2 Corinthians 7 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Corinthians 7)

Verse 1

[1] Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Let us cleanse ourselves — This is the latter part of the exhortation, which was proposed, 2 Corinthians 6:1, and resumed, 2 Corinthians 6:14.

From all pollution of the flesh — All outward sin.

And of the spirit — All inward. Yet let us not rest in negative religion, but perfect holiness - Carrying it to the height in all its branches, and enduring to the end in the loving fear of God, the sure foundation of all holiness.

Verse 2

[2] Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Receive us — The sum of what is said in this, as well as in the tenth and following chapters.

We have hurt no man — In his person.

We have corrupted no man — In his principles.

We have defrauded no man — Of his property. In this he intimates likewise the good he had done them, but with the utmost modesty, as it were not looking upon it.

Verse 3

[3] I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

I speak not to condemn you — Not as if I accused you of laying this to my charge. I am so far from thinking so unkindly of you, that ye are in our hearts, to live and die with you - That is, I could rejoice to spend all my days with you.

Verse 4

[4] Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

I am filled with comfort — Of this he treats, 2 Corinthians 7:6, etc.; of his joy, 2 Corinthians 7:7, etc.; of both, 2 Corinthians 7:13.

Verse 5

[5] For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

Our flesh — That is, we ourselves.

Had no rest from without — From the heathens.

Were fightings — Furious and cruel oppositions.

From within — From our brethren.

Were fears — Lest they should be seduced.

Verse 7

[7] And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

Your earnest desire — To rectify what had been amiss.

Your grief — For what had offended God, and troubled me.

Verse 8

[8] For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

I did repent — That is, I felt a tender sorrow for having grieved you, till I saw the happy effect of it.

Verse 10

[10] For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

The sorrow of the world — Sorrow that arises from worldly considerations.

Worketh death — Naturally tends to work or occasion death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal.

Verse 11

[11] For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

How great diligence it wrought in you — Shown in all the following particulars.

Yea, clearing of yourselves — Some had been more, some less, faulty; whence arose these various affections. Hence their apologizing and indignation, with respect to themselves; their fear and desire, with respect to the apostle; their zeal and revenge, with respect to the offender, yea, and themselves also.

Clearing of yourselves — From either sharing in, or approving of, his sin.

Indignation — That ye had not immediately corrected the offender.

Fear — Of God's displeasure, or lest I should come with a rod.

Vehement desire — To see me again.

Zeal — For the glory of God, and the soul of that sinner.

Yea, revenge — Ye took a kind of holy revenge upon yourselves, being scarce able to forgive yourselves.

In all things ye — As a church.

Have approved yourselves to be pure — That is, free from blame, since ye received my letter.

Verse 12

[12] Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

It was not only, or chiefly, for the sake of the incestuous person, or of his father; but to show my care over you.