a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above



Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 6If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

8 We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, 11as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

The Postponement of Paul’s Visit

12 Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more toward you. 13For we write you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— 14as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.

15 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor; 16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. 17Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been “Yes and No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.” 20For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God. 21But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, 22by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

23 But I call on God as witness against me: it was to spare you that I did not come again to Corinth. 24I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in the faith.

24. Not that we exercise dominion He anticipates an objection that might be brought forward. “What! Do you then act so tyrannically 305305     “Es — tu si insupportable, et si orgueilleux?” — “Are you so insufferable and so proud?” as to be formidable in your very look? Such were not the gravity of a Christian pastor, but the cruelty of a savage tyrant.” He answers this objection first indirectly, by declaring that matters are not so; and afterwards directly, by showing that the very circumstance, that he had been constrained to treat them more harshly, was owing to his fatherly affection. When he says that he does not exercise dominion over their faith, he intimates, that such a power is unjust and intolerable — nay more, is tyranny in the Church. For faith ought to be altogether exempt, and to the utmost extent free, from the yoke of men. We must, however, observe, who it is that speaks, for if ever there was a single individual of mortals, that had authority to claim for himself such a dominion, Paul assuredly was worthy of such a privilege. Yet he acknowledges, 306306     “Il confesse franchement;” — “He frankly confesses.” that it does not belong to him. Hence we infer, that faith owns no subjection except to the word of God, and that it is not at all in subjection to human control. 307307     The views here expressed by Calvin are severely animadverted upon in the following terms by the Romanists, in the Annotations appended to the Rheims version of the New Testament: “Calvin and his seditious sectaries with other like which despise dominion, as St. Jude describeth such, would by this place deliver themselves from all yoke of spiritual Magistrates and Rulers: namely, that they be subject to no man touching their faith, or for the examination and trial of their doctrine, but to God and his word only. And no marvel that the malefactors and rebels of the Church would come to no tribunal but God’s, that so they may remain unpunished at least during this life. For though the Scriptures plainely condemne their heresies, yet they could writhe themselves out by false glosses, constructions, corruptions, and denials of the bookes to be canonical, if there were no lawes or judicial sentences of men to rule and represse them.” To these statements Dr. Fulke in his elaborate work in refutation of the errors of Popery, (Lond. 1601,) p. 559, appropriately replies as follows: “This is nothing els but a lewd and senselesse slander of Calvin and vs, that we despise lordship, because we will not be subject to the tyranny of Antichrist, that would be Lord of our faith, and arrogateth vnto himselfe auctoritie to make new articles of fayth, which have no ground or warrant in the word of God. But CALVIN did willingly acknowledge all auctoritie of the ministers of the Church, which the Scripture doth allow unto them, and both practiced, and submitted himselfe to the discipline of the Church, and the lawful gouernours thereof, although he would not yield unto the tyrannicall yoke of the Pope, who is neither soueraigne of the Church, nor any true member of the same. Yea, Calvin and we submit ourselves, not only to the auctoritie of the Church, but also of the Ciuile Magistrates to be punished, if we shall be found to teach or doe any thing contrary to the doctrine of faith, receyued and approved by the Church, whereas the Popish clergy, in causes of religion, will not be subject to the temporal gouernors, judgement, and correction.” — Ed. Erasmus has observed in his Annotations, that by supplying the Greek particle ἕνεκα, it may be understood in this way — Not that we exercise dominion over youwith respect to your faitha rendering which amounts almost to the same thing. For he intimates, that there is no spiritual dominion, except that of God only. This always remains a settled point — pastors have no peculiar dominion over men’s consciences, 308308     “Que les Pasteurs et Evesques n’ont point de iurisdiction propre sur les consciences;” — “That Pastors and Bishops have no peculiar jurisdiction over consciences.” inasmuch as they are ministers, not lords. (1 Peter 5:3.)

What then does he leave to himself and others? He calls them helpers of their joy — by which term I understand happiness. At the same time he employs the term joy as opposed to the terror which tyrants awaken through means of their cruelty, and also false prophets, 309309     “Et les faux — apostres aussi;” — “And false Apostles also.” resembling tyrants, that rule with rigor and authority, as we read in Ezekiel 34:4. He argues from contraries, that he did by no means usurp dominion over the Corinthians, inasmuch as he endeavored rather to maintain them in the possession of a peace that was free, and full of joy.

For by faith ye stand. As to the reason why he adds this, others either pass it over altogether in silence, or they do not explain it with sufficient distinctness. For my part, I am of opinion that he here again argues from contraries. For if the nature and effect of faith be such that we lean, in order that we may stand, 310310     “Afin que nous demeurions fermes;” — “In order that we may remain secure.” it is absurd to speak of faith as being subject to men. Thus he removes that unjust dominion, with which, he had a little before declared, he was not chargeable.

VIEWNAME is study