1 But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow. 2 For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me? 3 And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I wouldn't have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be shared by all of you. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you. 5 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all. 6 Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many; 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow. 8 Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes. 12 Now when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, 13 I had no relief for my spirit, because I didn't find Titus, my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia. 14 Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place. 15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish; 16 to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.
In this chapter 2 Cor. 2 Paul continues the discussion of the subject which had been introduced in the previous chapter. At the close of that chapter, he had stated the reasons why he had not visited the church at Corinth; see the notes on 2-Corinthians 1:23-24. The main reason was, that instead of coming to them in that disordered, and irregular state, he had preferred to send them an affectionate letter. Had he come to them personally he would have felt himself called on to exercise the severity of discipline. He chose, therefore, to try what the effect would be of a faithful and kind epistle. In this chapter, he prosecutes the same subject. He states, therefore, more at length, the reason why he had not come to them, 2-Corinthians 2:1-5. The reason was, that he resolved not to come to them, if he could avoid it, with severity; that his heart was pained even with the necessity of sending such a letter; that he wrote it with much anguish of spirit; yet that he cherished toward them the most tender love.
In his former Epistle 1-Corinthians 5:1-13 he had directed them to exercise discipline on the offending person in the church. This had been done according to his direction; and the offender had been suitably punished for his offence. He had been excommunicated; and it would seem that the effect on him had been to induce him to forsake his sin, and probably to put away his father's wife, and he had become a sincere penitent. Paul, therefore, in the next place 2-Corinthians 2:6-11, exhorts them to receive him again into fellowship with the church. The punishment be says had been sufficient 2-Corinthians 2:6; they ought now to be kind and forgiving to him lest he should be overwhelmed with his sorrow 2-Corinthians 2:7; he says, that he had forgiven him, so far as he was concerned, and he entreated them to do the same 2-Corinthians 2:10; and says that they ought, by all means, to pursue such a course that Satan could get no advantage of them, 2-Corinthians 2:11.
Paul then states the disappointment which he had had at Troas in not seeing Titus, from whom he had expected to learn what was the state of the church at Corinth, and what was the reception of his letter there; but that not seeing him there, he had gone on to Macedonia, 2-Corinthians 2:12-13. There, it would seem, he met Titus, and learned that his letter had had all the success which he could have desired. It had been kindly received; and all that he had wished in regard to discipline had been performed, 2-Corinthians 2:14. The hearing of this success gives him occasion to thank God for it, as one among many instances in which his efforts to advance His cause had been crowned with success. God had made him successful everywhere; and God had made him triumph in Christ in every place. This fact gives him occasion 2-Corinthians 2:15-16 to state the general effect of his preaching and his labors. His efforts, he says, were always acceptable to God - though he could not be ignorant that in some cases the gospel which he preached was the occasion of the aggravated condemnation of those who heard and rejected it. Yet he had the consolation of reflecting that it was by no fault of his, 2-Corinthians 2:17. It was not because he had corrupted the Word of God; it was not because he was unfaithful; it was not because he was not sincere. He had a good conscience - a conscience which assured him that he spoke in sincerity and as in the sight of God - though the unhappy effect might be that many would perish from under his ministry.
The apostle farther explains the reasons why he did not pay his intended visit to the Corinthians, 2-Corinthians 2:1. And why he wrote to them in the manner he did, 2-Corinthians 2:2-5. He exhorts them also to forgive the incestuous person, who had become a true penitent; and therefore he had forgiven him in the name of Christ, 2-Corinthians 2:6-11. He mentions the disappointment he felt when he came to Troas in not meeting with Titus, from whom he expected to have heard an account of the state of the Corinthian Church, 2-Corinthians 2:12, 2-Corinthians 2:13. Gives thanks to God for the great success he had in preaching the Gospel, so that the influence of the name of Christ was felt in every place, 2-Corinthians 2:14. Shows that the Gospel is a savour of life to them that believe, and of death to them that believe not, 2-Corinthians 2:15, 2-Corinthians 2:16. And that he and his brethren preached the pure, unadulterated doctrine of God among the people, 2-Corinthians 2:17.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS 2
The apostle, in this chapter, goes on to give reasons of his not coming, as yet, to Corinth; and removes the charge of severity, which some might think him guilty of, in what he had written in his former epistle concerning the incestuous person, who having repented of his sin, he would now have comforted, and the censure laid on him by the church taken off; after which he gives an account of the success of the Gospel in several parts, of its power and purity, and of the faithful dispensation of it by himself and others: in 2-Corinthians 2:1, he assigns this as a reason why he had determined with himself not to come to Corinth as yet, and why he deferred his coming, that when he came he might not be sorrowful himself, nor make others sorrowful, which necessarily involve each other; for if he made others sorrowful by his sharp rebukes, which as things had been he could not but in faithfulness give, he must be in sorrow himself, since there would be none to make him cheerful, but such whom he made sorrowful, 2-Corinthians 2:2, wherefore to meet together under such circumstances must be uncomfortable; and hence he chose to put off his coming until things took another turn; and this was the reason of his writing with so much seeming severity concerning the incestuous person, in the former epistle, to bring him and them to repentance, and so prevent that sorrow which he otherwise must have had, had he in person come to them whilst they were unconcerned about that affair; and that he might have that joy, which he was confident of everyone was desirous he should have, 2-Corinthians 2:3, and he was so far from being of a cruel and uncompassionate disposition, that it was with an aching heart, and with flowing eyes, that he wrote that letter to them; nor was it written with that view merely to grieve them, but to let them know the tender and affectionate concern he had for their welfare, 2-Corinthians 2:4. Besides, this affair of the incestuous person was not only matter of grief to the apostle, but to them all; or he was not the only person he was grieved with, but with them all, and therefore it was necessary to use greater severity and roughness, 2-Corinthians 2:5. However, inasmuch as the end he had in view was answered, the humbling of the delinquent, and bringing him to repentance, nothing more was to be done, the punishment of excommunication was sufficient, 2-Corinthians 2:6, and that ought now to be removed, and the man forgiven, and comforted, lest he should be overwhelmed with sorrow, and be reduced to despair, 2-Corinthians 2:7. Wherefore the apostle entreats them to give some fresh assurances of their love to the repenting brother, and signify it by their hearty reception of him into communion again, 2-Corinthians 2:8, in doing which they would give proof of their obedience to him the apostle, which was an end he had in writing to them before, concerning the excommunication of the same person, 2-Corinthians 2:9, and which he urges them to from his own example, who was ready to join with them in forgiving him, out of love to them, and in the name of Christ, 2-Corinthians 2:10, and the rather it became them to do so, lest Satan should get an advantage of them, and establish a bad principle and practice among them, that such as fall into sin, though they repent, should not be restored to the communion of the church, of whose devices in different forms and shapes, to do mischief to the churches of Christ, and particular believers, the apostle and others were not ignorant, 2-Corinthians 2:11. Moreover, what had took up his time, and had prevented him from coming to Corinth as yet, was his being called to, and employed in the preaching of the Gospel elsewhere, particularly at Troas, where he was the rather inclined to stay, and there was a necessity of it, because there was a door opened for it, 2-Corinthians 2:12, and yet not finding Titus, there, as he expected, he was uneasy, and departed thence into Macedonia, in quest of him, 2-Corinthians 2:13, where, as in other places, he preached the Gospel with success, which he ascribes to God, and gives him thanks for it, 2-Corinthians 2:14, which success he illustrates by dividing the persons to whom he preached the Gospel, into two classes, they that are saved, and they that perish, 2-Corinthians 2:15, on whom it had different effects, diffusing death, and adding death to death in the one, and communicating life, and adding life to life in the other: and lest he should be thought to arrogate too much to himself, and other ministers of the word, of whom he speaks, he acknowledges his and their insufficiency to preach the Gospel, and make it effectual; and that all fitness for it, and all the virtue and efficacy of it, were from the Lord, 2-Corinthians 2:16, and then gives the reason why he, and the rest of the faithful ministers of the Gospel, were a sweet savour to Christ, as he had asserted, because they did not, as others, corrupt this box of ointment, but faithfully and sincerely poured it out, without mixing and adulterating it; and this they did as being in the view of the omniscient God, to whom they could appeal for their integrity and honesty, 2-Corinthians 2:17.
SUMMARY.--Paul's Affliction Over the Sins at Corinth. His Rebukes Caused by His Love for Them. The Excommunication of the Offender. He to be Forgiven on Repentance. Paul's Uneasiness at Troas. His Departure to Macedonia.
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