The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET
CHAPTER 7 2Cr 7:1-16
. SELF-PURIFICATION THEIR DUTY RESULTING FROM THE FOREGOING. HIS LOVE TO THEM, AND JOY AT THE GOOD EFFECTS ON THEM OF HIS FORMER EPISTLE, AS REPORTED BY TITUS.
1. cleanse ourselves--This is the conclusion of the exhortation ( 2Cr 6:1, 14 1Jo 3:3 Rev 22:11 ).
filthiness--"the unclean thing" ( 2Cr 6:17 ).
of the flesh--for instance, fornication, prevalent at Corinth ( 1Cr 6:15-18 ).
and spirit--for instance, idolatry, direct or indirect ( 1Cr 6:9 8:1, 7 10:7, 21, 22 ). The spirit ( Psa 32:2 ) receives pollution through the flesh, the instrument of uncleanness.
perfecting holiness--The cleansing away impurity is a positive step towards holiness ( 2Cr 6:17 ). It is not enough to begin; the end crowns the work ( Gal 3:3 5:7 Phl 1:6 ).
fear of God--often conjoined with the consideration of the most glorious promises ( 2Cr 5:11 Hbr 4:1 ). Privilege and promise go hand in hand.
2. Receive us--with enlarged hearts ( 2Cr 6:13 ).
we have wronged . . . corrupter . . . defrauded no man--(compare 2Cr 7:9 ). 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; 2Cr 7:13 gives an instance in point. We have corrupted none, namely, by beguilements and flatteries, while preaching "another Gospel," as the false teachers did ( 2Cr 11:3, 4 ). We have defrauded none by "making a gain" of you ( 2Cr 12:17 ). Modestly he leaves them to supply the positive good which he had done; suffering all things himself that they might be benefited ( 2Cr 7:9, 12 2Cr 12:13 ).
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 treacherous" [BEZA].
I have said before--in 2Cr 6:11, 12 ; compare Phl 1:7 .
die and live with you--the height of friendship. I am ready to die and live with you and for you ( Phl 1:7, 20, 24 2:17, 18 ). Compare as to Christ, Jhn 10:11 .
4. boldness of speech--(compare 2Cr 6:11 ).
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 ( 2Cr 7:6, 7, 9, 13 2Cr 1:4 ).
exceeding joyful--Greek, I overabound with joy ( 2Cr 7:7, 9, 16 ).
our tribulation--described in 2Cr 7:5 ; also in 2Cr 4:7, 8 6:4, 5 .
5. Greek, "For also" (for "even"). This verse is thus connected with 2Cr 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" ( 1Cr 5:12 ), and from fears for the Corinthian believers "within" the Church, owing to "false brethren" ( 2Cr 11:26 ). Compare 2Cr 4:8 Deu 32:25 , 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 ( 2Cr 7:13 ). He rejoiced in telling the news; we in hearing them [ALFORD].
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 the sin ( 1Cr 5:1 , &c.) which called forth my rebuke.
fervent mind--Greek, "zeal" (compare 2Cr 7:11 Jhn 2:17 ).
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 present.
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 ( Rom 14:22 1Pe 4:6 ).
that--Translate in Greek order, "to the end that (compare 2Cr 11:9 ) ye might in nothing receive damage from us," which ye would have received, had your sorrow been other than that "after a godly manner" ( 2Cr 7:10 ).
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 Rom 13:10 ). 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 2Cr 4:17 ; also see on JF & B for 2Co 4:17).
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 ( Mat 27:3 ; 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. So Pharaoh, Exd 9:27, 28-30 ; and Saul, 1Sa 15:23-30 . Compare Isa 9:13 Rev 16:10, 11 . Contrast David's "godly sorrow," 2Sa 12:13 , and Peter's, Mat 26:75 .
11. Confirmation of 2Cr 7:10 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 the deed.
indignation--against the offender.
fear--of the wrath of God, and of sinning any more [SCLATER and CALVIN]; fear of Paul [GROTIUS], ( 1Cr 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 ( 1Cr 4:19 16:5 ) [GROTIUS and ESTIUS].
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" ( 1Cr 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 2Cr 7:7 ).
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 ( 1Cr 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" ( 2Cr 7:8 ).
his cause that suffered wrong--the father of the incestuous person who had his father's wife ( 1Cr 5:1 ). 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 other reading. 2Cr 2:4 , "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 2Cr 7:7 ).
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 ( 2Cr 1:18 ), so our particular boasting to Titus concerning you is now, by his report, proved to be truth (compare 2Cr 9:2 ). Some oldest manuscripts read expressly, "concerning you"; this in either reading is the sense.
15. his inward affection--literally, "bowels" (compare 2Cr 6:12 Phl 1:8 2:1 Col 3:12 ).
obedience-- ( 2Cr 2:9 ).
fear and trembling--with trembling anxiety to obey my wishes, and fearful lest there should be aught in yourselves to offend him and me ( 2Cr 7:11 ; compare 1Cr 2:3 ).
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.