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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 2

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


So I. Acts does not mention this painful visit, but see 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2. Paul implies that he made up his mind not to come, only after some very serious consideration of the matter. Instead of making another painful visit, he sent Titus with a strongly worded letter (which we do not have).

Verse 2


For if I. Paul was so much a part of the churches which he served, that their sorrow was his sorrow!!! It would give him no pleasure to make them sad, because he himself would share their sadness!

Verse 3


That is why. Compare 2 Corinthians 13:10. If he came in person, he might have to use harsh methods to deal with the problems. Compare Acts 13:9-11.

Verse 4


A greatly troubled and distressed heart. This is how Paul himself felt as he wrote the strongly worded letter. [Johnson thinks this letter is First Corinthians, but there is no evidence that Paul wrote it in grief or that First Corinthians was to “spare” its readers. Scholars now believe that the “lost letter” said much the same thing as chapters 10–13 of Second Corinthians,]

Verse 5


Now. This is probably not the incestuous man, since this anyone seems to have attacked Paul’s work as an apostle, in an insulting way! In doing this, the anyone has insulted the entire messianic community (church) at Corinth which is built on Paul’s work as an apostle! But Paul does not want to be too harsh to the offender. Compare note on 2 Corinthians 7:11.

Verse 6


It is enough. The Corinthian church followed Paul’s instruction in the letter, and the majority punished the offender (see 2 Corinthians 7:8-11). When punishment has brought the desired change, it is enough!

Verse 7


Now, however. Christians must not hold grudges! When the offender repents, the Christian response is to forgive him and encourage him! Evidently Paul had heard through Titus that the offender was almost at the point of giving up completely in despair.

Verse 8


Let him know. Paul does not use his authority to demand it, but he gently begs them to do this thing. Not only are they to officially accept him back into their fellowship, but by their actions they are to let him know that they really do love him!

Verse 9


For this very reason. Paul says that their treatment of the offender was a test of them! Paul will not DOMINEER (2 Corinthians 1:24), but he will demand their obedience to the message of the Good News.

Verse 10


When you forgive. They had joined with Paul in punishing the offender, now Paul joins with them in forgiving the man. If, indeed, I need. “You as the messianic community must do the forgiving. I, Paul, can only confirm it!”

Verse 11


To keep Satan from. “A harsh, unforgiving spirit, will allow Satan to get an upper hand over us! Satan, making us think it is a matter of duty and loyalty, tempts us to adopt harsh measures, to drive offenders to despair and make them give up completely, and to turn outsiders away from the Good News!”

Verse 12


When I arrived in Troas. Paul does not give us details of his recent plans and travel. He must have gone to Troas after the riot at Ephesus. [But the visit in Acts 20:6 must have been at a later time.] Titus was supposed to meet with Paul there, but did not arrive. The Lord had opened. Note that Paul did not sit idle as he waited for Titus!!! He had come there to preach the Good News of Christ, and the Lord opened the way for the work there!!!

Verse 13


Deeply worried. Perhaps Paul was afraid Corinth had rejected his letter and that some special problem kept Titus there. It certainly was the Lord’s will that Paul move on, and so he said good-bye to the friends there and went on to Macedonia.

Verse 14


But thanks be to God! Paul is jubilant when Titus brings him the good report from Corinth! [Paul returns to the theme of his meeting with Titus in 2 Corinthians 7:5. ] We are always led by God. Army commanders led their captives in a victory parade after a successful battle. Paul uses this symbolism to describe the success of the Good News in capturing men and women for Christ! God uses us. Paul speaks of himself as God’s prisoner (Philemon 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 2:9), and shows that God and Christ control his life. This is another answer to those who say he is fickle, but he is also thinking how God uses his own misery and problems to bring honor to Himself and to spread the influence of the Good News!!!

Verse 15


A sweet-smelling incense. “We are by our preaching a sweet-smelling incense which Christ offers to God!” This is still the symbolism of the victory parade. The incense announced both death to the prisoners and life to the victors! In the same way, the Good News which Paul preached had differing results on the ones who heard it. Being saved . . . being lost. Paul uses present participles to show continuing action. Men in this world are either FOLLOWING the way of life or the way of death. But their eternal destiny is not finalized until death calls them away (but see Revelation 22:11 and note). Free will holds BOTH the possibility of falling away and of turning from sin!

Verse 16


A deadly stench. The Good News hardens some in their sin, and it is to them the stench of death! A fragrance. The Good News brings a response in others that opens to them the blessings of God! Who, then? “Since this is in fact a matter of life and death, who is qualified to do such a work?”

Verse 17


As if it were cheap merchandise. Paul is qualified to God’s work by his union with Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20). In contrast to true servants of God are those who peddle the Good News like it was cheap merchandise. Paul uses a word which means “hucksters who cheat people by peddling worthless merchandise.” The false teachers cheat and lie, distort the Good News (2 Corinthians 4:2), and victimize people (2 Corinthians 11:13). But because God. The ministry of Paul and every true servant of God, comes from God! No false teacher can truly say this. The PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit (which shows itself by faith, hope, and love) is infallible evidence that a person is in fact a true servant of God. For this reason we have the written Word to measure the reality of every person’s faith, hope, and love!!!

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/2-corinthians-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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