|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-4 The apostle desired to have a cheerful meeting with them; and he had written in confidence of their doing what was to their benefit and his comfort; and that therefore they would be glad to remove every cause of disquiet from him. We should always give pain unwillingly, even when duty requires that it must be given.
Verse 1. - But I determined this. The division of chapters is here unfortunate, since this and the next three verses belong to the paragraph which began at 2 Corinthians 1:23. The verb means, literally, "I judged," but is rightly rendered "determined," as in 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 7:37. He is contrasting his final decision with his original desire, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:15. With myself; rather, for myself; as the best course which I could take. That I would net come again to you in heaviness. The "again" in the true reading is not placed immediately before the verb, but it seems (as Theodoret says) to belong to it, so that the meaning is not "that I would not pay you a second sad visit," but "that my second visit to you should not be a sad one." There have been interminable discussions, founded on this expression and on ch. 13:1, as to whether St. Paul had up to the time of writing this letter visited Corinth twice or only once. There is no question that only one visit is recorded in the Acts (Acts 18:1-18) previous to the one which he paid to this Church after this Epistle had been sent (Acts 20:2, 3). If he paid them a second brief, sad, and unrecorded visit, it can only have been during his long stay in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 10). But the possibility of this does not seem to be recognized in Acts 20:31, where he speaks of his work at Ephesus "night and day" during this period. The assumption of such a visit, as we shall see, is not necessitated by 2 Corinthians 13:1, but in any case we know nothing whatever about the details of the visit, even if there was one, and the question, being supremely unimportant, is hardly worth the time which has been spent upon it. If he had paid such a visit, it would be almost unaccountable that there should be no reference to it in the First Epistle, and here in 2 Corinthians 1:19 he refers only to one occasion on which he had preached Christ in Corinth. Each fresh review of the circumstances convinces me more strongly that the notion of three visits to Corinth, of which one is unrecorded, is a needless and mistaken inference, due to unimaginative literalism in interpreting one or two phrases, and encumbered with difficulties on every side. In heaviness. The expression applies as much to the Corinthians as to himself, he did not wish his second visit to Corinth to be a painful one.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But I determined with myself,.... The apostle having removed the charge of levity and inconstancy brought against him, goes on to excuse his delay in coming to them, and to soften the severity, which some thought too much, he had used in his former epistle: he determined with himself, he took up a resolution within his own breast some time ago, says he,
that I would not come again to you in heaviness; that he would not come with sorrow and heaviness, bewailing their sins not repented of, and by sharp reproofs and censures, which in such a case would be necessary, be the cause of grief and trouble to them; wherefore he determined to wait their repentance and amendment before he came again. The word "again", may be connected with the phrase "in heaviness"; and the sense be, that in his former epistle, which was a sort of coming to them, he made them heavy and sorry, by sharply rebuking them for some disorders that were among them; and since it has been a settled point with him, that he would not come in heaviness again: or with the word "come"; and then the meaning is, as his first coming among them was to the joy of their souls, so it was a determined case with him, that his second coming should not be with grief, either to them or himself, or both; and this is the true reason why he had deferred it so long.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Co 2:1-17. Reason Why He Had Not Visited Them on His Way to Macedonia; the Incestuous Person Ought Now to Be Forgiven; His Anxiety to Hear Tidings of Their State from Titus, and His Joy When at Last the Good News Reaches Him.
1. with myself—in contrast to "you" (2Co 1:23). The same antithesis between Paul and them appears in 2Co 2:2.
not come again … in heaviness—"sorrow"; implying that he had already paid them one visit in sorrow since his coming for the first time to Corinth. At that visit he had warned them "he would not spare if he should come again" (see on 2Co 13:2; compare 2Co 12:14; 13:1). See Introduction to the first Epistle. The "in heaviness" implies mutual pain; they grieving him, and he them. Compare 2Co 2:2, "I make you sorry," and 2Co 2:5, "If any have caused grief (sorrow)." In this verse he accounts for having postponed his visit, following up 2Co 1:23.
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