2 Corinthians 1:15-20
15. And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
15. Et hac fiducia volui primum ad vos venire, ut secundam 1 gratiam haberetis, et per vos transire in Macedoniam:
16. And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea.
16. Et rursum e Macedonia venire ad vos, et a vobis deduci in Iudaeam.
17. When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay?
17. Hoc igitur quum animo propositum haberem, nuncubi levitate usus sum? aut quae cogito, secundum carnem cogito? ut sit apud me Etiam, etiam: et Non, non.
18. But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
18. Fidelis Deus, quod sermo noster apud vos non fuit Etiam et non.
19. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
19. Dei enim Filius Iesus Christus in vobis per nos praedicatus, per me, et Silvanum, et Timotheum, non fuit Etiam et non: sed Etiam fuit in ipso.
20. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
20. Quaecunque enim sunt Dei promissiones, in illo sunt Etiam: quare et per ipsum sit Amen Deo ad gloriam per nos.
The expression, it is true,
Let your yea be yea, and your nay nay, lest ye fall into dissimulation.
Farther, the context would in this way suit exceedingly well as to what goes before. For to
I have, therefore, no doubt, that in these words Paul designed to reprove fickleness, although they may seem to be susceptible of another meaning, for the purpose of clearing himself from that calumny -- that he was accustomed to promise in words what he failed to perform in deeds. 4 Thus the reiterating of the affirmation and negation will not have the same meaning as in Matthew 5:37 and in James, but will bear this meaning -- "that
But observe, with what zeal he applies himself to this. For he calls God to witness, how simple and pure his preaching was -- not ambiguous, not variable, not temporizing. In his oath, too, he connects the truth of God with the truth of his doctrine. "The truth of my preaching is as sure and stable as God is faithful and true." Nor is this to be wondered at, for the word of God, which Isaiah says endureth for ever, (Isaiah 40:8,) is no other than what prophets and apostles published to the world, as Peter explains it. (1 Peter 1:25.) Hence, too, his confidence 8 in denouncing a curse upon angels, if they dared to bring another gospel, one that was at variance with his. (Galatians 1:8.) Who would dare to make the angels of heaven subject to his doctrine, if he had not God as his authority and defense? With such an assurance of a good conscience does it become ministers 9 to be endowed, who mount the pulpit to speak the word in Christ's name -- so as to feel assured that their doctrine can no more be overthrown than God himself.
In these words, however, he intimates that his whole doctrine was summed up in a simple acquaintance with Christ alone, as in reality the whole of the gospel is included in it. Hence those go beyond due limits, who teach anything else than Christ alone, with whatever show of wisdom they may otherwise be puffed up. For as he is the end of the law, (Romans 10:4,) so he is the head -- the sum -- in fine, the consummation -- of all spiritual doctrine.
In the second place, he intimates that his doctrine respecting Christ had not been variable, or ambiguous, so as to present him from time to time in a new shape after the manner of Proteus; 13 as some persons make it their sport to make changes upon him, 14 just as if they were tossing a ball to and fro with their hand, simply for the purpose of displaying their dexterity. Others, with a view to procure the favor of men, present him under various forms, while there is still another class, that inculcate one day what on the next they retract through fear. Such was not Paul's Christ, nor can that of any true apostle 15 be such. Those, accordingly, have no ground to boast that they are ministers of Christ, who paint him in various colors with a view to their own advantage. For he alone is the true Christ, in whom there appears that uniform and unvarying
The promises, I say, are testimonies of Divine grace: for although God shows kindness even to the unworthy, (Luke 6:35,) yet when promises are given in addition to his acts of kindness, there is a special reason -- that in them he declares himself to be a Father. Secondly, we are not qualified for enjoying the promises of God, unless we have received the remission of our sins, which we obtain through Christ. Thirdly, the promise, by which God adopts us to himself as his sons, holds the first place among them all. Now the cause and root of adoption is Christ; because God is not a Father to any that are not members and brethren of his only-begotten Son. Everything, however, flows out from this source -- that, while we are without Christ, we are hated by God rather than favorably regarded, while at the same time God promises us everything that he does promise, because he loves us. Hence it is not to be wondered if Paul here teaches, that all the promises of God are ratified and confirmed in Christ.
It is asked, however, whether they were feeble or powerless, previously to Christ's advent; for Paul seems to speak here of Christ as manifested in the flesh. (1 Timothy 3:16.) I answer, that all the promises that were given to believers from the beginning of the world were founded upon Christ. Hence Moses and the Prophets, in every instance in which they treat of reconciliation with God, of the hope of salvation, or of any other favor, make mention of him, and discourse at the same time respecting his coming and his kingdom. I say again, that the promises under the Old Testament were fulfilled to the pious, in so far as was advantageous for their welfare; and yet it is not less true, that they were in a manner suspended until the advent of Christ, through whom they obtained their true accomplishment. And in truth, believers themselves rested upon the promises in such a way, as at the same time to refer the true accomplishment of them to the appearing of the Mediator, and suspended their hope until that time. In fine, if any one considers what is the fruit of Christ's death and resurrection, he will easily gather from this, in what respect the promises of God have been sealed and ratified in him, which would otherwise have had no sure accomplishment.
The other reading, I confess, is the more common one, but as it is somewhat meagre, I have not hesitated to prefer the one that contains the fuller meaning, and, besides, is much better suited to the context. For Paul reminds the Corinthians of their duty -- to utter their Amen in return, after having been instructed in the simple truth of God. If, however, any one is reluctant to depart from the other reading, there must, in any case, be an exhortation deduced from it 20 to a mutual agreement in doctrine and faith.
1 "Seconde, ou double;" -- "Second, or double."
2 "Most modern Commentators explain the
3 "Que nos deliberations et conseils soyent comme oracles et reuelations Diuines;" -- "That our purposes and plans shall be like oracles and Divine revelations."
4 "He (the apostle) anticipates and repels a reproach of
5 The rendering of the Vulgate is as follows: "Ut sit apud me est et non;" -- "That with me there should be yea and nay." This reading --
6 "It was a proverbial manner among the Jews (see Wet.) of characterizing a man of strict probity and good faith, by saying, 'his yes is yes, and his no is no' -- that is, you may depend upon his word; as he declares, so it is; and as he promises, so he will do. Our Lord is therefore to be considered here (Matthew 5:37) not as prescribing the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny; in which case it would have suited better the simplicity of his style to say barely
7 "N'a point dit l'vn, puis l'autre;" -- "Does not say one thing and then another."
8 "De là vient aussi que S. Paul est bien si hardi;" -- "Hence, too, it comes that St. Paul is so very bold."
9 "Et annonciateurs de la parolle de Dieu;" -- "And heralds of the word of God."
10 "Il dit donc que sa parolle n'a point este oui et non, c'est à dire variable; pource que sa predication," etc.; -- "He says, then, that his word had not been yea and nay, that is to say, variable; because his preaching," etc.
11 "Et mensonges;" -- "And fallacies."
12 "Des calomniateurs et mesdisans;" -- "By calumniators and slanderers."
13 "En sorte qu'il l'ait transfiguré, maintenant en vne sorte, tantost en vne autre, comme les Poëtes disent que Proteus se transformoit en diuerses sortes;" -- "So as to present him in different shapes, now in one form, then in another, as the poets say that Proteus transformed himself into different shapes." The following poets (among others) make mention of the "shape -- changing" Proteus: -- Virgil, (Georg. 4:387); Ovid, (Met. 8:730); Horace, (Sat. 2:3, 71, Ep. I. 1:90.) See Calvin on John, vol. 2. p. 256, n. 1. -- Ed.
14 "En toutes manieres;" -- "In every way."
15 "Celui de tous vrais et fideles ministres;" -- "That of all true and faithful ministers."
16 "Le fondement et la fermete;" -- "The foundation and security."
17 "Que celuy en qui toutes les promesses de Dieu sont establies et ratifices, fust comme vn homme chancelant et inconstant;" -- "That he, in whom all the promises of God are established and ratified, should be like a man that is wavering and unsteady."
18 "Il a presché le vray et pur Evangile, et sans y auoir lien adiousté qu'il ait corrompu ou falsifié;" -- "He preached the true and pure gospel, and without having added to it anything that had corrupted or adulterated it."
19 "The most ancient MSS. and versions read the verse thus: --
20 "Qu'il scache tousiours qu'il en faut tirer vne exhortation;" -- "Let him always know this -- that we must deduce from it an exhortation."