary, as we intended, great benefit, by the severity we were compelled to use. For godly sorrow — A sorrow for having offended God, or sorrowing according to the will of God; worketh repentance — Productive of fruit worthy of repentance; so the word μετανοια, rendered repentance, implies, denoting such a change in a person’s mind or judgment, concerning some action, word, or disposition, as produces a change in his spirit and conduct for the better in time to come. Unto salvation — Issuing in eternal salvation; not — Never afterward; to be repented of — Or grieved for, as αμεταμελητον properly signifies. But the sorrow of the world — Sorrow that arises from worldly considerations; worketh death — Temporal, spiritual, and eternal. For behold this self-same thing — As if he had said, And it appears that your sorrow was godly, by the excellent fruits and effects thereof; that ye sorrowed after a godly sort — In a manner pleasing to God; what carefulness it wrought in you — Namely, to amend what was amiss; or what diligence, or earnestness, as ποσην σπουδην rather signifies, namely, diligence manifested in the following particulars. Some had been more, some less faulty, whence arose the various affections here mentioned. Hence their apologizing and indignation, with respect to themselves; their fear and desire with respect to the apostle; their zeal and revenge with respect to the offender: yea, and themselves also. What clearing yourselves — From either sharing in, or approving of his sin; indignation — That ye had not immediately corrected the offender; fear — Of God’s displeasure. or lest I should come with a rod; vehement desire — To see me again; zeal — For the glory of God, and the soul of that sinner; yea, revenge — Ye took a kind of holy revenge upon yourselves, being scarce able to forgive yourselves. In all things ye — As a church; have approved yourselves to be pure — That is, free from blame, since ye received my letter. Dr. Whitby here remarks, “That true repentance for sin clears us from the guilt of it, not only in the sight of God, but man; so that it is both uncharitable and unchristian to stigmatize or reproach any person for the sin we know or believe he hath truly repented of.”


Verses 12-16

2 Corinthians 7:12-16. Wherefore, though I wrote so severely to you — It was not only or chiefly for the sake of the incestuous person, or his father; but to show my care over you; in the sight of God — Who hath committed you to me to be instructed and directed. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort — In hearing you were made happy by my care of you; and exceedingly the more for the joy ye gave to Titus, because his spirit was refreshed — When ye received him with affection, and read my letter with due submission. If I have boasted any thing — Concerning you; to him — That I was confident the converts at Corinth would approve themselves worthy of the esteem in which I held them; I am not ashamed — Of that boasting; but as we spake all things to you in truth — When addressing ourselves to you; so our boasting — Of you to Titus, concerning your good disposition and proper behaviour, has been verified to our great satisfaction. And — Or so that; his inward affection — Greek, τα σπλαγχνα αυτου, his bowels, or tender affection; is more abundant toward you — Than it had been before; while he remembers the obedience — Of the generality of you to those apostolical injunctions which I sent you by him; how ye received him — As my messenger; with fear and trembling — With great solicitude, that there might be nothing in or among you which it might grieve him to observe, or me to hear reported. I rejoice therefore that your behaviour has been such as to give me reason to rely on your ready obedience in all things. Œcumenius has observed, that the apostle, in this part of his epistle, expressed his good opinion of the Corinthians, and mentioned his having praised them to Titus, to prepare them for his exhortations in the two following chapters concerning the collection for the saints in Judea. His address, therefore, in this part of his letter is admirable, especially as, in commending the Corinthians, he expressed himself quite agreeably to the good opinion which he now entertained of them.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-corinthians-7.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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