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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on 2 Corinthians

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Text Commentary side-by-side

1.1–2.13 : Opening.

1.1–2 : Salutation.

A standard part of Paul's letters; see 1 Cor 1.1; Phil 1.1; Philem 1 .

1 :

An apostle was a special emissary, but Paul reminds the Corinthians that he is sent by the will of God. Cf. Rom 1.1; 1 Cor 1.1; Gal 1.1 . For Paul's selfunderstanding of his call to be an apostle, see Gal 1.10–17 but also Rom 1.1–6; 1 Cor 9; 15.7–11 . Timothy, along with Silvanus, was with Paul at the founding of the Corinthian church (v. 19; Acts 18.5 ) and acted as Paul's representative when troubles broke out (1 Cor 4.17; 16.10–11; Acts 19.22 ). Elsewhere Paul calls Timothy “my beloved child” (1 Cor 4.17 ), but here he calls him brother, a sign of respect. Everywhere else in 2 Cor, the plural “churches” is used; the singular here, church of God, is a collective designation of all the congregations in Corinth. Saints refers not to an elite group of believers but to Christians being set apart by God. Achaia, the Roman senatorial province of which Corinth was the capital.

2 :

Grace to you and peace from God …, a standard Pauline greeting found in all his letters except 1 Thess 1.1 , where a short form is used.

1.3–7 : Paul blesses God for rescuing him and consoling his afflictions.

Not the standard thanksgiving that reinforces Paul's relationship with the recipients (e.g., Phil 1.3–11; 1 Thess 1.2–10 ), but a blessing in the Jewish liturgical tradition that emphasizes the attributes of God. Paul chooses the latter, partly because his relationship with the Corinthians is strained, and partly because he wants to introduce the themes of affliction and consolation, which are repeated at key points in the letter (see Introduction).

3–4 :

The designation of God as Father of mercies is common in Jewish worship; see Rom 12.1; Phil 2.1 . So that we may be able to console …, Paul asserts that whatever he experienced was for the sake of the Corinthians.

5–7 :

Paul invites the Corinthians to be partners in suffering by noting the believer's identifi cation with the sufferings of Christ which are abundant for us; see 4.10–11; Phil 3.10–11 .

1.8–11 : God delivers Paul.

In recounting how God has delivered him from near death, Paul stresses the Corinthians' participation in his ministry.

8 :

Asia, a Roman senatorial province in modernday western Turkey that included Ephesus.

9 :

There is no consensus on what this terrible ordeal was; possibilities include the imprisonment mentioned in Phil 1.19–24 or the event behind the cryptic phrase, “I fought with wild animals at Ephesus,” in 1 Cor 15.32 .

1.12–2.13 : Paul stresses his bond with the Corinthians.

Paul recounts his past dealings with the Corinthians in hopes of cementing his relationship with them.

12–14 :

Paul claims that his conduct toward the Corinthians is a basis of solidarity.

12 :

Boast or confidence is a prominent theme in the Pauline letters (e.g., 1 Thess 2.19 ) but especially in the Corinthian correspondence; 2 Cor 1.15 sure”; 3.4 “confidence”; 3.12 “boldness”; 6.11 “frankly”; 8.22; 9.3; 10.2 “boldness”; also 1 Cor 9.15 . It is here used as a synonym of conscience, the human capacity for selfjudgment.

13 :

Until the end can also be translated as “com pletely,” in contrast to “in part” in the next verse.

14 :

On the day of the Lord Jesus, the Second Coming; see 1 Cor 5.5; Phil 1.6,10; 2.16 . It is on that day when Paul's sincerity and conscience will be proven blameless, and that is his basis for boasting of his work done among the Corinthians.

1.15–2.13 : Paul remembers the Corinthians as he travels to Macedonia.

Paul's reference to his thoughts while traveling normally highlights his relationship to the congregation in spite of his absence (e.g., 1 Thess 2.17–3.3 ). Here he also responds to misunderstandings caused by his canceled visit.

15 :

Double favor possibly refers to the two visits Paul would have made to Corinth to and from Macedonia.

16 :

Send me on, to provide everything necessary for the journey (Rom 15.24; 1 Cor 16.6,11; Titus 3.13; 3 Jn 6 ), including finance, escorts (Acts 20.38; 21.5 ), letters of recommendation (2 Cor 3.1 ). Macedonia, the Roman province, here refers to Thessalonica and Philippi. Judea, not just southern Palestine but especially Jerusalem (Rom 15.31; Gal 1.22; cf. 1 Cor 16.3 ).

17 :

Vacillating, lit. “trifling.” Paul defends himself and his coworkers against the charge that they changed their minds frivolously and claims that his actions cannot be evaluated according to human standards.

18–19 :

“Yes and No,” a sign of equivocating; see Mt 5.37; Jas 5.12 .

19 :

Silvanus, or Silas, accompanied Paul in Acts 15–18 and is mentioned here as cofounder of the Corinthian church with Timothy; see also 1.1n.

20 :

Amen, a Hebrew word meaning “certainly” or “let it be so,” used in response to someone's statement and in liturgical settings; see Deut 27.14–26; 1 Chr 16.36; Neh 5.13; 8.6; 1 Cor 14.16 .

22 :

The reception of the Spirit as first installment (same word translated as “guarantee” in 5.5 ) is proof that God's promises will be fulfilled (v. 20 ).

23 :

I did not come again refers to the canceled double visit of vv. 15–16 .

2.1 :

Paul evidently made an unplanned painful visit to Corinth, his second, perhaps referred to in 13.2 , during which some member of the congregation grievously offended him (see 2.5–11; 7.12 ). A third visit is anticipated in 12.14,21; 13.1 . For sequenceof events, see Introduction.

3–4 :

I wrote as I did.I wrote you … with many tears (also v. 9 ), the “letter of tears,” written shortly after the “painful visit”; see 7.8,12 . The combination of tears and joy here recalls the twin themes of affliction and consolation in 1.3–11 . This letter is probably lost. Some have argued that chs 10–13 might be a part of this letter, but it seems unlikely. An older view that it might be 1 Cor, with the immoral act condemned in ch 5 , does not have many supporters today. See Introduc tion for sequence of events.

5–11 :

The “letter of tears” was evidently well received. Paul pleads that the offender be forgiven now that the whole congregation has meted out appropriate punishment (v. 6 ).

6 :

Such a person, his or her identity has never been ascertained; see also 7.12 .

11 :

Satan, Heb “accuser”; see also 11.14; 12.7 . Elsewhere in 2 Cor this evil figure is called “the god of this world” ( 4.4 ), “Beliar” ( 6.15 ), and “serpent” ( 11.3 ).

12 :

Troas, Roman colony in northwest modern Turkey, a short trip by sea to Philippi; see Acts 16.8–11 .

13 :

Titus, a coworker like Timothy and Silvanus, was likely the carrier of the “letter of tears” mentioned in 2.3–4; 7.8 . The narrative at this point drops Paul's anxious wait for Titus and resumes in 7.5 ; see Introduction.

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