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SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
WRITTEN FROM ROME IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 57, OF NERO 3.
Saint Paul having writ his first epistle to the Corinthians, to try, as he says himself, chap. ii. 9, what power he had still with that church, wherein there was a great faction against him, which he was attempting to break, was in pain, till he found what success it had chap. ii. 12, 13, and vii. 5. But when he had, by Titus, received an account of their repentance, upon his former letter, of their submission to his orders, and of their good disposition of mind towards him, he takes courage, speaks of himself more freely, and justifies himself more boldly; as may be seen, chap. i. 12, and ii. 14, and vi. 10, and x. 1, and xiii. 10. And, as to his opposers, he deals more roundly and sharply with them than he had done in his former epistle ; as appears from chap. ii. 17, and iv. 2–5, and v. 12, and vi. 11-16, and xi. 11, and xii. 15.
The observation of these particulars may possibly be of use to give us some light, for the better understanding of his second epistle, especially if we add, that the main business of this, as of his former epistle, is to take off the people from the new leader they had got, who was St. Paul's opposer; and wholly to put an end to the faction and disorder, which that false apostle had caused in the church of Corinth. He also, in this epistle, stirs them up again to a liberal contribution to the poor saints at Jerusalem.
This epistle was writ in the same year, not long after the former.
CHAPTER I. 1, 2.
TEXT. 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy,
our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, with all the saints, which are in all Achaia :
PARAPHRASE. 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and
Timothy, our brothera, to the church of God, which is
NOTE. 1 : “ Brother," i. e. either in the common faith; and so, as we have already
remarked, he frequently calls all the converted, as Rom. i. 13, and in other places ; or “brother” in the work of the ministry, vid. Rom. xvi. 21. I Cor. xvi. 12. To which we may add, that St. Paul may be supposed to have given Timothy the title of “brother," here, for dignity's sake, to give him a reputá. tion above his age, amongst the Corinthians, to whom he had before sent him, with some kind of authority, to rectify their disorders. Timothy was but a young man, when St. Paul writ his first epistle to him, as appears, 1 Tim. iv. 12. Which epistle, by the consent of all, was writ to Timothy, after he had been at Corinth;
and in the opiuion of some very learned men, not less than eight years after; and therefore his calling him “brother” here, and joining him with
TEXT. 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord
PARAPHRASE. in Corinth, with all the Christians, that are in all Achaia b: 2 Favour and peace be to you, from God our Father, and from
the Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTES. himself, in writing this epistle, may be to let the Corinthians see, that, though he were so young, who had been sent to them, yet it was one, whom St. Paul thought fit to treat very much as an equal. Achaia, the country wherein Corinth stood.
This first part of this second epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians is spent in justifying himself against several imputations from the opposite faction, and setting himself right in the opinion of the Corinthians. The particulars whereof we shall take notice of in the following numbers.
SECTION II. No. 1.
CHAPTER I. 3-14.
CONTENTS. He begins with justifying his former letter to them, which had afflicted them, (vid. chap. vii. 7, 8.) by telling them, that he thanks God for his deliverance out of his afflictions, because it enables him to comfort them, by the example, both of his affliction and deliverance; acknowledging the obligation he had to them, and others, for their prayers and thanks for his deliverance, which, he presumes, they could not but put up for him, since his conscience bears him witness (which was his comfort) that, in his carriage to all men, and to them more especially, he had been direct and sincere, without any self or carnal interest; and that what he writ to them had no other design but what lay open, and they read in his words, and did also acknowledge ; and he doubted not but they should always acknowledge; part of them acknowledging also that he was the man they gloried in, as they shall be his glory in the day of the Lord. From what St. Paul says, in this section, (which, if read with attention, will appear to be writ with a turn of great insinuation) it may be gathered, that the
opposite faction endeavoured to evade the force of the former epistle, by suggesting, that, whatever he might pretend, St. Paul was a cunning, artificial, self-interested man, and had some hidden design in it, which accusation appears in other parts of this epistle: as chap. iv. 2, 5.
TEXT. 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to
comfort them, which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith
we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also
aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation,
which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we
PARAPHRASE. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the 4 Father of mercies, and God of all consolation; Who com
forteth me, in all my tribulations, that I may be able to
comfort them, who are in any trouble, by the comfort, which 5 I receive from him. Because, as I have suffered abundantly
for Christ, so, through Christ, I have been abundantly com6 forted; and both these for your advantage. For my afflic
tion is for your consolation and relief'', which is effected by a
NOTES. 3 That this is the right translation of the Greek here, see Eph. i. 3, and 1 Pet.
i. 3, where the same words are so translated ; and that it agrees with St. Paul's
sense, see Eph. i, 17. 4. He means, here, the Corinthians, who were troubled for their miscarriage
towards him; vid. chap. vii. 7. 6 € Swinpía, “ relief,” rather than “ salvation ;" which is understood of deliver
auce from death and hell; but here it signifies ouly deliverance from their present sorrow.
TEXT. also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation
and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing that, as you are partakers
of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation, 8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble, which
came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above
strength; insomuch that we despaired even of life. 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not
trust in ourselves, but in God, which raised the dead : 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver ; in whom
we trust, that he will yet deliver us : 11 You also helping together by prayer for us; that, for the gift be
stowed upon us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given
by many on our behalf. 12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in
simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
patient enduring those sufferings, whereof you see an example in me. And again, when I am comforted, it is for
your consolation and relief, who may expect the like, from the same 7 compassionate God and Father. Upon which ground, I have
firm hopes, as concerning you; being assured, that as you have
had your share of sufferings, so ye shall, likewise, have of con8 solation. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of
the load of afflictions in Asia, that were beyond measure heavy
upon me, and beyond my strength; so that I could see no way 9 of escaping with life. But I had the sentence of death in my
self, that I might not trust in myself, but in God, who can 10 restore to life even those who are actually dead: Who deli-
vered me from so imminent a danger of death, who doth de11 liver, and in whom I trust he will yet deliver me: You also
joining the assistance of your prayers for me; so that thanks
may be returned by many, for the deliverance procured me, by 12 the prayers of many persons. For I cannot doubt of the
prayers and concern of you, and many others, for me; since my glorying in this, viz. the testimony of my own conscience, that, in plainness of heart, and sincerity before God, not in fleshly wisdom", but by the favour of God directing me, I
NOTES. 12 - What “ fleshly wisdom ”is may be seen chap. iv. 2. 5.
This ar ir zápile Oscũ, “ But in the favour of God," is the same with αλλά χάρις Θεού και συν έμοί, “the favour of God, that is with me,'' i.e. by God's favourable assistance.