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1So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. 2For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. 4For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

5 But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. 6This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; 7so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. 9I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Paul’s Anxiety in Troas

12 When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; 13but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

11. That we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. This may be viewed as referring to what he had said previously respecting excessive sorrow. For it is a most wicked 330330     “Tres dangereuse;” — “Very dangerous.” fraud of Satan, when depriving us of all consolation, he swallows us up, as it were, in a gulf of despair; and such is the explanation that is given of it by Chrysostom. I prefer, however, to view it as referring to Paul and the Corinthians. For there was a twofold danger, that beset them from the stratagems of Satan — in the event of their being excessively harsh and rigorous, or, on the other hand, in case of dissension arising among them. For it very frequently happens, that, under colour of zeal for discipline, a Pharisaical rigour creeps in, which hurries on the miserable offender to ruin, instead of curing him. It is rather, however, in my opinion, of the second danger that he speaks; for if Paul had not to some extent favored the wishes of the Corinthians, Satan would have prevailed by kindling strife among them.

For we are not ignorant of his devices That is, “We know, from being warned of it by the Lord, that one stratagem to which he carefully has recourse is, that when he cannot ruin us by open means, he surprises us when off our guard by making a secret attack. 331331     The reader will find the same sentiment expressed more fully by Calvin, in the Argument on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 38. — Ed. As, then, we are aware that he makes an attack upon us by indirect artifices, and that he assails us by secret machinations, we must look well before us, and carefully take heed that he may not, from some quarter, do us injury. He employs the word devices in the sense in which the Hebrews make use of the term זמה (zimmah,) but in a bad sense, 332332     The Hebrew term, זמה,(zimmah,) is used in a bad sense, (as meaning a wicked device,) in Proverbs 21:27, and Proverbs 24:9. The word employed by the apostle — νοήματα — is made use of by Homer, (Iliad 10:104, 18:328,) as meaning schemes or devices. — Ed. as meaning artful schemes and machinations, which ought not to be unknown to believers, and will not be so, provided they give themselves up to the guidance of God’s Spirit. In short, as God warns us, that Satan employs every means to impose upon us, and, in addition to this, shows us by what methods he may practice imposture upon us, it is our part to be on the alert, that he may have not a single chink to creep through.

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