2-Corinthians - 7:1-16

The Heart of Paul

      1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one. 3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction. 5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside. 6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. 9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death. 11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we have been comforted. In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth. 15 His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 I rejoice that in everything I am confident concerning you.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 2-Corinthians 7.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

The first verse of this chapter 2 Cor. 7 properly belongs to the previous chapter, and should have been attached to that. It is an exhortation made in view of the promises there referred to, to make every effort to obtain perfect purity, and to become entirely holy.
In 2-Corinthians 7:2-3, he entreats the Corinthians, in accordance with the wish which he had expressed in 2-Corinthians 6:13, to receive him as a teacher and a spiritual father; as a faithful apostle of the Lord Jesus. To induce them to do this, he assures them that he had given them, at no time, any occasion of offence. He had injured no man; he had wronged no man. Possibly some might suppose that he had injured them by the sternness of his requirements in forbidding them to contract friendships and alliances with infidels; or in the case of discipline in regard to the incestuous person. But he assures them that all his commands had been the fruit of most tender love for them, and that he was ready to live and die with them.
The remainder of the chapter 2-Corinthians 7:4-15 is occupied mainly in stating the joy which he had at the evidence which they had given that they were ready to obey his commands. He says, therefore 2-Corinthians 7:4, that he was full of comfort and joy; and that in all his tribulation, the evidence of their obedience had given him great and unfeigned satisfaction. In order to show them the extent of his joy, he gives a pathetic description of the anxiety of mind which he had on the subject; his troubles in Macedonia, and particularly his distress on not meeting with Titus as he had expected, 2-Corinthians 7:5. But this distress had been relieved by his coming, and by the evidence which was furnished through him that they were ready to yield obedience to his commands, 2-Corinthians 7:6-7. This joy was greatly increased by his hearing from Titus the effect which his former Epistle to them had produced, 2-Corinthians 7:8-13.
He had felt deep anxiety in regard to that. He had even regretted, it would seem 2-Corinthians 7:8, that he had sent it. He had been deeply pained at the necessity of giving them pain, 2-Corinthians 7:8. But the effect had been all that he had desired; and when he learned from Titus the effect which it had produced - the deep repentance which they had evinced, and the thorough reformation which had occurred 2-Corinthians 7:9-11, he had great occasion to rejoice that he had sent the Epistle to them. This new and distinguished instance of their obedience had given him great joy, and confirmed him in the proof that they were truly attached to him. The apostle adds, in the conclusion of the chapter, that his joy was greatly increased by the joy which Titus manifested. and his entire satisfaction in the conduct of the Corinthians and the treatment which he had received from them 2-Corinthians 7:13, so that though he, Paul, had often had occasion to speak in the kindest terms of the Corinthians, all that he had ever said in their favor Titus had realized in his own case 2-Corinthians 7:14, and the affection of Titus for them had been greatly increased by his visit to them, 2-Corinthians 7:15. The whole chapter, therefore, is eminently adapted to produce good feeling in the minds of the Corinthians toward the apostle, and to strengthen the bonds of their mutual attachment.

The apostle's inference from the preceding exhortation, 2-Corinthians 7:1. He presses them to receive him with affection, because of his great love towards them, 2-Corinthians 7:2-4. He tells them what distress he felt on their account in Macedonia, till he had met with Titus, and heard of their prosperity, 2-Corinthians 7:6-7. He rejoices that his first epistle was made the means of their reformation, 2-Corinthians 7:8, 2-Corinthians 7:9. States how they were affected by his letter, and the process of their reformation, 2-Corinthians 7:10, 2-Corinthians 7:11. Shows why he had written to them, 2-Corinthians 7:12. Rejoices that his boasting of them to Titus is found to be a truth; and takes occasion to mention the great affection of Titus for them, and his own confidence in them, 2-Corinthians 7:13-16.

This chapter begins with an inference deduced, from what is said in the latter part of the foregoing chapter, engaging to holiness of heart and life, in opposition to filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2-Corinthians 7:1 and the apostle, in order to prevail upon the Corinthians kindly to receive his exhortations, observes his own conduct, and that of his fellow ministers towards them; as that they had done them no injury by the advice they had given them, nor had they corrupted them by unsound doctrine, or had coveted their worldly substance, 2-Corinthians 7:2 not that by so saying he would insinuate as if they had been guilty of injury, corruption, and covetousness; it was far from his thoughts to suggest anything of that kind concerning them, for whom he had so great an affection, as never to separate from them, but living and dying to continue the same regards unto them, 2-Corinthians 7:3 and which he expresses, and had shown everywhere, by the freedom of speech he had used concerning them, and his boasting of them, and the joy and comfort he had in the midst of his troubles, by the good news he had received of them, 2-Corinthians 7:4, which he had in the following manner; for though when in Macedonia he had no rest, partly through outward troubles, and partly through inward fears, 2-Corinthians 7:5 yet meeting with Titus, who had been with them, and had brought an account of their state, it was a means God made use of for the comfort of him, 2-Corinthians 7:6 and it was not merely the sight of Titus that yielded him this consolation, but the comfortable reception he had met with at Corinth; and also the good effect the apostle's letter written to them had upon them, as related by Titus; what a desire they had to see him, what grief that they should sin, and by it distress him, and what a fervent affection they had for him 2-Corinthians 7:7 for which reason he did not repent of the letter he sent them, though it did produce sorrow in them, since that was of the right kind, and was but for a time, 2-Corinthians 7:8 yea, he was so far from it, that he was glad, not merely on account of their sorrow, but because their sorrow was a godly one, and issued in repentance; and so they were no losers, but gainers by the epistle, it producing such good effects, 2-Corinthians 7:9 which leads him to distinguish between a true right godly sorrow, and a worldly one, and that by their consequences; repentance and salvation following upon the one, and death upon the other, 2-Corinthians 7:10 the fruits and evidences of which godly and true repentance he makes mention of in seven particulars, by which it appeared that their sorrow and repentance were sincere and genuine, 2-Corinthians 7:11 when the apostle proceeds to observe to them the end he had in view in writing to them, upon the account of the incestuous person, in which he had used great plainness and faithfulness; and this was not merely on account of him that offended, nor only on account of the person injured by him, but chiefly to testify his care of, and concern for their welfare, as a church of Christ, 2-Corinthians 7:12 and inasmuch as though they had been grieved, yet were now comforted, it added to the consolation of the apostle and his companions, and the more delighted they were, when they understood what a reception Titus had among them, what reverence he was had in, what respect was shown him, and care was taken of him, 2-Corinthians 7:13 and the rather, seeing the apostle had boasted of the liberality, generosity, and affectionate regard of the Corinthians to the ministers of the Gospel, Titus found it to be all true what he had said; so that he had no reason to be ashamed, as he must have been, had they behaved otherwise, 2-Corinthians 7:14 and still it gave him further pleasure, that by their behaviour to Titus, they had gained his heart, and increased his affection towards them; which he could not but express, whenever he called to mind, or made mention of the great respect, veneration, and obedience, they yielded to him, 2-Corinthians 7:15 and indeed it was not only in this instance, but in all others, the apostle had confidence concerning them, which heightened his joy and pleasure in them, 2-Corinthians 7:16.

(2-Corinthians 7:1-4) An exhortation to holiness, and the whole church entreated to bear affection to the apostle.
(2-Corinthians 7:5-11) He rejoiced in their sorrowing to repentance.
(2-Corinthians 7:12-16) And in the comfort they and Titus had together.

SUMMARY.--Paul's Freedom of Speech to the Corinthians. His Anxiety Until Titus Came. The Consolation of the News from Corinth. His Letter Produced Sorrow; Then Repentance. His Severe Words not Due to Ill-Will for the Offender, nor for Them, but to Lead Them to Clearing Themselves.

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