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2 Corinthians Chapter Two


I. Content of the Chapter


The Ministry of Diffusing the Fragrance of Christ

A.   Share the joy and sorrows with other members together (v.1-4);

B.   Discipline and forgiveness in love (v.5-11);

C.   Be concerned about the condition of the church more than the work of the gospel (v.12-13);

D.   Preach and boast everywhere in Christ through God (v.14-17);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


2Cor. 2:1 But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.

YLT: “And I decided this to myself, not again to come in sorrow unto you,”

Meaning of Words: “determine”: judge, distinguish, conclude; “sorrow”: grief, heaviness, sadness;

Literal Meaning:but I determined this within myself, that I would come again to you”, “again”, it showed that Paul had visited Corinth before the Epistles to the Corinthians. And according to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, that visitation was not the primary one, but the second one (see 12:14; 13:1). 

  “Not …in sorrow”, we can see that believers in Corinth felt grievous when Paul visited them the previous time. Therefore, some Bible exegetes call the second visitation of Paul “the grievous visitation” or “sad visitation”. “Sorrow” means that one’s inside grief is manifested in his countenance.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     The Lord’s workers should treat all the saints as fathers to the children without making them sorrowful easily.

2)      Wherever the Lord’s servants go, they should manifest peace and joy and avoid strife or sorrow.


2Cor. 2:2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?

YLT: “for if I make you sorry, then who is he who is making me glad, except he who is made sorry by me?”

Literal Meaning: “for if I make you sorrowful, it means that Paul had rebuked their faults straightly in his previous visitation, which made them grievous. Here, it is grieving to repentance (see 7:9).

“But the one who is made sorrowful by me”, there are two explanations for this verse: 1) “the one who is made sorrowful” refers to believers in Corinth, which means “but you who are sorrowful because of me”; 2) “the one”, some Bible exegetes think it refers to the foreign false apostle, who was rebuked in public, so this verse means “is it the false apostle who was rebuked by me and felt sorrowful?”. This explanation suggests that the false apostle had repented, but we can not see such meaning from this book (see 11:13; 13:2-3). The first answer is better. And the singular number “the one” refers to the whole group.

“Then who is he who makes me glad”. According to the explanation above, it means that “it is only you that can make me glad”. Paul had also expresses such meaning in this epistle: he rejoiced when he heard the message brought by Titus of the grief and repentance of believers in Corinth (see 7:7).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     If the lost sheep is found (Matt. 18:12-14)and the saints who have made mistakes return to the right way, it will make those who are of the Lord joyful mostly.

2)     “Man” is much more important than “things” in the church. It is indeed that the faults in the saints should be corrected, but we should not do it for the sake of things only, but for the purpose of gaining the saints (see Matt. 18:15) and helping them return to the normal condition.


2Cor. 2:3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.

YLT: “and I wrote to you this same thing, that having come, I may not have sorrow from them of whom it behoved me to have joy, having confidence in you all, that my joy is of you all,”

Literal Meaning:I wrote this very thing to you, Paul had ever written an epistle to visit them so as to spare them (see 1:23). And yet this epistle ought not to be the First Epistle to the Corinthians, but another epistle which was failed to be handed down from the past generations between the First Epistle and the Second Epistle (see v.4, 9). Paul had strictly reproached believers in Corinth in that epistle and made them sorrowful (see 7:8, 12).

“Lest, when I came, if I did not visit you by the epistle beforehand, there might be no good condition when I came to you.

“Those from whom I ought to have joy, “those” refers to believers in Corinth; Paul hoped that they would be mournful and repent so that he would rejoice for them.

I should have sorrow over”, if Paul visited believers in Corinth when they still had misunderstanding about him, it might profit them nothing and he would be sad about their condition.

“Having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all”, “having confidence”, though the church in Corinth built by Paul was misled and distracted from the right way, she would still yield good fruit on account of the life planted in them and the foundation laid in them (1Cor.3:6, 10). Such faith of him is the faith in the life of God and Christ Himself rather than faith in man or works.

Since Paul rejoices at the joy of God and all the saints in the life of God and Christ (see Rom. 5:11; 1Cor. 12:26), He is confident that they will also rejoice at his joy when they are brought back into the life of God and Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Word in written form can often generate unanticipated effect as well as make up the shortcomings of oral languages, e.g. handing out the paper of the glad tidings: it sometimes produces unexpected effect in unexpected occasion.

2)     Only the one who rejoices at the normal spiritual condition of others can deliver his joy to others so that his joy will also become that of others.

3)     The joy of the workers of God is the joy of the church, and the joy of the church is the joy of the workers of God, for all the true joy is the joy (boast) in God (Rom. 5:11).


2Cor. 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

YLT: “for out of much tribulation and pressure of heart I wrote to you through many tears, not that ye might be made sorry, but that ye might know the love that I have more abundantly toward you.”

Literal Meaning: “for out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, this epistle was the so-called “epistle with many tears”, not the First Epistle to the Corinthians, because there was little proof of the “much affliction and anguish of heartwith many tears” in the first epistle, though there is much reproach and encouragement therein. Therefore, many Bible exegetes think it may refer to the lost epistle between the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Second Epistle to the Corinthians.

“Not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you”, “love abundantly”, it responses to the above-mentioned “much” anguish and “many” tears, showing that such love is exceedingly superfluous and beyond measure. The abundant and deep love of Paul is manifested from his words, so believers will feel his love instead of his reproach.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Sometimes, the Lord reproaches us in us or chastens us through the external environment. Both of them are due to His love to us. We shall receive His love willingly.

2)     Only those who “have abundant love” to the church and even have “much affliction and anguish of heartwith many tears” have the right to reproach the church severely in the name of God, because the rebuke of such ones is not fleshly rejection, but restoration in love.

3)     Knowledge profits men within limits, and only love edifies (1Cor. 8:1). Let all things we do be done in love (1Cor. 16:14).


2Cor. 2:5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent--not to be too severe.

YLT: “And if any one hath caused sorrow, he hath not caused sorrow to me, but in part, that I may not burden you all;”

Meaning of Words: “too severe”: be heavy upon, be expensive to, and over-charge;

Literal Meaning: “but if anyone has caused grief, concerning the one who caused grief, there are two explanations: 1) the traditional explanation refers to the one who commits sexual immorality (see 1Cor. 5:1). It is shown that he thoroughly rectified his errors and was exceedingly mournful after he was excommunicated, so Paul exhorted the church to receive him again in love (see v.6-8). Such explanation does not go against the truth, for God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we believers are willing to confess his sin (1John 1:8). It is not like what some Bible exegetes hold that man who has committed sexual immorality should be excommunicated forever. If this man was the brother who had committed sexual immorality, the epistle mentioned below ---- “for to this end I also wrote” (see v.9; 7:8, 12) ---- might be the First Epistle to the Corinthians, not the lost epistle “with tears”.

2) During the past few years, many Bible exegetes agreed that the one referred to someone else. Possibly, it might be the brother who opposed and gainsaid Paul in the presence of all and questioned his apostleship as well as the gospel Paul preached, which made not only Paul but also believers in Corinth sorrowful. When Paul left Corinth, he urged the church to deal with that man in the epistle “with tears” so as to try the condition of their obedience to the truth (see v.9). And the man was punished by the majority (see v.6), and seemed to have repented and be mournful. Therefore, Paul suggested forgiving him (see v.7). If it was this brother, he must be not the false apostle, for Paul still remembered the problem of the false apostles and even asked believers in Corinth to beware of them (see 11:13-15).

    The two explanations above are reasonable. Let every reader choose what is acceptable in his sight.

“He has not grieved me, but all of you”, here, the “grief” (see Matt. 5:4) is being grieving for sins in the church and normal conditions.

“To some extent--not to be too severe”, Paul said “to some extent” in order to avoid exaggeration. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Paul has not clearly pointed out who the man is, but mentions “anyone has caused grief”, so the man will not feel embarrassed. We should learn to consider others in the church.

2)     If we do not speak or walk carefully in the church, we have not only offended one member but also sometimes offended a lot of brothers and sisters and hurt their hearts.

3)     Believers should not speak in an exaggerated way, but speak with propriety.


2Cor. 2:6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,

YLT: “sufficient to such a one is this punishment, that by the more part,”

Meaning of Words: punishment”: penalty, pay the cost;

Literal Meaning: “this punishment which was inflicted by the majorityfor such a man”, “such” refers to the brother who committed sexual immorality or rebelled against Paul, “this punishment which was inflicted”, be punished by the church.

“Is sufficient”, the punishment should not be overdone

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     The punishment by the majority (namely, the punishment of the church) is a severe thing (see Matt. 18:17-18), so it cannot be executed on believers flippantly.

2)     The punishment in the church aims to restoring brothers instead of destroying brothers. Therefore, when the testimony is maintained and the truth is exalted, the punishment should be stopped.

3)     To those who have been overtaken in faults, men tend to be either too lenient or too severe. Especially to those who have close relation with oneself, one may be too gentle to ignore righteousness. And to those whom one has nothing to do with, one may only be concerned about the truth but neglect love. Christians in the church should keep the balance impartially.


2Cor. 2:7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.

YLT: “so that, on the contrary, rather for you to forgive and to comfort, lest by over abundant sorrow such a one may be swallowed up;”

Meaning of Words:forgive”: grant as a favor, pardon; comfort”: call near, exhort;

Literal Meaning:so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, forgive”: not remember his transgressions; “comfort”: to encourage him go ahead together; the former is receiving, and the latter in fellowship in a more active aspect. 

“Lest perhaps with too much sorrow”, it shows that the brother who had made mistakes had mourned and repented after being punished by the majority.

“Such a one be swallowed up”, “be swallowed up”, it is not perdition, but falling into the devices of Satan (see v.11) and totally departing from God and thus being swallowed by the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Man who can only condemn and reject others in the church without considering the soul of them at all is unworthy of condemning them, for he has no sense of body and lacks the love among members.

2)     No matter how great sins we believers have had, we should not depart from the Lord because of fear, but shall repent toward the Lord so that we can be received by the Lord.

3)     Moreover, no matter how great sins believers have had, as long as they are willing to repent and confess sins, we should forgive and accept them, lest “perhaps they be swallowed up with too much sorrow”.

4)     Many ones say forgiveness but do not actually forgive within their hearts. Many ones receive passively and have not entered into active fellowship.

5)     The exceedingly severe punishment in the church and the undue sorrow of the one who makes the mistake will both cause a believer too depressed to be restored and extricate himself from the world.


2Cor. 2:8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

YLT: “wherefore, I call upon you to confirm love to him,”

Meaning of Words: “urge”: invoke; “reaffirm”: make authoritative, ratify (a legal word); “love”: divine love, perfect love;

Literal Meaning:you to reaffirm your love to him”, to prove the love of Christians by actions so that the one who has repented will indeed know he has completely been received into the fellowship of the body.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     It is uneasy that we shall have no longer prejudice against the one who has repented. However, the demand in the Scriptures is more difficult that we shall love him. However, the words of God make us know that we can not, but God can. It is the love of God that will be manifested through us.

2)     Love is the more excellent way (1Cor. 12:31). Only love makes others know that there is indeed no gap between one and others.


2Cor. 2:9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

YLT: “for, for this also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether in regard to all things ye are obedient.”

Literal Meaning: “for to this end I also wrote, if “the one who has caused grief” in this paragraph referred to the brother who had committed sexual immorality (1Cor. 5:1), the epistle Paul also wrote in this verse was the First Epistle to the Corinthians. However, if the one was the brother who gainsaid and attacked Paul (see the commentary of verse five), this epistle was the epistle “with tears” that was lost.

“That I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things”, the purpose of “test” is to test the reality of one’s spiritual characters ---- e.g. love, faith, obedience (see 8:8, 22; 13:5). Someone says the object of “obedience” is the spiritual authority (see 7:15), and someone says the truth of the gospel (see 9:13), but the real motive of obedience should be Christ (see 10:5), that is, God. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     There is truth and yet also falsehood. It is difficult to discern many spiritual things in the church from appearance. The reality can be known by trial only. Therefore, we shall not easily believe any spiritual appearance (see 1John 4:1).

2)     Spiritual things that are of God are true, and yet of men are false. The obedience towards men is with limits. And the obedience towards God is obedience in everything.


2Cor. 2:10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

YLT: “And to whom ye forgive anything -- I also; for I also, if I have forgiven anything, to whom I have forgiven , because of you -- in the person of Christ --”

Literal Meaning: “now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive”, it is because that Paul and the church have been both grieved (see v.5), and the one who has mostly been grieved is Paul himself. However, Paul does not take any action before the church, so he firstly proposes forgiveness to the church (see v.7). If the church receives the proposal, of course, Paul will be willing to take the same action with the church.

For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ”, here, Paul shows the principles of forgiving that man: 1) Forgive in the presence of Christ; “in the presence of”, it means the countenance manifested abound the eyes in the original, namely, expression in the eyes, or hint given with the eyes. Therefore, it means keeping according to the will of the Lord known from the fellowship with Him and the light of His countenance. 2) Forgivefor your sakes; “you” refers to the church in Corinth. Paul conducts for the sake of the profits and the edification of the church.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Christians should have the sense of body and take actions with the body together. This is the basic principle of building the church.

2)     Christians should walk according to the will of the Lord. However, if we do not often have close fellowship with the Lord in the light of His countenance, we cannot know His will.


2Cor. 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

YLT: “that we may not be over-reached by the Adversary, for of his devices we are not ignorant.”

Meaning of Words: “Satan”: the accuser, the devil, the adversary; “take advantage of”: make a gain, over-reach, be covetous (a military word in the original); “device”: perception, purpose, intellect, disposition, thought, mind;

Literal Meaning:lest Satan should take advantage of us”, it indicates the constant device of the enemy of God Satan is lying in ambush for and waiting for the best opportunity to knock one sideways.

“For we are not ignorant of his devices”, it tells us that since we have known the device of Satan, we should beware of it, otherwise, it will be worse than anything imaginable.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     If the church lacks the spirit of forgiveness, the enemy will take advantage of this chance to creep into the church. If brothers condemn one another, Satan will overcome. Remember that if brothers wrestle with one another, the one that really overcome is not anyone of the believers, but the evil Satan!

2)     If members in the body are unwilling to forgive one another, it is foolish whatever the reason is. Only forgiveness in Christ on account of love can build a solid wall to guard against all the attacks of the enemy who have many devices.


2Cor. 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,

YLT: “And having come to Troas for the good news of the Christ, and a door to me having been opened in the Lord,”

Literal Meaning: “Troas” was a harbor city in the northwest of the province of Asia near the Aegean Sea. Across the sea, it was the city of Philippi in the province of Macedonia. Paul had ever been to Troas twice in his preachment journey (Acts 16:8). After the riot in Ephesus, possibly, Paul went to Macedonia by way of Troas (see Acts 20:1). Here, “when I came to Troas”, it might not refer to the first visitation (Acts 16:8) nor the other visitation before going to Jerusalem (Acts 20:5-12), but some days during the period mentioned in Acts 20:1-3.

“And a door was opened to me by the Lord”, it indicated that Paul’s works of the gospel in Troas were blessed by God and men responded extremely warm to the gospel. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Wherever Paul went, he always preached the gospel and sowed the seed of the gospel. He is really a good example to the messengers of the gospel.

2)     The preachment of the gospel needs not only utterance (see Eph. 6:19) but also the door of preachment opened by the Lord (Col. 4:3). Therefore, we shall pray for the two things: may the Lord release the utterance of preachment as well as the hearts of those who hear the words. 


2Cor. 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

YLT: “I have not had rest to my spirit, on my not finding Titus my brother, but having taken leave of them, I went forth to Macedonia;”

Literal Meaning:I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother”, it could be inferred from many verses that Paul’s epistle “with tears” might be brought to the church in Corinth by Titus and they might make an appointment to meet in Troas afterwards so as to know the reaction of believers in Corinth. However, Paul did not see Titus after waiting for him some days.

“But taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia”, Paul was anxious to know the condition of believers in Corinth but did not see Titus coming back to Troas. He did not know what was going on, and had no rest in spirit, so he was not in the mood to keep preaching the gospel in Troas. Therefore, he went across the sea and departed for Macedonia (by way of Philippi possibly) along the reverse journey of the return trip of Titus.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     Though the Lord opened the door of the gospel in Troas for Paul (v.12), he “had no rest in spirit” for he “did not find Titus my brother” and departed for Macedonia to wait for him. Paul regarded his fellow workers more important than works ---- truly he is a man who understands what the corporate service in the body is.

2)     Today, there are many so-called servants of God who forsake their fellow workers for the sake of works, thus causing “fellow workers” “oppose one another”. They should learn the lesson from here.

3)     Paul cares for the church more than his works. And he is totally different from many servants of the Lord who only care for works instead of the conditions of the flock. If one only preaches the gospel but does not feed the lamb, the fruit of the gospel will be withered. Men may ask why he should preach the gospel!

4)     We shall closely remember that what God desires to gain is man, not work. Only those who are possessed by God will please God. If man catches the works closely, it makes the works of God even suffer loss.

5)     Though Paul prearranged his journey, he did not totally walk according to the plan. What he really cared for was the guidance of God in Him. He seemed to use lightness and be Yes and No (see 1:17), but actually he kept the will of God and walked according to the Spirit.

6)     When we Christians rely on the guidance of God, we see the proof of God in our environment ---- whether the Lord has opened the door (see v.12), but ignore the voice of God in us ---- whether there is rest in spirit. However, Paul pays more attention to the internal guidance than the external environment, and honors the “forbiddance” of God more than the “allowance” of God.


2Cor. 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

YLT: “and to God thanks, who at all times is leading us in triumph in the Christ, and the fragrance of His knowledge He is manifesting through us in every place,”

Meaning of Words:leads in triumph”: make an acclamatory procession; “diffuse”: manifest, reveal;

The Background: at that time, the highest glory of the generals of the Roman Empire was leading the whole army into the city gate after conquering the enemy country. On the day of the triumphant return, there were Roman pagan priests in the marching who held the burning censers in their hands and swayed the censers. The fragrance the censers diffused could be smelled by the people on both sides.

Literal Meaning: “now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, it indicates that God is the leader of the triumphant army (see Jos. 5:14). “We” shows that we believers are spiritual soldiers; “lead us in triumph in Christ”, in all these things we more than conquer through him that has loved us (Rom. 8:37).

“And through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place”, it points that believers bear witnesses to the Lord everywhere and diffuse the fragrance of the gospel. “Knowledge”: a kind of knowledge from revelation; it is a kind of particular fragrance that believers show their knowledge about Christ among the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     God does not lead us in triumph in ourselves, but “in Christ”, for Christ is the reason and accordance of all our victory.

2)     “The fragrance of Christ” (v.15) is from the “knowledge of Christ”. And such knowledge is not obtained from letters, but from one’s personal experience in Christ.

3)     The fragrance of Christ revealed from those who really know Christ is not restricted by space (“in every place”), and is even beyond the time so that men of later generations can also smell it.

4)     The most important point of the way in which the workers of God walk is to manifest Christ and provide Christ in many ways so that men can meet Christ everywhere.

5)     When we are willing to put down our own will, opinions and power, we will let others see the authority of God (“God who always leads”) on us and know the fullness of Christ.


2Cor. 2:15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

YLT: “because of Christ a sweet fragrance we are to God, in those being saved, and in those being lost;”

Literal Meaning: “for we are to God”, “we” refers to Paul and his fellow workers, and also all believers. “To God”, it indicates that all the being and doing are for God and unto God. 

“Among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”, here, men are divided into two kinds: “those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”. One has no other end except for “being saved” or “perishing”.

“The fragrance of Christ”, the odor that pleases men, which refers to the fragrance diffused when the sacrifices were burned in the Old Testament (see Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2). All those who are devoted to God and live to Him are a living sacrifice acceptable to God (see Rom. 12:1).

The whole verse shows that all those who love God and live to God are a living sacrifice to God and their ministry is manifesting the fragrance of Christ among men in the world through the preachment of the gospel and the testimony of life. He who receives the fragrance will be saved, and he who refuses will perish.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     We shall firstly live to God and then will manifest the fragrance of Christ among men.

2)     The fragrance of Christ will be revealed in those who obey His guidance ---- he who follows the Lord’s guidance shall have the fragrance. He who does not follow the Lord’s guidance will lose the fragrance.


2Cor. 2:16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?

YLT: “to the one, indeed, a fragrance of death to death, and to the other, a fragrance of life to life; and for these things who is sufficient?”

Meaning of Words:sufficient”: competent, ample, fit, enough;

The Background: when the triumphant Roman army marched to celebrate their victory, the fragrance of the burning censers could be smelled everywhere. Such fragrance was a pleasant and joyful message to the people and generals of the Roman Empire. However, to the captives of the enemy country at the end of the army, the fragrance was a sign of the impending death sentence.

Literal Meaning: “to the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, the one” refers to the one who does not believe. The gospel of the crucified Christ will condemn (see John 3:18) those who have heard the gospel but are still hardened and refuse to believe Christ.

“And to the other the aroma of life leading to life”, “the other” refers to the one who believes. The gospel is the power of God, and will save all those who have heard and believed the gospel (Rom. 1:16) and lead them into life eternal.

And who is sufficient for these things?” Possibly, it has several meanings as follows:

1)    “These things” refer to the fragrance of Christ that diffuses everywhere. Who is worthy of there things?

2)    “These things”, the fragrance of Christ will cause two opposite ends. Who can change or hinder this principle?

3)    “These things”, it indicates that the fragrance of Christ will make those who refuse to believe Christ die. Who can still refuse to believe Him and yet feel not dreadful?

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     The fragrance of Christ on one hand has the killing power that makes one experience death and on the other hand has the risen power that makes one experience resurrection. This is the ministry of the New Testament that “provides Christ to men”.

2)     Men’s response to Christ decides whether men will live or die. What is most worthwhile to do is choosing to receive Christ. And what is most pitiful is choosing to refuse Christ.


2Cor. 2:17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

YLT: “for we are not as the many, adulterating the word of God, but as of sincerity -- but as of God; in the presence of God, in Christ we do speak.”

The Background: peddle”, at that time, some peddlers in the low social status walked along the street to sell some fake goods and defrauded men of profit. In the times of Paul, there were some Bible scholars who changed the scriptures slightly and added something and spoke as they wished to attract men’s ears for the purpose of profits.

Literal Meaning: “for we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God”, “many” refers to the false apostles; “peddling the word of God”, they added men’s words into God’s words and even (see Matt. 15:9) and taught teachings commandments of men in order to serve their own belly (see Rom. 16:18).

“But as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ”, it points out four conditions of normal preachment:

1)    As of sincerity, which means cutting in a straight line the word of truth (2Tim. 2:15) and not varying the content of the preachment according to the difference of hearers;

2)    From God, which means preaching in the inspiration and guidance of God;

3)    In the sight of God, which means being responsible to God for the preachment;

4)    In Christ, which means preaching the words of God in the union with Christ so as to manifest Christ;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     From ancient times to the present, “peddling the word of God” made the church suffer loss. How shameful! Therefore, we should not covet for any profit in the church, but seek the Lord and worship God of sincerity.

2)     The Lord’s faithful and good servants decide their steps according to the guidance of God sincerely and preach the message given by God in Christ before God.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


How Does Paul Deal With the Attacks of Others?

A.   He has lenient tolerance (1:23-2:2);

B.   He has courteous response (v.3-10);

C.   He catches the opportunity to preach the word of God (v.11-13);

D.   He boasts of the triumph in Christ (v.14-17);


The Reasons Why Paul Changes His Plan of Journey

A.   To spare the saints so as to avoid the punishment of chastisement (1:23-24);

B.   To avoid the sorrow of all (v.1);

C.   To avoid the opposition to those whom he loves (v.2);

D.   To avoid being hurt because of attacks of men (v.3);

E.   To show his love by epistle instead of personal visitation (v.4);


The Hidden Reasons Why Paul Changes His Plan of Journey

A.   For the sake of making all joyful and void of sorrow (v.1-4);

B.   For the sake of forgiving those who are repented (v.5-11);

C.   For the sake of preaching the gospel and diffusing the fragrance of Christ (v.12-17);


The Good Examples of the Lord’s Worker

A.   He cares for men than works (v.12-13);

B.   He manifests Christ and boasts of Christ everywhere (v.14).

C.   The fragrance of Christ to God and among men (v.15-16);

D.   He takes the responsibility of preaching the word of God (v.16-17):

1.    Sincerity;

2.    Of God;

3.    From God;

4.    In Christ;


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou