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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Now thanks be unto God, etc. There seem to have been several sources of Paul's joy on this occasion. The principal was his constant and uniform success in endeavouring to advance the interests of the kingdom of the Redeemer. But in particular he rejoiced,

(1.) because Titus had come to him there, and had removed his distress, compare 2 Co 2:13;

(2.) because he learned from him that his efforts in regard to the church at Corinth had been successful, and that they had hearkened to his counsels in his first letter; and,

(3.) because he was favoured with signal success in Macedonia. His being compelled, therefore, to remove from Tress and to go to Macedonia had been to him ultimately the cause of great joy and consolation. These instances of success Paul regarded as occasions of gratitude to God.

Which always causeth us. Whatever may be our efforts, and wherever we are. Whether it is in endeavouring to remove the errors and evils existing in a particular church,, or whether it be in preaching the gospel in places where it has been unknown, still success crowns our efforts, and we have the constant evidence of Divine approbation. This was Paul's consolation in the midst of his many trials; and it proves that, whatever may be the external circumstances of a minister, whether poverty, want, persecution, or distress, he will have abundant occasion to give thanks to God if his efforts as a minister are crowned with success.

To triumph in Christ. To triumph through the aid of Christ, or in promoting the cause of Christ. Paul had no joy which was not connected with Christ, and he had no success which he did not trace to him. The word which is here rendered triumph (yriambeuonti), from yriambeuw occurs in no other place in the New Testament, except in Col 2:15. It is there rendered "triumphing over them in it," that is, triumphing over the principalities and powers which he had spoiled, or plundered; and it there means that Christ led them in triumph after the manner of a conqueror. The word is here used in a causative sense—the sense of the Hebrew Hiphil conjugation. It properly refers to a triumph; or a triumphal procession. Originally the word yriambov meant a hymn which was sung in honour of Bacchus; then the tumultuous and noisy procession which constituted the worship of the god of wine; and then any procession of a similar kind.—Passow. It was particularly applied, among both the Greeks and the Romans, to a public and solemn honour conferred on a victorious general on a return from a successful war, in which he was allowed a magnificent entrance into the capital. In these triumphs, the victorious commander was usually preceded or attended by the spoils of war; by the most valuable and magnificent articles which he had captured; and by the princes, nobles, generals, or people whom he had subdued. The victor was drawn in a magnificent chariot, usually by two white horses. Other animals were sometimes used. "When Pompey triumphed over Africa, his chariot was drawn by elephants; that of Mark Antony by lions; that of Heliogabalus by tigers; and that of Aurelius by deer."—. Clark. The people of Corinth were not unacquainted with the nature of a triumph. About one hundred and forty-seven years before Christ, Lucius Mummius, the Roman consul, had conquered all Achaia, and had destroyed Corinth, Thebes, and Colchis, and by order of the Roman senate was favoured with a triumph, and was surnamed Achaicus. Tindal renders this place, "Thanks be unto God, which always giveth us the victory in Christ." Paul refers here to a victory which he had, and a triumph with which he was favoured by the Redeemer. It was a victory over the enemies of the gospel; it was success in advancing the interests of the kingdom of Christ; and he rejoiced in that victory, and in that success, with more solid and substantial joy than a Roman victor ever felt on returning from his conquests over nations, even when attended with the richest spoils of victory, and by humbled princes and kings in chains, and when the assembled thousands shouted Io triumphe!

And maketh manifest. Makes known; spreads abroad—as a pleasant fragrance is diffused through the air.

The savour. osmhn. The smell; the fragrance. The word in the New Testament is used to denote a pleasant or fragrant odour, as of incense or aromatics, Joh 12:3; Eph 5:2; Php 4:18.

There is an allusion here, doubtless, to the fact that in the triumphal processions fragrant odours were diffused around; flowers, diffusing a grateful smell, were scattered in the way; and on the altars of the gods incense was burned during the procession, and sacrifices offered, and the whole city was filled with the smoke of sacrifices, and with perfumes. So Paul speaks of knowledge—the knowledge of Christ. In his triumphings, the knowledge of the Redeemer was diffused abroad, like the odours which were diffused in the triumphal march of the conqueror. And that odour or savour was acceptable to God—as the fragrance of aromatics and of incense was pleasant in the triumphal procession of the returning victor. The phrase, "makes manifest the savour of his knowledge," therefore means, that the knowledge of Christ was diffused everywhere by Paul, as the grateful smell of aromatics was diffused all around the triumphing warrior and victor. The effect of Paul's conquests everywhere was to diffuse the knowledge of the Saviour—and this was acceptable and pleasant to God— though there might be many who would not avail themselves of it, and would perish. See 2 Co 2:15.

{d} "God, which always" {*} "savour" "odour" {a} "savour of his knowledge" So 1:3

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