Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
JEALOUSY OVER THE
ACCOUNT OF THE
HIMSELF AS IN
1. Would to God--Translate as Greek, "I would that."
bear with me--I may ask not unreasonably to be borne with; not so the
(2Co 11:4, 20).
my--not in the oldest manuscripts.
folly--The Greek is a milder term than that for "foolishness" in
Mt 5:22; 25:2.
The Greek for "folly" here implies imprudence; the
Greek for "foolishness" includes the idea of perversity
and indeed bear--A request (so
But the Greek and the sense favor the translation, "But indeed
(I need not wish it, for) ye do bear with me"; still I wish you
to bear with me further, while I enter at large into
2. For I am jealous--The justification of his self-commendations lies
in his zealous care lest they should fall from Christ, to whom he, as
"the friend of the Bridegroom"
has espoused them; in order to lead them back from the false apostles
to Christ, he is obliged to boast as an apostle of Christ, in a way
which, but for the motive, would be "folly."
godly jealousy--literally, "jealousy of God" (compare
"godly sincerity," literally, "sincerity of God"). "If I am immoderate,
I am immoderate to God" [BENGEL]. A jealousy which
has God's honor at heart
I . . . espoused you--Paul uses a Greek term applied properly to
the bridegroom, just as he ascribes to himself "jealousy," a feeling
properly belonging to the husband; so entirely does he identify himself
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ--at His coming, when the
heavenly marriage shall take place
Re 19:7, 9).
What Paul here says he desires to do, namely, "present" the Church as
"a chaste virgin" to Christ, Christ Himself is said to do in the
fuller sense. Whatever ministers do effectively, is really done by
The espousals are going on now. He does not say "chaste
virgins"; for not individual members, but the whole body of believers
conjointly constitute the Bride.
3. I fear--
not inconsistent with love. His source of fear was their yielding
subtilty--the utter foe of the "simplicity" which is intent on
object, Jesus, and seeks none "other," and no "other" and different
but loves him with tender SINGLENESS OF AFFECTION.
Where Eve first gave way, was in mentally harboring for a moment the
possibility insinuated by the serpent, of GOD not
having her truest interests at heart, and of this "other" professing
friend being more concerned for her than God.
corrupted--so as to lose their virgin purity through seducers
The same Greek stands for "minds" as for "thoughts"
also see on
intents of the will, or mind. The oldest manuscripts
after "simplicity," add, "and the purity" or "chastity."
in Christ--rather, "that is towards Christ."
4. if, &c.--which in fact is impossible. However, if it
were possible, ye might then bear with them (see on
But there can be no new Gospel; there is but the one
which I first preached; therefore it ought not to be "borne" by you,
that the false teachers should attempt to supersede me.
he that cometh--the high-sounding title assumed by the false teachers,
who arrogated Christ's own peculiar title (Greek,
and Heb 10:37),
"He that is coming." Perhaps he was leader of the party which assumed
peculiarly to be "Christ's"
hence his assumption of the title.
preacheth . . . receive--is preaching . . . ye are receiving.
Jesus--the "Jesus" of Gospel history. He therefore does not say
"Christ," which refers to the office.
another . . . another--Greek, "another Jesus . . . a different Spirit . . . a different Gospel." Another implies a distinct
individual of the same kind; different implies one quite distinct in
which ye have not received--from us.
spirit . . . received . . . gospel
. . . accepted--The will of man is passive in RECEIVING the "Spirit"; but it is actively concurrent
with the will of God (which goes before to give the good will) in ACCEPTING the "Gospel."
ye might well bear with him--There would be an excuse for your
conduct, though a bad one (for ye ought to give heed to no Gospel other
than what ye have already heard from me,
Ga 1:6, 7);
but the false teachers do not even pretend they have "another Jesus"
and a "different Gospel" to bring before you; they merely try to
supplant me, your accredited Teacher. Yet ye not only "bear with" them,
but prefer them.
5. For--My claim is superior to that of the false teachers, "For," &c.
I suppose--I reckon [ALFORD].
I was not--Greek, "That I have not been, and am not."
the very chiefest apostles--James, Peter, and John, the
witnesses of Christ's transfiguration and agony in Gethsemane. Rather,
"those overmuch apostles," those surpassers of the apostles in
their own esteem. This sense is proved by the fact that the context
contains no comparison between him and the apostles, but only between
him and the false teachers;
also alludes to these, and not to the apostles; compare also the
parallel phrase, "false apostles" (see on
6. rude--Greek, "a common man"; a "laic"; not
rhetorically trained; unskilled in finish of diction.
1Co 2:1-4, 13;
2Co 10:10, 11,
shows his words were not without weight, though his
"speech" was deficient in oratorical artifice. "Yet I am not so in my
have been . . . made manifest--Read with the oldest
manuscripts, "We have made things (Gospel truths) manifest," thus
showing our "knowledge." English Version would mean, I leave it
to yourselves to decide whether I be rude in speech . . . :
for we have been thoroughly (literally, "in everything") made manifest
among you (literally, "in respect to you"; "in relation to you"). He
had not by reserve kept back his "knowledge" in divine mysteries from
(2Co 2:17; 4:2;
Ac 20:20, 27).
in all things--The Greek rather favors the translation,
"among all men"; the sense then is, we have manifested the whole truth
among all men with a view to your benefit [ALFORD]. But the Greek in
"In each thing and in all things," sanctions English Version,
which gives a clearer sense.
7. Have I--literally, "OR have I?" Connected with
"Or will any of you make it an objection that I have preached to you
gratuitously?" He leaves their good feeling to give the answer, that
this, so far from being an objection, was a decided superiority in him
above the false apostles
abasing myself--in my mode of living, waiving my right of maintenance,
and earning it by manual labor; perhaps with slaves as his fellow
ye . . . exalted--spiritually, by your admission to Gospel privileges.
gospel of God--"of God" implies its divine glory to which they were
8. I robbed--that is, took from them in order to spare you more
than what was their fair share of contribution to my maintenance, for
example, the Philippian Church
(Php 4:15, 16).
to do you service--Greek, "with a view to ministration to you";
compare "supplied" (Greek, "in addition"),
implying, he brought with him from the Macedonians, supplies
towards his maintenance at Corinth; and
when those resources failed ("when I wanted") he received a
new supply, while there, from the same source.
9. wanted--"was in want."
chargeable--Greek, "burdensome," literally, "to torpify,"
and so to oppress. JEROME says it is a
(2Co 12:14, 16).
the brethren which came--rather, as Greek, "the brethren
when they came." Perhaps Timotheus and Silas
(Ac 8:1, 5).
Php 4:15, 16,
which refers to donations received from the Philippians (who were in
Macedonia) at two distinct periods ("once and again"), one at
Thessalonica, the other after his departure from Macedonia, that is,
when he came into Achaia to Corinth (from the church in which city he
would receive no help); and this "in the beginning of the Gospel," that
is, at its first preaching in these parts. Thus all three, the two
Epistles and history, mutually, and no doubt undesignedly, coincide; a
sure test of genuineness.
supplied--Greek, "supplied in addition," namely, in addition to
their former contributions; or as BENGEL, in addition to the supply
obtained by my own manual labor.
10. Greek, "There is (the) truth of Christ in me that," &c.
no man shall stop me of--The oldest manuscripts read, "This boasting
shall not be shut (that is, stopped) as regards me." "Boasting
is as it were personified . . . shall not have its mouth stopped as
regards me" [ALFORD].
11. Love is often offended at its favors being not accepted, as
though the party to whom they are offered wished to be under no
obligation to the offerer.
12. I will do--I will continue to decline help.
occasion--Greek, "the occasion," namely, of
misrepresenting my motives, which would be afforded to my detractors,
if I accepted help.
that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we--BENGEL joins this clause with "the occasion," namely,
of glorying or boasting; the occasion "that they may be
found (a point wherein they glory) even as we," that is, quite as
disinterested, or virtually, quite as gain-seeking and self-seeking. It
cannot mean that the false teachers taught gratuitously even as Paul
ALFORD less clearly explains by reference to
&c., where the "glorying" here is taken up and described as "glorying
after the flesh"; thus it means, that in the matters of which they
beast they may be found even as we, that is, we may been a fair and
equal footing; that there may be no adventitious comparisons
made between us, arising out of misrepresentations of my course
of procedure, but that in every matter of boasting we may be fairly
compared and judged by facts; FOR
realities they have none, no weapons but misrepresentation, being
13. For--reason why he is unwilling they should be thought like him
such--they and those like them.
false apostles--those "overmuch apostles" (see on
are no apostles at all.
deceitful workers--pretending to be "workmen" for the Lord, and really
seeking their own gain.
14. is transformed--rather, "transforms himself" (compare
habitually; the first occasion of his doing so was in tempting Eve.
"Himself" is emphatical: If their master himself, who is the
"prince of darkness," the most alien to light, does so, it is less
marvellous in the case of them who are his servants
15. no great thing--no difficult matter.
if his ministers also--as well as himself.
righteousness--answering to "light"
the manifestation wherewith God reveals Himself in Christ
end--The test of things is the end which strips off every
specious form into which Satan's agents may now "transform"
Php 3:19, 21).
according to their works--not according to their pretensions.
16. I say again--again taking up from
the anticipatory apology for his boasting.
if otherwise--but if ye will not grant this; if ye will think me a
yet as a fool--"yet even as a fool receive me"; grant me the
indulgent hearing conceded even to one suspected of folly. The
Greek denotes one who does not rightly use his mental powers;
not having the idea of blame necessarily attached to it; one deceived
by foolish vanities, yet boasting himself [TITTMANN],
(2Co 11:17, 19).
that I--The oldest manuscripts read, "that I, too," namely,
as well as they, may boast myself.
17. not after the Lord--By inspired guidance he excepts this
"glorying" or "boasting" from the inspired authoritativeness which
belongs to all else that he wrote; even this boasting, though
undesirable in itself, was permitted by the Spirit, taking into account
its aim, namely, to draw off the Corinthians from their false teachers
to the apostle. Therefore this passage gives no proof that any portion
of Scripture is uninspired. It merely guards against his boasting being
made a justification of boasting in general, which is not ordinarily
"after the Lord," that is, consistent with Christian humility.
foolishly--Greek, "in foolishness."
confidence of boasting--
18. many--including the "false teachers."
after the flesh--as fleshly men are wont to boast, namely, of
external advantages, as their birth, doings, &c. (compare
I will glory also--that is, I also will boast of such fleshly
advantages, to show you that even in these I am not their inferiors, and
therefore ought not to be supplanted by them in your esteem; though
these are not what I desire to glory in
19. gladly--willingly. Irony. A plea why they should "bear with"
him in his folly, that is, boasting; ye are, in sooth, so "wise"
(1Co 4:8, 10;
Paul's real view of their wisdom was very different,
yourselves that ye can "bear with" the folly of others more
complacently. Not only can ye do so, but ye are actually
doing this and more.
20. For--Ye may well "bear with" fools; for ye even "bear with"
oppressors. Translate, "Ye bear with them."
a man--as the false apostles do.
bring you into bondage--to himself. Translate "brings," not "bring";
for the case is not merely a supposed case, but a case actually then
occurring. Also "devours" (namely, by exactions,
"takes," "exalts," "smites."
take of you--So the Greek for "take" is used for
"take away from"
ALFORD translates, as in
exalt himself--under the pretext of apostolic dignity.
smite you on the face--under the pretext of divine zeal. The height
of insolence on their part, and of servile endurance on yours
21. as concerning reproach--rather, "by way of dishonor (that is,
self-disparagement) I say it."
as though we . . . weak--in not similarly
showing our power over you. "An ironical reminiscence of his own
abstinence when among them from all these acts of self-exaltation at
their expense" (as if such abstinence was weakness) [ALFORD]. The "we" is emphatically contrasted with the
false teachers who so oppressively displayed their power. I speak so as
though WE had been weak when with you, because we did not show our
power this way. Howbeit (we are not really weak; for), whereinsoever
any is bold . . . I am bold also.
22. Hebrews . . . Israelites . . . the seed of
Abraham--A climax. "Hebrews," referring to the language and
nationality; "Israelites," to the theocracy and
descent from Israel, the "prince who prevailed with God"
"the seed of Abraham," to the claim to a share in the Messiah
(Ro 11:1; 9:7).
"An Hebrew of the Hebrews," not an Hellenist or Greek-speaking Jew, but
a Hebrew in tongue, and sprung from Hebrews.
23. I speak as a fool--rather, as Greek, "I speak as if
beside myself"; stronger than "as a fool."
I am more--namely, in respect to the credentials and
manifestations of my ministry, more faithful and self-denying; and
richer in tokens of God's recognition of my ministry. Old authorities
read the order thus, "In prisons above measures, in stripes more
abundantly" (English Version, less accurately, "more frequent").
records one case of his imprisonment with stripes. CLEMENT OF ROME [First Epistle to
the Corinthians] describes him as having suffered bonds seven
in death oft--
Ac 9:23; 13:50; 14:5, 6, 19; 17:5, 13).
ordained that not more than forty stripes should be inflicted To avoid
exceeding this number, they gave one short of it: thirteen strokes with
a treble lash [BENGEL]. This is one of those
minute agreements with Jewish usage, which a forger would have not been
likely to observe.
25. The beating by Roman magistrates at Philippi
is the only one recorded in Acts, which does not profess to give a
complete journal of his life, but only a sketch of it in connection
with the design of the book, namely, to give an outline of the history
of the Gospel Church from its foundation at Jerusalem, to the period of
its reaching Rome, the capital of the Gentile world.
once was I stoned--
thrice . . . shipwreck--before the shipwreck at Melita
Probably in some of his voyages from Tarsus, where he stayed for some
time after his conversion, and from which, as being a seafaring place,
he was likely to make missionary voyages to adjoining places
(Ac 9:30; 11:25;
a night and a day . . . in the deep--probably in part swimming or in
an open boat.
26. In--rather, "By": connected with
but now not with "in," as there, and as in
where again he passes to the idea of surrounding circumstances or
ELLICOTT and others].
waters--rather, as Greek, "rivers," namely, perils by the flooding
of rivers, as on the road often traversed by Paul between Jerusalem and
Antioch, crossed as it is by the torrents rushing down from Lebanon. So
the traveller Sport lost his life.
robbers--perhaps in his journey from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia.
Pisidia was notorious for robbers; as indeed were all the mountains that
divided the high land of Asia from the sea.
in the city--Damascus,
Ac 9:24, 25;
27. fastings--voluntary, in order to kindle devotions
(Ac 13:2, 3; 14:23;
for they are distinguished from "hunger and thirst," which were
involuntary [GROTIUS]. However, see on
The context refers solely to hardships, not to self-imposed
devotional mortification. "Hunger and thirst" are not synonymous with
"foodlessness" (as the Greek of "fasting" means), but are its
cold . . . nakedness--"cold" resulting from "nakedness," or
insufficient clothing, as the Greek often means: as "hunger and
thirst" result from "foodlessness." (Compare
"When we remember that he who endured all this was a man constantly
suffering from infirm health
(2Co 4:7-12; 12:7-10;
Ga 4:13, 14),
such heroic self-devotion seems almost superhuman" [CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
28. without--"Beside" trials falling on me externally, just
recounted, there is "that which cometh upon me (literally,
the impetuous concourse to me of business; properly, a crowd rising up against one again and again, and ready to bear him down),
the care of all the churches" (including those not yet seen in the
an internal and more weighty anxiety. But the oldest manuscripts
for "that which cometh," read, "the pressure": "the pressing
care-taking" or "inspection that is upon me daily." ALFORD translates, "Omitting what is BESIDES"; namely, those other trials besides
those recounted. But the Vulgate, ESTIUS,
and BENGEL, support English Version.
the care--The Greek implies, "my anxious solicitude for all the
29. I . . . weak--in condescending sympathy with the weak
"Care generates sympathy, which causes the minister of Christ
personally to enter into the feelings of all his people, as if he stood
in their position, so as to accommodate himself to all" [CALVIN].
offended--by some stumbling-block put in his way by others: the "weak"
is most liable to be "offended."
I burn not--The "I" in the Greek is emphatic, which it is not in
the former clause, "I am not weak." I not only enter into the feeling of
the party offended, but I burn with indignation at the offender,
I myself taking up his cause as my own. "Who meets with a
stumbling-block and I am not disturbed even more than himself"
30. glory of . . . infirmities--A striking contrast!
Glorying or boasting of what others make matter of shame,
namely, infirmities; for instance, his humbling mode of escape
in a basket
A character utterly incompatible with that of an enthusiast (compare
2Co 12:5, 9, 10).
31. This solemn asseveration refers to what follows. The
persecution at Damascus was one of the first and greatest, and having
no human witness of it to adduce to the Corinthians, as being a fact
that happened long before and was known to few, he appeals to God for
its truth. Luke
afterwards recorded it (compare
[BENGEL]. It may ALSO refer
to the revelation in
standing in beautiful contrast to his humiliating escape from
32. governor--Greek, "Ethnarch": a Jewish officer to whom
heathen rulers gave authority over Jews in large cities where they were
numerous. He was in this case under Aretas, king of Arabia. Damascus
was in a Roman province. But at this time, A.D. 38
or 39, three years after Paul's conversion, A.D.
36, Aretas, against whom the Emperor Tiberius as the ally of Herod
Agrippa had sent an army under Vitellius, had got possession of
Damascus on the death of the emperor, and the consequent interruption
of Vitellius' operations. His possession of it was put an end to
immediately after by the Romans [NEANDER]. Rather,
it was granted by Caligula (A.D. 38) to Aretas,
whose predecessors had possessed it. This is proved by our having no
Damascus coins of Caligula or Claudius, though we do have of their
immediate imperial predecessors and successors [ALFORD].