Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS\\

This epistle, according to the subscription at the end of it, was
written from Philippi of Macedonia; and though the subscriptions
annexed to the epistles are not always to be depended on, yet it seems
very likely that this was written from thence; for the apostle not
finding Titus at Troas, as he expected, went into Macedonia, where he
met with him, and had an account from him of the success of his first
epistle; of the state and condition of the church, and of the temper
and disposition of mind in which the members of it were, and which gave
him great satisfaction; upon which he immediately wrote this second
epistle, and sent it by the same person to them; see \\#2Co 2:12,13\\
\\#2Co 7:5-7 8:6,16-18\\. It is very probable it might be written
the year after the former; and so it is placed by Dr. Lightfoot in the
year 56, as the former is in the year 55; though some place this in the
year 60, and the other in 59. The occasion of this epistle was partly
to excuse his not coming to them according to promise, and to vindicate
himself from the charge of unfaithfulness, levity, and inconstancy on
that account; and partly, since what he had wrote about the incestuous
person, had had a good effect both upon him and them, to direct them to
take off the censure that had been laid upon him, and restore him to
their communion, and comfort him; likewise to stir them up to finish
the collection for the poor saints they had begun; as also to defend
himself against the calumnies of the false teachers, who were very
industrious to sink his character and credit in this church; which he
does by observing the doctrines of the Gospel he preached, which were
far more glorious than, and abundantly preferable to, the ministration
of the law of Moses, which those men desired to be teachers of; as
likewise the success of his ministry in every place; the many
sufferings he had underwent for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; the
high favours and privileges he had received of the Lord, as well as the
signs, wonders, and miracles done by him in proof of his apostleship;
and in which are interspersed many things useful and instructive.

\\INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS 1\\

This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle, the salutation of
the persons to whom it is written, the preface to it, and the first
part of it, in which is the apostle's defence of himself from the
charge of fickleness and inconstancy. The inscription is in \\#2Co 1:1\\,
in which an account is given of the person, the writer of this epistle,
by his name Paul, and by his office, an apostle of Jesus Christ, which
is ascribed to the will of God as the spring and cause of it; and with
himself he joins Timothy, whom he calls a brother: also an account is
given of the persons to whom the epistle is inscribed, who are both the
church at Corinth, and all the saints throughout the region of Achaia,
of which Corinth was the chief city: the salutation, and which is
common to all the epistles of the Apostle Paul, is in \\#2Co 1:2\\, and
the preface begins \\#2Co 1:3\\, with a thanksgiving to God, who is
described by the relation he stands in to Christ, as his Father, by the
manifold mercies and blessings he is the author and donor of, and by
the consolation he administers; an instance of which is given,
\\#2Co 1:4\\, in the apostle and his companions, who had been comforted by
him; the end of which was, that they might be instruments of comforting
others in like troubles with the same consolations; the great goodness
of God in which is illustrated by proportioning their consolation by
Christ to their sufferings for him, \\#2Co 1:5\\, and the end both of
their afflictions and their comforts is repeated and explained; and by
a dilemma it is shown, that both were for the good of the saints at
Corinth, \\#2Co 1:6\\, and a strong assurance is given, that as they
shared in sufferings for Christ, they would partake of consolation by
him as they had done, \\#2Co 1:7\\. Next the apostle, in proof of what
he had said, gives an instance of the trouble he had been in, and of
the comfort and deliverance he had received, which he would not have
the Corinthians ignorant of: he mentions the place where it was, in
Asia, and gives an account of the nature of the affliction, how great
it was; it was out of measure, above the strength of man, and induced
despair of life, \\#2Co 1:8\\, so that the apostle, and those that were
with him in it, expected nothing but death, and were under the sentence
of it in their own apprehensions; the end of God in suffering which,
was to take them off of all self-confidence, and to engage their trust
in God, to which the consideration of his power in raising the dead is
a strong argument, \\#2Co 1:9\\. And indeed this deliverance, which God
wrought, for the apostle, and his friends, was a deliverance as it were
from death, and a very great one; and which had this effect upon them,
the designed and desired end, trust and confidence in God for future
deliverance, having had an experience of past and present, \\#2Co 1:10\\,
which deliverance the apostle acknowledges, was owing to the prayers of
the Corinthians, as a means or helping cause of it; and which favour
was bestowed thereby for this end, that as it came by the means of
many, thanks might be returned by many for it, \\#2Co 1:11\\. And the
reason why the apostle, and his fellow ministers, had such an interest
in the prayers of the Corinthians, was their agreeable conversation in
the world, and particularly at Corinth, which their consciences bore
witness to, and they could reflect upon with pleasure; it being through
the grace of God with great simplicity and sincerity, and not with
carnal craft and subtlety: or this is mentioned by the apostle to
remove the charge of levity, and to vindicate himself and others from
it, \\#2Co 1:12\\, which he next enters upon, premising that the
constant course of their lives was such as before described, and which
there was no reason to doubt would always continue such; for the truth
of which he appeals to what they had seen, and owned to be in them,
\\#2Co 1:13\\, and that it was acknowledged, at least in part, that the
apostles were their rejoicing, or of whom they boasted as to their
conduct and conversation, even as they were persuaded they would be
matter of rejoicing in the day of Christ to them, \\#2Co 1:14\\. And
then the apostle acknowledges his intention and promise of coming to
them, which was in confidence of their value for him, and of their
being real Christians and persevering ones; and for this end, that he
might establish them in the grace which they had received, \\#2Co 1:15\\,
and also, after he had passed by them into Macedonia, and was returned
from thence to them again, that he might be helped on by them in his
journey to Jerusalem, with the collection for the poor saints there,
\\#2Co 1:16\\. But then he denies that he used levity, or carnal policy
and purposes, or was guilty of any contradiction; all which expresses
by certain interrogations, \\#2Co 1:17\\, which confirms by the
ministration of the Gospel among them, which was all of apiece, without
contradiction for the truth of which he calls God to witness; and so
argues from the uniformity of his ministry, to the constancy of his
word of promise, \\#2Co 1:18\\. Which argument he amplifies and
enlarges on, by observing the subject matter of the Gospel ministry,
which is Jesus Christ the Son of God; and which, though preached by
different ministers, himself, Silvanus, and Timothy, yet was the same,
had no contrariety in it, as preached by the one, and by the other,
\\#2Co 1:19\\, and therefore there was no reason to conclude that
he was fickle and inconstant in his promise to them, when he was so
invariable in his ministry among them: besides, as all the promises of
God are sure and certain, being made by the God of truth, and being in
Christ, and the performance of them being for the glory of God by the
saints; so the promises of every good man, in imitation of God and
Christ, are firmly and constantly observed, as much as can be by frail
and finite creatures, \\#2Co 1:20\\; and that the apostle, and his
fellow ministers, were not so fickle and changeable as they were
represented, neither in their principles, nor in their practices, the
apostle takes notice of some blessings of grace, which they enjoyed in
common with other saints, and with the Corinthians; such as stability
in Christ, the unction of divine grace, the seal and earnest of the
Spirit in their hearts; all which they had from God, and which kept
them close to God, and preserved them in his grace, and from a fickle
variable temper of mind, and from changeableness either in doctrine or
conduct, \\#2Co 1:21,22\\. And then the apostle proceeds to give the
true reason why he had not as yet come to Corinth, according to his
promise, which was on their account, and not his own, that they might
not come under that severe discipline and correction, which their
faults required; and for the truth of this he calls God to witness,
\\#2Co 1:23\\. But lest it should be objected that this was assuming a
dominion over them, a lording it over God's heritage, he observes, that
he and his fellow ministers did not pretend to have dominion over their
faith, only to be helpers of their joy, \\#2Co 1:24\\.