For God is my record
Which is all one as swearing by him; it is in form of an oath, being a solemn appeal to him as the searcher of hearts, for the uprightness of his mind, the sincerity of his expressions, and the strength of his affections:
how greatly I long after you all;
the common members, as well as the bishops and deacons, the weak as well as the strong believers, the poor as well as the rich; the apostle's respects were universal, and without distinction: he longed after their spiritual welfare, an increase of gifts and grace among them; he was their spiritual father, and he hankered after them; as parents after their children; he longed to see them, that he might enjoy their company and conversation, have communion with them, and impart some spiritual gift unto them: and this he did
in the bowels of Jesus Christ;
not with an human and carnal affection, but with a Christian and spiritual one; with a love which came from Christ, and was in imitation of him, and on account of their being in him, loved by him, belonging to him, and being believers in him: it was in the most tender manner that he loved them, and was affected to them; the phrase denotes, that his love towards them was internal, in his heart, and was most tender and strong; and like to that tender concern Christ had for them, and which he stirred up in him.