« Prev Chapter 1 Next »

Chapter 1

1:1 And Timothy [kai Timotheos]. Timothy is with Paul, having been sent on to Macedonia from Ephesus (Ac 19:22). He is in no sense co-author any more than Sosthenes was in 1Co 1:1. In all Achaia [en holēi tēi Achaiāi]. The Romans divided Greece into two provinces (Achaia and Macedonia). Macedonia included also Illyricum, Epirus, and Thessaly. Achaia was all of Greece south of this (both Attica and the Peloponnesus). The restored Corinth was made the capital of Achaia where the pro-consul resided (Ac 18:12). He does not mention other churches in Achaia outside of the one in Corinth, but only “saints” [hagiois]. Athens was in Achaia, but it is not clear that there was as yet a church there, though some converts had been won (Ac 17:34), and there was a church in Cenchreae, the eastern port of Corinth (Ro 16:1). Paul in 2Co 9:2 speaks of Achaia and Macedonia together. His language here would seem to cover the whole [holēi], all) of Achaia in his scope and not merely the environment around Corinth.

1:2 Identical with 1Co 1:3 which see.

1:3 Blessed [eulogētos]. From old verb [eulogeō], to speak well of, but late verbal in LXX and Philo. Used of men in Ge 24:31, but only of God in N.T. as in Lu 1:68 and chiefly in Paul (2Co 11:31; Ro 1:25). Paul has no thanksgiving or prayer as in 1Co 1:4-9, but he finds his basis for gratitude in God, not in them. The God and Father [ho theos kai patēr]. So rightly, only one article with both substantives as in 2Pe 1:1. Paul gives the deity of Jesus Christ as our Lord [Kuriou], but he does not hesitate to use the language here as it occurs. See 1Pe 1:3; Eph 1:3 where the language is identical with that here. The father of mercies [ho patēr tōn oiktirmōn] and God of all comfort [kai theos pasēs paraklēseōs]. Paul adds an item to each word. He is the compassionate Father characterized by mercies [oiktirmōn], old word from [oikteirō], to pity, and here in plural, emotions and acts of pity). He is the God of all comfort [paraklēseōs], old word from [parakaleō], to call to one’s side, common with Paul). Paul has already used it of God who gave eternal comfort (2Th 2:16). The English word comfort is from the Latin confortis (brave together). The word used by Jesus of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter or Paraklete is this very word (Joh 14:16; 16:7). Paul makes rich use of the verb [parakaleō] and the substantive [paraklēsis] in this passage (3-7). He urges all sorrowing and troubled hearts to find strength in God.

1:4 In all our affliction [epi pasēi tēi thlipsei hēmōn]. [Thlipsis] is from [thlibō], to press, old and common word, as tribulation is from Latin tribulum (roller). See on Mt 13:21 and 1Th 1:6. The English affliction is Latin afflictio from ad-fligere, to strike on. That we may be able to comfort [eis to dunasthai hēmas parakalein]. Purpose clause with [eis] and the articular infinitive with the accusative of general reference, a common idiom. Paul here gives the purpose of affliction in the preacher’s life, in any Christian’s life, to qualify him for ministry to others. Otherwise it will be professional and perfunctory. Wherewith [hēs]. Genitive case of the relative attracted to that of the antecedent [paraklēseōs]. The case of the relative here could have been either the accusative [hēn] with the passive verb retained as in Mr 10:38 or the instrumental [hēi]. Either is perfectly good Greek (cf. Eph 1:6; 4:1). Personal experience of God’s comfort is necessary before we can pass it on to others.

1:5 The sufferings of Christ [ta pathēmata tou Christou]. Subjective genitive, Christ’s own sufferings. Abound unto us [perisseuei eis hēmas]. Overflow unto us so that we suffer like sufferings and become fellow sufferers with Christ (4:10f.; Ro 8:17; Php 3:10; Col 1:24). Through Christ [dia tou Christou]. The overflow [perisseuei] of comfort comes also through Christ. Is Paul thinking of how some of the Jewish Christians in Corinth have become reconciled with him through Christ? Partnership with Christ in suffering brings partnership in glory also (Ro 8:17; 1Pe 4:13).

1:6 Whether [eite] —or [eite]. The alternatives in Paul’s experience (afflicted [thlibometha], comforted [parakaloumetha] work out for their good when they are called on to endure like sufferings “which we also suffer” [hōn kai hēmeis paschomen]. The relative [hōn] is attracted from neuter accusative plural [ha] to genitive case of the antecedent [pathēmatōn] (sufferings).

1:7 Our hope for you [hē elpis hēmōn huper humōn]. The old word [elpis], from [elpizō], to hope, has the idea of waiting with expectation and patience. So here it is “steadfast” [bebaia], stable, fast, from [bainō], to plant the feet down). Partakers [koinōnoi]. Partners as in Lu 5:10.

1:8 Concerning our affliction [huper tēs thlipseōs hēmōn]. Manuscripts read also [peri] for in the Koinē [huper] (over) often has the idea of [peri] (around). Paul has laid down his philosophy of afflictions and now he cites a specific illustration in his own recent experience. In Asia [en Asiāi]. Probably in Ephesus, but what it was we do not know whether sickness or peril. We do know that the disciples and the Asiarchs would not allow Paul to face the mob in the amphitheatre gathered by Demetrius (Ac 20:30f.). In Ro 16:4 Paul says that Prisca and Aquila laid down their necks for him, risked their very lives for him. It may have been a later plot to kill Paul that hastened his departure from Ephesus (Ac 20:1). He had a trial so great that “we were weighed down exceedingly beyond our power” [kath’ huperbolēn huper dunamin ebarēthēmen]. Old verb from [baros], weight, [barus], weighty. First aorist passive indicative. See on 1Co 12:31 for [kath’ huperbolēn] (cf. our hyperbole). It was beyond Paul’s power to endure if left to himself. Insomuch that we despaired even of life [hōste exaporēthēnai hēmas kai tou zēin]. Usual clause of result with [hōste] and the infinitive. First aorist passive infinitive [exaporēthēnai], late compound for utter despair (perfective use of [ex] and at a complete loss, [a] privative and [poros], way). There seemed no way out. Of life [tou zēin]. Ablative case of the articular infinitive, of living.

1:9 Yea [alla]. Confirmatory use as in 7:11, rather than adversative. The answer of death [to apokrima tou thanatou] This late word from [apokrinomai], to reply, occurs nowhere else in N.T., but is in Josephus, Polybius, inscriptions and papyri (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 257; Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary), and always in the sense of decision or judgment rendered. But Vulgate renders it by responsum and that idea suits best here, unless Paul conceives God as rendering the decision of death. We ourselves have had within ourselves [autoi en heautois eschēkamen]. Regular perfect of [echō], to have. And still have the vivid recollection of that experience. For this lively dramatic use of the present perfect indicative for a past experience see also [eschēka] in 2:13 (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 143f.; Robertson, Grammar, p. 896f.). That we should not trust in ourselves [hina mē pepoithotes ōmen eph’ heautois]. A further purpose of God in affliction beyond that in verse 4. “This dreadful trial was sent to him in order to give him a precious spiritual lesson (12:7-10)” (Robertson and Plummer). Note periphrastic perfect active subjunctive of [peithō], to persuade. In [epi], upon, both ourselves and God.

1:10 Out of so great a death [ek tēlikoutou thanatou]. He had considered himself as good as dead. Delivered [erusato] —will deliver [rusetai]. Old verb [ruō], middle, [ruomai], draw oneself, as out of a pit, rescue. So Paul faces death without fear. On whom we have set our hope [eis hon ēlpikamen]. Perfect active indicative of [elpizō]. We still have that hope, emphasized by [eti rusetai] (he will still deliver).

1:11 Ye also helping together on our behalf [sunupourgountōn kai humōn huper hēmōn]. Genitive absolute with present active participle of late compound verb [sun] and [hupourgeō] for [hupo] and [ergon]. Paul relied on God and felt the need of the prayer of God’s people. By means of many [ek pollōn prosōpōn]. [Prosōpon] means face [pros, ops]. The word is common in all Greek. The papyri use it for face, appearance, person. It occurs twelve times in II Corinthians. It certainly means face in eight of them (3:7, 13, 18; 8:24; 10:1, 7; 11:20). In 5:12 it means outward appearance. It may mean face or person here, 2:10; 4:6. It is more pictorial to take it here as face “that out of many upturned faces” thanks may be given [hina—eucharistēthēi] first aorist passive subjunctive) for the gift to us by means of many [dia pollon]. It is indeed a difficult sentence to understand.

1:12 Glorying [kauchēsis]. Act of glorying, while in verse 14 [kauchēma] is the thing boasted of. The testimony of our conscience [to marturion tēs suneidēseōs hēmōn]. In apposition with [kauchēsis]. Sincerity of God [eilikrineiāi tou theou]. Like [dikaiosunē theou] (Ro 1:17; 3:21), the God-kind of righteousness. So the God-kind (genitive case) of sincerity. Late word from [eilikrinēs]. See on 1Co 5:8. Not in fleshly wisdom [ouk en sophiāi sarkikēi]. See on 1Co 1:17; 2:4, 13f. Paul uses [sarkikos] five times and it occurs only twice elsewhere in N.T. See on 1Co 3:3. We behaved ourselves [anestraphēmen]. Second aorist passive indicative of [anastrephō], old verb, to turn back, to turn back and forth, to walk. Here the passive is used as in late Greek as if middle. More abundantly to you-ward [perissoterōs pros humas]. They had more abundant opportunity to observe how scrupulous Paul was (Ac 18:11).

1:13 Than what ye read [all’ ē ha anaginōskete]. Note comparative conjunction [ē] (than) after [all’] and that after [alla] (other things, same word in reality), “other than.” Read in Greek [anaginōskō] is knowing again, recognizing. See on Ac 8:30. Or even acknowledge [ē kai epiginōskete]. Paul is fond of such a play on words [anaginōskete, epiginōskete] or paronomasia. Does he mean “read between the lines,” as we say, by the use of [epi] (additional knowledge)? Unto the end [heōs telous]. The report of Titus showed that the majority now at last understood Paul. He hopes that it will last (1Co 1:8).

1:14 As also ye did acknowledge us in part [kathōs kai epegnōte hēmas apo merous]. Gracious acknowledgment (second aorist active indicative of [epignōskō] to the original Pauline party (1Co 1:12; 3:4) that he had seemed to care so little for them. And now in his hour of victory he shows that, if he is their ground of glorying, they are his also (cf. 1Th 2:19f.; Php 2:16).

1:15 Confidence [pepoithēsei]. This late word (LXX Philo, Josephus) is condemned by the Atticists, but Paul uses it a half dozen times (3:4 also). I was minded to come [eboulomēn elthein]. Imperfect, I was wishing to come, picturing his former state of mind. Before unto you [proteron pros humas]. This was his former plan [proteron] while in Ephesus to go to Achaia directly from Ephesus. This he confesses in verse 16 “and by you to pass into Macedonia.” That ye might have a second benefit [hina deuteran charin schēte]. Or second “joy” if we accept [charan] with Westcott and Hort. This would be a real second blessing (or joy) if they should have two visits from Paul.

1:16 And again [kai palin]. This would have been the second benefit or joy. But he changed his plans and did not make that trip directly to Corinth, but came on to Macedonia first (Ac 19:21; 20:1f.; 1Co 16:2; 2Co 2:12). To be set forward by you [huph’ humōn propemphthēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [propempō]. Paul uses this same verb in Ro 15:24 for the same service by the Roman Christians on his proposed trip to Spain. The Corinthians, especially the anti-Pauline party, took advantage of Paul’s change of plans to criticize him sharply for vacillation and flippancy. How easy it is to find fault with the preacher! So Paul has to explain his conduct.

1:17 Did I shew fickleness? [mēti ara tēi elaphriāi?]. An indignant negative answer is called for by [mēti]. The instrumental case of [elaphriāi] is regular after [echrēsamēn] from [chraomai], to use. [Elaphria] is a late word for levity from the old adjective, [elaphros], light, agile (2Co 10:17; Mt 11:30). Here only in N.T. Purpose [bouleuomai]. Paul raises the question of fickleness about any of his plans. Yea yea [Nai nai] —nay nay [ou ou]. See a similar repetition in Mt 5:37. It is plain in Jas 5:12 where “the yea” is “yea” and “the nay” is “nay.” That seems to be Paul’s meaning here, “that the Yea may be yea and the Nay may be nay.”

1:18 Is not yea and nay [ouk estin nai kai ou]. He is not a Yes and No man, saying Yes and meaning or acting No. Paul calls God to witness on this point.

1:19 Was not Yea and Nay [ouk egeneto nai kai ou]. “Did not become Yes and No.” But in him is yea [alla Nai en autōi gegonen]. Rather, “But in him Yes has become yes,” has proved true. So Paul appeals to the life of Christ to sustain his own veracity.

1:20 In him is the yea [en autōi to Nai]. Supply [gegonen] from the preceding sentence, “In him was the Yea come true.” This applies to all God’s promises. The Amen [to Amēn]. In public worship (1Co 14:16).

1:21 Establishes [bebaiōn]. Present active participle from [bebaios], firm. An apt metaphor in Corinth where confirmation of a bargain often took place [bebaiōsis] as Deissmann shows (Bible Studies, p. 109) and as verse 22 makes plain. Anointed [chrisas]. From [chriō], to anoint, old verb, to consecrate, with the Holy Spirit here as in 1Jo 2:20.

1:22 Sealed us [sphragisamenos hēmas]. From [sphragizō] old verb, common in LXX and papyri for setting a seal to prevent opening (Da 6:17), in place of signature (1Ki 21:18). Papyri examples show a wide legal use to give validity to documents, to guarantee genuineness of articles as sealing sacks and chests, etc. (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 238; Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary). The earnest of the Spirit [ton arrabōna tou pneumatos]. A word of Semitic origin (possibly Phoenician) and spelled both [arabōn] and [arrabōn]. It is common in the papyri as earnest money in a purchase for a cow or for a wife (a dowry). In N.T. only here; 5:5; Eph 1:14. It is part payment on the total obligation and we use the very expression today, “earnest money.” It is God, says Paul, who has done all this for us and God is Paul’s pledge that he is sincere. He will come to Corinth in due time. This earnest of the Spirit in our hearts is the witness of the Spirit that we are God’s.

1:23 But I call God for a witness upon my soul [Egō de martura ton theon epikaloumai epi tēn emēn psuchēn]. Solemn attestation, “calling heaven to witness is frequent in literature from Homer onwards” (Plummer). Thus God is described above (cf. 1Th 2:5,10; Ro 1:9; Ga 1:20; Php 1:8). To spare you [pheidomenos humōn]. Present middle participle (causal rather than final) of [pheidomai], old verb, to hold back, to spare. Ablative case [humōn].

1:24 We have lordship over [kurieuomen]. Old verb from [kurios], to be lord of or over. See Lu 22:25. Helpers of your joy [sunergoi tēs charas humōn]. Co-workers (1Co 3:8) in your joy. A delicate correction to present misapprehension [epanorthōsis].

« Prev Chapter 1 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection