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As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.


The Temple of the Living God

14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will live in them and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people.


Therefore come out from them,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch nothing unclean;

then I will welcome you,


and I will be your father,

and you shall be my sons and daughters,

says the Lord Almighty.”

4. In much patience. The whole of the enumeration that follows is intended to show, that all the tests by which the Lord is accustomed to try his servants were to be found in Paul, and that there was no kind of test to which he had not been subjected, in order that the faithfulness of his ministry might be more fully established. 584584     “Afin que sa fidelite fust tant plus notoire, et la certitude de son ministere tant mieux approuvee;” — “In order that his faithfulness might be so much the better known, and the stability of his ministry so much the better approved.” Among other things that he enumerates, there are some that are under all circumstances required for all the servants of Christ. Of this nature are labors, sincerity, knowledge, watchings, gentleness, love, the word of truth, the Spirit, the power of God, the armor of righteousness. There are other things that are not necessary in all cases; for in order that any one may be a servant of Christ, it is not absolutely necessary, that he be put to the test by means of stripes and imprisonments Hence these things will in some cases be wanting in the experience of the best. It becomes all, however, to be of such a disposition as to present themselves to be tried, as Paul was, with stripes and imprisonments, if the Lord shall see meet.

Patience is the regulation of the mind in adversity, which is an excellence that ought invariably to distinguish a good minister. 585585     “The words ἐν ὑπομονὣ πολλὣ, (in much patience,) must be connected with the following clauses up to ἐν νηστείαις (in watchings,) and denote patient endurance of the various afflictions specified in the words following, which are not to be treated (with Rosenm.) as merely synonymes denoting evils in general, but considered specially, and (as I conceive the Apostle meant) in groups.” — Bloomfield. — Ed. Afflictions include more than necessities; for by the term necessity here I understand poverty. Now this is common to many ministers, there being few of them that are not in poor circumstances; but at the same time not to all. For why should a moderate amount of riches prevent a man from being reckoned a servant of Christ, who, in other respects, is pious, is of upright mind and honorable deportment, and is distinguished by other excellences. As the man that is poor is not on that account to be straightway accounted a good minister, so the man that is rich is not on that account to be rejected. Nay more, Paul in another passage glories not less in his knowing how to abound, than in knowing how to be in want. (Philippians 4:12.) Hence we must observe the distinction that I have mentioned, between occasional and invariable grounds of commendation. 586586     “Entre les louanges temporelles et perpetuelles, c’est ... dire qui doyuent tousiours estre es vrais ministres;” — “Between occasional grounds of commendation and perpetual, that is to say, what ought to be found invariably in true ministers.”

5. In tumults In proportion to the calmness and gentleness of Paul’s disposition was there the greater excellence displayed in his standing undaunted in the face of tumults; and he takes praise to himself on this account — that while he regarded tumults with abhorrence, he nevertheless encountered them with bravery. 587587     “D’vne courage magnanime;” — “With magnanimous heroism.” Nor does the praise simply consist in his being unmoved by tumults, (this being commonly found among all riotous persons, 588588     “Veu que cela est coustumier ... tous mutins de ne s’estonner point quand seditions s’esmeuuent;” — “As it is customary for all riotous persons to be thrown into no alarm when tumults break out.” ) but in his being thrown into no alarm by tumults that had been stirred up through the fault of others. And, unquestionably, two things are required on the part of ministers of the Gospel — that they should endeavor to the utmost of their power to maintain peace, and yet on the other hand go forward, undaunted, through the midst of commotions, so as not to turn aside from the right course, though heaven and earth should be mingled. 589589     A proverbial expression made use of by Virgil. ‘n. I. 133,134 — Ed. Chrysostom, however, prefers to understand ἀκαταστασίαις to mean — frequent expulsions, 590590     “L’incommodite de ce qu’il estoit souuent contraint de changer de pays, pource qu’ on ne le laissoit en paix en quelque lieu qu’il fust;” — “The inconvenience of being frequently under the necessity of changing his country, because they did not allow him to be in peace in any place in which he might be.” inasmuch as there afforded him a place of rest. 591591     Semler understands the term in the same sense — “Quod non licet diu manere et quiescere quasi uno in loco, sed semper periculorum vitandorum causa locum et solum mutare. Iud’i autem faciunt jam infensi et infesti hostes Pauli, ut vel ex actibus Luc’ satis patet; Paulus ἀκατάστατος, (Jacobi 1:8) dici potest, licet sine animi sui vitio;” — (“As not being allowed to remain long at rest, as it were, in one place, but always changing his place and soil (for the sake of avoiding dangers.) The Jews were enemies to Paul, so exasperated and deadly, as appears even from Luke’s narrative in the Acts, that Paul may be said to have been unstable, (James 1:8,) though without any fault on his part.” — “I agree,” says Dr. Bloomfield, “with Theophyl., Schleus., and Leun., that the term refers to that unsettled and wandering kind of life, which, that the Apostle thought very miserable, is plain from his connecting it at 1 Corinthians 4:11, with the endurance of hunger, thirst, and nakedness,(Πεινῶμεν καὶ διψῶμεν, καὶ γυμνητεύομεν, καὶ ἀστατοῦμεν) which passage, indeed, is the best comment on the present, and shows that κόποις (labors) must be chiefly understood of his labors at his trade, and νηστείαις, (fastings,) of that insufficient support, which labors so interrupted by his ministerial duties, could alone be expected to supply. ᾿Αγρυπνίαις (watchings) seems to refer to the abridgment of his rest by night, to make up for the time expended by day on his ministerial labors.” — Ed. In fastings He does not mean — hunger arising from destitution, but a voluntary exercise of abstinence.

Knowledge may be taken in two senses — either as meaning doctrine itself, or skill in acting properly and knowingly. The latter appears to me the more likely, as he immediately adds — the word of truth The Spirit is taken by metonymy, to denote spiritual graces. Frivolous, however, is the cavil of Chrysostom, who infers from this, that the other excellences are peculiar to the Apostle, because he makes mention of the Spirit separately, as if kindness, knowledge, pureness, armor of righteousness, were from any other source, than from the Holy Spirit. He makes mention, however, of the Spirit separately, as a general term in the midst of particular instances. 592592     “ ᾿Εν πνεύματι ἁγίω — ’In demonstration of the Holy Spirit — so that I showed that the Holy Spirit wrought by me.’ It is possible, that in these words, Paul makes an allusion to the χαρίσματα, (gifts,) but it seems better, nevertheless, to suppose with Calvin, that he sets genus and species over against each other.” — Billroth. — Ed. The power of God showed itself in many things — in magnanimity, in efficacy in the maintaining of the truth, in the propagation of the Gospel, in victory over enemies, and the like.

7. By the armor of righteousness By righteousness you must understand — rectitude of conscience, and holiness of life. He employs the metaphor of armor, because all that serve God require to fight, inasmuch as the devil is always on the alert, to molest them. Now they must be completely armed, because, if he does not succeed in one onset, he thereupon makes a new attempt, and attacks them at one time from before, at another from behind — now on this side, and then on that. 593593     “Here the spiritual arms are not particularized; yet the terms τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν, (on the right hand and the left,) are very comprehensive, referring to the complete armor and arms, on both sides, with which the ὁπλίτης, or completely armed soldier was furnished, who was thus said to be ἀμφιδέξιος (ambidexter.) Thus the general sense is: ‘We employ no other arms than the panoply of righteousness.’” — Bloomfield. — Ed.

8. By honor and dishonor This is no slight test for subjecting a man to trial, for to a man of a noble spirit nothing is more unpleasant, than to incur disgrace. Hence we may observe in all histories, that there have been few men of heroism that have not fallen back, on being irritated by insults. 594594     “Il y en a eu bien peu, qui estans irritez des iniures et mauuais traittemens que on leur faisoit, ne se soyent descouragez, et n’ayent laissez leur train de vertu;” — “There have been very few of them, who have not, on being irritated by injuries and bad treatment shown them, felt discouraged, and left off their virtuous career.” Hence it is indicative of a mind well established in virtue, not to be moved away from one’s course by any disgrace that may be incurred — a rare virtue, but one without which you cannot show that you are a servant of God. We must, it is true, have a regard to good character, but it must be only in so far as the edification of our brethren requires it, and in such a way as not to be dependent on reports 595595     “Du bruit qu’on fera courir de nous;” — “On reports that may be circulated against us.” — nay more, so as to maintain in the same even course in honor and in dishonor. For God allows us to be tried even by the slander of wicked men, with the view of trying us, 596596     “Voulant essayer si nous cheminons droit settlement pour l’amour de luy, sans cercher autre recompense;” — “Wishing to try whether we walk aright, purely from love to Him, without seeking any other reward.” whether we act uprightly from disinterested motives; 597597     “Gratuito;” — “gratuitously.” — There can be no doubt, that Calvln has here in his eye Job 1:9. “Doth Job fear God for nought?” The Hebrew word החנים (hachinnam,) is rendered in the Septuagint δωρεὰνgratuitously for if one is drawn aside from duty by the ingratitude of men, that man shows that he had not his eye directed to God alone. As then we see that Paul was exposed to infamy and insults, and yet did not on that account stop short, but held forward with undaunted courage, and broke through every impediment so as to reach the goal, 598598     “Mesme faisant violence ... tous empeschemens, est venu, comme par force, jusques au bout;” — “Even breaking violently through all impediments, came, as it were, by fource to the goal.” let us not give way, if the same thing should befall us.

As deceivers Here he relates, not simply in what estimation he was held by the wicked and those that were without, (1 Corinthians 5:12,) but also what views were entertained of him by those that were within. Now let every one consider with himself, how unseemly was the ingratitude of the Corinthians, and how great was his magnanimity in struggling forward, in spite of such formidable obstacles. By indirect representations, however, he sharply reproves their perverse judgment, when he says that he lives and is joyful, while they despised him as one that was dead and overwhelmed with grief. He reproaches them, also, with ingratitude, when he says, that he made many rich, while he was contemned on account of his poverty. For they were of the number of those whom he enriched by his wealth: nay more, all of them to a man were under obligations to him on many accounts. Thus he said previously, by way of irony, that he was unknown, while at the same time the fruit of his labor was everywhere known and celebrated. But how cruel to despise the poverty of the man who supplies you 599599     “Qui to fournit et enrichit par son abundance;” — “Who furnishes and enriches thee by his abundance.” from his abundance! He means spiritual riches, which ought to be much more esteemed than earthly.

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