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Introduction to 2nd Corinthians Chapter 2

IN this chapter Paul continues the discussion of the subject which had been introduced in the previous chapter. At the close of that chapter, he had stated the reasons why he had not visited the church at Corinth. See Barnes "2 Co 1:23, See Barnes "2 Co 1:24".

The main reason was that instead of coming to them in that disordered and irregular state, he had preferred to send them an affectionate letter. Had he come to them personally, he would have felt himself called on to exercise the severity of discipline. He chose, therefore, to try what the effect would be of a faithful and kind epistle. In this chapter, he prosecutes the same subject. He states, therefore, more at length the reason why he had not come to them, 2 Co 2:1-5. The reason was, that he resolved not to come to them, if he could avoid it, with severity; that his heart was pained even with the necessity of sending such a letter; that he wrote it with much anguish of spirit; yet that he cherished towards them the most tender love. In his former epistle (1 Co 5) he had directed them to exercise discipline on the offending person in the church. This had been done according to his direction; and the offender had been suitably punished for his offence. He had been excommunicated; and it would seem that the effect on him had been to induce him to forsake his sin, and probably to put away his father's wife, and he had become a sincere penitent. Paul, therefore, in the next place, (2 Co 2:6-11,) exhorts them to receive him again into fellowship with the church. The punishment he says had been sufficient, (2 Co 2:6;) they ought now to be kind and forgiving to him, lest he should be overwhelmed with his sorrow, (2 Co 2:7) he says that he had forgiven him, so far as he was concerned, and he entreated them to do the same, (2 Co 2:10;) and says that they ought, by all means, to pursue such a course that Satan could' get no advantage of them, 2 Co 2:11. Paul then states the disappointment which he had had at Troas in not seeing Titus, from whom he had expected to learn what was the state of the church at Corinth, and what was the reception of his letter there; but that not seeing him there, he had gone on to Macedonia, 2 Co 2:12,13. There, it would seem, he met Titus, and learned that his letter had had all the success which he could have desired. It had been kindly received; and all that he had wished in regard to discipline had been performed, 2 Co 2:14. The hearing of this success gives him occasion to thank God for it, as one among many instances in which his efforts to advance his cause had crowned with success. God had made him everywhere successful; and had made him triumph in Christ in every place. This fact gives him occasion 2 Co 2:15,16 to state the general effect of his preaching and his labours. His efforts, he says, were always acceptable to God—though he could not be ignorant that in some cases the gospel which he preached was the occasion of the aggravated condemnation of those who heard and rejected it. Yet he had the consolation of reflecting that it was by no fault of his, 2 Co 2:17. It was not because he had corrupted the word of God; it was not because he was unfaithful; it was not because he was not sincere. He had a good conscience— a conscience which assured him that he spoke in sincerity, and as in the sight of God—though the unhappy effect might be that many would perish from under his ministry.

Verse 1. But I determined this with myself. I made up my mind on this point; I formed this resolution in regard to my course.

That I would not come again to you in heaviness. In grief, (en luph) would not come, if I could avoid it, in circumstances which must have grieved both me and you. I would not come while there existed among you such irregularities as must have pained my heart, and as must have compelled me to resort to such acts of discipline as would be painful to you. I resolved, therefore, to endeavour to remove these evils before I came, that when I did come, my visit might be mutually agreeable to us both. For that reason I changed my purpose about visiting you, when I heard of those disorders, and resolved to send an epistle. If that should be successful, then the way would be open for an agreeable visit to you." This verse, therefore, contains the statement of the principal reason why he had not come to them as he had at first proposed. It was really from no fickleness, but it was from love to them, and a desire that his visit should be mutually agreeable. Comp. See Barnes "2 Co 1:23".


{a} "heaviness" 2 Co 1:23; 12:20,21; 13:10

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