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2 Corinthians 1:1-5

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:

1. Paulus Apostolus Iesu Christi per voluntatem Dei, et Timotheus frater, Ecclesiae Dei quae est Corinthi, cum sanctis omnibus qui sunt in tota Achaia:

2. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre nostro, et Domino Iesu Christo.

3. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

3. Benedictus Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, Pater misericordiarum, et Deus omnis consolationis,

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.

4. Qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra, ut possimus consolari eos qui in omni tribulatione sunt, per consolationem qua consolatur nos Deus.

5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

5. Quia sicuti abundant passiones Christi in nos: ita per Christum abundat etiam consolatio nostra.

 

1. Paul an Apostle As to the reasons why he designates himself an Apostle of Christ, and adds that he has obtained this honor by the will of God, see the foregoing Epistle, where it has been observed that none are to be listened to but those, who have been sent by God, and speak from his mouth, and that, consequently, to secure authority for any one, two things are required — a call, and fidelity on the part of the person who is called, in the execution of his office. 214214     See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 48. Both of these Paul claims for himself. The false apostles, it is true, do the same; but then, by usurping a title that does not belong to them, they gain nothing among the sons of God, who can with the utmost ease convict them of impertinence. Hence the mere name is not enough, if there be not the reality along with it, so that he who gives himself out as an Apostle must also show himself to be such by his work.

To the Church of God We must always keep it in view, his recognising a Church to exist, where there was such a conflux of evils. For the faults of individuals do not prevent a society that has genuine marks of religion 215215     See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, pp. 51, 52. from being recognised as a Church. 216216     “A true child of God may have sad falls, as we see in Peter and David, yet for all this not be quite excluded out of the covenant of grace: they did not lose their sonship, even in those sad transgressions, and will God be more severe to a whole Church than to one person?” — Burgesse on 2 Corinthians 1. (Lond. 1661) — Ed. But what does he mean by the expression — with all saints? Were those saints unconnected with the Church? I answer, that this phrase refers to believers, who were dispersed hither and thither, throughout various corners of the province — it being likely, that in that greatly disturbed period, when the enemies of Christ were everywhere venting their rage, many were scattered abroad, who could not conveniently hold sacred assemblies.

3 Blessed be God He begins (as has been observed) with this thanksgiving — partly for the purpose of extolling the goodness of God — partly, with the view of animating the Corinthians by his example to the resolute endurance of persecutions; and partly, that he may magnify himself in a strain of pious glorying, in opposition to the malignant slanderings of the false apostles. For such is the depravity of the world, that it treats with derision martyrdoms, 217217     “Des martyres et afflictions des fideles;” — “The martyrdoms and afflictions of believers.” which it ought to have held in admiration, and endeavours to find matter of reproach in the splendid trophies of the pious. 218218     “Cherche matiere de mespris et diffamation aux enseignes magnifiques de victoire, lesquelles Dieu dresse à ses enfans;” — “Seeks matter of contempt and defamation in those splendid tokens of victory, which God furnishes to His children.” Blessed be God, says he. On what account? who comforteth us 219219     “Who is comforting (ὁ παρακαλῶν) — that doth never cease to do it, that never withdraweth his consolations. It is his nature to be always comforting — as the devil is called ὁ πειραζων, because he is always tempting.” — Burgesse on 2 Corinthians p. 157 — Ed. — the relative being used instead of the causal particle. 220220     “Ce mot, Qui, est mis pour Car, ou, Pource que;” — “This word, Who, being used instead of For, or, Because.” He had endured his tribulations with fortitude and alacrity: this fortitude he ascribes to God, because it was owing to support derived from his consolation that he had not fainted.

He calls him the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not without good reason, where blessings are treated of; for where Christ is not, there the beneficence of God is not. On the other hand, where Christ intervenes,

by whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
(Ephesians 3:15,)

there are all mercies and all consolations of God — nay, more, there is fatherly love, the fountain from which everything else flows.

4. That we may be able to comfort There can be no doubt, that, as he had a little before cleared his afflictions from reproach and unfavorable reports, so now he instructs the Corinthians, that his having come off victorious through heavenly consolation was for their sake and with a view to their advantage, that they may stir themselves up to fellowship in suffering, instead of haughtily despising his conflicts. As, however, the Apostle lived not for himself but for the Church, so he reckoned, that whatever favors God conferred upon him, were not given for his own sake merely, 221221     “Pour son proufit particulier;” — “For his own private advantage.” but in order that he might have more in his power for helping others. And, unquestionably, when the Lord confers upon us any favor, he in a manner invites us by his example to be generous to our neighbours. The riches of the Spirit, therefore, are not to be kept by us to ourselves, but every one must communicate to others what he has received. This, it is true, must be considered as being applicable chiefly to ministers of the Word. 222222     “It is not enough for the ministers of the gospel to have devoured many books of learning, to be able to decide polemical questions in divinity, to convince gainsayers, to be doctors angelical, subtle or profound; to be mallei hereticorumthe hammer of heretics. Unless also they have the experimental works of God’s Spirit upon their own souls, they are not able to apply themselves to the hearts of others. Paul had not been able to comfort others, if the Lord had not practically acquainted him with heavenly consolations.” — Burgesse on 2 Corinthians 1, p. 178 — Ed. It is, however, common to all, according to the measure of each. Thus Paul here acknowledges, that he had been sustained by the consolation of God, that he might be able himself to comfort others

5. For as the sufferings of Christ aboundThis statement may be explained in two ways — actively and passively. If you take it actively, the meaning will be this: “The more I am tried with various afflictions, so much the more resources have I for comforting others.” I am, however, more inclined to take it in a passive sense, as meaning that God multiplied his consolations according to the measure of his tribulations. David also acknowledges that it had been thus with him:

According to the multitude, says he, of my anxieties within me,
thy consolations have delighted my soul. (Psalm 94:19.)

In Paul’s words, however, there is a fuller statement of doctrine; for the afflictions of the pious he calls the sufferings of Christ, as he says elsewhere,

that he fills up in his body what is wanting in the
sufferings of Christ. (Colossians 1:24.)

The miseries and vexations, it is true, of the present life are common to good and bad alike, but when they befall the wicked, they are tokens of the curse of God, because they arise from sin, and nothing appears in them except the anger of God and participation with Adam, which cannot but depress the mind. But in the mean time believers are conformed to Christ, and

bear about with them in their body his dying, that the life of Christ may one day be manifested in them. (2 Corinthians 4:10.)

I speak of the afflictions which they endure for the testimony of Christ, (Revelation 1:9,) for although the Lord’s chastisements, with which he chastises their sins, are beneficial to them, they are, nevertheless, not partakers, properly speaking, of Christ’s sufferings, except in those cases in which they suffer on his account, as we find in 1 Peter 4:13. Paul’s meaning then is, that God is always present with him in his tribulations, and that his infirmity is sustained by the consolations of Christ, so as to prevent him from being overwhelmed with calamities.


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