Paul's 2nd Letter to the Corinthians and Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

September 18, 2014

Tom Lowe

The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

 


II. Apology for Paul’s Ministry. (1:12–7:16)

  1. The Challenge of Paul. (6:11-7:16)

2. The encouragement from their response. (7:5–16)                                      

               Lesson II.C.2.c:Consolation. (7:13-16)

 

2nd Corinthians 7:13-16 (NKJV)

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

16  I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

 

 

Introduction

 

The apostle Paul was not disappointed with the believers in Corinth, which he indicated to Titus; and though they faced an uncertain future, he could joyfully declare the confidence he had in them for the time to come. Included in this short passage are the duties of a pastor and of his flock; the latter must lighten the troubles of the pastor, by showing him respect and obedience; the former must demonstrate his care of them, and cherish the flock by giving testimonies of satisfaction, joy, and tenderness

 

 

Commentary

 

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

 

Therefore we were comforted in your comfort

Since my Epistle led you to express your true feelings towards me, "we have been comforted;" and in addition to our comfort, we rejoice at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by all you. That was a new source of happinessfor Paul. The intense sympathy of his nature would have made him share the disappointment of his representative, and in like manner he now shares his joy. The messenger had shown himself to be his true son in the faith.

 

The phrase "your comfort," seems to mean the happiness which they had, or might reasonably be expected to have by obeying the instructions of Paul, and in the repentance which they had displayed by the changes made in their lives. Paul had spoken of no other consolation or comfort than this; and the idea seems to be that they were a happy people, and would continue to be happy by obeying the commands of God. This fact gave Paul additional joy, and he could not help but rejoice that they had removed from their lives, the cause of the offence, and, as the result, they would not be exposed to the displeasure of God. Had they not repented and put away the evil, the consequences to them would have been deep distress. As it was, they would be blessed and happy.

 

The comfortable situation that the church was currently enjoying, was the effect of a godly sorrow; by which it appeared that their repentance was genuine, and that they were no longer guilty in the matter that had given them so much trouble; and that Paul’s epistle had been well received and acted upon for the welfare and more comfortable condition of the church in the future.

 

 

Yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we, for the joy of Titus"

It was not only the repentance of the Corinthians, and the blessed effects which it brought that gave rise to joy in the apostle; but what added to it, and increased it, was the joy of Titus, which came upon his understanding of your affairs, and your ready obedience to the Epistle which I wrote to you. Titus had been kindly received, and hospitably entertained, and had become very attached to them. To Paul, this was another occasion for joy—“and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” (2 Corinthians 7:7). Such is the union between the true members of Christ that they are comforted by one another’s comforts, and afflicted by one another’s sorrows and grief. Paul’s joy resulted from the joy that Titus felt during the time he spent with the believers in Corinth.

 

Because his spirit was refreshed by you all

“Because his spirit was (has been; and is) refreshed by you all,” not by one only, or a few, but by all the members of the church; Titus was received by them with great respect, provided for in a liberal manner, treated with all humanity and courteousness; and, above all, his mind was eased and filled with unexpected pleasure, to find them in such an agreeable frame of mind; so aware of their neglect of duty, so ready to reform, so united in themselves, so concerned about the apostle, and so determined to abide by the directives, ordinances, and truths of the Gospel, against the teaching of all false teachers. 

 

The phrase “His spirit was refreshed” was a favorite of the writer. Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus had “refreshed” his spirit—For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.”     (1Corinthians 16:18; Compare Philemon 1:20). The primary idea of the word “refreshed” is that of “giving rest” to the weary, as in Matthew 11:28“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Compare Matthew 26:45.


14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

 

For if I have boasted anything to him of you

It is obviously implied that he had boasted. “For if I have boasted anything  (anything at all) to him—This seems to imply that before Titus left for Corinth that Paul had spoken very favorably to Titus of the Corinthians. He had probably expressed his belief that he would be welcomed and treated well; that they would be willing to listen to him, and to comply with the instructions of the apostle; that he would find many elements of good mingled with the evil which he was sent to correct; perhaps he had spoken to him of what he anticipated would be their liberality in regard to the collection which he was about to make for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Moreover, he may have mentioned their faith in Christ, their affection for him, and obedience to him which was like children to a father

 

I am not ashamed”

“I am (was) not ashamed,” since everything I told Titus about you has been confirmed to be true by his report. Had it been otherwise, I would certainly have been ashamed. He has found you to be as I said you would be. All my expectations are realized; and you have been as kind, and hospitable, and benevolent as I assured him you would be. One reason for my great joy was that you fully justified that very favorable picture of you which I had drawn for Titus when I was urging him to be the bearer of my letter.

But as we spake all things to you in truth

“As we spake all things to you in truth,” that is, everything I said to you was said in truth. All my promises to you, and all my preaching to you, and all the doctrines we delivered to you, and our word was not yea and nay, but uniform, and all my commands, and all my reasonable expectations expressed to you, were sincere. I do not disguise anything, and all that I have said thus far turned out to be true.

 

Even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth

It appears from this phrase, “even so our boasting,” that the apostle had at some time in the past said something to Titus which commended the church in Corinth, which he calls here, “boasting” of them. This particular boasting was proved to be true by the report Titus made to Paul, upon his return. “My boasting of your character, and of your disposition to do right, which I made before Titus has turned out to be true. It was as I said it would be. I did not commend you too highly to him, and I did not overstate the matter to you in my Epistle, because what I said of you to Titus turned out to be true, so I recognize that what you said to him of yourselves, of your zeal and longing (as in 2Corinthians 7:11), was spoken truly. We spoke truly to you of your faults; we spoke truly to Titus of your good qualities.”

 

Some understand this to refer to the boasting which the apostle made concerning Titus, in his epistle to them, where he highly commended him, and which they found to be exactly true in every respect; but the words, most likely concern his boasting about the Corinthians to Titus, which he found to be true.

 

“I always spoke the truth to you; but I might have feared that in speaking of you to Titus, my affection for you might lead me to overstep the limits of perfect accuracy. But you yourselves, by proving yourselves worthy of all I said of you, have established my perfect truthfulness, even in the only point where I might have thought it questionable.”

 

“Our boasting is found to be truthful; literally, proved itself to be truth, just as our speaking in general to you was true—“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay” (2Co 1:18). He boasted that he had said nothing but the truth, which Titus had experienced, and reported to him.

 

 

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

 

And his inward affection is more abundant toward you

“His inward affection,” literally, "bowels;" denoting the love, and deep tenderness of Titus’ heart, and the strength of his affections, which inwardly and to a very great degree, he felt for the Corinthian Christians—Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels” (2 Corinthians 6:12-KJV). “We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us”(2 Corinthians 6:12-NIV). He has become deeply and tenderly attached to you. His affectionate regard for you has been greatly increased by his visit. The recollection of what had transpired at Corinth had bound him with the disciples there by ties of love and sympathy.

 

Whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all

Titus remembered and informed me of how readily, obediently, cheerfully, and universally you complied with the advice and orders given by me to him, and later given to you by him, when he gave you my letter. “So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are” (2 Corinthians 7:12).By your obedience to my admonitions (gentle and friendly reproof) and counsel, you have not only committed me to a debt of love for you, but Titus also; who joyfully remembers your goodness and love for the Savior. 

 

How with fear and trembling you received him

“How with fear and trembling you received him”—that is, with great humility, admiration, and respect for him as a minister of the Gospel, and as one sent by the apostle to them; they embraced him with great tributes of honour and esteem; for this is not to be understood of any inward slavish fear or dread of mind, or trembling of body at the sight of him, nor is it because he came to investigate the condition of their faith, and to present them with criticisms from the apostle. You received him “with fear and trembling, in case he should find out anything that would grieve and offend him. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:11). They had a deep apprehension of the consequences of the sin remaining. He saw what a fear there was of doing wrong, and what evidence there was that they wanted to do right. The combination of “fear and trembling” is a favorite of the Apostle Paul. (Compare 1 Corinthians 2:3Ephesians 6:5Philippians 2:12.) What it means is that Titus had been received, not, as he feared, with ill-tempered resistance, but with respectful reverence, but not without an element of fear.

 

 

16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

 

“I rejoice therefore:”

  1. That I can speak freely and boldly to you; criticize, scold, and advise you, since you take it all with a good spirit, which is how I intend for it to be received.
  2. That I can confidently speak in your favour, boast of your love and obedience, which is found by experience to be true.
  3. That I have confidence in you in all things
  4. That I can promise myself every good thing from you, that is proper to ask of you, and lies in your power to perform; which he says partly to commend them for their past conduct, and partly to pave the way for what he had to say to them, concerning taking up a collection for the poor saints.
  5. That you will listen and heed my scolding and counsel, and that I can confidently boast and glory in you.

 

“That I have confidence in you in all things. I have plenty of proof that you are willing to obey God, and to set aside everything that is offensive to Him. This part of the Epistle is designed, evidently, not merely to commend them for what they had done, and to show them the deep attachment which he had for them, but in a special manner to prepare them for what he was about to say in the following chapter, with regard to the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. What he says here was well adapted to introduce that subject. So far, they showed the deepest regard for him. They had complied with all his instructions. All that he had said about them had proved to be true. Just as he had boasted of them to Titus, and expressed his entire confidence that they would comply with his requests, so had he also boasted of them to the churches of Macedonia and expressed the utmost confidence that they would be liberal in their giving for the poor in Jerusalem—“For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action” (2 Corinthians 9:2). All that Paul says here in their favor, therefore, was highly adapted to excite them to liberality, and prepare them to comply with his wishes in regard to that contribution.

 

From this chapter, we learn the value of explanations. Had St Paul left the matter unsettled, or only half settled, there never could have been an ample understanding between him and the Corinthians. Whenever there is a misunderstanding between man and man, the best remedy is a direct and open request for explanation. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:15-17).


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