2 Corinthians 2 - The Devil’s Strategy Defeated by Affirming Love
2 But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. 2 For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful?
a. But I determined: Carrying on the thought from chapter one, Paul defends himself against the Corinthian Christians. Some among them criticized him because he changed his travel plans and did not come when he planned to. They used this change of plans to say of Paul, “He is unreliable and untrustworthy. We don’t need to listen to him at all.” But Paul explains there were many reasons why he did not come as planned, one of them being he was trying to spare the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:23).
b. I would not come again to you in sorrow: Paul’s most recent visit to Corinth was full of conflict and unpleasantness. So he determined that he would not have another “sorrowful” visit with the Corinthians.
i. “Because of the scandals that were among them he could not see them comfortably; and therefore he determined not to see them at all till he had reason to believe that those evils were put away.” (Clarke)
c. If I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad? Paul also knew that another painful visit would not be good for him. The constant conflict with the Corinthian Christians could really damage his relationship with them.
i. It seems that Paul thought it best to give the Corinthian Christians a little room, and give them space to repent and get their act together. He didn’t want to rebuke and admonish them all the time. Since this was Paul’s heart, he knew that another visit of the same kind would be of little benefit for either Paul or the Corinthian Christians.
3 This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
a. And I wrote this very thing to you: Paul wisely understood that considering all the circumstances, a letter was better than a personal visit. A letter could show Paul’s heart, yet not give as much opportunity for the deterioration of their relationship. It would give them room to repent and get right with God and Paul again.
i. Where is this letter that Paul mentions? Some good scholars see the “sorrowful letter” as 1 Corinthians, but it seems better to think of it as another letter that we don’t have. Does this mean that something is missing from our Bibles? Not at all. Not every letter that Paul wrote was inspired Scripture for all God’s people in all ages. We can trust that what Paul wrote in the missing letter was perfect for the Corinthian Christians at that time, but not perfect for us; otherwise, God would have preserved it. We shouldn’t think that everything Paul or the other Bible writers wrote was necessarily Scripture.
b. Lest when I came, I should have sorrow: Paul hoped that his letter would get all the painful work out of the way. Then when he did visit them personally, it would be a pleasant visit because they would have taken advantage of the opportunity, he gave them to get right.
c. Over those from whom I ought to have joy: The bad conduct of the Corinthian Christians was all the more troubling considering how they should have treated the apostle who gave them so mu
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