2 Corinthians 1
New English Translation
1 From Paul,[a] an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.[b] 2 Grace and peace to you[c] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Thanksgiving for God’s Comfort
3 Blessed is[d] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles[e] so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble[f] with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings[g] of Christ[h] overflow[i] toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you.[j] 6 But if we are afflicted,[k] it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in[l] our sufferings, so also you will share in[m] our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[n] regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia,[o] that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. 9 Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us,[p] so that we would not trust in ourselves[q] but in God who raises the dead. 10 He[r] delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him[s] that[t] he will deliver us yet again, 11 as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God[u] on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many.
Paul Defends His Changed Plans
12 For our reason for confidence[v] is this: the testimony of our conscience, that with pure motives[w] and sincerity which are from God[x]—not by human wisdom[y] but by the grace of God—we conducted ourselves in the world, and all the more[z] toward you. 13 For we do not write you anything other than what[aa] you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely[ab] 14 just as also you have partly understood us, that we are your source of pride just as you also are ours[ac] in the day of the Lord Jesus.[ad] 15 And with this confidence I intended to come to you first so that you would get a second opportunity to see us,[ae] 16 and through your help to go on into Macedonia and then from Macedonia to come back[af] to you and be helped on our way into Judea by you. 17 Therefore when I was planning to do this, I did not do so without thinking about what I was doing, did I?[ag] Or do I make my plans[ah] according to mere human standards[ai] so that I would be saying[aj] both “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us—by me and Silvanus[ak] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him. 20 For every one of God’s promises are “Yes” in him; therefore also through him the “Amen” is spoken, to the glory we give to God. 21 But it is God who establishes[al] us together with you in Christ and who anointed us,[am] 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.[an]
Why Paul Postponed His Visit
23 Now I appeal to God as my witness,[ao] that to spare[ap] you I did not come again to Corinth.[aq] 24 I do not mean that we rule over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because by faith you stand firm.[ar]
- 2 Corinthians 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- 2 Corinthians 1:1 tn Or “are throughout Achaia.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:2 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:3 tn There is no verb in the Greek text; either the optative (“be”) or the indicative (“is”) can be supplied. The meaning of the term εὐλογητός (eulogētos) and the author’s intention at this point in the epistle must both come into play to determine which is the preferred nuance. εὐλογητός as an adjective can mean either that one is praised or that one is blessed, that is, in a place of favor and benefit. The meaning “blessed” would be more naturally paired with an indicative verb and would suggest that blessedness is an intrinsic part of God’s character. The meaning “praised” would be more naturally paired with an optative verb and would suggest that God ought to be praised. Pauline style in the epistles generally moves from statements to obligations, expressing the reality first and then the believer’s necessary response. When considered as a whole, although a decision is difficult, the general Pauline style of beginning with statements and moving to obligations argues for the indicative. Cf. also Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3.
- 2 Corinthians 1:4 tn Or “our trials”; traditionally, “our affliction.” The term θλῖψις (thlipsis) refers to trouble (including persecution) that involves direct suffering (L&N 22.2).
- 2 Corinthians 1:4 tn Or “any trials”; traditionally, “any affliction.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn This Greek word translated “sufferings” here (πάθημα, pathēma) is a different one than the one Paul uses for his own afflictions/persecutions (θλῖψις, thlipsis) in v. 4.
- 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn I.e., suffering incurred by Paul as a consequence of his relationship to Christ. The genitive could be considered to have a causative nuance here.
- 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn Traditionally, “abound” (here and throughout this section).
- 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn The words “to you” are not in the Greek text, but are implied by the statements in the following verse.
- 2 Corinthians 1:6 tn Or “are troubled.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:7 tn Grk “as you are sharers in.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:7 tn Grk “will be sharers in.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:8 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1., where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).
- 2 Corinthians 1:8 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia. The Roman province of Asia made up about one-third of modern Asia Minor and was on the western side of it. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.
- 2 Corinthians 1:9 tn Grk “we ourselves had the sentence of death within ourselves.” Here ἀπόκριμα (apokrima) is being used figuratively; no actual official verdict had been given, but in light of all the difficulties that Paul and his colleagues had suffered, it seemed to them as though such an official verdict had been rendered against them (L&N 56.26).
- 2 Corinthians 1:9 tn Or “might not put confidence in ourselves.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:10 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative clause “who delivered us…” was made a separate sentence in the translation.
- 2 Corinthians 1:10 tn Grk “deliver us, on whom we have set our hope.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:10 tc Several significant witnesses, especially Alexandrian (P46 B D* 0121 0243 1739 1881 Did), lack ὅτι (hoti, “that”) here, while others, most notably Western (D1 F G 104 630 1505 ar b syh Or Ambst), lack ἔτι (eti, “yet”). Most mss, including significant Alexandrians (א A C D2 Ψ 33 M f t vg), have the full expression ὅτι καὶ ἔτι (hoti kai eti). Although the predominantly Alexandrian reading has much to commend it, the fact that either ὅτι or ἔτι has been dropped, while the καί has been retained, suggests that the initial text had ὅτι καὶ ἔτι, and that either particle dropped out intentionally for stylistic reasons. (F and G have the order καί ὅτι, suggesting that in their archetype the ἔτι was unintentionally dropped due to homoioteleuton.) If, however, ὅτι is not authentic, v. 10b should be translated “We have set our hope on him, and he will deliver us again.” Overall, a decision is difficult, but preference should be given to ὅτι καὶ ἔτι.
- 2 Corinthians 1:11 tn Grk “so that thanks may be given by many.” The words “to God” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. The passive construction has been converted to an active one for clarity, in keeping with contemporary English style.
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “for boasting.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 tc Two viable variants exist at this place in the text: ἁγιότητι (hagiotēti, “holiness”) vs. ἁπλότητι (haplotēti, “pure motives”). A confusion of letters could well have produced the variant (TCGNT 507): In majuscule script the words would have been written agiothti and aplothti. This, however, does not explain which reading created the other. Overall ἁπλότητι, though largely a Western-Byzantine reading (א2 D F G M lat sy), is better suited to the context; it is also a Pauline word while ἁγιότης (hagiotēs) is not. It also best explains the rise of the other variants, πραότητι (praotēti, “gentleness”) and σπλάγχνοις (splanchnois, “compassion”). On the other hand, the external evidence in favor of ἁγιότητι is extremely strong (P46 א* A B C K P Ψ 0121 0243 33 81 1739 1881 al co). This diversity of mss provides excellent evidence for authenticity, but because of the internal evidence listed above, ἁπλότητι is to be preferred, albeit only slightly.tn Or “sincerity.” The two terms translated “pure motives” (ἁπλότης, haplotēs) and “sincerity” (εἰλικρίνεια, eilikrineia) are close synonyms.
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Grk “pure motives and sincerity of God.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “not by worldly wisdom.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “and especially.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:13 tn Grk “than the things.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:13 tn Grk “to the end,” a Greek idiom for “fully,” “totally,” “completely.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:14 tn Grk “that we are your boast even as you are our boast.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:14 tc ‡ On the wording “the Lord Jesus” (τοῦ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ, tou kuriou Iēsou) there is some variation in the extant witnesses: ἡμῶν (hēmōn, “our”) is found after κυρίου in several significant witnesses (א B F G P 0121 0243 6 33 81 1739 1881 2464 al lat co); the pronoun is lacking from P46vid A C D Ψ M. Although in Paul “our Lord Jesus Christ” is a common expression, “our Lord Jesus” is relatively infrequent (cf., e.g., Rom 16:20; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess 1:8, 12). “The Lord Jesus” occurs about as often as “our Lord Jesus” (cf. 1 Cor 11:23; 16:23; 2 Cor 4:14; 11:31; Eph 1:15; 1 Thess 4:2; 2 Thess 1:7; Phlm 5). Thus, on balance, since scribes would tend to expand on the text, it is probably best to consider the shorter reading as authentic. NA28 places the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.
- 2 Corinthians 1:15 tn Grk “a second grace,” “a second favor” (used figuratively of a second visit by Paul).
- 2 Corinthians 1:16 tn Grk “come again.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative answer. This is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ question “did I?” at the end of the sentence.
- 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “the things that I plan, do I plan (them).”
- 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “so that with me there should be.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:19 sn Silvanus is usually considered to be the same person as Silas (L&N 93.340).
- 2 Corinthians 1:21 tn Or “strengthens.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:21 tn Grk “But he who establishes us together with you in Christ and anointed us is God.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:22 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit.”sn Down payment. The Greek word ἀρραβών (arrabōn) denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God (it occurs later in 2 Cor 5:5, and also in Eph 1:14). In the “already—not yet” scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers (“already”) can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future (“not yet”).
- 2 Corinthians 1:23 tn Grk “I call upon God as witness against my soul.” Normally this implies an appeal for help (L&N 33.176).
- 2 Corinthians 1:23 tn Here φειδόμενος (pheidomenos) has been translated as a telic participle.
- 2 Corinthians 1:23 sn Paul had promised to come again to visit (see 2 Cor 1:15, 24) but explains here why he had changed his plans.
- 2 Corinthians 1:24 tn Or “because you stand firm in the faith.”