Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
RESULTING FROM THE
JOY AT THE
1. cleanse ourselves--This is the conclusion of the exhortation
(2Co 6:1, 14;
filthiness--"the unclean thing"
of the flesh--for instance, fornication, prevalent at Corinth
and spirit--for instance, idolatry, direct or indirect
(1Co 6:9; 8:1, 7; 10:7, 21, 22).
receives pollution through the flesh, the instrument of uncleanness.
perfecting holiness--The cleansing away impurity is a positive
step towards holiness
It is not enough to begin; the end crowns the work
(Ga 3:3; 5:7;
fear of God--often conjoined with the consideration of the most
Privilege and promise go hand in hand.
2. Receive us--with enlarged hearts
we have wronged . . . corrupter . . . defrauded
This is the ground on which he asks their reception of (making room
for) him in their hearts. We wronged none by an undue exercise
of apostolic authority;
gives an instance in point. We have corrupted none, namely, by
beguilements and flatteries, while preaching "another Gospel," as the
false teachers did
(2Co 11:3, 4).
We have defrauded none by "making a gain" of you
Modestly he leaves them to supply the positive good which he had
done; suffering all things himself that they might be benefited
(2Co 7:9, 12;
3. In excusing myself, I do not accuse you, as though you suspected
me of such things [MENOCHIUS], or as though you were guilty of such
things; for I speak only of the false apostles [ESTIUS and
Greek commentators]. Rather, "as though you were ungrateful and
I have said before--in
2Co 6:11, 12;
die and live with you--the height of friendship. I am ready to die
and live with you and for you
(Php 1:7, 20, 24; 2:17, 18).
Compare as to Christ,
4. boldness of speech--(compare
glorying of you--Not only do I speak with unreserved openness
to you, but I glory (boast) greatly to others in your behalf, in speaking of you.
filled with comfort--at the report of Titus
(2Co 7:6, 7, 9, 13;
exceeding joyful--Greek, I overabound with joy
(2Co 7:7, 9, 16).
our tribulation--described in
2Co 4:7, 8; 6:4, 5.
5. Greek, "For also" (for "even"). This verse is
thus connected with
2Co 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"
and from fears for the Corinthian believers "within" the Church, owing
to "false brethren"
to which he seems to allude.
6. Translate in the order required by the Greek, "But he that
comforteth those that are cast down, even God." Those that are of an
high spirit are not susceptible of such comfort.
7. when he told us--Greek, "telling us." We shared in the comfort
which Titus felt in recording your desire
He rejoiced in telling the news; we in hearing them
earnest desire--Greek, "longing desire," namely, to see me
[GROTIUS]; or, in general, towards me, to please me.
mourning--over your own remissness in not having immediately punished
&c.) which called forth my rebuke.
fervent mind--Greek, "zeal" (compare
toward me--Greek, "for me"; for my sake. They in Paul's behalf showed the zeal against the sin which Paul would have shown had he been
rejoiced the more--more than before, at the mere coming of Titus.
8. with a letter--Greek, "in the letter" namely, the first Epistle
to the Corinthians.
I do not repent, though I did repent--Translate, "I do not regret it, though I did regret it." The Greek words for regret and
repent are distinct. Paul was almost regretting, through parental
tenderness, his having used rebukes calculated to grieve the
Corinthians; but now that he has learned from Titus the salutary effect
produced on them, he no longer regrets it.
for I perceive, &c.--This is explanatory of "I did repent" or "regret
it," and is parenthetical ("for I perceive that that Epistle did
make you sorry, though it was but for a season").
9. Now I rejoice--Whereas "I did repent" or regret having made you
sorry by my letter, I rejoice NOW, not that ye were caused sorrow, but
that your sorrow resulted in your repentance.
ye sorrowed--rather, as before, "ye were made sorry."
after a godly manner--literally, "according to God," that is, your
sorrow having regard to God, and rendering your mind conformable to God
that--Translate in Greek order, "to the end that (compare
ye might in nothing receive damage from us," which ye would have
received, had your sorrow been other than that "after a godly manner"
10. worketh . . . worketh--In the best Greek
reading the translation is, "worketh (simply) . . . worketh
out." "Sorrow" is not repentance, but, where it is "godly,"
"worketh" it; that is, contributes or tends to it (the
same Greek word is in
The "sorrow of the world" (that is, such as is felt by the worldly)
"worketh out," as its result at last, (eternal) death
(the same Greek verb is in
also see on
repentance . . . not to be repented of--There is not
in the Greek this play on words, so that the word qualified is
not "repentance" merely, but "repentance unto salvation"; this, he
says, none will ever regret, however attended with "sorrow" at
the time. "Repentance" implies a coming to a right mind;
"regret" implies merely uneasiness of feeling at the past or present,
and is applied even to the remorse of Judas
Greek, "stricken with remorse," not as English Version,
"repented himself"); so that, though always accompanying repentance, it
is not always accompanied by repentance. "Repentance" removes the
impediments in the way of "salvation" (to which "death," namely, of the
soul, is opposed). "The sorrow of the world" is not at the sin
itself, but at its penal consequences: so that the tears of pain
are no sooner dried up, than the pleasures of ungodliness are renewed.
Ex 9:27, 28-30;
Re 16:10, 11.
Contrast David's "godly sorrow,"
11. Confirmation of
from the Corinthians' own experience.
carefulness--solicitude, literally, "diligence"; opposed to their past
negligence in the matter.
in you--Greek "for you."
yea--not only "carefulness" or diligence, but also "clearing of
yourselves," namely, to me by Titus: anxiety to show you disapproved of
indignation--against the offender.
fear--of the wrath of God, and of sinning any more [SCLATER and CALVIN]; fear of Paul
(1Co 4:2, 19-21).
vehement desire--longing for restoration to Paul's approval
[CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
"Fear" is in spite of one's self. "Longing desire" is spontaneous, and
implies strong love and an aspiration for correction [CALVIN]. "Desire" for the presence of Paul, as he
had given them the hope of it
zeal--for right and for God's honor against what is wrong. Or, "for
the good of the soul of the offender" [BENGEL].
revenge--Translate, "Exacting of punishment"
(1Co 5:2, 3).
Their "carefulness" was exhibited in the six points just specified:
"clearing of themselves," and "indignation" in relation to themselves;
"fear" and "vehement desire" in respect to the apostle; "zeal" and
"revenge" in respect to the offender [BENGEL]; (compare
In all--the respects just stated.
clear--Greek, "pure," namely, from complicity in the guilty deed.
"Approved yourselves," Greek, "commended yourselves." Whatever
suspicion of complicity rested on you
(1Co 5:2, 6)
through your former remissness, you have cleared off by your present
strenuousness in reprobating the deed.
12. though I wrote unto you--"making you sorry with my letter"
his cause that suffered wrong--the father of the incestuous person
who had his father's wife
The father, thus it seems, was alive.
that our care for you, &c.--Some of the oldest manuscripts read
thus, "That YOUR
care for us might be made manifest unto you," &c. But
the words, "unto you," thus, would be rather obscure; still the
obscurity of the genuine reading may have been the very reason for the
change being made by correctors into the reading of English Version.
ALFORD explains the reading: "He wrote in order to bring out their zeal
on his behalf (that is, to obey his command), and make it manifest
to themselves in God's sight, that is, to bring out among them their zeal to regard and obey him." But some of the oldest manuscripts
and versions (including the Vulgate and old Italian) support
English Version. And the words, "to you," suit it better than the
"I wrote . . . that ye might know the love which I have more
abundantly unto you," plainly accords with it, and disproves
ALFORD'S assertion that English Version is
inconsistent with the fact as to the purpose of his letter. His
writing, he says, was not so much for the sake of the individual
offender, or the individual offended, but from his "earnest care" or
concern for the welfare of the Church.
13. The oldest manuscripts read thus, "Therefore (Greek, 'for
this cause,' namely, because our aim has been attained) we have been
(English Version, 'were,' is not so accurate) comforted; yea
(Greek, 'but'), in OUR comfort we exceedingly the more joyed for the
joy of Titus," &c. (compare
14. anything--that is, at all.
I am not ashamed--"I am not put to shame," namely, by learning from
Titus that you did not realize the high character I gave him of you.
as . . . all things . . . in truth, even so our
boasting . . . is found a truth--As our speaking in
general to you was true
so our particular boasting to Titus concerning you is now, by
his report, proved to be truth (compare
Some oldest manuscripts read expressly, "concerning you"; this in either
reading is the sense.
15. his inward affection--literally, "bowels" (compare
Php 1:8; 2:1;
fear and trembling--with trembling anxiety to obey my wishes, and
fearful lest there should be aught in yourselves to offend him and me
16. therefore--omitted in the oldest manuscripts. The conclusion is
more emphatical without it.
that I have confidence in you in all things--rather, as Greek, "that in everything I am of good courage concerning (literally, 'in
the case of') you," as contrasted with my former doubts concerning you.