2 Corinthians 1:11
You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed on us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Ye also helping together by prayer . . .—They too to whom he writes can help him as he helps them. Indirectly he asks their prayers for him, but he does so with a refined delicacy of feeling, by assuming that they are already praying, and that their prayers are helpful.

That for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons.—The Greek word for “person” (prosôpon) is elsewhere throughout the New Testament translated “face” or “countenance,” or “person” in the sense of “outward appearance.” It has been suggested that that may be its meaning even here: that thanksgiving may be offered from many upturned faces. The use of the word prosopopœia, however, for “personifying,” and of prosôpon for the characters in a drama, indicates that the noun was beginning to be used in a different sense, and this must clearly have been well established when it came to be used in theological language for the three “persons” of the Godhead. It is interesting to note, however, as a fact in the history of language, that, if this be its meaning here, it is probably one of the earliest extant instances of its being so used.

The “gift,” in this instance, is the deliverance from danger and suffering spoken of in the previous verse. Safety and health deserved the name not less truly than prophecy and the gift of tongues. He assumes, with the same subtle refinement as before, that they will be as ready to give thanks for his recovery or deliverance as they were to pray for it.

1:1-11 We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience, and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings are given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God, who can bring back even from death. Their hope and trust were not in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord. Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.Ye also helping together by prayer for us - Tyndale renders this in connection with the close of the previous verse; "we trust that yet hereafter he will deliver us, by the help of your prayer for us." The word rendered "helping together," means cooperating, aiding, assisting; and the idea is, that Paul felt that his trials might be turned to good account, and give occasion for thanksgiving; and that this was to be accomplished by the aid of the prayers of his fellow Christians. He felt that the church was one, and that Christians should sympathize with one another. He evinced deep humility and tender regard for the Corinthians when he called on them to aid him by their prayers. Nothing would be better calculated to excite their tender affection and regard than thus to call on them to sympathize with him in his trials, and to pray that those trials might result in thanksgiving throughout the churches.

That for the gift bestowed upon us - The sentence which occurs here is very perplexing in the original, and the construction is difficult. But the main idea is not difficult to he seen. The "gift" here referred to (τὸ χάρισμα to charisma) means doubtless the favor shown to him in his rescue from so imminent a peril; and he felt that this was owing to the prayers of many persons on his behalf He believed that he had been remembered in the petitions of his friends and fellow Christians, and that his deliverance was owing to their supplications.

By the means of many persons - Probably meaning that the favor referred to had been imparted by means of the prayers of many individuals who had taken a deep interest in his welfare. But it may also imply perhaps that he had been directly assisted, and had been rescued from the impending danger by the interposition of many friends who had come to his relief. The usual interpretation is, however, that it was by the prayers of many in his behalf.

Thanks may be given by many on our behalf - Many may be induced also to render thanks for my deliverance. The idea is, that as he had been delivered from great peril by the prayers of many persons, it was proper also that thanksgiving should be offered by as many in his behalf, or on account of his deliverance. "Mercies that have been obtained by prayer should be acknowledged by praise" - Doddridge. God had mercifully interposed in answer to the prayers of his people; and it was proper that his mercy should be as extensively acknowledged. Paul was desirous that God should not be forgotten: and that those who had sought his deliverance should render praise to God, perhaps intimating here that those who had obtained mercies by prayer are prone to forget their obligation to return thanks to God for his gracious and merciful interposition.

11. helping together by prayer for us—rather, "helping together on our behalf by your supplication"; the words "for us" in the Greek following "helping together," not "prayer."

that for the gift, &c.—literally, "That on the part of many persons the gift (literally, 'gift of grace'; the mercy) bestowed upon us by means of (that is, through the prayers of) many may be offered thanks for (may have thanks offered for it) on our behalf."

Ye also helping together by prayer for us: faith ought; not to hinder prayer; nor doth God’s principal efficiency, as to any mercy or deliverance bestowed upon us, give a supersedeas to us, as to the use of any means, whether natural or spiritual, by which the mercy may be obtained. Nor are the prayers of the meanest saints useless for the greatest, or beneath their desires; men and women’s favour with God depends not upon their order, station, and repute in the world.

That for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf: by the gift here he means the deliverance before mentioned; which he calls a gift, to denote, not only God’s principal efficiency in it, but his free bestowing of it: this gift (saith he) is

bestowed by the means of many, because obtained upon the intercession or prayers of many. God doth therefore bestow mercies upon particular persons at the intercession of many others on their behalf, that he may not only have the praises of those persons upon whom he so bestoweth the mercy, but of those who have been so praying. The apostle hereby hinteth to us, that we ought no more to forget to give thanks for others, for whom God hath heard us, than to pray for them when in distress. You also helping together by prayer for us,.... Though the apostle ascribes their deliverance solely to God, as the author and efficient cause of it; yet he takes notice of the prayers of the saints for them, as helping causes or means of their obtaining it. It was a very laudable practice in the churches, and worthy of imitation, to pray for the ministers of the Gospel, and especially when under affliction and persecution; see Acts 12:5, and the prayers of those righteous ones were heard by God, and often effectual for the deliverance of them, as they were in the present case: for

by the means of many persons, who wrestled together in prayer with God,

the gift of deliverance from so great a death, which the apostle looked upon as a wonderful mercy, "a free grace gift", was "bestowed upon" them, which was granted for this end,

that thanks may be given by many on our behalf; which is but reasonable, and ought to be observed; for since many were concerned in asking for, and obtaining the mercy, they ought to join in thanksgiving for it: and the apostle's view in this is to stir them up to a joint acknowledgment of the deliverance with them, which better became them than to side with the false apostles in their charge against him.

{6} Ye also helping together by prayer for us, {7} that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

(6) That he may not seem to boast of himself, he attributes all to God, and in so doing also confesses that he attributes much to the prayers of the faithful.

(7) The end of the afflictions of the saints is the glory of God, and therefore they ought to be precious to us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 1:11. A trustful and conciliatory mention of the intercessions of the readers. This is regarded as not so much conditioning (Erasmus, Rosenmüller, Rückert, and others), as rather furthering the καὶ ἔτι ῥύσεται: “he will also still save us, since ye also are helpful together for us,” etc. On the idea of the efficacy of intercession, comp. especially Php 1:19; Romans 15:30 f.

The reference of the συν in συνυπουργ. is to the apostle’s own work of prayer, with which that of the readers is joined by way of help: similar help on the part of other churches is just hinted by the καί before ὑμῶν.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] on our behalf. A transposition for τῇ δεήσει ὑπὲρ ἡμ. would indeed be grammatically possible (Bernhardy, p. 461), but is in the highest degree superfluous (in opposition to Erasmus, Grotius, Schulz, Rosenmüller).

ἵνα ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. κ.τ.λ.] divinely-appointed aim of the συνυπουργ. κ.τ.λ. The correlations are to be noted: 1. ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπ. and τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρ.; 2. διὰ πολλῶν and ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν; 3. χάρισμα and εὐχαριστηθῇ. Accordingly, there stand parallel to one another ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. and then διὰ πολλῶν; as also τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα and then ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν. Hence, it is to be connected and taken thus: that from many countenances for the gift of grace made to us thanks may be rendered by means of many on our behalf. Paul means that the thanksgiving for his (and Timothy’s) rescue (i.e. τὸ εἰς ἡμ. χάρ.[126]) is not to be offered to God by himself (and Timothy) alone, but that it is to be a rendering of thanks made for him by many through the mediation of many. The many are the same in ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. as in διὰ πολλῶν; but there they are conceived of as those who give thanks, and in διὰ π. it. as those who have been the procuring means of the thanksgiving, in so far as through their prayer they have aided in obtaining the apostle’s rescue.[127] πρόσωπον, according to the use of the later Greek (see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 380; Schweigh., Lex. Polyb. p. 540; Wahl, Clav. Apocr. p. 430), is taken as person by Luther and most others (already in codd. of the Italic version). But it is nowhere used thus in the N. T., not even in passages like Judges 1:16; and, if Paul had had person in mind, there would have been no motive for choosing ἐκ instead of ὙΠΌ. Hence we must abide by the literal signification, countenance (Billroth, Ewald, Osiander, Hofmann): the expression ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. is pictorial, for on the merry countenance the feeling of gratitude is displayed (Proverbs 15:30); it is mirrored therein, and goes out from it and upward to God in the utterance of thanksgiving. Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 53, in the same way rightly joins ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. as well as ΔΙᾺ ΠΟΛΛ. with ΕὐΧΑΡ., but he takes ἘΚ ΠΟΛΛ. ΠΡ. of those who have besought the rescue and have thereby become the causers of the thanksgiving, and ΔΙᾺ ΠΟΛΛῶΝ of the thanksgivers themselves. So also Neander. But by this view justice is not done to the mediating sense of διά, and the pictorial reference of προσώπων (see above) can, according to the text, be found only in the act of thanksgiving itself. It is obvious from what has already been said, that neither can ΔΙᾺ ΠΟΛΛ. be joined to ΤῸ ΕἸς ἩΜ. ΧΆΡΙΣΜΑ (Theophylact and others, Billroth, Olshausen, Osiander, Kling), nor can ἘΚ ΠΟΛΛ. ΠΡΟΣΏΠ. be connected with ΤῸ ΕἸς ἩΜ. ΧΆΡ. as if it stood: ΤῸ ἘΚ ΠΟΛΛ. ΠΡΟΣΏΠ. ΕἸς ἩΜᾶς ΧΆΡΙΣΜΑ (Ambrosiaster, Valla, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, and many others, including Flatt, Fritzsche, Diss., Rückert, de Wette). Only on our view does the simple construction, as given by the order of the words, remain without dislocation, and the meaning of the words themselves uninjured. Whether, further, in ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. the ΠΟΛΛῶΝ is masculine (Hofmann and Vulgate, “ex multorum facie”) or neuter, cannot be decide.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] on our behalf, superfluous in itself, but suitable to the fulness of the representation.

The time in which the thanksgiving is to happen is after the beginning of the ῥύσεται, not on the last day (Ewald).

The passive expression ΕὐΧΑΡΙΣΤΕῖΣΘΑΙ (comp. Hipp. Ep. p. 1284, 31) is conceived like ἀχαριστεῖσθαι (Polyb. xxiii. 11. 8), to experience ingratitude, to be recompensed with ingratitude. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 130 [E. T. 148].

[126] Not the apostolic office (Ewald, Osiander), which here lies far from the context. So also Hofmann: the gift of God, to preach Christ to those who do not yet know Him. In the ordinary interpretation, there was not the least need of a demonstrative: the article and εἰς ἡμᾶς is from the context demonstrative enough.

[127] It was quite unsuitable, and contrary to the construction purposely carried out by the correlate stated above, to take ἐκ πολλ. προσώπ. προσώπ. or διὰ πολλ. as neuter, and either to explain the former, ex multis respectibus (Bengel, comp. Melanchthon—not even justifiable in the usage of the language), or the latter, prolixe (Castalio: “ingentes gratiae,” Wolf, Clericus, Semler, Storr, Rosenmüller). Comp. Luther. So also Hofmann takes διὰ πολλ. “abundant thanksgiving.” The Vulgate renders rightly: “per multos.”2 Corinthians 1:11. συνυπουργούντων καὶ ὑμῶν κ.τ.λ.: ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; i.e., apparently, “helping me”. St. Paul claims that the sympathy of his converts with him shall be exhibited by their prayers for him. δέησις is prayer for a particular object, as contrasted with the more general προσευχή (Ephesians 6:18).—ἵνα ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων κ.τ.λ: that from many faces (sc., as if upturned in thanksgiving) thanks be given on our behalf through many for the gift bestowed on us. πρόσωπον came to mean “person” in later Greek, but it never can be thus translated in the N.T., save in the phrase λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον (Luke 20:21, Galatians 2:6) or θαυμάζειν πρόσωπα (Judges 1:16), “to respect the person” of anyone. Even in these passages λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον is a Hebraism which originally meant “raise the face” (see Plummer on Luke 20:21). πρόσωπον is used ten times elsewhere in this Epistle in its ordinary sense of “face” (chap. 2 Corinthians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 8:24, 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:7, 2 Corinthians 11:20; cf. also 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Corinthians 14:25, Galatians 1:22). Hence we cannot follow the English versions in translating ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων “by many persons” in this verse, an additional difficulty in the way of such a rendering being that it would require ὑπό, not ἐκ. πρόσωπον is a face, and the image in the writer’s mind is that of faces upturned in prayer, the early Christian (and the Jewish) attitude of prayer being one of standing with uplifted eyes and outstretched arms (cf. Psalm 27:2, Matthew 6:5, 1 Timothy 2:8, and Clem. Rom., § 29). The general thought, of the united thanksgivings of many persons, is found twice again in the Epistle in somewhat similar contexts (see reff.). χάρισμα and εὐχαριστεῖν (the passive is found here only in N.T.) are favourite words with St. Paul, the former occurring sixteen times in his Epistles and only once elsewhere in the N.T. (1 Peter 4:10).11. You also helping … by prayer for us] Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18; James 5:15-16. “For the right understanding of this Epistle, the identity of feeling between the Apostle and his converts must be borne in mind throughout … It is the liveliest instance of the real community of feeling introduced by Christianity into the world.”—Stanley. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 9:12. Also Acts 12:5; Acts 12:11; Romans 15:30-31; Php 1:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Philemon 1:22.

the gift] χάρισμα. See 1 Corinthians 12:4 (note).

persons] Literally, faces. The word originally, perhaps, signifies a mask. Hence it came (see note on ch. 2 Corinthians 2:10) to mean ‘face’ or ‘presence,’ and thus, as in the present passage, it comes to mean ‘person.’ But the signification face occurs in Homer.2 Corinthians 1:11. Συνυπουργούντων, you helping with) ὑπουργεῖν is from ἔργον, a work: ἔργον, the work of effectual help, belongs to God; ὑπουργεῖν, to help subordinately, belongs to the apostles; συνυπουργεῖν, to help subordinately along with, belongs to the Corinthians.—καὶ) you also, not merely others.—[2] ἐκ πολλῶν προσωπῶν, in many respects [But Engl. Vers. “By the means of many persons”]) πρόσωπωον, face, respect [point of view.] In respect, viz., of the past, present and future. He has delivered, delivers, will deliver. We do not translate it, of many persons, for that is included in the words, διὰ πολλῶν, by many.—τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα) the assistance, which is vouchsafed to us by grace.—διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ) thanksgiving may be given by many. χάρισμα and εὐχαριστία are correlatives; 2 Corinthians 4:15.—ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν,[3] for you) Just now he had said, for us, in respect of prayers; now, he says, for you, in respect of thanksgiving. The fruit redounded to the Corinthians. Nor was it necessary, after εἰς ἡμᾶς, again to say, ὙΠῈΡ ἩΜῶΝ.[4]

[2] Τῆ δεήσειεὐχαριστηθῇ, that thanksgiving might be poured forth by prayer). He who enjoys the communion of saints, will never want an opportunity for prayer; although he should have nothing remaining in relation to himself, for which he should feel any anxiety—[i.e. the concerns of his fellow-saints will always afford him ample subject for prayer and praise.]—V. g.

[3] Therefore the reading ἡμῶν, at the end of the verse, is disapproved by the margin of both Ed., and seems to have slipped inadvertently into the Germ. Ver.—E. B.

[4] All the oldest MSS. and Versions have ἡμῶν. Only a few MSS. of Vulg. have vobis.—ED.Verse 11. - Ye also helping together by prayer for us. St. Paul had a deep conviction of the efficacy of intercessory prayer (Romans 15:30, 31; Philippians 1:19; Philemon 1:22). By the means of many persons; literally, from many faces. Probably the word prosopon here has its literal meaning. The verse, then, means "that from many faces the gift to us may be thankfully acknowledged by many on our behalf." God, he implies, will be well pleased when he sees the gratitude beaming from the many countenances of those who thank him for his answer to their prayers on his behalf. The word for "gift" is charisma, which means a gift of grace, a gift of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). Persons (προσώπων)

Face is the usual rendering of the word in the New Testament. Even when rendered person the usage is Hebraistic for face. See on James 2:1 There is no reason for abandoning that sense here. The expression is pictorial; that thanksgiving may be given from many faces; the cheerful countenances being an offering of thanks to God.

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