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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on 2 Corinthians

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1.1–7 .

1–2 :

Greeting. This greeting resembles other Pauline greetings (1 Thess 1.1; Phil 1.1–2 ). Timothy joins Paul in addressing the church. He had participated in the church's founding ( 1.19; Acts 18.5 ) and was well known to the church (1 Cor 4.17; 16.10–11 ).

3–7 :

Prayer of blessing. Pauline letters usually open with a prayer of thanksgiving (Rom 1.8–15; 1 Cor 1.4–9 ). Here Paul uses the Jewish prayer of blessing (“berakah”) found elsewhere in the New Testament (Eph 1.3–14; 1 Pet 1.3–9 ). Paul had recently experienced great affliction and suffering in his dealings with the church. This has given way to consolation and a sense of relief that a severe crisis has passed.

1.8–14 :

Paul's recent despair. Afflictionin Asia: The circumstances of this crisis are not known. It may refer to the riot described in Acts 19.23–41 .

9 :

Sentence of death need not mean legal punishment. It is probably a figure of speech for a close shave with death.

12 :

Boast here and in v. 14 is used in a positive sense, meaning “source of pride” (Phil 2.16 ). Frankness, sometimes rendered “simplicity,” is being straightforward in one's dealings.

13–14 :

Endday of the Lord Jesus refers to the time of Jesus' return (1 Cor 1.8; Phil 1.6 ).

1.15–22 :

Paul's change of plans.

15 :

Double favor refers to Paul's two planned visits.

16 :

The route implied is Ephesus, Corinth (in Achaia), Macedonia (probably Thessalonica or Philippi), Corinth, Judea (1 Cor 16.5–8 ). The trip to Judea would be to deliver the collection for poor Christians in Jerusalem (Rom 15.25–26 ).

17–20 :

To identify Christ as God's “Yes” reflects the conviction that God's promises have been fulfilled in him (Gal 3.14–16; Rom 15.8 ).

21–22 :

His Spirit may be Christ's Spirit (Rom 8.9 ). First installment is a commercial term, “down payment,” a gesture of good faith indicating the balance will follow (Rom 5.5; 8.23 ).

1.23–2.13 :

A painful visit recalled. This visit apparently caused Paul to change the plans mentioned in 1.16 . Instead of going from Ephesus to Corinth, he must have gone north to Troas, then on to Macedonia, where he is now writing ( 2.12–23 ).

2.2 :

This person's identity is not known, but clearly the confrontation was painful for everyone involved—Paul, the person, the whole church ( 2.5–8 ).

3–4, 9 :

This letter better describes chs. 10–13 than 1 Corinthians, which does not reflect such distress, anguish, and tears. It was apparently written from Ephesus after Paul returned from the painful visit to Corinth.

6–11 :

How the unnamed person was punished by the majority is not clear. Perhaps the church excluded him from its presence or simply reprimanded him. Paul's call for love and forgiveness and his remarks in v. 9 suggest that the church sided with Paul.

11 :

Paul sees Satan as an active opponent ( 11.14; 12.7 ).

12–13 :

Troas was located on the northwestern coast of Asia Minor. Titus probably delivered the “tearful letter” to Corinth.

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