2 Corinthians 7 Bible study

 

The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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Chapter 7.

 

Preparing the Way for Paul's Next Visit.

 

2. Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.

 

Paul wanted the Corinthians to make room for him and his companions, in their hearts and lives, that is, to welcome them when they came. You have no cause to reject us, says Paul. We have not treated any of you unjustly or done you any wrong at all. We have not "by our teaching or example corrupted you or encouraged immoral behavior" (Kruse) nor we have not cheated, robbed or made a financial gain of you. Kruse thinks that this suggests that Paul believed there was still some reticence on the part of the Corinthians to make room in their hearts for him.

 

3. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.

 

I'm not telling you off, says Paul. By defending my own integrity I do not mean to call your integrity into question. Instead I am imploring you as my own dear children, reminding you of the truth that you might not be led astray. Paul had already affirmed that he and his companions were so committed to the Corinthians that they would share their lives with them, to live when they lived and to die when they died (Ruth 1:16-17)."The idea is that the friendship will last through life and keep them together even if death is involved." (Kruse) 

 

4. I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction. 

 

Paul is extremely frank and open with them, just as he had been open in his boasting about his association with them. Paul was happy to be identified with them. In all his trials the steadfast faith of the Corinthian converts was enough to completely console and comfort him.

 

5. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way--disputes without and fears within.

 

Paul illustrates this. On his first return journey (alluded to in 1 Cor 16) his plan was to write to the Corinthians first, send Titus to Corinth with the letter, then meet him again in Macedonia before deciding whether to go straight on to Corinth; which the ywould do if Titus' news was favorable. But when they actually arrived in Macedonia they could find no rest, not only because of ongoing distress in Macedonia (2 Cor. 8:1-2) but because Titus had not returned when expected -  which meant they had received no news from Corinth. What could have gone wrong? What had happened in Corinth?

 

6,7. But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.

 

How relieved they all were when Titus, having just returned from Corinth, brought word that all was well. It was not just that Titus was safe and well, but everything was well in the Corinthian church. "Titus told us," says Paul, "that you still loved and longed to see us, that you had lamented over what should have been done which had not been done, the matter which occasioned the first letter, and of your zeal for us." As a husband is zealous (or jealous) for his wife that she is his wife, so the were Corinthians moved with love which said of the apostles "they are our brothers". This was tonic enough to cheer Paul up. It seemed Paul was sure that his next visit would be a pleasant one.

 

 

Godly Sorrow Leads to Repentance.

 

8. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly).

 

Though by sending his letter he had brought them sorrow, yet Paul did not regret sending it. He regretted having to cause the sorrow, but he did not regret what he had done - for the good effect which it produced was clear to all, vindicating Paul's manner and use of discipline. Besides, whilst the sorrow was for a little while, the results were lasting.

 

9. Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us.

 

Paul did not rejoice that he had made them sorry, but that their sorrow led them to repentance. His letter made them realize that they had not done what they should have. They had failed to deal with a serious matter which needed to be dealt with. Their sorrow brought them to a place where they were willing to do the right thing and so be made right with God again. That is why Paul refers to it as "godly sorrow", they had failed in their duty toward God but now had shown repentance toward him.

 

Hence Paul's whole handling of the affair was justified as being "from God" so that Paul could still say you have not received any harm from us as a result of improper discipline.

 

10. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. 

 

The sorrow which God intends is that sorrow for our sin, not its consequences; this sorrow will then cause a change of heart and mind. When this happens we take sides with God, who is grieved by our sin and we lament it, that by his help we might turn from it (Isa. 1:18). Turning to God from our sin by faith in Jesus Christ results in forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and peace; which is why although sorrow is painful, one is never "sorry" that one has repented.

 

There is no hope of forgiveness in worldly sorrow - it is remorse about what has been done because of the consequences. As in the case of Judas, such remorse does not bring us to God but results in eternal death.

 

11. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter.

 

See for yourselves, say Paul, that although the discipline was hard for you, it has produced good character. The realization of their fault made them earnest to diligently make it right (carefulness); it filled them with a desire to clear their names by showing they had nothing to do with the incest; it produced in them an indignation against the wrong and renewed a wholesome fear of God; their earnest desire had been reawakened toward God by the realization of how far they had fallen - they were no longer complacent, but zealous for God, just as Phinehas was (Num. 25:3-9). Some commentators suggest that the Corinthians were also earnest in their desire to be reconciled to Paul. In all this the church had utterly vindicated both itself and Paul's use of discipline. They had "stood clear" of the incest and dealt with it so that no one could point any finger of accusation against the church.

 

"Whatever suspicion of complicity rested on you through your former remissness, you have cleared off by your present strenuousness in reprobating the deed". JFB

 

 

Paul's Confidence in the Corinthians. 

 

12. So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God.

 

Paul had not written his first letter simply to deal with the offending party or to give justice for the wronged party. These were matters for the church to deal with. But when the church had failed, Paul had to show them what they ought to do. This revealed his concern and care for the whole church, for while they were autonomous they were still young in the faith and under his apostolic wing. Hopefully they had also seen how dangerous it was for them to reject Paul's authority as some had. 

 

13. In this we find comfort. In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you.

 

Not only had the matter of incest been dealt with, but the church was back on right terms with the apostle and this greatly cheered him, for now "all was well". And he was the more so, because evidently Titus had been overjoyed and refreshed by their reality of their love and zeal as if it were by a cool refreshing wind.

 

14. For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well.

 

Whatever Paul had boasted about the Corinthians, how he assured Titus that they would receive him and zealously obey his letter, his boasting was not vain. Even as all he had told the Corinthians about Christ was true, so also all he had told Titus was proved to be true. And no wonder, for Paul knew that the Corinthian believers were "of the truth" (1 John 3:18-19).

 

15. And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling.

 

Titus would never forget the bond of love he had formed with the Corinthians. His bowels of affection (in spirit) were exceedingly moved for them whenever he remembered how they had welcomed him with fear and trembling as a servant of God and had listened attentively and submitted to his word, which was in fact the will of God made known by Titus through Paul's letter.

 

16. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

 

This gave Paul the confidence of a father with a maturing son or daughter - that the young church was maturing and more able to handle its on affairs - taking responsibility and behaving in a way that brought glory to Jesus Christ. This confidence gives rise to a question amongst some scholars, which Kruse explains: "such an expression of confidence stands in stark contrast to the way Paul addressees the same people in chapters 10 - 13 and this is one of the main reasons that many scholars believe these chapters to be the remains of a third letter written by Paul.

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