2 Corinthians 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Corinthians 2)

Verse 1

[1] But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

In grief — Either on account of the particular offender, or of the church in general.

Verse 2

[2] For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?

For if I grieve you, who is he that cheereth me, but he that is grieved by me — That is, I cannot be comforted myself till his grief is removed.

Verse 3

[3] And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.

And I wrote thus to you — I wrote to you before in this determination, not to come to you in grief.

Verse 4

[4] For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

From much anguish I wrote to you, not so much that ye might be grieved, as that ye might know by my faithful admonition my abundant love toward you.

Verse 5

[5] But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.

He hath grieved me but in part — Who still rejoice over the greater part of you. Otherwise I might burden you all.

Verse 6

[6] Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

Sufficient for such an one — With what a remarkable tenderness does St. Paul treat this offender! He never once mentions his name. Nor does he here so much as mention his crime.

By many — Not only by the rulers of the church: the whole congregation acquiesced in the sentence.

Verse 10

[10] To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

To whom ye forgive — He makes no question of their complying with his direction.

Anything — So mildly does he speak even of that heinous sin, after it was repented of.

In the person of Christ — By the authority wherewith he has invested me.

Verse 11

[11] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Lest Satan — To whom he had been delivered, and who sought to destroy not only his flesh, but his soul also.

Get an advantage over us — For the loss of one soul is a common loss.

Verse 12

[12] Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

Now when I came to Troas — It seems, in that passage from Asia to Macedonia, of which a short account is given, Acts 20:1,2. Even though a door was opened to me - That is, there was free liberty to speak, and many were willing to hear: yet,

Verse 13

[13] I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

I had no rest in my spirit — From an earnest desire to know how my letter had been received.

Because I did not find Titus — In his return from you.

So I went forth into Macedonia — Where being much nearer, I might more easily be informed concerning you. The apostle resumes the thread of his discourse, 2 Corinthians 7:2, interposing an admirable digression concerning what he had done and suffered elsewhere, the profit of which he by this means derives to the Corinthians also; and as a prelude to his apology against the false apostles.

Verse 14

[14] Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

To triumph, implies not only victory, but an open manifestation of it. And as in triumphal processions, especially in the east, incense and perfumes were burned near the conqueror, the apostle beautifully alludes to this circumstance in the following verse: as likewise to the different effects which strong perfumes have upon different persons; some of whom they revive, while they throw others into the most violent disorders.

Verse 15

[15] For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

For we — The preachers of the gospel.

Are to God a sweet odour of Christ — God is well-pleased with this perfume diffused by us, both in them that believe and are saved, treated of, 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 4:2; and in them that obstinately disbelieve and, consequently, perish, treated of, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6.

Verse 16

[16] To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

And who is sufficient for these things — No man living, but by the power of God's Spirit.

Verse 17

[17] For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

For we are not as many, who adulterate the word of God — Like those vintners (so the Greek word implies) who mix their wines with baser liquors.

But as of sincerity — Without any mixture.

But as from God — This rises higher still; transmitting his pure word, not our own.

In the sight of God — Whom we regard as always present, and noting every word of our tongue.

Speak we — The tongue is ours, but the power is God's.

In Christ — Words which he gives, approves, and blesses.