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“THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
1. Authorship. THE Pauline authorship of this epistle is involved in that of 1 Corinthians. There is in several points such a subtle harmony between them as can only be accounted for by their common authorship;1 and the impression that both are genuine writings of Paul is confirmed by an examination of relative passages in the Book of Acts.?
That the author did not derive his information from the Book of Acts may be inferred from the circumstance that the name of Titus, which is prominent in the epistle, is not once mentioned in Acts. The same conclusion may be drawn from a comparison of their respective allusions to the attempts made upon Paul's life and liberty at Damascus after his conversion, as well as from the fact that the enumeration of his trials in the eleventh chapter + contains a number of striking statements which have nothing corresponding to them in the Book of Acts, though at the same time there is nothing inconsistent with them. With regard to the apparent discrepancy as to the number of his visits. to Corinth, see page 117.
land 2. See notes A and B appended they watched the gates also day and to this chapter. The illustrations are night that they might kill him : but his taken from Paley'sHoræ Pauline,where disciples took him by night, and let they are set forth at greater length. him down through the wall, lowering “In Damascus the governor
him in a basket.' under Aretas the king guarded the city 4 xi. 24, 25: “Of the Jews five times of the Damascenes, in order to take me : received I forty stripes save and through a window was I let down Thrice was I beaten with rods, once in a basket by the wall, and escaped was I stoned, thrice I suffered shiphis hands.” Acts ix. 23, 24:
wreck, a night and a day have I been when many days were fulħlled, the Jews
3 xi. 32 :
in the deep." took counsel together to kill him : but their plot became known to Saul. And
5 xiii. I.
Apart from the minute correspondences above referred to, there is a living interest and an air of reality about the epistle, scarcely ever met with in forgeries, especially of that early period.
With regard to external evidence a few echoes of expressions occurring in the epistle are to be found in the fragmentary writings that have come down to us from the beginning of the second century. By the end of that century the quotations from the epistle in the writings of Irenæus, Tertullian, &c., are explicit and unmistakable.
The amanuensis in this case was probably Timothy, as he is associated with the apostle in the opening verse.
2. The Readers. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia" (i. 1.). See page 105.
3. Date and Place of Composition. It was evidently written a few months after the first epistle, say in the summer of 57 or 58 A.D., from some town in Macedonia, probably Thessalonica.2
In the interval the apostle had left Ephesus, after his narrow escape from the violence of the crowd, and had proceeded to Troas, where he anxiously expected the arrival of Titus.3 The latter had been sent to Corinth, either with the first epistle or shortly after its dispatch, to enforce the apostle's views and to bring him back word of the effect produced by his epistle at this momentous crisis in the history of his most influential Church.
1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother.” (i. 1.).
2“ From Philippi,” according to note at the end of the epistle in A. V. But this is not so probable in view of the fact that the apostle seems to have already visited the Churches of Macedonia (viii. 1-4), for in the course of doing so Philippi would naturally come first, to one travelling southward.
3 i. 8-10: “For we would not have
you ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life: yea, we ourselves have had the answer of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead : whó delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver : on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us."
In his disappointment at not finding Titus, he had no heart to embrace the opportunity of preaching at Troas, and had proceeded to Macedonia, where Titus at length joined him. It was after getting Titus' report, bringing him great relief of mind in the midst of his severe trials and heavy responsibilities, that he appears to have written this epistle,—which he sent by the hands of Titus and “the brother whose praise in the gospel is spread through all the churches.” 4
1 viii. 6: “Insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also" (i.e. the liberality referred to in previous verses). xii. 18 : “I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? walked we not by the same Spirit? walked we not in the same steps?” of. 1 Cor. xvi. 12: “ But as touching Apollos the brother, I besought him much to come unto you with the brethren: and it was not at all his will to come now; but he will come when he shall have opportunity." 2 ii. 12, 13:
“Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and when a door was opened unto me in the Lord, I had no relief for ny spirit, because I found not Titus my brother : but taking my leave of them, I went forth into Macedonia"; vii. 5, 6: (quoted below).
3 vii. 4-16: '“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying on your behalf: I am filled with comfort, I overflow with joy in all our affliction. For even when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side ; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless he that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted in you, while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more. For though I made you sorry with my epistle, I do not regret it, though I did regret; for I see that that epistle made you sorry, though but for a season. Now I rejoice,
not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly sort, that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, a repentance which bringeth no regret : but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold, this selfsame thing, that ye were made sorry after a godly sort, what earnest care it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what longing, yea, what zeal, yea, what avenging! In everything ye approved yourselves to be pure in the matter. So although I wrote unto you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be made manifest unto you in the sight of God. Therefore we have been comforted : and in our comfort we joyed the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit hath been refreshed by you all. For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame; but as we spake all things to you in truth, so our glorying also, which I made before Titus, was found to be truth. And his inward affection is more abundantly toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you." xi. 28: “Beside those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches."
4 viii. 6, 16-18: “Insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also 1 xiji. I.
A difficulty has been raised about the expression, "This is the third time I am coming to you."i Some think the apostle had paid a second visit to Corinth, from Ephesus, prior to the writing of his first epistle. But another explanation is to be found in the importance attaching to the visit he had intended to pay on his way to Macedonia. The confidence of the Corinthians in him had been shaken by the disappointment he had caused them; and he wished to impress upon them the reality of his intention, although he had been unable to fulfil it. No doubt, on this supposition, he would have been more strictly accurate if he had said, as he does elsewhere, “Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you."
4. Character and Contents. If the first epistle may be said to be our great instructor regarding the inner life of the Church, the second is our chief source of information regarding the personality of the apostle himself. It is an outpouring of personal feeling almost from beginning to end, expressing itself in many different moods and with a great variety of style. It is well described by Erasmus, when he says that “at one time the apostle wells up gently like some limpid spring, and by and by thunders down like a torrent with a mighty crash, carrying everything before it ; now he flows placidly and smoothly, now spreads out far and wide, as if expanding into a lake, then disappears, and suddenly reappears in a different place." But although the least systematic of Paul's writings, it contains many passages of priceless worth, for the comfort and edification of the Church.
complete in you this grace also.
2 i. 15, 16: “And in this confidence I was minded to come before unto you, that ye might have a second benefit ; and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and of you to be set forward on my journey unto Judæa."
3 xii. 14.
The apostle had learned from Titus that his first letter had served its purpose, and that the interests of Church discipline had been secured. But the same messenger had informed him that fresh cause for anxiety had arisen in the rapid growth of a party hostile to his influence, who were seeking to trade upon the disaffection which had been caused among his converts by his failure to visit them according to promise.1
Traces of such opposition are discernible even in the first epistle; 2 but it had been greatly stimulated by the intrigues and false pretensions of rival teachers from Jerusalem, who had brought letters of commendation with them, and were using Peter's name, and even that of Christ, for party purposes.3
1 i. 15-17 (vv. 15, 16 quoted above); ver. 17 :
"When I therefore was thus minded, did I shew fickleness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the Aesh, that with me there should be the yea yea and the nay
3 ii. 17 :
1 Cor. i. 12: “Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas”; I Cor. ix. 1-6 (quoted p. 103, note 3). "For we
are not as the many, corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ." iii. 1, 2: “Are we beginning again to commend ourselves ? or need we, as do some, epistles of commendation to you or from you? Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” V. 12:“We are not again commending ourselves unto you, but speak as giving you occasion of glorying on our behalf, that ye may have wherewith to answer them that glory in appearance, and not in heart.
X. 7-12, 18: “Ye look at the things that are before your face. If any man trusteth in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ's, so also are we. For though I should glory somewhat abundantly concerning our authority (which the Lord gave for building you up and not for casting you down), I shall not be put to shame: that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. For, His letters, they say,
are weighty and strong ; but his bodily