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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 2

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Ever hear the phrase, “they shoot their own wounded”, in reference to the church?
      1. Many times it might be said of “any” type of church discipline, that someone doesn’t like. But here before us is an example of a church doing exactly that.
    2. Outline: Feelings; Forgiveness; Fragrance.
  2. FEELINGS! (1-4)
    1. ​​​​​​​Quick refresher on why Paul didn’t come to Corinth, but wrote them instead.
      1. He wrote hoping the church would get some matters straightened out before he visited them.
    2. Paul’s goal was never to knock a man down, but to help him to get up!
  3. FORGIVENESS! (5-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​General Oglethorpe(Gov. Of Georgia) once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” To which Wesley replied, “Then, Sir, I hope you never sin.”
    2. Background: Read 1 Cor.5:1,2.
      1. The church previously ousted an immoral and unrepentant believer.
    3. (5,6) This man no longer needed discipline but needed forgiveness.
    4. Too severe Martin Luther could scarcely bear to pray the Lord’s Prayer because his own father had been so stern that the word father painted a picture of grim terror to him. He used to say, “Spare the rod spoil the child – yes; but, beside the rod keep an apple, to give the child when he has done well.”
    5. This young man’s punishment obviously led to Repentance...which should have lead them to Forgiveness, so as to prevent him from being swallowed up by too much sorrow!
      1. Next, comfort needs to be given which will rebuild dignity.
      2. Lastly, is to reaffirm them of your love, which will give them purpose & direction to their life.
    6. Majority – Oh, & just know, there will always be a minority that will never be satisfied, & always cry, “still insufficient!”
    7. Note the 3 action words in vs.7,8! [forgive, comfort, reaffirm]
    8. (7) They are warned here to forgive & bring comfort.
    9. (8) Reaffirm your love to him!
      1. Story of reaffirming: Andor Foldes, before he died in 1992, recalled how praise made all the difference for him early in his career. His first recollection of an affirming word was at age 7 when his father kissed him and thanked him for helping in the garden. He remembers it over 6 decades later, as though it were yesterday. But the account of another kiss that changed his life says a great deal about our inner need for purpose.

        At age 16, living in Budapest, Foldes was already a skilled pianist. But he was at his personal all-time low because of a conflict with his piano teacher. In the midst of that very troubled year, however, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to the city to perform. Emil von Sauer was not only famous because of his abilities at the piano, but he could also claim the notoriety of being the last surviving pupil ofFranz Liszt.Sauer requested that young Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged the master with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead.“My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss - it comes from Beethoven, who gave it me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.”
      2. To love to preach is one thing - To love those to whom we preach, quite another!
      3. “The goal of discipline is not removal; it’s restoration & reconciliation.” (Charles Swindoll, pg.32.)
      4. “Our forgiveness should be as swift as our discipline is severe.”
        1. David waited 2 years to restore Absalom! – 2 Sam 14.
      5. Is there anyone you still hold in bondage who has repented?
    10. (11) Unforgiveness invites Satan to take advantage of us.
    11. Satan the destroyer is quick to move in where there is a void of love & forgiveness. Quickly filling that opening w/bitterness & division.
      1. And his movements are all by our invitation!
      2. “The devil is like a mad dog that’s chained up. He’s powerless to harm us when we are outside his reach, but once we enter his circle, we expose ourselves again to injury or harm.” (Aurelius Augustine, Leadership, Vol.9, no.2.)
        1. How sad for those who have pitched their tent right dead center in Satan’s campground… Oh, & no reservations needed! “Come & pitch your tent any time!”
        2. Are you living in Unforgiveness? Are your words void of love?
        3. 3. Don’t be ignorant of his devices!
  4. ​​​​​​​FRAGRANCE! (12-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​(12) Again, an open door doesn’t always necessitate us walking through it. [A need doesn’t constitute a call!]
      1. Paul felt more compelled to find Titus then to minister in Troas!
      2. Do you wait on hearing from the Lord, or do you just jump out on every opportunity?
    2. (13) Titus gets the Pauline Service Award with 20 years as Paul's co-worker.
      1. Paul trusted him to take the $ collected to the poor in Jerusalem.
      2. He also picked Titus to deliver this very letter to Corinth(8:16,17).
    3. (14) Notice the change here! – From, no rest in my spirit(13) to an incredible outburst of emotions & Praise!
    4. From this verse through 6:10 Paul takes us the deepest into his ministry.
    5. A Roman Triumph!
      1. The Roman Triumph (triumpus) was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. (wikipedia)
    6. William Barclay gives us a great picture of a Triumph!
      1. In a Triumph, the victorious general marches through the streets of Rome to the capitol in the following order:
        1. 1st came the State officials & then the Senate; then the Trumpeters; then were carried the spoils (from the conquered land); Then came pictures of the conquered land & models of the conquered citadels & ships; then were walked the captured princes, leaders, & generals in chains (shortly to be thrown into prison & in all probability immediately to be executed); then thelectors bearing their rods, followed by the musicians w/their lyres; then the priests (pagan) swinging their censers w/the sweet-smelling incense burning in them.After that came the General himself (in a chariot drawn by 4 horses). After him rode the family; & finally came the army wearing their decorations & shouting Io Triumphe!…their cry of Triumph!
      2. When I was in Rome we saw the “Arch of Titus” that depicted Titus’ triumph over Jerusalem in 70ad. Jesus predicted Mt.24:2 I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
    7. Application: Christ our conqueror is in the lead(read 14a), & we His chosen warriors follow close behind Him, enjoying the benefits of His Triumph!
      1. “At the cross Jesus undertook a battle that was not rightly His, so that we might share in a triumph that is not rightly ours!” (Charles Swindoll, pg.38.)
    8. One version reads, “Thanks be to God, who through our union w/Christ, leads us in one continual triumph.”
      1. ​​​​​​​Is your life truly Triumphant in Christ?
      2. Remember He always leads us in His Triumph.
    9. Knowledge of Him (NIV) - Jim Elliot wrote in his journals, “To stand by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.”
    10. (14b) In every place - A strange sign greets visitors to Vienna, Austria. Translated from the German, it says, "Welcome to Vienna, where the salt is in the saltshaker."
      1. ​​​​​​​What they mean is that they “don't put salt on the streets in the winter”!
        1. The church, however, must never make the same boast. We are the salt of the earth, but we do no good if we stay in the saltshaker.
    11. (14b) Augustus boasted that he found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.
      1. What do you leave in your wake? [STory: Pastor Rick & his Old Spice!]
    12. (15) Do you have the fragrance of Christ? What cologne are you wearing? [Christ Cologne; or Fragrance of Flesh? or, eau de toilette/Oh-day-twoy-let]
      1. I remember a conversation with Zach & Brian Thrane while fishing in Mammoth. I asked what they learned at Purity camp. One classic line was, Deodorant doesn’t take the place of a shower!
    13. Here is a profound truth…You smell like what you’ve been around!
      1. BBQ at the beach; cigarettes; hug someone, you end up smelling like them.
      2. How about Society Garlic? – (1st time I weeded around it)
      3. A tree’s scent. Still after it has been cut down. Even when it’s been cast into the fire it still gives off its scent. Do you in life’s fiery trials?
      4. Are you hanging around Christ? Then you’ll permeate w/His Bouquet!
        1. You can’t tell a flower to stop smelling…it cannot do otherwise!
    14. (16) As the priests swung the censers the smell would equally flow over those exulting in triumph & those hanging their heads in defeat.
      1. To the one it was the sweet scent of Triumph, to the other the reminder of imminent death.
    15. Another example would be the sun which shines on wax & softens it; it shines on clay & hardens it.
      1. Same w/the Gospel, it either melts you to Repentance, or hardens you to greater stubbornness.
      2. It will have “some” effect on you.
      3. As you hear the message this evening, you cannot leave untouched.
        1. You will leave “for better or for worse”!
    16. (17) Peddling – like a street salesman peddling his wares.
      1. There are some that try to push there “prophetic pills”; others who have their “cure-all tonics”; some advertise their “health & wealth”; & in short, whatever the religious gullible consumers will buy.
      2. Again Paul uses sincerity (judged by the sun).
        1. Come judgment day his motives will withstand the penetrating rays of the sun!
    17. Qualifications of any who minister? He must have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-corinthians-2.html. 2017.
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