a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

2. Paul's Change of Plans

But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. 5But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 12Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 13I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 14Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

17. For we are not. He now contrasts himself more openly with the false apostles, and that by way of amplifying, and at the same time, with the view of excluding them from the praise that he had claimed to himself. “It is on good grounds,” says he, “that I speak in honorable terms of my apostleship, for I am not afraid of being convicted of vanity, if proof is demanded. But many on false grounds arrogate the same thing to themselves, who will be found to have nothing in common with me. For they adulterate the word of the Lord, which I dispense with the greatest faithfulness and sincerity for the edification of the Church.” I do not think it likely, however, that those, who are here reproved, preached openly wicked or false doctrines; but am rather of opinion, that they corrupted the right use of doctrine, for the sake either of gain or of ambition, so as utterly to deprive it of energy. This he terms adulterating. Erasmus prefers to render itcauponarihuckstering 352352     “Erasme l’a traduit par vn autre mot Latin que moy, qui vient d’vn mot qui signifie tauernier;” — “Erasmus has rendered it by a Latin word different from what I have used — derived from a word that signifies a tavern — keeper.” The Greek word καπηλεύειν, is taken from retailers, or tavern-keepers, who are accustomed to adulterate their commodities, that they may fetch a higher price. I do not know whether the word cauponari is used in that sense among the Latins. 353353     Raphelius adduces a passage from Herodotus, (lib. in. page 225,) in which, when speaking of Darius Hystaspes, who first exacted tribute from the Persians, he says that the Persians said, “ὠς Δαρειος μεςν ἠν καςπηλος, ὃτι εκαπελευε παντα τὰ πραςγματα,” — “that Darius was a huckster, for he made gain of everything.” Herodian (lib. 6, cap. 11) uses the expression, “Εἰρήνην χρύιου καπηλευοντες,” — “Making peace for money.” The phrase, Cauponari bellum, is employed in a similar sense by Cicero (Off 1:12) as meaning, “to make war for money.” In Isaiah 1:22, the Septuagint version reads as follows: “Οἱ κάπηλοί σου μισγοῦσι’τον οἰνον ὕδατι;” — “Thy vintners mix the wine with water.” Kaphlo, as Dr. Bloomfield shows by two passages from Plato, properly means a retail-dealer, one who deals at second hand. “The κάπηλοι,” he observes, “were petty chapmen, (and that chiefly in eatables or drinkables,) exactly corresponding to our hucksters.” — Ed.

It is, indeed, certain from the corresponding clause, that Paul intended to express here — corruption of doctrine — not as though they had revolted from the truth, but because they presented it under disguise, and not in its genuine purity. For the doctrine of God is corrupted in two ways. It is corrupted in a direct way, when it is mixed up with falsehood and lies, so as to be no longer the pure and genuine doctrine of God, but is falsely commended under that title. It is corrupted indirectly, when, although retaining its purity, it is turned hither and thither to please men, and is disfigured by unseemly disguises, by way of hunting after favor. Thus there will be found some, in whose doctrine there will be no impiety detected, but as they hunt after the applauses of the world by making a display of their acuteness and eloquence, or are ambitious of some place, or gape for filthy lucre, (1 Timothy 3:8,) or are desirous by some means or other to rise, they, nevertheless, corrupt the doctrine itself by wrongfully abusing it, or making it subservient to their depraved inclinations. I am, therefore, inclined to retain the word adulterate, as it expresses better what ordinarily happens in the case of all that play with the sacred word of God, as with a ball, and transform it according to their own convenience. 354354     The reader will find this class of persons referred to at greater length by Calvin, when commenting on 2 Corinthians 1:19. — Ed. For it must necessarily be, that they degenerate from the truth, and preach a sort of artificial and spurious Gospel.

But as of sincerity. The word as here is superfluous, as in many other places. 355355     Thus in Acts 17:14, we read that the brethren sent away Paul to go (ὡς” ἐπὶ την θαλασσαν) as to the sea, where ὡς (as) is redundant, in accordance with various instances cited by Wetstein from Pausanias and Arrian of the very same expression. — Ed. In contrast with the corruption that he had made mention of, he makes use, first of all, of the term sincerity, which may be taken as referring to the manner of preaching, as well as to the disposition of the mind. I approve rather of the latter. Secondly, he places in contrast with it a faithful and conscientious dispensation of it, inasmuch as he faithfully delivers to the Church from hand to hand, 356356     See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, pp. 150, 373, and vol. 2, p. 9. as they say, the Gospel which God had committed to him, and had given him in charge. Thirdly, he subjoins to this a regard to the Divine presence. For whoever has the three following things, is in no danger of forming the purpose of corrupting the word of God. The first is — that we be actuated by a true zeal for God. The second is — that we bear in mind that it is his business that we are transacting, and bring forward nothing but what has come from him. The third is — that we consider, that we do nothing of which he is not the witness and spectator, and thus learn to refer every thing to his judgment.

In Christ means according to Christ. For the rendering of Erasmus, By Christ, is foreign to Paul’s intention. 357357     The expression is rendered by Dr. Bloomfield, “In the name of Christ, as his legates.” — Ed.

VIEWNAME is study