Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 1

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2 Corinthians 1

Supplemental Commentary:

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.

1, 1.  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.

8.  Affliction 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, 16

1, 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.

1.  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.]


Confraternity Bible:

Greeting  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.

His 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 Christ.

He 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.
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9: Death sentence: the Apostle had passed through a serious illness.