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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Corinthians 1

 

 

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 1:1. παύλος, Paul) While Paul repeats his admonitions, he shows his apostolic love and στοργὴ, fatherly affection to the Corinthians, who had been dutifully [devoutly] affected by the severity of his former epistle; and for the rest, as he had written therein about the affairs of the Corinthians, so he now writes about his own, but with a constant regard to the spiritual benefit of the Corinthians. But the thread and connection of the whole epistle is historical; other topics are introduced as digressions. See the leading points, at 2 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 13:1, concerning the past, present, and future. Whence we have this connected view [synopsis] of the epistle. There is in it—

I. The Inscription, 2 Corinthians 1:1-2.

II. The Discussion [handling of his subject.]

1. We were greatly pressed in Asia:

but God consoled us:

for we act with sincerity of mind; even in this that I have not already come to you, who are in propriety bound to obey me, 2 Corinthians 3:1 to 2 Corinthians 2:11.

2. I hastened from Troas to Macedonia, which is near you:

keeping pace with the progress of the Gospel, whose glorious ministry we worthily perform, 2 Corinthians 2:12 to 2 Corinthians 7:1.

3. In Macedonia I received joyful tidings of you, 2 Corinthians 7:2-16.

4. In this journey I became acquainted with the liberality of the Macedonians. Wherefore it becomes you to follow that example, 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15.

5. I am on my way to you, armed with the power of Christ. Therefore obey, 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10.

III. The Conclusion, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13.

τιμόθεος ἀδελφὸς, Timothy, our brother) When Paul writes to Timothy himself, he calls him son; when writing of him to the Corinthians and others, he calls him brother.— τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, to the Church of God) This has the force of a synonym with the word saints, which follows.


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 1:3. εὐλογητὸς, blessed) An elegant mode of introduction, and suited to the apostolic spirit, especially in adversity.— πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation) Mercies are the fountain of consolation: comp. Romans 12:1 : παρακαλεῖν is zusprechen, to console. The principle of exhortation and consolation is often them same; consolation is the proof [the evidence] of mercies. [And Paul makes mention of mercies and help, before he mentions afflictions.—V. g.] He exhibits his mercies in the very midst of calamity; and the calamity of the saints is neither contrary to the Divine mercy, nor does it beget suspicion against it in the minds of the saints: afterwards it even affords consolation; therefore πάσης, of all, is added.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 1:4. πάσῃ· πάσῃ, in all, in all) He who has experienced one kind of affliction is peculiarly qualified to console those in the same circumstances; he who has experienced all is able to console men under all kinds of affliction, Hebrews 4:15.— θλίψει, in tribulation) The antithetic words on the one side are παθήματα, adversities [the sufferings], and θλίψις, distress [straitness] of mind; of which the one is implied in the signification of the other—and on the other side, σωτηρία, salvation; and παράκλησις, consolation; of which the one is in like manner implied in the signification of the other. The frequent occurrence of these words will be greatly relished, but only by the experienced. [How great need is there of experience! how ill-qualified a guide is he, who is without it!—V. g.] Adversity is treated of from 2 Corinthians 1:8; consolation from ch. 2 Corinthians 7:2, etc. Paul speaks generally of comfort at the beginning; he, however, refers especially to that, which he derived from the obedience of the Corinthians.— αὐτοὶ) we ourselves.


Verse 5

2 Corinthians 1:5. τοῦ χριστοῦ, εἰς ἠμᾶς· διὰ χριστοῦ, ἡμῶν, of Christ towards (in) us; ours by Christ) The words and their order are sweetly interchanged.— παθήματα· παράκλησις, adversities (sufferings); consolation) The former are numerous; the latter is but one, and yet exceeds the former.— οὕτως, so) There shines forth brightly from this very epistle, as compared with the former, a greater amount of consolation to the Corinthians, who had been deeply impressed with the first epistle, consolation being extremely well suited to their circumstances, after the distresses which had intervened; and so there shines forth brightly in it the newness of the whole inner man, increasing more and more day by day.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 1:6. εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα, κ. τ. λ., and, whether we be afflicted, etc.) The meaning is this, εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα ( θλιβόμεθα) ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως καὶ σωτηρίας· εἰτε παρακαλούμεθα ( παρακαλούμεθα) ὑπὲρ κτλ, and whether we be afflicted (we are afflicted) for your consolation and salvation; or whether we be comforted (we are comforted) for your consolation, which operates in enabling you to endure the same adversities which we also endure, and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings (adversities), so also of the consolation. As in Philippians 1:16; Philippians 1:19, θλίψις and σωτηρία are opposed to each other; so here θλίψις, the affliction of the ministers of the Gospel, and the consolation and salvation of the Corinthians, are opposed to each other, in the same way as the death of the former [the ministers] and the life of the latter [the Corinthians], 2 Corinthians 4:12. Furthermore, as though consolation and salvation of the Corinthians depend on the affliction of the ministers of the Gospel; so the consolation of the Corinthians, and the hope of the ministers in their behalf, depend on the consolation of the ministers. The participle knowing depends on the verbs, we are afflicted, and we are comforted, understood. Thus the members of this period are consistent with one another, of which the various transpositions are noticed in the Apparatus.(1) We shall now explain some of these words in particular.— εἴτε, whether) sometimes we are more sensible of adversities, sometimes of consolation.— ὑμῶν, your) The communion of saints, cultivated in the heart of Paul, Titus, the Corinthians, and other Churches, is admirably represented in this epistle, 2 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 6:12, 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:13, 2 Corinthians 9:12. These hearts were, so to speak, mirrors reflecting the likenesses of each other; comp. Philippians 2:26-27.— παρακλήσεως, consolation) in the soul.— σωτηρίας, salvation) in fact [in reality].— τῆς ἐνεργουμένης) in the Middle voice, 2 Corinthians 4:12; Romans 7:5.— τῶν αὐτῶν) the same, in point of number. The adversities [sufferings] of Paul were the same as those of the Corinthians, who were in the heart of Paul: 2 Corinthians 6:12; and the fruit of those sufferings redounded to their advantage, although they [the sufferings] had prevented him from coming to Corinth. A mutual participation [in sufferings and consolation] is declared.— πάσχομεν, καὶ ἐλπὶς, we suffer, and the hope) Hope is usually joined with the mention of afflictions and patience, 2 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 5:3-4; Romans 15:4.— βεβαία, is stedfast) It obtained stedfastness through adversity.


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 1:8. ἐν τῇ ἀσίᾳ, in Asia) 1 Corinthians 15:32, note. The Corinthians were not ignorant of that affliction, which had befallen him in Asia: but Paul now declares its magnitude and its advantageous result. [The whole epistle presents a journal of his travels; but most excellent precepts are interwoven with the narrative of them.—V. g.]— ὑπὲρ δύναμιν) above ordinary strength.— ἐξαπορηθῆναι, that we despaired) He affirms here, what he denies in another respect, 2 Corinthians 4:8; for he is speaking here of human, there of Divine assistance.


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 1:9. ἀλλὰ, but) i.e. nay; supply, for this reason we ourselves, etc.; that not, etc.— τὸ ἀπόκριμα) Hesychius says, ἀπόκριμα, κατάκριμα, ψῆφον. ἀποκρίνειν, to pass sentence on one condemned, to consider him as dead. The antithesis is trusting. Simonius takes a different view.— ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ, but in) illustrating the wonderful nature of faith in the greatest difficulties, which seem to have no means of escape.— ἐγείροντι, who raiseth) 1 Corinthians 15. He had written at great length on the resurrection of the dead; he now repeatedly touches on the same doctrine, and, taking for granted, that its truth is admitted by the Corinthians, urges its bearing upon their practice.


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 1:10. ρύεται, delivers) The present, in respect of this affliction, i.e. whilst we are in a state of death, we are delivered.— ἠλπίκαμεν) we have obtained hope [we have trusted].— ῥύσεται, He will deliver) that I may be able to go to you.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 1:11. συνυπουργούντων, you helping with) ὑπουργεῖν is from ἔργον, a work: ἔργον, the work of effectual help, belongs to God; ὑπουργεῖν, to help subordinately, belongs to the apostles; συνυπουργεῖν, to help subordinately along with, belongs to the Corinthians.— καὶ) you also, not merely others.—(2) ἐκ πολλῶν προσωπῶν, in many respects [But Engl. Vers. “By the means of many persons”]) πρόσωπωον, face, respect [point of view.] In respect, viz., of the past, present and future. He has delivered, delivers, will deliver. We do not translate it, of many persons, for that is included in the words, διὰ πολλῶν, by many.— τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα) the assistance, which is vouchsafed to us by grace.— διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ) thanksgiving may be given by many. χάρισμα and εὐχαριστία are correlatives; 2 Corinthians 4:15.— ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν,(3) for you) Just now he had said, for us, in respect of prayers; now, he says, for you, in respect of thanksgiving. The fruit redounded to the Corinthians. Nor was it necessary, after εἰς ἡμᾶς, again to say, ὑπὲρ ἡ΄ῶν.(4)

(2) τῆ δεήσειεὐχαριστηθῇ, that thanksgiving might be poured forth by prayer). He who enjoys the communion of saints, will never want an opportunity for prayer; although he should have nothing remaining in relation to himself, for which he should feel any anxiety—[i.e. the concerns of his fellow-saints will always afford him ample subject for prayer and praise.]—V. g.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 1:12. γὰρ, for) The connection is: We do not seek in vain and we promise to ourselves the help of God and the prayers of godly men.— καύχησις, glorying [rejoicing]) even in adversity and against our adversaries.— τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, of our conscience) whatever others may think of us.— ἁπλότητι, in simplicity) aiming at the one mark in the most direct way.— εἰλικρινείᾳ(5)) in sincerity, without the admixture of any foreign quality.— οὐκ ἐν, not in) The antithetic terms are, fleshly wisdom, and the grace of God, who wisely directs His own people, 2 Corinthians 1:17-18.— ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ) in the world which is wholly deceitful [as opposed to godly sincerity and simplicity.]— περισσοτέρως, more abundantly) 2 Corinthians 2:4.

ABCD ( λ) have the τοῦ before θεοῦ. Rec. Text, with G and Origen., omit τοῦ. ἁγιότητι is the reading of ABC Memph. Origen. But ἁπλότητι of D ( λ) Gfg Vulg.—ED.


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 1:13. ἄλλα) other things, contrary.— γράφομεν, we write) in this epistle. He appeals to a present thing.— ἀναγινώσκετε, ye read) in the former epistle.— καὶ, or even) ἐπίγνωσις is more than ἀνάγνωσις.— ἓως τέλους, even unto the end) of my course, comp. 2 Corinthians 1:14, at the end, and 1 Corinthians 4:5 : whence it is evident that regard to the day of the Lord is not excluded.


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 1:14. ἀπὸ μέρους, in part) The antithesis, even unto the end, is in the preceding verse.


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 1:15. τάντῃ, in this) of which 2 Corinthians 1:12 treats at the beginning.— πρότερον, before) We have frequent mention of this intention in the former epistle; it is construed with I was minded.— δευτέραν χάριν, a second benefit) They had had their first benefit [exhibited by Divine help; 2 Corinthians 1:12] at the first visit of Paul: comp. thy first love, Revelation 2:4. He had designed a second benefit for them at his second visit. Grace is in itself one; but in being had [in the having of it], there is a first, second grace, etc.: comp. John 1:16. [Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.]


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 1:16. προπεμφθῆναι, to be brought on my way) to commit myself to you to be escorted [conducted] forward.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 1:17. τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ, lightness) by promising more than I performed.— ) or? [an? the second part of a disjunctive interrogation].— κατὰ σάρκα, according to the flesh) Paul gives them to understand that, if he were to consult according to [to listen to the suggestions of] the flesh, he must rather have come, than not; for they who consult according to the flesh, endeavour by all means to make the yea of the promise, whatever may occur, to appear in the fulfilment, for the purpose of maintaining their consistency [whether good or evil may result from it.—V. g.] But the Apostle was neither inconsistent, nor carnally consistent: either of which might have been suspected by persons under the influence of prejudice against him. He had made a conditional promise, and afterwards he delayed his visit for an important reason, which had occurred to prevent it.— τὸ ναὶ καὶ τὸ οὐ) See Appendix. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Simple yea and nay(6) is quite approved of by Paul in the following verse, in which he denies the yea and nay, concerning the same things; but he affirms it, 2 Corinthians 1:17, concerning different things. The word , should be, is emphatic; as it may be said, for example, of an unsteady [inconsistent] person. You can never be sure of finding either his “It is,” or his “it is not,” to be as he says—that is, no one can trust his word; or as if it were to be said of a consistent man, His “It is,” and his “It is not,” always hold good.

All the old authorities, excepting the Vulgate, support the double ναὶ and οὐ; even the Fuld. MS. of the Vulg. as corrected by Victor of Capua, has “Est, est, non, non,” and so agrees with the weightiest authorities (est, est= ναὶ, ναὶ; non, non= οὐ, οὐ.)—ED.


Verse 18

2 Corinthians 1:18. πιστὸς, faithful) The categorical statement implied is this, “Our doctrine is sure.” The mode [or expression of feeling, as opposed to a naked, categorical statement, end. on modalis sermo], however, is added: God is faithful, נאמן : comp. amen, 2 Corinthians 1:20.— δὲ, but) The antithesis is between his intention of travelling to see them, and the doctrine itself. The external change of that intention for good reasons infers no inconsistency in the doctrine. In the mean time, Paul shows, that those who are light [fickle] in external matters are wont to be, and to appear to be, light also in things spiritual.— πρὸς) with, to; with (towards) you, is an antithesis to with me, 2 Corinthians 1:17.— οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ καὶ οὐ, was not made yea and nay) Contradictories have no place in Theology.


Verse 19

2 Corinthians 1:19. γὰρ τοῦ θεοῦ υἱὸς, ιἠσοῦς χριστὸς, for the Son of God, Jesus Christ) who is the principal subject of our discourse. We should observe the joining together of the three appellations, thereby showing forth firmness;(7) as also their position in the natural order; for the first is evidently not the same as the third.— καὶ σιλουανοῦ, and Silvanus) Luke calls him Silas; Acts 15:22 note.— ἀλλὰ ναὶ) but yea pure and unmixed, on our part and yours.— ἐν αὐτῷ, in Himself) Christ preached, i.e. our preaching of Christ became yea in Christ Himself. So the reason assigned [aetiologia, end.] in the following verse is in consonance. All the promises in Christ are yea. Therefore truly also the testimony concerning Christ Himself is yea in Christ.


Verse 20

2 Corinthians 1:20. ἐπαγγελίαι) promises, declarations.— τὸ ναὶτὸ ἀμὴν, yea—amen) The words yea and amen agreeing together, stand in pleasant antithesis to the words yea and nay, 2 Corinthians 1:19, which are at variance with each other: yea by affirmation; amen, by an oath; or yea in respect of the Greeks; amen in respect of the Jews; comp. Galatians 4:6 note; for yea is Greek, amen is Hebrew; or yea, in respect of God who promises, amen in respect of believers; comp. 1 John 2:8; yea in respect of the apostles, amen in respect of their hearers.— τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν [to the glory of God] to God for His glory) For the truth of God is glorified in all His promises, which are verified in Christ.— πρὸς δόξαν, to the glory) 2 Corinthians 4:15.— διʼ ἡμῶν, by us) construed with there is, again to be understood. For whatever may be the number of [as many soever as are] the promises of God, there is in Him the Yea, and in Him the Amen [every promise has its yea and amen, i.e. its fulfilment in Him]. To the glory of God (is that Yea and Amen) by us. The yea is re-echoed by us.


Verse 21

2 Corinthians 1:21. δὲ βεβαιῶν, now He who confirmeth [establisheth]) The Son glorifies the Father, 2 Corinthians 1:19 : whilst [autem, δὲ] the Father in turn glorifies the Son.— βεβαιῶν, confirming) that we may be firm in the faith of Christ. The term sealing corresponds to this word; the one is from Christ and His anointing; the other from the Spirit, as an earnest. That is sealed, which is confirmed as the property of some one, whether it be a property purchased, or a letter, so that it may be certain, to whom it belongs; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:2. A trope(8) abstracts from the persons and things from which it is taken.— ἡμᾶς, us) apostles and teachers.— σὺν ὑμῖν, with you) He speaks modestly of himself.— εἰς χριστὸν καὶ χρίσας, in [into] Christ, and hath anointed) Conjugate words. From the oil here, we derive strength, and a good savour, 2 Corinthians 2:15. All things tend to the yea; εἰς χριστὸν, in faith in [towards] Christ.


Verse 22

2 Corinthians 1:22. ἀῤῥαβῶνα, earnest) ch. 2 Corinthians 5:5. ἀῤῥαβὼν, Genesis 38:17-18, is used for a pledge, which is given up at the payment of a debt; but elsewhere for earnest money, which is given beforehand, that an assurance may be afforded as to the subsequent full performance of the bargain. Hesychius, ἀῤῥαβὼν, πεόδομα. For the earnest, says Isid. Hispal., is to be completed [by paying the balance in full] not to be taken away: whence he who has an earnest does not restore it as a pledge, but requires the completion of the payment. Such an earnest is the Spirit Himself, Ephesians 1:14 : whence also we are said to have the first fruits of the Spirit, Romans 8:23. See Rittershusii, lib. 7, sacr. lect. c. 19.


Verse 23

2 Corinthians 1:23. ἐγὼ δὲ, but I) The particle but forms an antithesis: I was minded to come, but I have not yet come.— τὸν θεὸν, God) the omniscient.— ἐπικαλοῦμαι, I call upon) The apostle makes oath.— ἐπὶ, upon) a weighty expression.— ψυχὴν, soul) in which I am conscious of all that passes within myself, and which I would not wish to be destroyed.— φειδόμενος, sparing) a term of large meaning; therefore it is presently after explained: He is able to spare, who has dominion; he also spares, who causes joy rather than sorrow. It confirms this force of the [in his] explanation, in that he says, not for that(9) we have dominion: not, seeing that we have not [i.e. because we have not] dominion.— εἰς κόρινθον, to Corinth) This is elegantly used for to you, in using words showing his power. If face to face with them, he would have had to act with greater sternness:(10) for his presence would have been more severe. Comp. Exodus 33:3; Hosea 11:9. Therefore the apostle had sent Titus before him.


Verse 24

2 Corinthians 1:24. κυριεύομεν, we have dominion) It would have been a serious matter for the apostle to have used even his lawful authority; and therefore he calls it to have [exercise] dominion; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:17, note, respecting such a mode of speaking.— τῆς πίστεως, over the faith) The faithful are free men.— συνεργοὶ, fellow-workers) not lords.— χαρᾶς, of joy) which flows from faith, Philippians 1:25. The antithesis sorrow, 2 Corinthians 2:1-2.— τῇ πίστει, by faith) Romans 11:20.— ἑστήκατε, ye stand) Ye have not fallen, although there was danger of it.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/2-corinthians-1.html. 1897.

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