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Corinthians, Second Epistle to the.

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1. We have seen above that, when writing his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul expected shortly to visit them, and had indeed formed a detailed plan of the journey. But we may safely infer from 2 Corinthians 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:23, that Paul had not been at Corinth between the writing of the first and second epistles, so that we must place his second epistle very soon after the writing of the first epistle, probably on his arrival at Philippi. The place whence it was written was clearly not Ephesus (see 2 Corinthians 1:8), but Macedonia (2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2), whither the apostle went by way of Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12), after waiting a short time in the latter place for the return of Titus (2 Corinthians 2:13). The Vatican MS., the bulk of later MSS., and the old Syr. version, positively assume Philippi as the exact place whence it was written; that the bearers were Titus and his associates (Luke?) is apparently substantiated by 2 Corinthians 8:23; 2 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 9:5.

The following coincidences will serve to establish this date: 2 Corinthians 1:1, Timothy (who had now rejoined Paul by way of Corinth, 1 Corinthians 16:10-11) was in Paul's company (Acts 20:4); 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul had lately escaped death at Ephesus (Acts 19:30); 2 Corinthians 1:15-16, he had originally intended to go through Corinth to Macedonia, and return through Corinth to Judaea, but, upon receipt of the information which called forth his first epistle, he had so far altered his plan (2 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 4:18-19) as to determine to forego the first of these visits to Corinth, and to make the second a longer one (1 Corinthians 16:7), and he was ultimately compelled to pass through Macedonia to Corinth, and return through Macedonia to Jerusalem (Acts 20:1-3); chap. 2:12,13, on his way to Macedonia, since writing the first epistle, he had touched at Troas (as usual, Acts 16:11; Acts 20:6), but did not stay, on account of Titus's absence, who afterwards met him in Macedonia, with intelligence of the good effects of his former letter (2 Corinthians 6:5-15); 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 9:4, he was now in Macedonia (Acts 20:2); 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18; 2 Corinthians 8:22-23, this letter was sent by Titus (compare subscription) (Acts 20:4); 2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 9:2, Paul was collecting funds for the church at Jerusalem (Acts 20:16), and had heard of the Corinthians' readiness to contribute a year since, probably by Apollos, who had now returned to Ephesus (Acts 19:1, compared with 1 Corinthians 16:12). Finally, the subscription exactly tallies with these particulars; comp. 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:22. (See Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 2:97.)

2. From 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2, many have inferred that before writing this epistle Paul had twice visited Corinth, and that one of these visits had been after the church there had fallen into an evil state; and the second of these visits has been most plausibly assigned to the apostle's three years' stay at Ephesus. So Chrysostom and his followers, OEcumenius and Theophylact, and in recent times, Muller (De tribus Pauli itin. Basil, 1831), Anger (Rat. Temp. p. 70, sq.),Wieseler (Chronol. p. 239), and the majority of modern critics. Olshausen adopts a still more complicated theory (Comment. 4:124 sq., Am. ed.). We have seen above that this visit did not take place between the two epistles, and as it cannot be assigned to the subsequent residence in Greece (Acts 20:2-3), those who think it occurred are obliged to suppose one not mentioned in the Acts. (See this position maintained by Alford, Comment. in N.T., 2, proleg. 49 sq.) This expedient of interpolating an event in a continuous history is always a doubtful one, and in this case seems excluded by the positive terms in which Paul's residence and labors are confined, during the whole time in question, to Ephesus (see Acts 19:10; Acts 19:22, compared with 20:31). Nor is this hypothesis necessary; the passages that seem to imply an intended third visit, when carefully examined, merely speak of a third intention (τρίτον ἑτοίμως ἔχω ἐλθεῖν, 2 Corinthians 12:14, and τρίτον ἔρχομαι, 2 Corinthians 13:1, do not state two actual prior visits, as contended by Alford, Comment. in loc.; see Horne's Introd., new ed., 4:529) to visit them, only one of which had heretofore been successful (Acts 18:1; comp. 2 Corinthians 1:15); and, in like manner, the "second, coming to them in heaviness" and "humbling," instead of deprecating a second such scene, simply intimates the possibility of such a scene on his second coming. (See Davidson's Introd. to N.T. 2:213 sq.) This question, however, does not affect the dates assigned each epistle above, except so far as the supposed middle visit may be taken as the occasion of one or both of them a position which we have shown to be wholly gratuitous and untenable. (See PAUL).

3. "On arriving at Troas, Paul expected to meet Titus with intelligence from Corinth of the state of things in that church. According to the common opinion Titus had been sent by Paul to Corinth, partly to collect money in aid of the distressed Christians in Palestine, partly to observe the effect of the apostle's first epistle on the Corinthians. In this expectation of meeting Titus at Troas Paul was disappointed. He accordingly proceeded into Macedonia, where at length his desire was gratified, and the wished- for information obtained (2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:15 sq.)."

"The epistle was occasioned by the information which the apostle had received also, as it would certainly seem probable, from Timothy, of the reception of the first epistle. It has indeed recently been doubted by Neander, De Wette, and others, whether Timothy, who had been definitely sent to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17) by way of Macedonia (Acts 19:22), really reached his destination (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:10); and it has been urged that the mission of Timothy would hardly have been left unnoticed in 2 Corinthians 12:17-18 (see Ruckert, Comm. p. 409). To this, however, it has been replied, apparently convincingly, that as Timothy is an associate in writing the epistle, any notice of his own mission in the third person would have seemed inappropriate. His visit was assumed as a fact, and as one that naturally made him an associate with the apostle in writing to the church he had so lately visited.

"It is more difficult to assign the precise reason for the mission of Titus. That he brought back tidings of the reception which Paul's first epistle had met with seems perfectly clear (chap. 7:6 sq.), but whether he was specially sent to ascertain this, or whether to convey fresh directions, cannot be ascertained. There is a show of plausibility in the supposition of Bleek (Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 625), followed more recently by Neander (Pflanz. u. Leit. p. 437), that the apostle had made Titus the bearer of a letter couched in terms of decided severity, now lost, to which he is to be supposed to refer in 2 Corinthians 2:3 (compared with 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9); 2 Corinthians 7:8; 2 Corinthians 7:11 sq.; but, as has been justly urged (see Meyer, Einkit. p. 3), there is quite enough of severity in the first epistle (consider 2 Corinthians 4:18-18; 2 Corinthians 5:2 sq.; 2 Corinthians 6:5-8; 2 Corinthians 11:17) 1 to call forth the apostle's affectionate anxiety. Moreover, the supposition of a lost letter is in itself improbable. If it be desirable to hazard a conjecture on this mission of Titus, it would seem most natural to suppose that the return of Timothy and the intelligence he conveyed might have been such as to make the apostle feel the necessity of at once dispatching to the contentious church one of his immediate followers, with instructions to support and strengthen the effect of the epistle, and to bring back the most recent tidings of the spirit that was prevailing at Corinth."

"The intelligence brought by Titus concerning the church at Corinth was on the whole favorable. The censures of the former epistle had produced in their minds a godly sorrow, had awakened in them a regard to the proper discipline of the church, and had led to the exclusion from their fellowship of the incestuous person. This had so wrought on the mind of the latter that he had repented of his evil courses, and showed such contrition that the apostle now pities him, and exhorts the church to restore him to their communion (2 Corinthians 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 7:8 sq.). A cordial response had also been given to the appeal that had been made on behalf of the saints in Palestine (2 Corinthians 9:2). But with all these pleasing symptoms there were some of a painful kind. The anti-Pauline influence in the church had increased, or at least had become more active; and those who were actuated by it had been seeking by all means to overturn the authority of the apostle, and discredit his claims as an ambassador of Christ.

4. "This intelligence led the apostle to compose his second epistle, in which the language of commendation and love is mingled with that of censure, and even of threatening. This epistle may be divided into three sections. In the first (1-3) the apostle chiefly dwells on the effects produced by his first epistle and the matters therewith connected. In the second (4-9) he discourses on the substance and effects of the religion which he proclaimed, and turns from this to an appeal on behalf of the claims of the poor saints on their liberality. And in the third (10-12) he vindicates his own dignity and authority as an apostle against the parties by whom these were opposed. The divided state of feeling in the apostle's mind will account sufficiently for the difference of tone perceptible between the earlier and later parts of this epistle, without our having recourse to the arbitrary and capricious hypothesis of Semler (Dissert. de duplice appendice Ep. ad Rom.s Hal. 1767) and Weber (Prog. de numero epp. ad Correctius constituendo, Vitemb. 1798), whom Paulus follows, that this epistle has been extensively interpolated."

"A close analysis is scarcely practicable, as in no one of the apostle's epistles are the changes more rapid and frequent. Now he thanks God for their general state (2 Corinthians 1:3 sq.); now he glances at his purposed visit (2 Corinthians 1:15 sq.); now he alludes to the special directions in the first letter (2 Corinthians 2:3 sq.); again he returns to his own plans (2 Corinthians 2:12 sq.), pleads his own apostolic dignity (2 Corinthians 3:1 sq.), dwells long upon the spirit and nature of his own labors (2 Corinthians 4:1 sq.), his own hopes (2 Corinthians 5:1 sq.), and his own sufferings (2 Corinthians 6, 1 sq.), returning again to more specific declarations of his love towards his children in the faith (2 Corinthians 6:11 sq.), and a yet further declaration of his views and feelings with regard to them (2 Corinthians 7). Then again, in the matter of the alms, he stirs up their liberality by alluding to the conduct of the churches of Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1 sq.), their spiritual progress (2 Corinthians 8:7), the example of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9), and passes on to speak more fully of the present mission of Titus and his associates (2 Corinthians 8:18, sq.), and to reiterate his exhortations to liberality (2 Corinthians 9:1 sq.). In the third portion he passes into language of severity and reproof: he gravely warns those who presume to hold lightly his apostolical authority (2 Corinthians 10:1 sq.); he puts strongly forward his apostolical dignity (2 Corinthians 11:5 sq.); he illustrates his forbearance (2 Corinthians 11:8 sq.); he makes honest boast of his labors (2 Corinthians 11:23 sq.); he declares the revelations vouchsafed to him (2 Corinthians 12:1 sq.); he again returns to the nature of his dealings with his converts (2 Corinthians 12:12 sq.), and concludes with grave and reiterated warning (2 Corinthians 13:1 sq.), brief greetings, and a doxology (2 Corinthians 13:11-14).

5. "The genuineness and authenti city is supported by the most decided external testimony (Irenaus, Haer. 3:7, 1; 4:28, 3; Athenagoras, de Resurr. p. 61, ed. Col.; Clem. Alex. Strom. 3:94; 4:101; Tertull. de Pudicit. chap. 13), and by internal evidence of such a kind that what has been said on this point with respect to the first epistle is here even still more applicable. The only doubts that modern pseudo-criticism has been able to bring forward relate to the unity of the epistle, but these are not such' as seem to deserve serious consideration (see Meyer, Einleit. p. 7)."

6. The following are the separate Commnentaries on BOTH epistles, the most important being designated by an asterisk (*) prefixed: Jerome, Commentarii (in Opp. 2:901); Chrysostom, Homilioe (in Opp. 10:1, 485; transl. in the Library of Fathers, Oxf. 1839, 1848, vol. 4, 7, and 27); Cramer, Ep. ad Cor. (Cateneo Gr. Patr. v); Hugo a S. Victore, Annotationes (in Oppf.); Aqui. nas, Expositio (in Opp. vi); Zuingle, Annotationes (in Opp. iv); *Calvin, tr. by Tymme, Commentarie (Lond. 1517, 4to); also tr. by Pringle, Commentary (Edinb. 1848, 2 vols. 8vo); Bullinger, Commentarius (Tigur. 1534-5, 2 vols. 8vo); Sarcer, Meditationes (Argent. 1544, 8vo); Meyer, Annotationes (Bernae, 1546, 4to); Major, Enarratio (Vitemb. 1558, 1561, 8vo); also Predigten (Jen. 1568, 8vo); Musculus, Commentarius (Basil. 1059, 1562, 1582, 1600, 1611, fol.); Shangenberg, Predigten (Eisleb. 1561-4, 2 vols. fol.); Aretius, Commentarius (Lausan. 1579, 8vo; Morg. 1583, fol.); Stapleton, Antidota (Ant. 1595 sq., 3 vols. 8vo); Rollock, Commentarius, cum notis I. Piscatoris (Herborn. 1600, Jen. 1602, 8vo); Runge, Disputationes (Vitemb. 1606, 4to); Steuart, Commentaria (Ingoldstadt, 1608, 4to); Weinrich, Commentarius (Lips. 1609, 1610, 4to); Coutzen, Commentaria (Colon. 1631, fol.); Perez, In epp. ad Cor. (Barcin. 1632, fol.); Sclater, Explicatio (Oxon. 1633, 4to); Wandalin's paraphrase (in Danish, Copenhagen, 1648, 4to); Salmeron, Disputationes (in Opp. xiv); Cocceius, Commentarius (in Opp. v); Breithaupt, Predigten (Hal. 1696, 4to); *Biernmann, Verklaringe (Tr. a. Rh. 1705-8, 3 vols. 4to); Locke, Notes (Lond. 1733, 4to); Pfenniger, Erklar ung (Zlr. 1759, 8vo); *Baumgarten, Auslegung (Hal. 1761, 4to); *Mosheim (ed. Windheim), Erklrung (Flensb. 1763, 2 vols. 4to); Semler, Paraphrasis (Hal. 1770 and 1776, 2 vols. 8vo); Moldenhauer, Erklar ung (Hamb. 1771, 8vo); Schulz, Briefe a. d. Kor. (Hal. 1784-5, 2 vols. in 1, 8vo); Zacharia, ed. Volborth, Aenmerk. (Gott. 1786, 2 vols. 8vo), Storr, Notitice (Tibing. 1788, 4to); Gopfert, Anmerk. (Lpz. 1788, 8vo); Morus, Erklar . (Leipz. 1794, 8vo); Wirth, Ueb. d. Br. a. d. Kor. (Ulm, 1825, 8vo); Pott, Annottiones (Getting. 1826, 8vo); Flatt, Vorlesungen (Tub. 1827, 8vo); Lothian, Lectures (Edinb. 1828, 8vo); *Billroth, Commentar (Lpz. 1833, 8vo; transl. by W. L. Alexander, Edinb. 1837-8, 2 vols. 12mo); *Rickert, Commentar (Lpz. 1836-7, 2 vols. 8vo); Jiger, Erklar . (Tub. 1837, 8vo); G. B, Explanation (Lond. 1842, 12mo); *Stanley, Notes, etc. (Lond. 1855, 1862, 1865, 2 vols. 8vo); Hodge, Exposition (N. Y. 1857-60, 2 vols. 12mo); Maier, Commentar (Freib. 1857-65, 2 vols. 8vo); Osiander, Commentar (Stuttg. 1847, 1858, 2 vols. 8vo); Robertson, Lectures (London, 1859, 1861, 1870, 8vo); *Neander, Auslegung (in his Theol. Vorlesungen, ed. Beyschlag, Berlin, 1859, 8vo); Kling, Commentar (Viteb. 1861, 8vo). (See EPISTLES).

On the whole of the FIRST epistle alone: Sampson, In ep. pr. ad Cor. (London, 1546, 8vo); Martyr, Commentarius (Tigur. 1551, 1563, 4to; 1568, 1589, fol.); Haimo, Tractatus (in Duchery, Spicileg. 1:42); Hus, Explicatio (in Monumenta, 2:83); Covillonius, Conclusiones (Romae, 1554); Melanchthon, Commentarius (Vitemb. 1561, 8vo); Praedenius, Commentarius (in Opp. Basil. 1563, fol.); Andreas, Exegesis (Francfort, 1585, 8vo); Mathesius, Predigten (Lpz. 1590, fol.); Steuart, Commentaria (Ingolst. 1594, 4to); Morton, Expositio (Lond. 1596, 8vo); Myle. Explicatio (Jen. 1600, 8vo); Valdesius's Commentary (in Spanish, without date or place); Crell, Commentarius [on chs. i-x, xv] (Racov. 1635, 8vo); Burgess, Commentary (London, 1659, fol.); Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. (Cantab. 1664, Amst. 1677, Lips. 1679, 4to); Schmid, Paraphrasis (Hamb. 1691, 1696, 1704, 4to); Hiaberlin, Explicatio (Tub. 1699); *Koning's Comm. (in Dutch, Dort, 1702, 4to); *Akersloot, Vytlinge (Leyden, 1707, 4to); Van Til, Verklaaringe (Amsterd. 1731, 4to); *Mosheim, Erklar ung (Alt. and Flensb. 1741, 4to); Nicolai, Betrachtungen (Lpz. 1747, 4to); Pearce, Paraphrase (in Comment. ii); Sahl, Paraphrasis (Copenh. 1779, 4to); Vitringa, Exercitationes (Franeq. 1784-9, 4to); Krause, Annotatio (Francf. 1792, 8vo, vol. i); Valckenaer, Schole (ed. Wassenburgh, Amst. 1817 sq.); Heydenreich, Commentarius (Marburg, 1825, 1828, 2 vols. 8vo); Tolley, Paraphrase (Lond. 1825, 8vo); Peile, Annotationes (London, 1848, 8vo); Burger, Erklar . (Erlang. 1859, 8vo).

On the SECOND epistle: Heshusius, Explicatio (Helmst. 1580, 8vo); *Koning's Commentary (in Dutch, Amst. 1704, 4to); Van Alphen, Verklaaring (Amst. 1708, enlarged Utrecht, 1725, 4to); Gabler, Dissertatio (Lemgo, 1804, 8vo); Leun, Annotationes (Lemgo 1804, 8vo); Roynards, Disputatio (Tr. ad Rh. 1819, 8vo); *Emmerling, Commentarius (Lips. 1823, 8vo); Fritzsche, Dissertationes (Lips. 1824, 8vo); *Scharling, Commentar (Copenh. 1840, 8vo); Turnbull, Translation (Lond. 1849); Pridham (ibid. 1869 12mo). (See EPISTLE).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Corinthians, Second Epistle to the.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/corinthians-second-epistle-to-the.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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