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2 CORINTHIANS 2 – COMMENTARY
vv.1-4 “Paul faced a dilemma. To come to Corinth might intensify the problems and the pain; to stay away would allow the problems to fester and make reconciliation even more difficult. Again, Paul’s affection for the church comes out. They are a source of joy to him, and when their relationship is out of sorts, his pain is multiplied. The ‘I’ in the Greek is emphatic, ‘if I am the one who causes you pain.’ If he adds to the sadness in some way, they can hardly cheer him. Paul’s solution for reconciling the situation was to write a painful letter of rebuke.”
vv.5-11 “Again we have a passage which is an echo of trouble and of unhappiness. When Paul had visited Corinth there had been a ring-leader to the opposition. This man had clearly personally insulted Paul who had insisted that discipline must be exercised upon him. The majority of the Corinthians had come to see that his conduct had not only hurt Paul, but had injured the good name of the whole Corinthian Church. Discipline had been exercised, but there were some who felt that it had not been sufficiently severe and who desired to impose a still greater punishment. It is now that the supreme greatness of Paul emerges. His plea is that enough has been done; the man is now penitent and to exercise still further discipline would do far more harm than good. It might simply drive the man to despair, and to do that is not to serve Christ and the Church, but to offer an opportunity to Satan to lay hold upon the man. Had Paul been actuated by merely human motives he would have gloated over the hard fate of his former enemy. Nowhere does the majesty of his character better emerge than on this occasion, when, in the graciousness of his heart, he pleads for mercy on the man who had hurt him so much. Here is a supreme example of Christian conduct in face of injury and insult.”
Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (113). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
The letters to the Corinthians. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (2 Co 2:12). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 (ESV)
1 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Reflection & Application
2 Corinthians 2:1-4
“Titus was the one who apparently carried the ‘severe letter’ Apostle Paul mentions in 2:3-4 to the Corinthian church. Apostle Paul was so eager to receive word from Titus about how the Corinthian Christians responded to his harsh letter of rebuke that even though a door was open in Troas for the gospel, he went to Macedonia to look for Titus. At this point, after 2:3, Apostle Paul moves on to address other matters, but the issue of Titus, and the response of the Corinthians is picked up again in chapter 7.” 
- Reflect on the words Apostle Paul uses in describing what he went through in writing the severe letter. What can I learn about what it takes to speak the truth to people we love?
- Have I been willing to undergo “anguish of heart” and “many tears” in order to uphold God’s standards in the lives of those close to me?
 David Guzik, Bible Commentary, online