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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
2 Corinthians 1



Other Authors
Verse 1

Timothy our brother

Lit., the brother. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:1. Well known in the Christian brotherhood. When Paul writes to Timothy himself he calls him son ” (Bengel). Timothy appears, not as amanuensis, nor as joint-author, but as joint-sender of the epistle.


See on 1 Corinthians 16:15.

Verse 3

The Father of mercies ( ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν )

Equivalent to the compassionate Father. Compare the phrases Father of glory, Ephesians 1:17; spirits, Hebrews 12:9; lights, James 1:17. Οἰκτιρμός mercyfrom οἶκτος pityor mercy, the feeling which expresses itself in the exclamation οἴ oh!on seeing another's misery. The distinction between this and ἔλεος , according to which οἰκτιρμός signifies the feeling, and ἔλεος themanifestation, cannot be strictly held, since the manifestation is often expressed by οἰκτιρμός . See Sept., 102:4; 118:77.

All comfort ( πάσης παρακλήσεως )

The earliest passage in the New Testament where this word comfort or its kindred verb is applied to God. Compare παράκλητος comforteradvocate, of the Holy Spirit, in John href="/desk/?q=joh+14:16&sr=1">John 14:16, John 14:26, etc. All is better rendered every: the God of every consolation.

Verse 4

In all our tribulation - in any trouble ( ἐπὶ πάση τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν - ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει )

Note the nice use of the article: all our tribulation, collectively; any or every trouble, specifically. In is literally upon; the trouble forming the ground of the comfort. So in hope, Romans 4:18; Romans 5:2.

We ourselves are comforted

An illustration of the personal character which pervades this epistle. Paul had been oppressed with anxiety concerning the reception of his first epistle by the Corinthian Church, by the delay of tidings, and by his disappointment in meeting Titus. The tidings, when at last they did arrive, aroused his gratitude for the wholesome effect of his rebuke upon the Church, and his indignation at the aggressions of the Judaizing teachers. With these feelings mingled his anxiety to hasten, in the Corinthian Church, the contribution for the poor saints in Judaea. This second letter therefore bears the marks of the high tension of feeling which finds expression in frequent personal allusions, especially to his afflictions.

Verse 5

Sufferings of Christ

Not things suffered for Christ's sake, but Christ's own sufferings as they are shared by His disciples. See Matthew 20:22; Philemon 3:10; Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:13. Note the peculiar phrase abound ( περισσεύει ) in us, by which Christ's sufferings are represented as overflowing upon His followers. See on Colossians 1:24.

Verse 6

And whether we be, etc.

The MSS. differ in their arrangement of this verse. The main points of difference may be seen by comparing the A.V. and Rev. The sense is not affected by the variation.

Is effectual ( ἐνεργουμένης )

See on Mark 6:14; see on James 5:16.

Verse 8

We would not have you ignorant

See on Romans 1:13.

Came to us in Asia

Rev., better, befell. The nature of the trouble is uncertain. The following words seem to indicate inward distress rather than trouble from without, such as he experienced at Ephesus.

Were pressed out of measure ( καθ ' ὑπερβολὴν ἐβαρήθημεν )

Rev., better, were weighed down, thus giving the etymological force of the verb, from βάρος burdenFor out of measure, Rev, exceedingly; see on 1 Corinthians 2:1.

We despaired ( ἐξαπορηθῆναι )

Only here and 2 Corinthians 4:8. From ἐξ outand out, and ἀπορέω tobe without a way of escape. See on did many things, Mark 6:20.

Verse 9

Sentence of death ( ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου )

Ἁπόκριμα , occurs only here in the New Testament, and not in classical Greek nor in the Septuagint. In the latter the kindred words have, almost uniformly, the meaning of answer. Josephus used it of a response of the Roman senate. Sentence, which occurs in some inscriptions, if a legitimate rendering at all, is a roundabout one, derived from a classical use of the verb ἀποκρίνω toreject on inquiry, decide. Rev., therefore, correctly, answer of death. The sense is well given by Stanley: “When I have asked myself what would be the issue of this struggle, the answer has been, 'death.”'

Doth deliver ( ῥύεται )

The correct reading is ῥύσεται willdeliver, Rev.

Verse 11

Persons ( προσώπων )

Face is the usual rendering of the word in the New Testament. Even when rendered person the usage is Hebraistic for face. See on James 2:1There is no reason for abandoning that sense here. The expression is pictorial; that thanksgiving may be given from many faces; the cheerful countenances being an offering of thanks to God.

Verse 12

Godly sincerity ( εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Lit., sincerity of God, as Rev. See on 2 Peter 3:1.

We have had our conversation ( ἀνεστράφημεν )

Rev., behaved ourselves. See on 1 Peter 1:15.

Verse 13

Read - acknowledge ( ἀναγινώσκετε - ἐπιγινώσκετε )

The word-play cannot be reproduced in English.

Verse 14

In part ( ἀπὸ μέρους )

Referring to the partial understanding of his character and motives by the Corinthians.

Verse 15

Before ( πρότερον )

Rather, first of all. Instead of going first to the Macedonians, as he afterward decided. See 1 Corinthians 16:5.

Second benefit ( δευτέραν χάριν )

Benefit is, literally, grace. Not a mere pleasurable experience through Paul's visit, but a divine bestowal of grace. Compare Romans 1:11. Second refers to his original plan to visit Corinth twice, on his way to Macedonia and on his return.

Verse 17

Did I use lightness ( τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ ἐχρησαμην )

Rev., shew fickleness. Ἑλαφρία , lightness, only here in the New Testament. Compare ἐλαφρός light Matthew 11:30; 2 Corinthians 4:17. His change of plan had given rise to the charge of fickleness.

The yea, yea, and the nay, nay

That I should say “yes” at one time and “no” at another; promising to come and breaking my promise.

Verse 18

As God is true ( πιστὸς ὁ Θεὸς )

Not to be taken as a formula of swearing. He means that God will answer for him against the charge of fickleness by the power and blessing (benefit) which will attend his presence. Hence the meaning is: faithful is God (in this) that our speech, etc.

Verse 19

Was not ( οὐκ ἐγένετο )

Rather, did not prove to be, in the result.

In Him was yea ( ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν )

Lit., yea has come to pass in Him. He has shown Himself absolutely the truth. Compare John 14:6; Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14.

Verse 20

All ( ὅσαι )

Wrong. As many as.

Are yea, etc.

Making this the predicate of promises, which is wrong. The meaning is that how many soever are God's promises, in Christ is the incarnate answer, “yea!” to the question, “Will they be fulfilled?” Hence Rev., correctly: How many soever be the promises of God, in Him is the yea.

And in Him Amen ( καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ ἀμὴν )

The correct reading is: διὸ καὶ δἰ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἀμὴν Whereforealso through Him is the Amen. In giving this answer in His person and life, Christ puts the emphatic confirmation upon God's promises, even as in the congregation the people say Amen, verily. In Him is in His person: through Him, by His agency.

By us ( δἰ ἡμῶν )

Through our ministration. Christ, in and through whom are the yea and the amen, is so proclaimed by us as to beget assurance of God's promises, and so to glorify Him.

Verse 21

Stablisheth - in Christ ( βεβαιῶν - εἰς )

The present participle with εἰς intoindicates the work as it is in progress toward a final identification of the believers with Christ.

Verse 22

Sealed ( σφραγισάμενος )

See on John 3:33; see on Revelation 22:10.

Earnest ( ἀῥῤαβῶνα )

Only here, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:14. It means caution-money, deposited by a purchaser in pledge of full payment.

Of the Spirit

Not the foretaste or pledge of the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself in pledge of the fulfillment of the promises. By a common Greek usage the words are in apposition: the earnest which is the Spirit.

Verse 23

I call God for a record ( τὸν Θεὸν ἐπικαλοῦμαι )

Rev., better, witness. A common classical idiom. Compare Plato: “Next will follow the choir of young men under the age of thirty, who will call upon the god Paean to testify to the truth of these words” (“Laws,” 664). Homer: “For the gods will be the best witnesses” (“Iliad,” xxii., 254). Compare Romans 1:9; Galatians 1:20; Philemon 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Genesis 31:50, Sept. This particular form of expression occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The verb is often translated appeal, as Acts 25:11, Acts 25:12. Also to call upon, in the sense of supplication, Romans 10:12, Romans 10:13, Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 1:2.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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