2 Corinthians 1:15-24
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
15 With this confidence I formerly intended to come[a] to you so that you might receive a double favor, 16 namely, to go by way of you to Macedonia, and then to come to you again on my return from Macedonia, and have you send me on my way to Judea.(A) 17 So when I intended this, did I act lightly?[b] Or do I make my plans according to human considerations, so that with me it is “yes, yes” and “no, no”?(B) 18 As God is faithful,[c] our word to you is not “yes” and “no.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him.(C) 20 For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.(D) 21 [d]But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God;(E) 22 he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.(F)
Paul’s Change of Plan. 23 (G)But I call upon God as witness, on my life, that it is to spare you that I have not yet gone to Corinth.[e] 24 Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we work together for your joy, for you stand firm in the faith.Read full chapter
- 1:15 I formerly intended to come: this plan reads like a revision of the one mentioned in 1 Cor 16:5. Not until 2 Cor 1:23–2:1 will Paul tell us something his original readers already knew, that he has canceled one or the other of these projected visits.
- 1:17 Did I act lightly?: the subsequent change of plans casts suspicion on the original intention, creating the impression that Paul is vacillating and inconsistent or that human considerations keep dictating shifts in his goals and projects (cf. the counterclaim of 2 Cor 1:12). “Yes, yes” and “no, no”: stating something and denying it in the same or the next breath; being of two minds at once, or from one moment to the next.
- 1:18–22 As God is faithful: unable to deny the change in plans, Paul nonetheless asserts the firmness of the original plan and claims a profound constancy in his life and work. He grounds his defense in God himself, who is firm and reliable; this quality can also be predicated in various ways of those who are associated with him. Christ, Paul, and the Corinthians all participate in analogous ways in the constancy of God. A number of the terms here, which appear related only conceptually in Greek or English, would be variations of the same root, ’mn, in a Semitic language, and thus naturally associated in a Semitic mind, such as Paul’s. These include the words yes (2 Cor 1:17–20), faithful (2 Cor 1:18), Amen (2 Cor 1:20), gives us security (2 Cor 1:21), faith, stand firm (2 Cor 1:24).
- 1:21–22 The commercial terms gives us security, seal, first installment are here used analogously to refer to the process of initiation into the Christian life, perhaps specifically to baptism. The passage is clearly trinitarian. The Spirit is the first installment or “down payment” of the full messianic benefits that God guarantees to Christians. Cf. Eph 1:13–14.
- 1:23–24 I have not yet gone to Corinth: some suppose that Paul received word of some affair in Corinth, which he decided to regulate by letter even before the first of his projected visits (cf. 2 Cor 1:16). Others conjecture that he did pay the first visit, was offended there (cf. 2 Cor 2:5), returned to Ephesus, and sent a letter (2 Cor 2:3–9) in place of the second visit. The expressions to spare you (2 Cor 1:23) and work together for your joy (2 Cor 1:24) introduce the major themes of the next two paragraphs, which are remarkable for insistent repetition of key words and ideas. These form two clusters of terms in the English translation: (1) cheer, rejoice, encourage, joy; (2) pain, affliction, anguish. These clusters reappear when Paul resumes treatment of this subject in 2 Cor 7:5–16.