2-Corinthians - 7:5

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.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 2-Corinthians 7:5.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
For even when we were come into Macedonia our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
For also when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we suffered all tribulation; combats without, fears within.
For indeed, when we came into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way; without combats, within fears.
for also we, having come to Macedonia, no relaxation hath our flesh had, but on every side we are in tribulation, without are fightings, within, fears;
For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fights, within were fears.
For even after our arrival in Macedonia we could get no relief such as human nature craves. We were greatly harassed; there were conflicts without and fears within.
For even when we had come into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; there were fightings outside and fears inside.
Then, too, when we had arrived in Macedonia, our flesh had no rest. Instead, we suffered every tribulation: exterior conflicts, interior fears.
Ever since we reached Macedonia, we have had no rest in body or mind; on every side there have been troubles – conflicts without, anxieties within.

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

For when we had come into Macedonia The heaviness of his grief tends to show, how efficacious the consolation was. "I was pressed on every side," says he, "by afflictions both internal and external. All this, however, has not prevented the joy that you have afforded me from prevailing over it, and even overflowing." [1] When he says that he had no rest in his flesh, it is as if he had said -- "As a man, I had no relief." [2] For he excepts spiritual consolations, by which he was in the mean time sustained. He was afflicted, therefore, not merely in body, but also in mind, so that, as a man, he experienced nothing but great bitterness of afflictions. Without were fightings By fightings he means outward assaults, with which his enemies molested him: fears he means the anxieties, that he endured on account of the internal maladies of the Church, for it was not so much by personal as by public evils, that he was disquieted. What he means, then, to say is this -- that there were not merely avowed enemies that were hostile to him, but that he endured, nevertheless, much distress in consequence of domestic evils. For he saw how great was the infirmity of many, nay of almost all, and in the mean time what, and how diversified, were the machinations, by which Satan attempted to throw every thing into confusion -- how few were wise, how few were sincere, how few were steadfast, and how many, on the other hand, were either mere pretenders, and worthless, or ambitious, or turbulent. Amidst these difficulties, the servants of God must of necessity feel alarmed, and be racked with anxieties; and so much the more on this account -- that they are constrained to bear many things silently, that they may consult the peace of the Churches. Hence he expressed himself with propriety when he said -- Without were fightings; within were fears. For faithful pastors openly set themselves in opposition to those enemies that avowedly attack Christ's kingdom, but they are inwardly tormented, and endure secret tortures, when they see the Church afflicted with internal evils, for the exterminating of which they dare not openly sound the trumpet. [3] But although he had almost incessant conflicts, it is probable that he was at that time more severely pressed than usual. The servants of Christ, undoubtedly, have scarcely at any time exemption from fears, and Paul was seldom free from outward fightings; but as he was at that time more violently oppressed, he makes use of the plural number -- fightings and fears, meaning that he required to fight in many ways, and against various enemies, and that he had at the same time many kinds of fear.


1 - Calvin here has manifestly in his eye the singularly emphatic word made use of by Paul in the preceding verse -- huperperisseuomai, I am exceeding joyful. "The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Romans 5:20. It is not found in the classic writers, and is a word which Paul evidently compounded, (from huper and perisseuo,) and means to superabound over, to superabound greatly, or exceedingly. It is a word which would be used only when the heart was full, and when it would be difficult to find words to express its conceptions. Paul's heart was full of joy, and he pours forth his feelings in the most fervid and glowing language -- I have joy which cannot be expressed.'" -- Barnes. -- Ed.

2 - "Je n'ay point eu de relasche ou soulagement;" -- "I had no relief or alleviation."

3 - "Pour les quelles chasser et y remedier, ils n'osent pas sonner la trompette tout haut, comme on dit:" -- "For putting down which evils, and remedying them, they dare not sound the trumpet aloud, as they say."

For when we were come into Macedonia - For the reasons which induced Paul to go into Macedonia; see the notes on 2-Corinthians 1:16; compare the notes, 2-Corinthians 2:12-13.
Our flesh had no rest - We were exceedingly distressed and agitated. We had no rest. The causes of his distress he immediately states.
But we were troubled on every side - In every way. We had no rest in any quarter. We were obliged to enter into harassing labors and strifes there, and we were full of anxiety in regard to you.
Without were fightings - Probably he here refers to fierce opposition, which he met with in prosecuting his work of preaching the gospel. He met there, as he did everywhere, with opposition from Pagans, Jews, and false brethren. Tumults were usually excited wherever he went; and he preached the gospel commonly amidst violent opposition.
Within were fears - Referring probably to the anxiety which he had in regard to the success of the Epistle which he had sent to the church at Corinth. He felt great solicitude on the subject. He had sent Titus there to see what was the state of the church and to witness the effect of his instructions. Titus had not come to him as he had expected, at Troas 2-Corinthians 2:13, and he felt the deepest anxiety in regard to him and to the success of his Epistle. His fears were probably that they would be indisposed to exercise the discipline on the offender; or lest the severity of the discipline required should alienate them from him; or lest the party under the influence of the false teachers should prevail. All was uncertainty, and his mind was filled with the deepest apprehension.

When we were come into Macedonia - St. Paul, having left Ephesus, came to Troas, where he stopped some time; afterwards he came to Macedonia, whence he wrote this epistle,
Our flesh had no rest - So exceedingly anxious was he to know the success of his first epistle to them.
Without were fightings - The oppositions of pagans, Jews, and false brethren.
Within were fears - Uncertain conjectures relative to the success of his epistle; fears lest the severity of it should alienate their affections utterly from him; fears lest the party of the incestuous person should have prevailed; fears lest the teaching of the false apostle should have perverted their minds from the simplicity of the truth; all was uncertainty, all apprehension; and the Spirit of God did not think proper to remove the causes of these apprehensions in any extraordinary way.

For when we were come into Macedonia,.... Whither Paul went in quest of Titus, not finding him at Troas, 2-Corinthians 2:12 and where he met with him, and had the agreeable account from him of the state of this church; but here, as elsewhere, they had their troubles:
our flesh had no rest; that is, their outward man, their bodies; they were continually fatigued with preaching, disputing, fighting; what with false teachers, and violent persecutors, they had no rest in their bodies; though, in their souls, they had divine support and spiritual consolation; and it was no small addition to their joy to hear of the flourishing condition of this church:
but were troubled on every side; from every quarter, by all sorts of enemies; see 2-Corinthians 4:8.
Without were fightings, within were fears; there seems to be an allusion to Deuteronomy 32:25. They had continual combats with false teachers, and furious persecutors, without the church, or in the world, or in their bodies; and within the church, or in themselves, in their own minds, had many fears, lest any should be discouraged by the violence of persecutions, or be drawn aside by the doctrines of the false apostles: and as it was with the apostles in these respects, so it is with private believers: without are fightings; their outward conversation in this life is a warfare; partly with false teachers, with whom they fight the "good fight of faith", contend for the doctrine of faith, using the spiritual weapons of the Scriptures of truth; and partly with the men of the world, to whose rage and contempt they are exposed, and among whom they endure a great fight of afflictions, with patience, and in the exercise of faith, whereby they gain the victory over the world and partly with Satan, their avowed adversary, and implacable enemy, against whom they wrestle in the strength of Christ, making use of the whole armour God provided for them, by the help of which, through divine grace, they come off more than conquerors; and partly with the lusts and corruptions, or open prevailing iniquities which are in the world, to which they oppose themselves, and, by the power of God keeping them, are preserved from: not that their only fightings are thus without; for there is, as it were, a company of two armies within them, sin and grace, flesh and spirit, opposing each other: and hence, as well as from other causes, are "fears within"; about their interest in everlasting love, electing grace, and the covenant of grace; about the presence of God with them, and the truth of grace in them; about their interest in Christ, their sonship, their final perseverance, and enjoyment of the heavenly glory: and though these fears are not their excellencies, but their infirmities, yet this will be more or less their case, till that state takes place, when there will be no more fightings, no more fears.

There were fightings without, or continual contentions with, and opposition from Jews and Gentiles; and there were fears within, and great concern for such as had embraced the Christian faith. But God comforts those who are cast down. We should look above and beyond all means and instruments, to God, as the author of all the consolation and good we enjoy. Sorrow according to the will of God, tending to the glory of God, and wrought by the Spirit of God, renders the heart humble, contrite, submissive, disposed to mortify every sin, and to walk in newness of life. And this repentance is connected with saving faith in Christ, and an interest in his atonement. There is a great difference between this sorrow of a godly sort, and the sorrow of the world. The happy fruits of true repentance are mentioned. Where the heart is changed, the life and actions will be changed. It wrought indignation at sin, at themselves, at the tempter and his instruments. It wrought a fear of watchfulness, and a cautious fear of sin. It wrought desire to be reconciled with God. It wrought zeal for duty, and against sin. It wrought revenge against sin and their own folly, by endeavours to make satisfaction for injuries done thereby. Deep humility before God, hatred of all sin, with faith in Christ, a new heart and a new life, make repentance unto salvation. May the Lord bestow it on every one of us.

Greek, "For also" (for "even"). This verse is thus connected with 2-Corinthians 2:12-13, "When I came to Troas, I had no rest in my spirit"; so "also" now, when I came to Macedonia, my "flesh" had no rest (he, by the term "flesh," excepts his spiritual consolations) from "fightings" with adversaries "without" (1-Corinthians 5:12), and from fears for the Corinthian believers "within" the Church, owing to "false brethren" (2-Corinthians 11:26). Compare 2-Corinthians 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:25, to which he seems to allude.

For when we were come into Macedonia. He first came from Ephesus to Troas (2-Corinthians 2:12), and expected to meet Titus there with word from Corinth concerning the effect of his first letter. Not meeting him, he went on to Macedonia in great distress of mind.
Our flesh had no rest. Compare with this 2-Corinthians 2:13.
Without were fightings. Conflicts with enemies of Christ.
Within were fears. Lest the church at Corinth might make shipwreck.
Nevertheless God . . . comforted us by the coming of Titus. Titus brought to him the joyful news of repentance and reformation at Corinth. This news turned his affliction to joy.
Not by his coming only. He rejoiced to meet again a well-beloved fellow laborer, but rejoiced still more over the news which he brought.
Your earnest desire. To cleanse themselves from fault.
Your mourning. Over the reproof of their sins.
Your fervent mind toward me. Affection for and zeal to please me.

Our flesh - That is, we ourselves. Had no rest from without - From the heathens. Were fightings - Furious and cruel oppositions. From within - From our brethren. Were fears - Lest they should be seduced.

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