2 Corinthians 12:21

21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have 1sinned in the past and not repented of the 2impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

2 Corinthians 12:21 Meaning and Commentary

2 Corinthians 12:21

And lest when I come again
Another thing which he feared would be the case when he came again to them, that he himself should be afflicted and distressed, seeing them in a disorderly and dissolute course of life, be obliged to punish them, which would be an humiliation and matter of grief to him:

my God will humble me;
instead of rejoicing in the fruit of his labours, that they were not in vain, he signifies that he should have great sorrow of heart; and whereas he had promised himself much pleasure and comfort in visiting them, it would be the reverse; and inasmuch as he had boasted of them to others, he should be ashamed:

and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already,
or "before"; not before conversion, but before the writing of this or the former epistle; for nothing was more grieving, and occasioned more sorrow and humiliation to the apostle, than the unbecoming walk of professors; and nothing more sensibly affects a faithful minister of the Gospel:

and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication, and
lasciviousness, which they have committed.
The city of Corinth was famous, or rather infamous, for unclean practices; as fornication, adultery, lasciviousness in words and deeds, and other unnatural lusts; "Corinthian whores" was a common proverb; nor was it proper for persons to go to Corinth, there were so many snares for lust and uncleanness; there were said to be above a thousand prostitutes in the temple of Venus there F11; hence the very great impurities and wickedness, which many of the members of this church were guilty of, may be accounted for; some of them had repented, others not, which was the great concern of the apostle: and from hence we may learn, that gracious souls may be suffered to fall into great sins; and that when they are truly brought to repentance, they ought to be restored to communion with the church; but impenitent ones are to be cut off, and remain so, till brought to a due sense of their evils.


F11 Alex. ab Alex. Genial Dier. l. 4. c. 13. & 5. 15. & 6. 26.

2 Corinthians 12:21 In-Context

19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.
20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;
21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

Cross References 2

  • 1. 2 Corinthians 13:2
  • 2. 1 Corinthians 6:9, 18; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5

Footnotes 1