2 Corinthians 1
Introduction 1, 1-14
These verses introduce the present Epistle. They
contain the salutation of St. Paul and Timothy to the church at Corinth, acts of thanksgiving for favors received, a request
for prayers, and the reason for the Apostle's confidence in future prayerful help from the Corinthians. Some authorities
prefer to close the Introduction with v.11 rather than with v.14, but this is a matter more of choice than of importance.
Timothy: the fellow-worker and beloved disciple of St. Paul, who was well known to the Corinthians, is to be a witness
of all the Apostle says in this letter. Our brother: literally, "the brother." Saints: St. Paul
frequently speaks of Christians in this manner, because their very vocation was a call to holiness and sanctity. The
whole of Achaia: Achaia was a Roman province including the Peloponnesus and north Greece as far as Macedonia. Corinth
was its capital. Not only Corinth, but the outlying churches of this entire province, evangelized by St. Paul or his
associates, were address in this letter. 5. The sufferings our Lord endured for our
salvation are repeated to a greater or less extent in His followers, as members of His Mystical Body, for the salvation of
souls and the spread of the gospel. This verse should be compared with Col. 1, 24.
very likely refers to some bad news from Corinth about conditions there. Or the reference may be to the riot caused
by Demetrius, the silversmith. See Acts 19, 23 ff. 9. Death sentence
means the sentence, the judgment, the expectation of death. The Apostle was ready to die, so bad did he feel.
He felt as if the sentence of death had already been pronounced upon him, and he was ready to go. 11.
St. Paul often speaks of the power of intercessory prayer and the necessity of thanking God for benefits received.
13. We write: refers to his other letters to the Corinthians. 14.
The day, etc.: i.e., the day of judgment.
I. PERSONAL DEFENSE 1, 15 -- 7,
15 -- 7, 16. Here we have the first main division of this letter, in which we find a general apology
for the life and ministry of St. Paul and his companions. In this section the Apostle defends (a) himself and his actions,
1, 15 -- 2, 17; (b) his liberty as a minister of the New Law, 3, 1 -- 5, 10; (c) his sincerity
as an ambassador of Christ, 5, 11 -- 7, 1; (d) his previous letter, 7, 2-16.
The Apostle Explains His Delay 1, 15 -- 2, 17
The Judaizers at Corinth who were causing all the trouble accused St. Paul of fickleness and
lightmindedness because he had changed his plan about visiting them. The Apostle now replies to them, telling them that
it was their own disorders and sins that made him stay away. He pardons the one who caused so much sorrow and relates
his reaction to the good news brought him by Titus.
1, 15-22: He is Not Fickle. 15. St.
Paul begins here to refute the accusation of his enemies that he was fickle. His original plan was to pay two visits
to Corinth, one on his way to Macedonia, and the other on his return. This was the double grace, or joy or
favor, that he wanted to give them; but something prevented the carrying out of this arrangement, and they accused him of
being fickle and lightminded. 18 f. The character and habitual manners of the Apostles
were not vacillating and changeful, but uniform and reliable, like their preaching, and like the Christ whom they preached.
20. Christ fulfilled all the promises made by God through the prophets, and thus He made possible the
"Amen" by which we acknowledge that fulfillment. Amen is a Hebrew word meaning "so be it"; an expression of
approval. 21 f. Anointed us doubtless refers to the call and commission
of the Apostles to preach the gospel and do the work of the ministry. With his seal means with His authority.
God has prepared the Apostles for their work; He has sealed them, marked them, as His own by gifts of the Holy Spirit
which made their mission manifest. This sealing, or giving of gifts, is a pledge for the future, when the Spirit will
be given more fully. Reference also to the effects of Baptism is implied here.
1, 23 -- 2, 4:
His Wish to Spare Them. 23. This verse and 2, 1 strongly suggest a visit to Corinth
subsequent to the founding of the Church there. St. Paul's first coming to that great city was not in sorrow.
[Commentary on this section is continued at the beginning of the next chapter.]
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is at Corinth, with
all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia: 2 grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Comfort in Trouble
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts
us in all our afflictions, that we also may be able to comfort those who are in any distress by the comfort wherewith we ourselves
are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so also through Christ does our comfort abound.
6 For whether we are afflicted, it is for your instruction and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort;
which shows its efficacy in the endurance of the selfsame sufferings that we also suffer. 7 And our hope for you is
steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so will you also be of the comfort.
Persecution and Deliverance
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of the affliction which came upon us in Asia. We were crushed beyond
measure---beyond our strength, so that we were weary even of life. 9* Yes, we have been carrying, within our very selves,
our death sentence; in order that we may not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 10 He it is who delivered
us, and will deliver us, from such great perils; and in him we have hope to be delivered yet again, 11 through the help of
your prayers for us. Thus, for the gift bestowed on us at the instance of many persons, thanks will be given by many
on our behalf.
Sincerity 12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity---not
in carnal wisdom, but in the grace of God---we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with
you. 13 For we write nothing to you that you do not read and understand. Indeed, I hope you will always understand,
14 even as you have understood us in part, that we are your boast, as you will also be ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus
is Not Fickle 15 With this assurance I meant, in order that you might enjoy a double grace, to visit
you first, 16 and to pass through you into Macedonia, and from Macedonia to come again to you, and by you to be sent forward
on my way to Judea. 17 Now in this my intention, did I show fickleness? Or are my plans made according to the
flesh, so that with me it is now "Yes" and now "No?" 18 God is my witness that our message to you is not both "Yes"
and "No." 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us---by me and Silvanus and Timothy---was
not now "Yes" and now "No," but only "Yes" was in him. 20 For all the promises of God find their "Yes" in him; and therefore
through him also rises the "Amen" to God unto our glory. 21 Now it is God who is warrant for us and for you in Christ,
who has anointed us, 22 who has also stamped us with his seal and has given us the Spirit as a pledge in our hearts.
His Wish to Spare
Them 23 Now I call God to witness against my soul that it was to spare you that I did not again come to
Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but rather we are fellow-workers in your joy; for in faith you stand.
9: Death sentence: the Apostle had passed through a serious illness.