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Brief Annotations of the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

BRIEF ANNOTATIONS OF THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS

I.       BRIEF INTRODUCTION

A.                 The authors:   

Paul and Timothy.  The real author is Paul; Timothy is his companion.

B.                 The receivers:  

The Corinthian church and the churches in Achaia. The churches in Achaia came out of the Corinthian church, so the believers often kept in touch with each other.

C.                 Occasion:      

A serious problem took place in Ephesus after Paul wrote the 1 Corinthians (Acts 19:23-41; Cor 1:8-10), so Paul left Ephesus as soon as the trouble was over. He once sent Titus to Corinth to see how believers felt after they read the letter. Paul had anticipated to meet Titus there, but the result is contrary to his expectation. So he left and went on to Macedonia (2 Cor 2:12-13) and met Titus there/ knowing that believers felt remorseful and missed him, which cheered him (2 Cor 7:5-16). But at the same time Paul knew someone slandered that he lived by the standards of the world (2 Cor 10:2) and caught believers by trickery (2 Cor 12:16). With mixed feelings of grief and joy, he taught them and made known his position (2 Cor 4:14-15; 12:14-15; 2 Cor 10:6; 11:23; 12:12; 13:10).

D.                 Time and place: 

Paul wrote this letter at about the end of AD 57 or the initial stage of AD 58 in Macedonia. There are some ancient versions saying that the letter was written at Philippian.

E.                 The characteristics:

In chapter 8 and 9, Paul advised and encouraged believers. When we read it, we can find the depth of his love for the Corinthian church (2 Cor 2:4; 7:3). In addition to the two chapters, he wrote much to defend his apostleship (1:12-7:16) and was opposed to those who libeled him (2 Cor 10:1-12:18). Reading the letter, we can find his bravery and uprightness. He may be rated as a model of preachers (2 Cor 6:4-13).

II.    OUTLINE

A.                 Salutation (1:1-2).

B.                 Extolling God for his salvation and deliverance (1:3-11).

C.                 The first part of Paul's defense (1:12-7:16).

1.        His conduct (1:12-14).

2.        The reason why he changes the route of his journey (1:15-24).

3.        Exhorting believers to forgive those who were puzzled by sin (2:1-11).

4.        The condition about his work (2:12-17).

5.        The glory of Apostleship (3:1-11).

6.        His brave speech (3:12-18).

7.        He didn't lose heart (4:1-5:10).

8.        He values his mission (5:11-6:10).

9.        Exhorting believers to open wide their heart and to separate from the unclean (6:11-7:1).

10.     He was cheered up by Titus' report (7:2-16).

D.                 On donation (8:1-9:15).

1.        Praising the churches in Macedonia for they gave cheerfully (8:1-5).

2.        The significance of contribution (8:16-24).

3.        Introducing Titus and two messengers (8:16-24).

4.        Exhorting believers to give cheerfully (9:1-5).

5.        On the advantage of contribution (9:6-15).

E.                 The second part of Paul's defense (10:1-12:18).

1.        He didn't wage war as the world (10:1-18).

2.        Exhorting believers to keep out of false apostle (12:14-18).

3.        He worked harder than any others (11:16-33).

4.        His spiritual experience (12:1-10).

5.        He did sighs and wonders to mark as an apostle (12:14-18).

6.        He and his companions were never greedy (12:14-18)

7.        What he explained is for strengthening believers (12:11).

F.                  Exhorting believers to repent (12:20-13:10).

1.   Exhorting people to repent before he comes (12:20-21).

2.        He will not forgive when he come again (13:1-10).

G.                 The last words (13:1-14).

1.        Advice and encouragement (13:11-12).

2.        Greetings (13:13).

3.        Blessings (13:14).


III. Brief annotations

A.                 Paying respect to believers (1:1-2)

(1:1)

"Called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God." (1:1) Timothy, Paul's companion, was sent to Corinth (1 Cor 4:17;16:10) and has returned. Then they were travelling in Macedonia. Both Paul and Timothy are addressers. Believers who lived in Achaia province are addressees. Greek was then dominated by the Romans. The Roman government divided Greek into two parts. The northern province is Macedonia, and the southern one is Achaia. Corinth is the capital of Achaia. The Corinthian church is the hub of all churches in Achaia.

B.                 Extolling God for his salvation and consideration (1:3-11)

(1:4)

"God comforts us in all our troubles." Titus brought good news to Paul; and he found great comfort in it (7:5-7). "So we can comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." The persons who go through troubles can comfort those who are in trouble.

(1:6)

"If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation." This sentence lay emphasis on the effects of the above one.

(1:7)

"And our hope for you is firm." No matter how terrible the present situation of the Corinthian church is, Paul won't lose hope.

(1:8)

"About the hardships we suffered in the province of Achaia." The hardships refer to the disturbance in Ephesus.

(1:10)

"Such a deadly peril" stand for the disturbance at Ephesus.

C.                 The third part of Paul's defense (1:12-7:16)

1.        His conduct (1:12-14).

(1:12)

"This is our boast." The word "boast" was usually adopted in the letter. The meaning of "boast" is not the same as that in other books; he said it out of good will. As false preachers slander him, he make clear his attitude.

(1:13-14)

He writes the letter out of God's honesty, and he hopes that believers can realize him further. In fact, his conduct doesn't resemble what the false preachers slander (10:10-11). He loves them, so he must explain. "The day of the Jesus Lord" means the day of Jesus' second coming; see 5:12.

2.        The reason why Paul changed the route of his journey (1:15-24)

(1:15-16)

T\hat "I was confident of" refers to 2 Cor 1:12-14. Before he wrote 1 Corinthian he mapped his plan out, but afterward he changed it when he was travelling in Macedonia. Because Paul changed his plan, people who lived in the Corinthian city blamed Paul as changeable. "You might benefit twice" means that Paul benefited them in his first visit (Acts 1:18). But when he visited them for the second time, everyone was worried (2:1), so he could not help them. He hoped that he could help them in his third visit (Acts 20:2-3). Thus we can see that Paul was going to visit them for the third time (13:1-2).

(1:17)

Paul aims his explanation at their criticism.

(1:18-22)

"As surely as God is faithful, our message to you ...." Paul especially mentions God's faith for the believers suspected what he preached. God's son, Jesus the Lord, that Paul preached is the only one. "No matter how many promises God has made, they are 'yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by the glory of God." Christ will bring about all God's promises. And God puts his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.

(1:23)

Paul explains that the reason why he changed the route of his journey is to give them the opportunity to repent (13:1-2;10). "I call God as my witness." Paul called God as his witness to prove himself.

(1:24)

"Not that we lord it over your faith, because it is by faith you stand firm." Paul ever said, "it is in order to spare you ," and he is afraid that believers would feel that he think he is above others. Paul is always very careful, for believers often misread what he says.

3.        Exhorting people to forgive those who were troubled by sin (2:1-11)

(2:1)

When Paul visited the Corinthian church for the second time, the church were thrown into confusion, so believers were worried. When he was going to see them for the third time (13:1), he made up his mind that he would not make another painful visit to them.

(2:2)

The believers felt remorseful after they read 1 Corinthian.

(2:3)    

What "I wrote as I did" is recorded in 1 Corinthian.

(2:4)

Paul describes his mood when he wrote 1 Corinthian. Some have assumed that Paul wrote altogether four letters; the first letter was written before he wrote 1 Corinthian (1 Cor 5:9); the second one is 1 Corinthian; the third one is the Tearful Letter (2:4), and the fourth one is 2 Corinthian. They think Paul visited the Corinthian church after he finished 1 Corinthian and before he wrote the third letter. It's difficult to tell which is right.

(2:5)

"If anyone has caused grief." "Anyone" means those who commit a crime. It may refer to those who commit adultery (1 Cor 5:1).

(2:6)

"He who committed a crime have repented his error." Does a person who commit adultery has the opportunity to repent? "I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repent of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which have indulged" (12:21). Thus Paul still hopes that those who committed adultery would repent, so we should blame him who committed a crime, but we must forgive him if he repents and turns over a new leaf (Mt 15:18).

(2:10)

At first Paul advocated treating such person severely (1 Cor 5:1-5; 12-13). Here Paul exhorts the believers to forgive these people because they have repented.

4.        An overlook of his itinerant work (2:12-7)

(2:12,13)

After leaving Ephesus, Paul travelled to Troas where he had a favorable opportunity for preaching the gospel. But he felt so anxious about failing to meet Titus that he took his leave of the people of Troas and went forth into Macedonia. Finally, he met Titus in Macedonia (7:5-6).

(2:14)

"Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph." Paul thinks of the parade of the victorious general and regards himself as the victorious soldier, who is led by God in triumph in Christ in every places. In other view, he is also like the parading captive who reflects God's power and his own weakness. In Lu's Chinese Bible: "Thanks be unto God, who is always in triumph and leads us to become the captive in victorious parade in Christ." On the procession of the parade, people burned the incense (or spread some objects which was fragrant). Paul uses them to compare himself to the one who was issuing the fragrance. To sum up, God is always victorious, Paul was the one who spread the fragrance.

(2:16)

"The one" means the person who has no part in the salvation. "The other" means the one who shares in the salvation.

(2:17)

"So many" means the false apostles. "Peddlers of God's word", it is said that "peddlers" was used when the trader of the grape wine mixed water into the wine to gain profit. "As men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ." This was Paul's attitude for preaching the gospel.

5.        The glory of the apostles' ministry

(3:1)

"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?" Because of the words in the second chapter verse 17, Paul is afraid that people will misunderstand him to be self-commending again. "Do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?" At that time, some people considered that Paul was not an apostle, because he didn't have the letter of commendation from the great apostles or from the Jerusalem church. 1 Cor 9:1,2, "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." It was said that the false apostles requested letters of commendation from Jerusalem church to gain access to other churches. And they would require similar letters on their departure from them. Paul thought that was not necessary to him.

(3:2,3)

The letter of commendation is alive and written in Paul's heart. It is not like the "Ten Commandments" written on the table of stone. At the very moment, in Paul's mind, he compares himself with the ministry of Moses.

(3:4)    

It was the confidence expressed in verses 2-3.

(3:5)

"Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us." It was the supplement of the last verse. Another version: "Not that we are sufficient to account by ourselves". Accounting can be the explanation of planning, inspecting and judging.

(3:6)    

"The letter" means the words in the law.

(3:7)

"Brightness of the face of Moses." (ref: Ex 34:29,30) "Fading as this was" is the same outcome as the law in the Old Testament (Heb 8:5-13).

(3:8-11)

Paul considers that the glory of the apostles in the New Testament is more than that of the ministry of Moses. Verse 11: "For if what faded away came with (in the original: "dia" -- through) splendor, what is permanent should have (in the original: "en" -- in) much more splendor".

6.        His bold speech (3:12-8)

(3:12)

"Hope" can be translated into "firm belief". It's what is written in verses 7 to 11. That "we are very bold" refers to the attitude of openness, unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face. Lu's Chinese Bible says "the spirit of boldness".

(3:13)

In the Old Testament, there is no explanation of the reason Moses put a veil over his face (Ex 34:33). Because of the revelation of the Holy Spirit, what Moses did unconsciously has this meaning to Paul. (3:14) They were separated from the Old Testament by the veil. This prevented them from understanding that all prophecies and prefigure in the Old Testament refer to Jesus Christ and have been completed in Christ (Rom 10:4; Gal 3:24; Col 2:16,17; Heb 8:5; 10:1).

(3:15)

The meanings of the veils over the face of Moses, in the Old Testament and on their hearts are the same.

(3:17)

People in the Old Testament had no liberty under the bondage of the law and couldn't understand very well under the coverage of the evil. But people in the New Testament have liberty under the light of the Holy Spirit.

(3:18)

"Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord". Because the Lord has not come yet, we can't behold the glory of the Lord directly, but we can behold it clearly as reflected in a mirror. "Being changed into [God's] likeness from one degree of glory to another" means having the image of the Lord first (Col 3:10), later, Jesus Christ will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body (Phil 3:21). "This comes from the Lord who is the Spirit", this is like coming from the Lord of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, we know that now it's the time that the Lord works with the Holy Spirit.

7.        His not losing heart (4:1 - 5:10)

(4:1)

"Having this ministry by the mercy of God." Paul receives a glorious and liberal ministry as what is recorded in the last chapter. This is not because of himself but is because of the mercy of God. "We do not lose heart." It means not being discouraged.

(4:2)

Here Paul compares "underhanded" (secret) with "open" (showing). Everything is in public and honest as the result of unveiling.

(4:3)

In the original Greek text, "veiled" means covered with the evil.

(4:4)

"The God of this world" refers to the devil. In the original text, "the world" means the age.

(4:5)

"For what we preach is not ourselves." Again, in this epistle, people misunderstand easily that what Paul preaches is himself. In fact, what he preaches is Jesus Christ as the Lord.

(4:6)

"For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness.'" (ref: Gen 1:3). This verse can be read together with 3:17,18.

(4:7)

"This treasure" refers to the ministry of the apostles. "Earthen vessels" refers to the humble and frail body.

(4:8)

In Lu's Chinese Bible, "perplexed" is translated into "the impasse of the scheme".

(4:12)

"Life in you" means that Paul's sufferings have been fruitful in bringing the life of Jesus to the believers.

(4:13)

"Have the same spirit of faith." Paul refers to Psalms 116:10, " I kept my faith, even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted'". Paul has the same spirit of faith as the author of the Psalms had, so, he believes and speaks even though he is greatly afflicted.

(4:14)

Paul can stand the pain of suffering because he has this faith.

(4:15)   

What Paul has suffered is for the believers.

(4:16)

In the original, "outer nature" means the visible man outward, including the human body. "Inner nature" refers to the inner man who is renewed.

(4:17)

"The slight momentary affliction" is compared with the future glory. In fact, what Paul has suffered is not light.

(5:1)

"The tent" is compared to the human body (2 Pet 1:13,14). "A house" is compared to the body of spirit (the glorious body).

(5:3)

"Naked": it seems to be naked without the body of spirit and shows the shame of sin (Rev 3:18; 16:15).

(5:4)

"Be[ing] unclothed" means the separation of the body from the soul because of death. "Be[ing] further clothed" means clothing the body of spirit without the separation of the body from the soul. It's the mystery of transfiguration (1 Cor 15:51-4).

(5:5)

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of transfiguration.

(5:6-7)

We can't behold God yet, so while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord and walk by faith, not by sight.

(5:8)

"We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." Verse 4 is Paul's desire, but, the one in verse 8 was more desirable to him. Paul said: "I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Phil 1:23).

(5:9-10)

Paul made it his aim to please God. All believers must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the retribution according to what he has done in his life. Therefore, we should prepare in advance, not to be satisfied only with being able to go to heaven.

8.        His self-respect and self-consciousness of his mission (5:11 - 6:10)

(5:11)

"The fear of the Lord" is the result of the reason in the last verse. In the original, "being known" is the same word as "appearing"in the last verse. Lu's Chinese Bible: "clearly visible without being hidden."

(5:12)   

Ref: 1:14.

(5:13)

In Lu's Chinese Bible, "in our right mind" is translated into "clean and just mind". Paul was criticized of being mad (Acts 26:24). Therefore, he says that it's for God. Paul gives this impression as a result of his enthusiasm for his faith and preaching. Some say that he was impressed with being in the right mind, not mad. This criticism was right for Paul's enthusiasm is for the believers' sake.

(5:14)

In Lu's Chinese Bible, "controlling" is translated into "pressing".

(5:16)

In the original, "a human point of view" is the same as "flesh", including outward appearance, knowledge, status, property, and so on.

(5:17)

"A new creation" means the renewed man (Gal 6:15). That "the new has come" means that life, thought, concept, and observation are greatly different from those in the past (Rom 12:2).

(5:18)

"All this is from God." All change in the aforesaid is from God (Eph 2:8-10).

(5:20)

"So we are ambassadors for Christ." From the word "ambassador", we know the ambassador is not an unusual envoy but the envoy plenipotentiary of Christ.

(5:21)             

Ref: Rom 3:25,26

(6:1)               

Ref: 1 Cor 3:9

(6:2)               

Quoted from Is 49:8.

(6:3)               

The Paul's self-respect.

(6:4-10)

In the negative aspect, "no fault may be found with our ministry." In the positive aspect, "but as servants of God commend ourselves in every day". From "in honor and dishonor" and "in ill repute and good repute", we know that preachers sometimes will suffer dishonor and ill repute for the name of the Lord (Acts 5:41; 2 Cor 1:17; 10:2,10; 12:16).

9.        Paul appealed for the return of benignity and for separation from the world (6:11 - 7:1).

(6:11)

That "our mouth is open to you" means telling the truth without reservation.

(6:12)

That "you are not restricted by us" means it's not our responsibility.

(6:14)

"Do not be mismated with unbelievers." For it stands in scripture: "you shall not plow with an ox and an ass together" (Deut 22:10). There are many inconveniences and disadvantages in marriages with a business man or unbelievers. The reasons are enumerated below: righteousness and iniquity, light and darkness, Christ and Belial, believer and unbeliever, the temple of God and of idols. They are all incompatible.

(6:15)   

"Belial" is another name for Satan.

(6:16)   

The quotation is from Leviticus 26:11,12 in the Septuagint.

(6:17)   

The quotation is probably a variation of Isaiah 52:11.

(6:18)   

The quotation is a variation of 2 Sam 7:14.

(7:1)    

"This promise" is the promise in 6:17,18.

10.     The narration that Paul rejoices and has confidence because of the report by Titus (7:2-26).

(7:2)    

Maybe he is accused of this (12:16-17).

(7:4)

"I have great confidence in you." The "confidence" means no mental barrier but trust.

(7:5)

"Our bodies had no rest." The bodies included the human body and all other feelings (ref: 2:12-13).

(7:8)

"For even if I made you sorry with my letter." The letter refers to 1 Cor (ref: 2:3-4).

(7:11)   

"Cleaning yourself" means to reply or defend.

(7:12)

What "the one who did the wrong" and "the one who suffered the wrong" refer to are unknown. Maybe no special case was focused on. It is said that the one who did the wrong refers to people who are immoral; the one who suffered the wrong refers to his father (1 Cor 5:1). What Paul is concerned about is the situation in general. Because it would not avail to concern about personal cases when the situation is irretrievable. "But in order that your zeal for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God." It's the primary purpose of Paul to write 1 Cor. (7:16) "I have perfect confidence in you." Paul has confidence because of the report by Titus.

D.                 To exhort contributions (8:1 - 9:15)

1.        Praising the contributions of the churches in Macedonia (8:1-5)

(8:1)

In the original, the "grace" is the same word as "favor" in verse 4. In 1 Cor, it has been encouraged to contribute to the church in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-3).

(8:2)

There has been persecution in the church at Thessalonica (1 The 1:6; 2:14; Acts 17:4-9).

2.        The significance of contribution (8:6-15)

(8:7)

Ref: 1 Cor 1:5: "that in every way you were enriched in Him with all speech and all knowledge.

(8:9)

By way of incarnation, the Lord condescended from extreme richness to extreme poverty to made us get the richness in heaven.

(8:10)   

Ref: 9:2.

(8:12)

The spirit which we should have concerning contribution.

(8:13-14)

The contribution may supply the want of the church in Jerusalem (the church was the poorest one at that time). On the other hand, it can show the mutual love and help of Jewish churches and Gentile churches. It has great significance beyond the contribution itself (Acts 11:27-30; 12:25; Gal 2:9-10; Rom 15:25-27).

(8:15)   

A quotation from Ex 16:18.

3.        Introducing the zeal of Titus and the other two messengers (8:16-24).

(8:16-17)

Introducing Titus.

(8:18-21)

Introducing an unknown brother. Paul notices that the person who administered financial affairs should have the attitude of being honorable.

(8:22)

Introducing another brother who was also unknown.

(8:23)

Among the three men, Titus was the partner of Paul. Another two brothers were the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.

(8:24)

"Before the churches" means before the three representatives.

4.        Asking for the preparation for their contribution (9:1-5)

(9:3)

"The brethren" refers to the three aforesaid brothers. Paul sent them to go on to Corinth in advance (9:5).

(9:4)

"Lest if some Macedonians come with me." According to the custom then, maybe some Macedonians would escort Paul to Corinth.

5.        As for the advantages of contribution (9:6-15)

(9:6)

The principles of the Nature can be applied to the spiritual world (Gal 6:6-10).

(9:7)

The attitude which we should have about contribution.

(9:8-14)

The advantages of contribution. The text in verse 9 is a quotation from the one in Psalms 112:9.

(9:15)

Paul thanks God for the compliance of the Corinthian church and for God's grace which is mentioned in verses 8-14.

E.                 The second defense of Paul (10:1 - 12:18)

Up to now is Paul's teaching to the good believers. So the tone was suave as an affectionate father teaching his beloved sons, being tender and delightful. But from this chapter on, the tone suddenly changed severely to focus on the false apostles. Paul has to do so in order to expose their plots and protect the church.

1.        Paul doesn't carry on a worldly war (10:1-18).

(10:1)

The false apostles criticizes Paul's letter, saying that Paul is so humble and timid at their presence but is so bold to the believers when he is present.

(10:2)

That "some who suspect us of acting in worldly fashion" is the criticism from the false apostles. In the original, "worldly fashion" is the same word as "flesh".

(10:7)

To "look at what is before your eyes" means to look at the appearance. In "if any one is confident that he is Christ's", "any one" refers to the false apostles.

(10:8)

Paul boasts of the authority of his apostleship. This authority is for the good of others, as stated in 13:10.

(10:9)

Stating that verse 8 is not used to frighten them.

(10:10)

The criticism by those false teachers who judge Paul by the appearance (10:7).

(10:12)

"Those who commend themselves" are the false teachers.

(10:15,16)

"The land beyond you" refers to Rome, by way of which Paul wishes to preach the gospel to Spain (Rom 15:28). Unlike those false teachers, Paul has his ambition for the gospel and doesn't boast of his accomplishment.

(10:17)  

Quoted from the summary of Jeremiah 23,24.  1 Corinthians 1:29-31 may serve as supplementary reference. Paul's accomplishment is based on the grace of God (1:12; 3:5; 4:7).

(10:18)

"The man who commends himself" is the false teacher, while "the man who God commends" is Paul.

2.        Asking the believers to notice about the false apostles (11:1-5)

(11:1)

Boasting is foolish (11:17), but Paul can not but do so (12:1), for he is forced (12:11) to do them good (12:19).

(11:2)   

Jealousy, see Song of Songs 4:5; Exodus 20:5.

(11:4)   

The false truth preached by the false teachers.

(11:5)

The "super apostles" are James, Peter, and John (Gal 2:6-10), not the false teachers.

(11:6)

Refuting the criticism of the false apostles (10:10)

(11:8,9)

When Paul was at Corinth, he worked as a tent-maker (Acts 18:1-3), which was known to all (1 Cor 4:12; 9:6). Besides, the church at Philippi in Macedonia also supported his life expense (Phip 4:15, 16).

(11:12)

The false teachers received money for their living from the church (11:20), so Paul doesn't want to take the money offered by the church, least the false teachers would say that Paul and they are alike.

(11:13)

Paul accuses them as false apostles who are deceitful and disguising.

3.        Paul is more laborious than others (11:16-33)

(11:16)

A repetition of 11:1. Paul is forced to be foolish (12:11).

(11:17)

It means that the words below are not said according to the Lord's command. Yet Paul also says that "it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ" (12:19), not telling lies (11:31). We also know that what Paul has said is inspired by the Spirit (2 Pet 3:15,16).

(11:18)  

Those who boast of worldly things are the false teachers.  The "worldly things" refer to the flesh in the original text. (11:20)   The persecution by the false teachers in the law, in the food, in the property, and to their personal dignity.

(11:21)

We are too weak to do the evil that the false teachers do. Since the false teachers boast of themselves, Paul also will boast.

(11:22)

"The Hebrew" is used to term the race, while "the Israelites" is used to refer to the Chosen People. "Descendants of Abraham" may inherit the Lord's blessing to Abraham (Gal 3:14,29).

(11:24)

In order not to violate the command in Deuteronomy 25:3 that no more than forty stripes should be used, the Jews get rid of one stripe and use thirty-nine stripes as the upper limit. This is nearly a death penalty.

(11:25)

The rod-beating punishment is used by the Romans. Acts 16:22 has one such record, and the other two are unknown. At Lystra Paul was stoned (Acts 14:19). The three shipwrecks were not recorded in Acts.

(11:26,27)

Paul's thirty years of preaching the gospel were filled with hardships.

(11:28)

The church at Corinth is one of the churches that make Paul anxious.

(11:29)

Feeling sympathetic for other's weakness, Paul is aware of his own weakness.

(11:30)

The hardships described above indicate that Paul has neither high standing nor power in this world. Therefore he says he is weak.

(11:31)  

God is his witness that he is not lying.

(11:32,33)

The hardships of Paul when he was first converted. It constitutes a strong comparison with the condition before he was converted (Acts 9:1:2).

4.        Paul's spiritual experience (12:1-10)

(12:2)

"The man in Christ" is Paul himself. The "forty years ago" was about 43 AD, when Paul was at Antioch or Tarsus (Acts 11:25). "The third heaven" is believed by the Jews to be the heaven, which is also named paradise where those who were saved would go after death (Lk 23:34; Rev 2:7).

(12:7)

The "thorn" is probably his physical sickness which is a messenger of Satan.

5.        Demonstrating the signs of a true apostle by miracles and wonders (12:11-3)

(12:11)  

Cf. 11:5.

(12:12)  

Cf. Acts 14:3; Romans 14:17-9.

6.        Paul and his company are never greedy (12:14-8) (12:14)   Cf 1:15,16.

(12:15)  

Paul is willing to spend all he has and spend his whole self.

(12:16)  

Somebody attacks him.

(12:18)  

They are inspired by the same spirit to take the same step.

7.        The purpose of his defense is to benefit the church (12:19)

(12:19)  

Paul speaks the truth before God (11:31; 12:6) in order to benefit the Corinthians.

F.                  On repentance (12:20-13:10)

1.        Exhorting them to repent before he comes (12:20,21)

(12:20,21)

Paul's expectation, which shows Paul's tolerance towards them (1:23).

2.        Paul will not tolerate anymore when he comes (13:1-10)

(13:1)   

Cf. Dt 19:15; Mt 18:16.

(13:2)

Cf. 1:15,16 for the second visit. The second visit is not found in Acts, and the date is not known.

(13:3)

The "proof that Christ is speaking in me[Paul]" is the proof that Paul has the authority of an apostle, which is already mentioned (12:12; 1 Cor 4:18-21). 13:3,4 mean that Paul would use the authority God gives him to deal with those who seek proofs.

(13:5,6)

Advising them to examine and test their own faith.

(13:7)

Paul's purpose when praying that they do no evil is for their own sake, not for Paul.

(13:8)

The truth is the principle, therefore they do everything only for the truth. That they "cannot" means they have no ability.

(13:9)

When the Corinthians obey the truth and be strong and when Paul does not have to use his authority, Paul will be glad.

(13:10)

Paul puts off the date to go to Corinth (1:23) and writes this letter in order to tolerate them and not to use his authority. He considers that this authority is to benefit others, not to destroy others (10: 8). Therefore, he takes great care to use this authority, and he will be glad when he doesn't need to use it and is thus considered weak. It is because of his love for the believers that many people's souls and the Corinthian church are able to remain in Christ.

G.                 The last words (13:11-4)

1.        Extortion (13:11,12)

(13:11)  

Paul's expectation towards them.

2.        Greetings (13:13)

(13:13)   

On behalf of the believers in others places.

3.        Blessings (13:14)

(13:14)

The fullest of Paul's benedictions at the end of his letters. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" are necessary to every believer.

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