2 Corinthians 1:12
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

King James Bible
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

Darby Bible Translation
For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and sincerity before God, (not in fleshly wisdom but in God's grace,) we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly towards you.

World English Bible
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you.

Young's Literal Translation
For our glorying is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we did conduct ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you;

2 Corinthians 1:12 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For our rejoicing is this - The source or cause of our rejoicing. "I have a just cause of rejoicing, and it is, that I have endeavored to live a life of simplicity and godly sincerity, and have not been actuated by the principles of worldly wisdom." The connection here is not very obvious, and it is not quite easy to trace it. Most expositors, as Doddridge, Locke, Macknight, Bloomfield, etc., suppose that he mentions the purity of his life as a reason why he had a right to expect their prayers, as he had requested in 2 Corinthians 1:11. They would not doubt, it is supposed, that his life had been characterized by great simplicity and sincerity, and would feel, therefore, a deep interest in his welfare, and be disposed to render thanks that be had been preserved in the day of peril. But the whole context and the scope of the passage is rather to be taken into view. Paul had been exposed to death.

He had no hope of life. Then the ground of his rejoicing, and of his confidence, was that he had lived a holy life. He had not been actuated by "fleshly wisdom," but he had been animated and guided by "the grace of God." His aim had been simple, his purpose holy, and he had the testimony of his conscience that his motives had been right, and he had, therefore, no concern about the result. A good conscience, a holy life through Jesus Christ, will enable a man always to look calmly on death. What has a Christian to fear in death? Paul had kept a good conscience toward all; but he says that he had special and unique joy that he had done it toward the Corinthians. This he says, because many there had accused him of fickleness, and of disregard for their interests. He declares, therefore, that even in the prospect of death he had a consciousness of rectitude toward them, and proceeds to show 2 Corinthians 1:13-23 that the charge against him was not well founded. I regard this passage, therefore, as designed to express the fact that Paul, in view of sudden death, had a consciousness of a life of piety, and was comforted with the reflection that he had not been actuated by the "fleshly wisdom" of the world.

The testimony of our conscience - An approving conscience. It does not condemn me on the subject. Though others might accuse him, though his name might be calumniated, yet he had comfort in the approval which his own conscience gave to his course. Paul's conscience was enlightened, and its decisions were correct. Whatever others might charge him with he knew what had been the aim and purpose of his life; and the consciousness of upright aims, and of such plans as the "grace of God" would prompt to, sustained him. An approving conscience is of inestimable value when we are calumniated; and when we draw near to death.

That in simplicity - (ἐν ἁπλότητι en haplotēti.) Tyndale renders this forcibly "without doubleness." The word means sincerity, candor, probity, plain-heartedness, Christian simplicity, frankness, integrity; see 2 Corinthians 11:3. It stands opposed to double-dealings and purposes; to deceitful appearances, and crafty plans; to mere policy, and craftiness in accomplishing an object. A man under the influence of this, is straightforward, candid, open, frank; and he expects to accomplish his purpose by integrity and fair-dealing, and not by stratagem and cunning. Policy, craft, artful plans, and deep-laid schemes of deceit belong to the world; simplicity of aim and purpose are the true characteristics of a real Christian.

And godly sincerity - Greek "sincerity of God." This may be a Hebrew idiom, by which the superlative degree is indicated, when, in order to express the highest degree, they added the name of God, as in the phrases "mountains of God," signifying the highest mountains, or "cedars of God," denoting lofty cedars. Or it may mean such sincerity as God manifests and approves such as he, by his grace, would produce in the heart; such as the religion of the gospel is suited to produce. The word used here, εἱλικρινεία heilikrineia, and rendered sincerity, denotes. properly, clearness, such as is judged of or discerned in sunshine (from εἵλη heilē and κρίνω krinō), and thence pureness, integrity. It is most probable that the phrase here denotes that sincerity which God produces and approves; and the sentiment is, that pure religion, the religion of God, produces entire sincerity in the heart. Its purposes and aims are open and manifest, as if seen in the sunshine. The plans of the world are obscure, deceitful, and dark, as if in the night.

Not with fleshly wisdom - Not with the wisdom which is manifested by the people of this world; not by the principles of cunning, and mere policy, and expediency, which often characterize them. The phrase here stands opposed to simplicity and sincerity, to openness and straightforwardness. And Paul means to disclaim for himself, and for his fellow-laborers, all that carnal policy which distinguishes the mere people of the world. And if Paul deemed such policy improper for him, we should deem it improper for us; if he had no plans which he wished to advance by it, we should have none; if he would not employ it in the promotion of good plans, neither should we. It has been the curse of the church and the bane of religion; and it is to this day exerting a withering and blighting influence on the church. The moment that such plans are resorted to, it is proof that the vitality of religion is gone, and any man who feels that his purposes cannot be accomplished but by such carnal policy, should set it down as full demonstration that his plans are wrong, and that his purpose should be abandoned.

But by the grace of God - This phrase stands opposed, evidently, to "fleshly wisdom." It means that Paul had been influenced by such sentiments and principles as would be suggested or prompted by the influence of his grace. Locke renders it, "by the favor of God directing me." God had shown him favor; God had directed him; and he had kept him from the crooked and devious ways of mere worldly policy. The idea seems to be not merely that he had pursued a correct and upright course of life, but that he was indebted for this to the mere grace and favor of God, an idea which Paul omitted no opportunity of acknowledging.

We have had our conversation - We have conducted ourselves ἀναστράφημεν anastraphēmen. The word used here means literally, "to turn up, to overturn"; then "to turn back, to return," and in the middle voice, "to turn oneself around, to turn oneself to anything, and, also, to move about in, to live in, to be conversant with, to conduct oneself." In this sense it seems to be used here; compare Hebrews 10:33; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 1:17. The word "conversation," we usually apply to oral discourse, but in the Scriptures, it means "conduct," and the sense of the passage is, that Paul had conducted himself in accordance with the principles of the grace of God, and had been influenced by that.

In the world - Everywhere; whereever I have been. This does not mean in the world as contradistinguished from the church, but in the world at large, or wherever he had been, as contradistinguished from the church at Corinth. It had been his common and universal practice.

And more abundantly to you-ward - Especially toward you. This was added doubtless because there had been charges against him in Corinth, that he had been crafty, cunning, deceitful, and especially that he had deceived them (see 2 Corinthians 1:17), in not visiting them as he had promised. He affirms, therefore, that in all things he had acted in the manner to which the grace of God prompted, and that his conduct, in all respects, had been that of entire simplicity and sincerity.

2 Corinthians 1:12 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Anointed and Stablished
'Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.'--2 COR. i. 21. The connection in which these words occur is a remarkable illustration of the Apostle's habit of looking at the most trivial things in the light of the highest truths. He had been obliged, as the context informs us, to abandon an intended visit to Corinth. The miserable crew of antagonists, who yelped at his heels all his life, seized this change of purpose as the occasion for a double-barrelled charge.
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Tenses
"Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us."--2 Corinthians 1:10. WHEN children are learning their grammar, they have to pay particular attention to the tenses of the verbs; and it is important for Christians also to remember their tenses,--to recollect the past, the present, and the future. Our text brings all three very vividly before us, and reminds us that God hath delivered, doth deliver, and will yet deliver. First, let us think for
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 47: 1901

Concerning Baptism.
Concerning Baptism. [967] As there is one Lord, and one faith, so there is one baptism; which is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience before God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And this baptism is a pure and spiritual thing, to wit, the baptism of the Spirit and Fire, by which we are buried with him, that being washed and purged from our sins, we may walk in newness of life: of which the baptism of John was a figure, which was commanded for a time,
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Concerning the Power of the Civil Magistrate in Matters Purely Religious, and Pertaining to the Conscience.
Concerning the Power of the Civil Magistrate in Matters purely Religious, and pertaining to the Conscience. Since God hath assumed to himself the power and Dominion of the Conscience, who alone can rightly instruct and govern it, therefore it is not lawful [1226] for any whosoever, by virtue of any authority or principality they bear in the government of this world, to force the consciences of others; and therefore all killing, banishing, fining, imprisoning, and other such things which are inflicted
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Cross References
Acts 23:1
Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, "Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day."

1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

1 Corinthians 4:4
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:8
For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

2 Corinthians 2:17
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:10
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

Hebrews 13:18
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.

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