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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 2

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

That I would not come again to you with sorrow (το μη παλιν εν λυπη προς υμας ελθειν). Articular second aorist active infinitive with negative μη in apposition with τουτο (this) preceding. What does Paul mean by "again" (παλιν)? Had he paid another visit besides that described in 2 Corinthians 2:18 which was in sorrow (εν λυπη)? Or does he mean that having had one joyful visit (that in 2 Corinthians 2:18) he does not wish the second one to be in sorrow? Either interpretation is possible as the Greek stands and scholars disagree. So in 2 Corinthians 12:14 "The third time I am ready to come" may refer to the proposed second visit (2 Corinthians 1:15) and the present plan (a third). And so as to 2 Corinthians 13:1. There is absolutely no way to tell clearly whether Paul had already made a second visit. If he had done so, it is a bit odd that he did not plainly say so in 2 Corinthians 1:15 when he is apologizing for not having made the proposed visit ("a second benefit").

Verse 2

Who then? (κα τισ?). For this use of κα see on Mark 10:26; John 9:36. The κα accepts the condition (first class ει--λυπω) and shows the paradox that follows. Λυπεω is old word from λυπη (sorrow) in causative sense, to make sorry.

Maketh glad (ευφραινων). Present active participle of old word from ευ, well, and φρην, mind, to make joyful, causative idea like λυπεω.

Verse 3

I wrote this very thing (εγραψα τουτο αυτο). Is this (and εγραψα in verses 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12) the epistolary aorist referring to the present letter? In itself that is possible as the epistolary aorist does occur in the N.T. as in 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 9:3 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 854f.). If not epistolary aorist as seems improbable from the context and from 2 Corinthians 7:8-12, to what Epistle does he refer? To 2 Corinthians 2:1 or to a lost letter? It is possible, of course, that, when Paul decided not to come to Corinth, he sent a letter. The language that follows in verses 2 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12 can hardly apply to I Corinthians.

Should have sorrow (λυπην σχω). Second aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of εχω, should get sorrow, after ινα μη negative final particles.

From them of whom (αφ' ων). Antecedent omitted, απο τουτων αφ' ων (from those from whom).

I ought (εδε με). Imperfect for unrealized present obligation as often and like English.

Having confidence (πεποιθως). Second perfect active participle of πειθω (2 Corinthians 1:9).

Verse 4

Anguish (συνοχης). Ablative case after εκ (out of). Old word from συνεχω, to hold together. So contraction of heart (Cicero, contractio animi), a spiritual angina pectoris. In N.T. only here and Luke 21:25.

With many tears (δια πολλων δακρυων). He dictated that letter "through tears" (accompanied by tears). Paul was a man of heart. He writes to the Philippians with weeping (κλαιων) over the enemies of the Cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18). He twice mentions his tears in his speech at Miletus (Acts 20:19-31).

But that ye might know the love (αλλα την αγαπην ινα γνωτε). Proleptic position of αγαπην and ingressive second aorist active subjunctive γνωτε, come to know.

Verse 5

If any (ε τις). Scholars disagree whether Paul refers to 1 Corinthians 5:1, where he also employs τισ, τοιουτος, and Σατανας as here, or to the ringleader of the opposition to him. Either view is possible. In both cases Paul shows delicacy of feeling by not mentioning the name.

But in part (αλλα απο μερους). "But to some extent to you all." The whole Corinthian Church has been injured in part by this man's wrongdoing. There is a parenthesis ( that I press not too heavily , ινα μη επιβαρω) that interrupts the flow of ideas. Επιβαρεω, to put a burden on (επι, βαρος), is a late word, only in Paul in N.T. (here and 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). He does not wish to give pain by too severe language.

Verse 6

Punishment (επιτιμια). Late word for old Greek to επιτιμιον (so papyri), from επιτιμαω, to show honour to, to award, to adjudge penalty. Only here in N.T.

By the many (υπο των πλειονων). By the more, the majority. If Paul refers to the case in 2 Corinthians 2:1, they had taken his advice and expelled the offender.

Verse 7

So that on the contrary (ωστε τουναντιον). The natural result expressed by ωστε and the infinitive. Τουναντιον is by crasis for το εναντιον and accusative of general reference.

Rather (μαλλον). Absent in some MSS.

Lest by any means (μη πως). Negative purpose.

Swallowed up (καταποθη). First aorist passive subjunctive of καταπινω, to drink down (1 Corinthians 15:54).

With his overmuch sorrow (τη περισσοτερα λυπη). Instrumental case, "by the more abundant sorrow" (comparative of adjective περισσος).

Verse 8

To confirm (κυρωσα). First aorist active infinitive of old verb κυροω, to make valid, to ratify, from κυρος (head, authority). In N.T. only here and Galatians 3:15.

Verse 9

That I might know the proof of you (ινα γνω την δοκιμην υμων). Ingressive second aorist active subjunctive, come to know. Δοκιμη is proof by testing. Late word from δοκιμος and is in Dioscorides, medical writer in reign of Hadrian. Earliest use in Paul and only in him in N.T. (2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 13:3; Romans 5:4; Philippians 2:22).

Obedient (υπηκοο). Old word from υπακουω, to give ear. In N.T. only in Paul (2 Corinthians 2:9; Philippians 2:8; Acts 7:39).

Verse 10

In the person of Christ (εν προσωπω Χριστου). More exactly, "in the presence of Christ," before Christ, in the face of Christ. Cf. ενωπιον του θεου (2 Corinthians 4:2) in the eye of God, ενωπιον Κυριου (2 Corinthians 8:21).

Verse 11

That no advantage may be gained over us (ινα μη πλεονεκτηθωμεν). First aorist passive subjunctive after ινα μη (negative purpose) of πλεονεκτεω, old verb from πλεονεκτης, a covetous man (1 Corinthians 5:10), to take advantage of, to gain, to overreach. In N.T. only in 1 Thessalonians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 7:2; 2 Corinthians 12:17. "That we may not be overreached by Satan."

His devices (αυτου τα νοηματα). Νοημα from νοεω to use the νους is old word, especially for evil plans and purposes as here.

Verse 12

To Troas (εις την Τρωιαδα). Luke does not mention this stop at Troas on the way from Ephesus to Macedonia (Acts 20:1), though he does mention two other visits there (Acts 16:8; Acts 20:6).

When a door was opened unto me (θυρας μο ανεωιγμενης). Genitive absolute with second perfect passive participle of ανοιγνυμ. Paul used this very metaphor in 1 Corinthians 16:9. He will use it again in Colossians 4:3. Here was an open door that he could not enter.

Verse 13

I had no relief (ουκ εσχηκα ανεσιν). Perfect active indicative like that in 2 Corinthians 1:9, vivid dramatic recital, not to be treated as "for" the aorist (Robertson, Grammar, p. 896, 898ff.). He still feels the shadow of that restlessness. Ανεσις, from ανιημ, to let up, to hold back, is old word for relaxing or release (Acts 24:34).

For my spirit (τω πνευματ μου). Dative of interest.

Because I found not Titus (τω μη ευρειν με Τιτον). Instrumental case of the articular infinitive with negative μη and accusative of general reference με, "by the not finding Titus as to me."

Taking my leave of them (αποταξαμενος αυτοις). First aorist middle participle of αποτασσω, old verb, to set apart, in middle in late Greek to separate oneself, to bid adieu to as in Mark 6:46.

Verse 14

But thanks be unto God (τω δε θεω χαρις). Sudden outburst of gratitude in contrast to the previous dejection in Troas. Surely a new paragraph should begin here. In point of fact Paul makes a long digression from here to 2 Corinthians 6:10 on the subject of the Glory of the Christian Ministry as Bachmann points out in his Kommentar (p. 124), only he runs it from 2 Corinthians 2:12-7 (Aus der Tiefe in die Hohe, Out of the Depths to the Heights). We can be grateful for this emotional outburst, Paul's rebound of joy on meeting Titus in Macedonia, for it has given the world the finest exposition of all sides of the Christian ministry in existence, one that reveals the wealth of Paul's nature and his mature grasp of the great things in service for Christ. See my The Glory of the Ministry (An Exposition of II Cor. 2:12-6:10).

Always (παντοτε). The sense of present triumph has blotted out the gloom at Troas.

Leadeth in triumph (θριαμβευοντ). Late common Koine word from θριαμβος (Latin triumphus, a hymn sung in festal processions to Bacchus). Verbs in -ευω (like μαθητευω, to make disciples) may be causative, but no example of θριαμβευω has been found with this meaning. It is always to lead in triumph, in papyri sometimes to make a show of. Picture here is of Paul as captive in God's triumphal procession.

The savour (την οσμην). In a Roman triumph garlands of flowers scattered sweet odour and incense bearers dispensed perfumes. The knowledge of God is here the aroma which Paul had scattered like an incense bearer.

Verse 15

A sweet savour of Christ (Χριστου ευωδια). Old word from ευ, well, and οζω, to smell. In N.T. only here and Philippians 4:18; Ephesians 5:2. In spreading the fragrance of Christ the preacher himself becomes fragrant (Plummer).

In them that are perishing (εν τοις απολλυμενοις). Even in these if the preacher does his duty.

Verse 16

From death unto death (εκ θανατου εις θανατον). From one evil condition to another. Some people are actually hardened by preaching.

And who is sufficient for these things? (κα προς ταυτα τις ικανοσ?). Rhetorical question. In himself no one is. But some one has to preach Christ and Paul proceeds to show that he is sufficient.

For we are not as the many (ου γαρ εσμεν ως ο πολλο). A bold thing to say, but necessary and only from God (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Verse 17

Corrupting (καπηλευοντες). Old word from καπηλος, a huckster or peddlar, common in all stages of Greek for huckstering or trading. It is curious how hucksters were suspected of corrupting by putting the best fruit on top of the basket. Note Paul's solemn view of his relation to God as a preacher ( from God εκ θεου,

in the sight of God κατεναντ θεου,

in Christ εν Χριστω).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/2-corinthians-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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