2 Corinthians 1:12
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.
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(12) For our rejoicing is this. . . .—Better, our boast, as in Romans 3:17; Romans 15:17; 1Corinthians 15:31. With the feeling of jubilant thankfulness which has hitherto characterised his language there mingles another of a different character. It had, perhaps, been in the background of his thoughts all along. He had seemed, in 1Corinthians 4:21, to imply that he was coming to take strong measures against evil-doers (“Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love?”). In 1Corinthians 16:2-8 he had spoken yet more definitely, “I will come unto you, when I shall have passed through Macedonia.” And yet he had not come. Titus would seem to have told him what was said of this: “He was fickle, and changeable; said Yes one day, and No another. Perhaps he was afraid to come.” He is eager to refute the charge without a formal pleading as in answer to it, and seems to cast about for an opening. He finds it in the words which he had just dictated. He has a right to assume that the Corinthians will pray and give thanks for him, for he can boast that he has never failed, conscience bearing him witness, in transparent sincerity to them.

The testimony of our conscience.—The words present an obviously undesigned coincidence with St. Paul’s language in Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16, and again with that of Romans 9:1. To have nothing on his conscience, to “know nothing by (i.e., against) himself” (1Corinthians 4:4), was the great law of his life. And this was true, as of his whole life in relation to the Corinthians, so especially of the supposed change of purpose with which he had been taunted.

In simplicity.—The better MSS. give “holiness” instead of “simplicity.” The Greek word for the latter is very characteristic of this Epistle (2Corinthians 8:2; 2Corinthians 9:11; 2Corinthians 9:13; 2Corinthians 11:3), but then it is used in these passages in quite another sense, as of a single-minded generosity. The word for “holiness” is not a common one, but it appears in Hebrews 12:10. It was, however, the natural correlative of the term “saints” applied to all believers. St. Paul’s conscience told him that he had not been false to the consecrated character which that term involved.

Godly sincerity.—Better, sincerity which is of God. It is seldom satisfactory to tone down the bold vigour of the Greek, or perhaps Hebrew, idiom into the tameness of an English adjective. The sincerity which St. Paul claims had come to him as God’s gift: he could submit it to God’s judgment. The word for “sincerity” (literally, transparency of character, or, perhaps, that which bore the test of the strongest light) had been used in 1Corinthians 5:8.

Not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God.—Better, in or with in both clauses. The words indicate the same line of thought as those of 1Corinthians 2:1-6. Men made invidious comparisons between his plainness of speech and the eloquent wisdom of some other teachers. That kind of “fleshly,” i.e., worldly, wisdom he disclaims. It was not that, but the favour or the “grace” of God which was the motive-force of his action, the sphere in which he lived and moved.

We have had our conversation.—Better, we conducted ourselves. The tense of the Greek verb implies a special reference in thought to the time when he had been at Corinth. It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to note that “conversation” means “conduct,” but as the first occurrence of the word in the New Testament, it may be well to trace the several stages through which it has passed. On its appearance in English, as in Chaucer, it has its full etymological force as indicating, as it does here, habitual conduct. “Enquire of his conversation and of his life before” (Tale of Melibœus). So in Wiclif’s version of the Bible it is used, as in that of 1611, in Galatians 1:13. In somewhat later writers, e.g., in Sidney and Strype, the sense becomes that of “conduct with others,” “converse, intercourse,” a sense still prominent in the familiar legal term for adultery. In Swift and Cowper it has come to be all but absolutely identified with the intercourse which is carried on by talking. In its fullest sense, the Apostle can say that he had striven to live everywhere so as to avoid giving grounds for suspicion. Nowhere had he been more careful so to live than at Corinth, where men were suspicious in proportion to their own viciousness. (Comp. Notes on 2Corinthians 7:1-2.)

2 Corinthians 1:12-14. For, &c. — I am more imboldened to look for this, because I am conscious of my integrity; seeing our rejoicing is this — Even in the deepest adversity, a rejoicing which no external calamities can impair, or injuries destroy; the testimony of our conscience — In the sight of God, who searcheth the secrets of all hearts, however men may suspect or censure us; that in simplicity — Aiming singly at the glory of God; and godly sincerity — Without any tincture of guile, dissimulation, or disguise; not with fleshly (carnal) wisdom — Which is so ungenerously and unrighteously imputed to us; but by the grace of God — Which hath created us anew, and continues to help our infirmities; we have had — In time past, and still continue to have, our conversation in the world, in all places which we have visited, and in which we have had our abode, in every circumstance; and more abundantly to you-ward — That is, which has more evidently discovered itself in our converse among you. For we write none other things — Namely, concerning our conversation: than what you read or acknowledge — Than what I have always declared respecting myself, in the epistles I have sent to you and other churches; and what you know in yourselves, and cannot but own to be true; as also you have acknowledged in part — That is, in some measure, or some of you; that we are your rejoicing — That ye rejoice in having known us; as ye also are ours — As we also rejoice in the success of our labours among you; and we trust shall rejoice therein in the day of the Lord Jesus — When we hope to present you before Christ as the seals of our ministry.

1:12-14 Though, as a sinner, the apostle could only rejoice and glory in Christ Jesus, yet, as a believer, he might rejoice and glory in being really what he professed. Conscience witnesses concerning the steady course and tenor of the life. Thereby we may judge ourselves, and not by this or by that single act. Our conversation will be well ordered, when we live and act under such a gracious principle in the heart. Having this, we may leave our characters in the Lord's hands, but using proper means to clear them, when the credit of the gospel, or our usefulness, calls for it.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.

12. For—reason why he may confidently look for their prayers for him.

our rejoicing—Greek, "our glorying." Not that he glories in the testimony of his conscience, as something to boast of; nay, this testimony is itself the thing in which his glorying consists.

in simplicity—Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "in holiness." English Version reading is perhaps a gloss from Eph 6:5 [Alford]. Some of the oldest manuscripts and versions, however, support it.

godly sincerity—literally, "sincerity of God"; that is, sincerity as in the presence of God (1Co 5:8). We glory in this in spite of all our adversities. Sincerity in Greek implies the non-admixture of any foreign element. He had no sinister or selfish aims (as some insinuated) in failing to visit them as he had promised: such aims belonged to his adversaries, not to him (2Co 2:17). "Fleshly wisdom" suggests tortuous and insincere courses; but the "grace of God," which influenced him by God's gifts (Ro 12:3; 15:15), suggests holy straightforwardness and sincere faithfulness to promises (2Co 1:17-20), even as God is faithful to His promises. The prudence which subserves selfish interests, or employs unchristian means, or relies on human means more than on the Divine Spirit, is "fleshly wisdom."

in the world—even in relation to the world at large, which is full of disingenuousness.

more abundantly to you-ward—(2Co 2:4). His greater love to them would lead him to manifest, especially to them, proofs of his sincerity, which his less close connection with the world did not admit of his exhibiting towards it.

He declareth the confidence that he had, that he should not want their prayers, because his own heart told him, to his joy and satisfaction, that however others might reproach him, as if he had carried himself deceitfully, or craftily, yet he had not done so, but had lived in the world in all

simplicity and sincerity of God (so the Greek is). Simplicity is opposed to double-mindedness; where there is a composition in a man, a mixture of truth and falsehood, fairness in speech and falsehood in heart or action. Sincerity is opposed to hypocrisy. It is said to be of God, because he is the God of truth, hath commanded it, approveth it, worketh it, and disposeth the heart of man to it. This is opposed to fleshly wisdom, which prompteth a man to seek his own ends any way, good or bad.

But (saith the apostle) we have had our conversation in the world, not by the guidance of any such corrupt habit or principle, but by the grace of God, the love and fear of God dwelling in us; or, we have done this, not of ourselves, but by the guidance and assistance of Divine grace, helping us so to live, and to have our conversation in the world.

And more abundantly to you-ward; and more especially you are our witnesses of this, amongst whom we have preached the gospel freely, so as we have not made it chargeable to you.

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience,.... This rejoicing or glorying of the apostle's in the testimony of their consciences, to the goodness of their hearts, actions, conduct, and behaviour, was not before God, and in his sight, but before men, who were ready to accuse their good conversation in Christ: nor are these words to be considered as they generally are by interpreters, as if it was the testimony of a good conscience, which was the ground of their faith and confidence, that God would deliver them, and was an helping cause, together with the prayers of the saints, of their present deliverance. They refer to the charge exhibited against the apostle, that he had falsified his word in not coming to Corinth according to his promise; under which charge he could sit easy, having a witness within him, which was better than a thousand others, that

we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards; the Corinthians, of which they themselves must be conscious:

in simplicity; in opposition to double mindedness; they did not say one thing, and mean another, and act contrary to both; their heart and mouth went together, and their conduct agreed with both; what they promised they meant to perform; and where there was a want of performance, it was owing to intervening providences, which hindered, and not to any deceitfulness in them: the conscience of the apostle bore him witness, that he behaved in the simplicity and singleness of his heart; and also in

godly sincerity, or "in the sincerity of God"; that is, such as God requires, gives, and approves of, and which will stand in his sight, will bear his examination, and to which he gives his testimony; and that his conduct was

not influenced

with fleshly wisdom: he used no artful sophistical methods to impose upon, and delude persons, for any sinister ends, or worldly advantage:

but by the grace of God; which was bestowed upon him, implanted in him, and which taught him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world.

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

(8) Secondly, he dismisses another slander, that is, that he was a light man, and such a one as was not lightly to be trusted, seeing that he promised to come to them, and did not come. And first he speaks of the singleness of his mind, and sincerity, which they knew both by his voice when he was present, and they ought to acknowledge it also in his letters, being absent: and moreover he protests that he will never be otherwise.

(h) With clearness, and holy and true plainness of mind, as God himself can witness.

(i) Trusting to that very wisdom which God of his free goodness has given me from heaven.

2 Corinthians 1:12. The apostle now begins the vindication of himself, at first in reference to the purity of his walk in general (2 Corinthians 1:12), then in reference to his honesty in writing (2 Corinthians 1:13-14), and afterwards specially in reference to the changing of his plans for the journey (2 Corinthians 1:15-24).

γάρ] Ground assigned for the confidence uttered in 2 Corinthians 1:11, that the readers would help him by their intercession in the manner denoted: for we boast, according to the witness of our conscience, to have made ourselves worthy of your help.

καύχησις is not equivalent to καύχημα, materies gloriandi (so most, but in no passage rightly, see on Romans 4:2), but we should interpret: For this our boasting (which is contained in 2 Corinthians 1:11) is the testimony which our conscience furnishes that we, etc. In other words: This our boasting is nothing else than the expression of the testimony of our conscience, that, etc.; hence no αἰσχύνεσθαι ἀπὸ καυχήσεως (Isaiah 12:1-3) can take place. The contents of this testimony (ὅτι κ.τ.λ.) shows how very much the καύχησις of Paul is a καυχᾶσθαι ἐν κυρίῳ (1 Corinthians 1:31). Accordingly, αὕτη is to be taken together with ἡ καύχησις ἡμῶν (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:9 : ἡ ἐξουσία ὑμῶν αὕτη); τὸ μαρτύριον κ.τ.λ. is the predicate, which is introduced by ἐστί, and ὅτι κ.τ.λ. is the contents of the testimony. By the plain simplicity of this explanation we obviously exclude the view that αὕτη is preparative, and that it is to be referred either to τὸ μαρτύριον (Luther and most), or, more harshly, with Hofmann, to ὅτι κ.τ.λ., because in that case τὸ μαρτύριον κ.τ.λ. is made an interpolated appositio.

ἐν ἁγιότητι (see the critical remarks) καὶ εἰλικρ. Θεοῦ] Θεοῦ is not used superlatively, as Emmerling would still take it. Further, it neither denotes what is well-pleasing to God (Schulz, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Rückert, Reiche), nor what avails before God (Calvin, Beza, Estius, Billroth, and others, following Theophylact), nor what is like God (Pelagius), nor the God-like (Osiander), which is God’s manner (Hofmann), but the moral holiness and purity established by God through the influence of the divine grace, as the following οὐκ ἐν σοφ. σαρκ., ἀλλʼ ἐν χάριτι Θεοῦ proves.[128] So also Olshausen, de Wette, Kling, Neander, Winer, p. 221 [E. T. 261]. Comp. δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ, Romans 1:17, εἰρήνη Θεοῦ, Php 4:7, and the like. The rare word ἁγιότης is found also in 2Ma 15:2; Hebrews 12:10; Schol. Arist. Thesm. 301. Regarding εἰλικρ., see on 1 Corinthians 5:8. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 66 A.

οὐκ ἐν σοφ. σαρκ. ἀλλʼ ἐν χάρ. Θεοῦ] is not to be placed in a parenthesis, for it is parallel to the previous ἐν ἁγιότ. κ. εἰλικρ. Θεοῦ, and gives negative and positive information about it. The σοφία σαρκ. is the merely human wisdom, the wisdom which is not the work of the divine influence (of the Holy Spirit), but of human nature itself unenlightened and unimproved, guided by the sinful lust in the σάρξ. See on 1 Corinthians 1:26.

ἐν χάριτι Θεοῦ] is not to be explained of miracles (Chrysostom), nor yet with Grotius: “cum multis donis spiritualibus,” but without any limitation of the influence of the divine grace, under which Paul lived and worked.

The thrice repeated use of ἐν denotes the spiritual element in which his course of life moved (Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:18).

ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ] i.e. among profane humanity. This serves by contrast to make the holiness of his walk and conversation more prominent. Comp. Php 2:15.

πρὸς ὑμᾶς] denotes the direction of his association, in intercourse with you. See Bernhardy, p. 265. More than with others, he had established such a relation with the Corinthians (hence περισσοτ.).

[128] With this fall to the ground also the scruples of Rückert against the word ἁγιότητι, which he either wishes to take abusive, like the Latin sanctitas, integrity, or conjectures in its stead ἁγνότητι. Reiche’s difficulty regarding ἁγιότ., that Paul talks of his purity as teacher, is also untenable. He certainly speaks of his entire conduct, not merely of his teaching.

2 Corinthians 1:12-14. THEY MUST ACKNOWLEDGE HIS SINCERITY OF PURPOSE. He claims that he has always been frank and open in his dealings with the Corinthian Christians: cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:3.—ἡ γὰρ καύχησις κ.τ.λ.: for our glorying is this. Note καύχησις, not καύχημα, as at 2 Corinthians 1:14, which is rather the thing boasted of than the act of boasting. καυχάομαι and its cognates are peculiarly frequent in this Epistle (see Introd., p. 27).—τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν: viz., the testimony of our conscience. μαρτύριον is the thing testified to by conscience, as contrasted with μαρτυρία, the act of testimony. συνείδησις, “conscientia,” represents the self sitting in judgment on self, a specially Greek idea, and taken over by St. Paul from Greek thought; the word is a favourite one with him, both in his Epistles and in his speeches (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16).—ὅτι ἐν ἁγιότητι καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ f1Θεοῦ: that in holiness and sincerity of God (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 4:2). The received reading, ἁπλότητι, probably arose from the fact that while ἁπλότης occurs four times in this Epistle, and is a specially Pauline word, ἁγιότης is rare, only occurring in the Greek Bible twice elsewhere (2Ma 15:2, Hebrews 12:10). The etymology of εἰλικρινεία (see reff.) is uncertain; but the meaning is not doubtful. The force of the genitive τοῦ Θεοῦ is somewhat the same as in the phrase δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ (Romans 3:21); the holiness and sincerity which St. Paul claims as characterising his conduct are Divine qualities, and in so far as they are displayed in men they are God’s gift, as he goes on to explain.—οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ κ.τ.λ.: not in fleshly wisdom, but in God’s grace, sc., which had been vouchsafed to him for the due discharge of his apostolic office (Romans 1:5; Romans 12:3; Romans 15:15, 1 Corinthians 3:10, Ephesians 3:2). Especially in the Corinthian letters does St. Paul insist on this, that his power is not that of human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13, chap. 2 Corinthians 10:4). The word σαρκικός is found five times in his letters, and only twice elsewhere in N.T. It signifies that which belongs to the nature of the σάρξ of man, as contrasted with σάρκινος, “made of flesh,” which is the stronger word (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3 below).—ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ: did we behave ourselves in the world, sc., the heathen world (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:10, Php 2:15).—περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς: and more abundantly to you-ward, sc., perhaps because his opportunities at Corinth had been greater than elsewhere of displaying the holiness and sincerity of the Christian life.

12. For our rejoicing is this] “It is this,” says the Apostle, “which causes such a perennial flow of joy and consolation into my heart amid all my anxieties and distresses. I can feel in my conscience that what knits us together in sympathy is a Divine and not a human bond. On my part there is the inspiration from above, on yours the verifying faculty which enables you to recognize the truth of what I deliver to you.” This seems to be the connection of thought in this and the two following verses. The connection with what precedes appears to be the conviction of the Apostle that the honesty and genuineness of his efforts to minister Christ to the Corinthians have fairly entitled him to hope for a share in their prayers.

the testimony of our conscience] Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:4. Also Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; Romans 9:1; 1 John 3:21.

that in simplicity and godly sincerity] For simplicity the best MSS. and editors read holiness; but simplicity, i.e. singleness of purpose, seems to suit the context best. The word translated sincerity, clenness, Wiclif, purenes, Tyndale, originally signifies that which is tested by the sun’s rays, and is therefore entirely transparent. See note on 1 Corinthians 5:8. See also ch. 2 Corinthians 2:17; Php 1:10; 2 Peter 3:1. The word sincerity was adopted by our translators from the Rhemish version. The words translated godly sincerity are in the original sincerity of God, i.e. either (1) that which is His gift, comes from Him, or, (2) that which is befitting His service, as in the A. V.

not with fleshly wisdom] Literally, in. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13. These passages shew that there existed among the Corinthians a tendency to exalt the wisdom of this world, i.e. acquirements such as those of dialectic skill and rhetoric above the spiritual enlightenment obtained by the submission of the intellect and will to the direction of God.

but by the grace of God] Literally, in the grace of God, i.e. in possession of it. The word grace, like the Latin gratia, originally signified favour, kindness. St Paul here would say that his behaviour at Corinth, to which he appeals, was the result of the favour of God to him, enabling him to shape his life in obedience to God’s commands.

we have had our conversation] This word, which is a nearly literal rendering of the Greek, is derived from two Latin words signifying to turn together, and hence from the idea of having your attention turned to a thing, being versed in it, it has the signification of a man’s ordinary conduct in life. It has come to mean in modern English interchange of thought in speech. In the Epistle to the Philippians it is twice used as the translation of ‘citizenship.’

and more abundantly to you-wards] This either refers (1) to the special proofs the Apostle had given the Corinthians of his singleness of purpose and avoidance of fleshly wisdom, or (2) to the fact that he had remained longer at Corinth, and so had additional opportunities of displaying those qualities; or it has reference perhaps (3) to his self-abnegation in refusing to receive his maintenance at the hands of his Corinthian converts. Sec 1 Corinthians 9 and ch. 2 Corinthians 9:8-10.

2 Corinthians 1:12. Γὰρ, for) The connection is: We do not seek in vain and we promise to ourselves the help of God and the prayers of godly men.—καύχησις, glorying [rejoicing]) even in adversity and against our adversaries.—τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, of our conscience) whatever others may think of us.—ἁπλότητι, in simplicity) aiming at the one mark in the most direct way.—εἰλικρινείᾳ[5]) in sincerity, without the admixture of any foreign quality.—οὐκ ἐν, not in) The antithetic terms are, fleshly wisdom, and the grace of God, who wisely directs His own people, 2 Corinthians 1:17-18.—ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ) in the world which is wholly deceitful [as opposed to godly sincerity and simplicity.]—περισσοτέρως, more abundantly) 2 Corinthians 2:4.

[5] The 2d Ed. prefers the reading εἰλικρινείᾳ Θεοῦ, which was left doubtful by the earlier Ed., and it is received without hesitation by the Germ. Ver. Ernesti interprets the sincerity of God to be, such as God desires and approves. Heumann, to be, such as God Himself works and produces.—See Bibl. th. T. II. p. 495.—E. B.

ABCD (Λ) have the τοῦ before θεοῦ. Rec. Text, with G and Origen., omit τοῦ. Ἁγιότητι is the reading of ABC Memph. Origen. But ἁπλότητι of D (Λ) Gfg Vulg.—ED.

Verses 12-14. - Vindication of his right to their sympathy. Verse 12. - For our rejoicing; rather, for our boasting is this. My expression of confidence in your sympathy with me may sound like a boast, but my boast merely accords with the testimony of my conscience that I have been sincere and honest to all, and most of all to you. The testimony of our conscience. To this St. Paul frequently appeals (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; Romans 9:1; 1 Corinthians 4:4). In simplicity; rather, in holiness. The best reading is ἁγιότητι (א, A, B, C, K), not ἀπλότητι. "Holiness" seems to have been altered to "simplicity," both on dogmatic grounds and because it is a rare word, only occurring in Hebrews 12:10. And godly sincerity; literally, sincerity of God; i.e. sincerity which is a gift of Divine grace (comp. "peace of God," Philippians 4:7; "righteousness of God," Romans 1:17). For the word used for "sincerity," see note on 1 Corinthians 5:8. Not with fleshly wisdom (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4), but by the grace of God. The preposition in both clauses is "in." The grace of God was the atmosphere which the apostle breathed, the sphere in which he worked. We have had our conversation. We lived and moved. The word "conversation" originally meant "mode of life," and is used to translate both anastrophe and politeuma, which means properly "citizenship." The exclusive modern sense of "conversation" is not earlier than the last century. In the world; i.e. in my general life as regards all men. More abundantly to you-ward. Sincerity, holiness, the signs of the grace of God, were specially shown by the apostle towards the Corinthians, because they were specially needed to guide his relations towards a Church which inspired him with deep affection, but which required special wisdom to guide and govern. The fact that, in spite of all his exceptional care, such bitter taunts could still be levelled at him, shows that he had not been mistaken in supposing that no Church required from him a more anxious watchfulness over all his conduct. 2 Corinthians 1:12Godly sincerity (εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ)

Lit., sincerity of God, as Rev. See on 2 Peter 3:1.

We have had our conversation (ἀνεστράφημεν)

Rev., behaved ourselves. See on 1 Peter 1:15.

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