2 Corinthians 1:19
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yes and no, but in him was yes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) By me and Silvanus and Timotheus.—We note an undesigned coincidence with Acts 18:5, where Silas (whose identity with Silvanus is thus proved) is related to have come with Timotheus to join St. Paul at Corinth. The three names are joined together in the same order in 1Thessalonians 1:1, and 2Thessalonians 1:1.

Was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.—From the forensic point of view, this was, of course, hardly an adequate defence against the charge of inconsistency. The argument was, so to speak, one of ethical congruity. It was infinitely unlikely that one who preached Christ, the absolutely True Christ, who enforced every precept with the emphatic “Amen, Amen” (the word occurs thirty-one times in St. Matthew, fourteen times in St. Mark, seven times in St. Luke, and in its reduplicated form twenty-five times in St. John), “Verily, verily,” should afterwards be shamelessly untruthful, and use words that paltered with a double sense.

But in him was yea.—Better, but in him Yea has been and still is so, as His great characterising word.

1:15-24 The apostle clears himself from the charge of levity and inconstancy, in not coming to Corinth. Good men should be careful to keep the reputation of sincerity and constancy; they should not resolve, but on careful thought; and they will not change unless for weighty reasons. Nothing can render God's promises more certain: his giving them through Christ, assures us they are his promises; as the wonders God wrought in the life, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, confirm faith. The Holy Spirit makes Christians firm in the faith of the gospel: the quickening of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life; and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting joy. The apostle desired to spare the blame he feared would be unavoidable, if he had gone to Corinth before he learned what effect his former letter produced. Our strength and ability are owing to faith; and our comfort and joy must flow from faith. The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, secure from delusion in so important a matter.For the Son of God - In this verse, and the following, Paul states that he felt himself bound to maintain the strictest veracity for two reasons; the one, that Jesus Christ always evinced the strictest veracity 2 Corinthians 1:19; the other, God was always true to all the promises that He made 2 Corinthians 1:20; and as he felt himself to be the servant of the Saviour and of God, he was bound by the most sacred obligations also to maintain a character irreproachable in regard to veracity on the meaning of the phrase "Son of God," see the note, Romans 1:4.

Jesus Christ - It is agreed, says Bloomfield, by the best commentators, ancient and modern, that by Jesus Christ is here meant his doctrine. The sense is, that the preaching respecting Jesus Christ, did not represent him as fickle, and changeable; as unsettled, and as unfaithful; but as true, consistent, and faithful. As that had been the regular and constant representation of Paul and his fellow-laborers in regard to the Master whom they served, it was to be inferred that they felt themselves bound sacredly to observe the strictest constancy and veracity.

By us ... - Silvanus, mentioned here, is the same person who in the Acts of the Apostles is called Silas. He was with Paul at Philippi, and was imprisoned there with him Acts 16, and was afterward with Paul and Timothy at Corinth when he first visited that city; Acts 18:5. Paul was so much attached to him, and had so much confidence in him, that he joined his name with his own in several of his epistles; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1.

Was not yea and nay - Our representation of him was not that he was fickle and changeable.

But in him was yea - Was not one thing at one time, and another at another. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. All that he says is true; all the promises that he makes are firm; all his declarations are faithful. Paul may refer to the fact that the Lord Jesus when on earth was eminently characterized by truth. Nothing was more striking than his veracity. He called himself "the truth," as being eminently true in all his declarations. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life;" John 14:6; compare Revelation 3:7. And thus Revelation 3:14 he is called "the faithful and true witness." In all his life he was eminently distinguished for that. His declarations were simple truth; his narratives were simple, unvarnished, uncolored, unexaggerated statements of what actually occurred. He never disguised the truth; never prevaricated; never had any mental reservation; never deceived; never used any word, or threw in any circumstance, that was suited to lead the mind astray. He himself said that this was the great object which he had in view in coming into the world. "To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth;" John 18:37. As Jesus Christ was thus distinguished for simple truth, Paul felt that he was under sacred obligations to imitate him, and always to evince the same inviolable fidelity. The most deeply felt obligation on earth is that which the Christian feels to imitate the Redeemer.

19. Proof of the unchangeableness of the doctrine from the unchangeableness of the subject of it, namely, Jesus Christ. He is called "the Son of God" to show the impossibility of change in One who is co-equal with God himself (compare 1Sa 15:29; Mal 3:6).

by me … Silvanus and Timotheus—The Son of God, though preached by different preachers, was one and the same, unchangeable. Silvanus is contracted into Silas (Ac 15:22; compare 1Pe 5:12).

in him was yea—Greek, "is made yea in Him"; that is, our preaching of the Son of God is confirmed as true in Him (that is, through Him; through the miracles wherewith He has confirmed our preaching) [Grotius]; or rather, by the witness of the Spirit which He has given (2Co 1:21, 22) and of which miracles were only one, and that a subordinate manifestation.

The apostle here glveth a reason why he had made truth and sincerity so much his business (which reason obligeth us also, who are as much bound as he to study a conformity to Christ); saith he:

The Son of God, who was preached among you, that is, Jesus Christ; who, though (as some observe) he is in these Epistles no where called God, but Lord, is here called

the Son of God; which can be understood in no other sense, than by eternal generation; for those who are only the sons of God by adoption, are not the subjects of ministers’ preaching. We read of this Silvanus, 1 Thessalonians 1:1 1 Peter 5:12: some think that he was the same person who is called Silas, Acts 16:19.

Of

Timothy we have heard before. They were both ministers who (as well as Apollos before mentioned) had laboured in the gospel amongst the Corinthians.

Was not yea and nay, but in him was yea: now (saith the apostle) that Christ, whom both I, and other ministers of the gospel, have preached to you, is not uncertain and unconstant, one thing at one time, and in one place, another thing at another time, and in another place. He was only one and the same; his doctrine was always certain and uniform, and consistent with itself; and our conversation ought to be suitable to him and his doctrine. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ,.... The apostle having asserted that the Gospel preached by them was not yea and nay, variable and different, or what was affirmed at one time was denied at another, proceeds to point out the subject of the Gospel ministry,

the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that Christ is "the Son of God": this article he began his ministry with, Acts 9:20, and all the apostles affirmed the same thing; and which is of the greatest moment and importance, and ought to be abode by, insisted on, and frequently inculcated; as that he is the eternal Son of God, existed as such from everlasting, is of the same nature, and has the same perfections with his Father; and therefore is able to destroy the works of the devil, for which he was manifested in the flesh, and every way equal to the business of redemption, which he has finished; and having passed into the heavens under this character, is a powerful advocate with the Father; and which renders him a sure foundation for the church, and a proper object of faith: that the Son of God is Christ, anointed to bear and execute the office of a mediator in the several parts and branches of it; a prophet to teach his people, a priest to make atonement and intercession for them, and a King to govern and protect them: and that the Son, who is become the Lord's Christ, is Jesus, a Saviour; and that salvation is alone by him, to which he was appointed from eternity, and was sent in the fulness of time to effect it; and by his obedience, sufferings, and death, is become the author of it, and is the only able, willing, and suitable Saviour for poor sinners. This is the principal subject and strain of the Gospel ministry; and which makes it good news, and glad tidings to lost perishing sinners. The agreement between the faithful ministers of the Gospel is here plainly hinted,

who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Silvanus and Timotheus. These ministers being mentioned by the apostle with himself, shows his humility in putting them on a level with himself; and his modesty and candour in not monopolizing the Gospel to himself, but allowing others to be preachers of it as well as he: and his design herein seems to be for the confirmation of the Gospel, and to show that he was not singular and alone, and could not be blamed by them, without blaming others; and chiefly to express the harmony and unanimity of Gospel preachers. The prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New, agreed in all the doctrines and truths of the Gospel; so did the apostles themselves; and so all faithful dispensers of the word have in all different times and places agreed, and still do agree; which serves greatly to corroborate the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel being faithfully preached by these persons,

was not yea and nay; it had no contradiction in it; each part agreed together, was entirely harmonious, and consistent. Their doctrine was, that Christ is the Son of God, truly and properly God; that he took upon him the office of a Mediator, and executes it; that he is the only Saviour of sinners; that God has chosen a certain number of men in Christ before the foundation of the world, has made a covenant with them in Christ, and blessed them in him; that Christ has redeemed them by his blood; that these are regenerated by the Spirit and grace of Christ, are justified by his righteousness, and shall finally persevere, and be partakers of eternal life; which is all of a piece, and in it no yea and nay. Yea and nay doctrines are particular election, the possibility of the salvation of the non-elect, the salvability of all men, and universal redemption; justification by faith, and, as it were, by the works of the law; conversion, partly by grace, and partly by the will of man; preparatory works, offers, and days of grace; and final perseverance made a doubt of: but such is not the true ministry of Christ and his apostles,

but in him was yea; the Gospel, as in Christ, and as it comes from him, and has been preached by his apostles, and faithful ministers, is all of a piece; its constant and invariable strain, and by which it may be known and distinguished, is, to display the free, rich, and sovereign grace of God, to magnify and exalt the person and offices of Christ, to debase the creature, and to engage persons to the performance of good works, on Gospel principles, and by Gospel motives, and for right ends. The apostle using those words, "yea and nay", conforms to the language of the Jews, his countrymen, who to magnify their doctors and Rabbins, and to raise their credit, say such things of them;

""yea, yea", are the words of the house or school of Shammai; , "yea, yea", are the words of the school of Hillell (b).''

And in another place (c);

"the receiving and giving, or the dealings of a disciple of a wise man, are in truth and faithfulness. He says, , "concerning nay, nay, and concerning yea, yea".''

But what is here said better agrees with the principles and practices of the disciples and followers of Christ.

(b) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 20. 1.((c) Maimon. Hilch. Dayot, c. 5. sect. 13.

{11} For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, {s} was not yea and nay, but in {t} him was yea.

(11) He adds also with himself his companions, as witnesses with whom he fully consented in teaching the same thing, that is, the same Christ.

(s) Was not different and wavering.

(t) That is, in God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 1:19. Ὁ γὰρ τοῦ Θεοῦ υἱός] or, as Lachmann, Rückert, and Tischendorf, following preponderating testimony, have it rightly: ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ γὰρ υἱός (γάρ in the fourth place; see Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 100; Ellendt, Lex. Soph, I. p. 339; Hermann, ad Philoct. 1437), marks the τοῦ Θεοῦ as emphatic, in order to make what is to be said of Christ, οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ κ. οὔ, felt at once in its divine certainty. To be God’s Son and yet ναὶ κ. οὔ would be a contradiction. In the whole . Χ. there lies a solemn, sacred emphasi.

ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν διʼ ἡμῶν κηρυχθείς] reminds the readers of the first preaching of Christ among them, of which Paul could not but remind them, if they were to become perfectly conscious, from their experience from the beginning, that Christ had not become ναὶ κ. οὔ. But in order to make this first preaching come home to them with the whole personal weight of the preachers, he adds, in just consciousness of the services rendered by himself and his companions as compared with the later workers, a more precise definition of the διʼ ἡμῶν, with more weighty circumstantiality: διʼ ἐμοῦ κ. Σιλουανοῦ κ. Τιμοθέου. For the two latter had been his helpers in his first labours in Corinth. See Acts 18:5. From this it is obvious why he has not named others, as Apollos, but simply these (Calvin thinks, that these had been most calumniated); hence also there is no need to suppose any intention of making his assurance more credible (Chrysostom, Theophylact, and many others). A side glance at the Christ preached by Judaistic opponents (2 Corinthians 11:4) is here quite foreign to the connection (in opposition to Klöpper, p. 86 f.).

Σιλουανοῦ] Universally so with Paul (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1); also in 1 Peter 5:12. In the Acts of the Apostles only the shortened name Σιλας appears. Silvanus is here placed before Timothy, because he was an older apostolic helper than the latter. See Acts 15:22 ff.

οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ κ. οὔ] He has not become affirmation and negation, has not showed Himself as untrustworthy, as one who affirms and also denies (the fulfilment of the divine promises, 2 Corinthians 1:20), as one who had exhibited such contradiction in himself. This Paul says of Christ Himself, in so far as in the personal objective Christ, by means of His appearance and His whole work, the ναί in reference to the divine promises, the affirmation of their fulfilment, is given as a matter of fact. Wrongly most expositors (comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact) understand Χριστός as doctrina de Christo (“our gospel of Christ is not changeable, sometimes one thing, sometimes another, but it remains ever the same”), an interpretation here specially precluded by verses 20 and 21. This may be urged also against the similar interpretation of Hofmann, that, with the very fact that Christ has come to the readers through preaching, there has gone forth a Yea (the affirmation of all divine promises), without any intervention of Nay. Olshausen and Rückert take it rightly of Christ Himself; but the former puts in place of the simple meaning of the word the thought not quite in keeping: “Christ is the absolute truth, affirmation pure and simple; in Him is the real fulfilment of the divine promises; in Him negation is entirely wanting;” and the latter arbitrarily limits ἐγένετο merely to the experience of the Corinthians (“among you He has not shown Himself untrustworthy”). Paul, however, uses the words οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ κ. οὔ of Christ in general, and by ὁ ἐν ὑμῖνΤιμοθ. directs the attention of the Corinthians to the recognition of the truth on their part and out of their own experienc.

ἀλλὰ ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν] of the two only the former, i.e. affirmation (that the divine promises are fulfilled and shall be fulfilled) is established in Him: in Christ is actually given the yea, that, etc. In the perfect γέγονεν (different from the previous aorist ἐγένετο) is implied the continuance of what has happened. Comp. on Colossians 1:16; John 1:3. Grotius, in opposition to the context (see 2 Corinthians 1:20), referred ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγ. to the miracles, by which Christ confirmed the apostolic preaching. And Beza awkwardly, and, on account of 2 Corinthians 1:20, erroneously, took ἐν αὐτῷ of God, whose Son is “constantissima Patris veritas.”

2 Corinthians 1:19-22. Paul furnishes grounds in 2 Corinthians 1:19 f. for the assurance he had given in 2 Corinthians 1:18; then refers his veracity to the stedfastness bestowed on him by God, 2 Corinthians 1:21 f.; and finally, 2 Corinthians 1:23, makes protestations as to the reason why he had not yet come to Corinth.2 Corinthians 1:19. He has appealed to the faithfulness of God, and this suggests the thought of the unchangeableness of Christ.—ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ γὰρ υἱὸς κ.τ.λ.: for the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was proclaimed among you by us. The position of τοῦ Θεοῦ before γάρ (as in the true text) brings out the sequence of thought better, as it brings Θεοῦ (the connecting word) into prominence.—διʼ ἐμοῦ καὶ Σιλουανοῦ καὶ Τιμοθέου: even by me and Silvanus and Timothy. These three brought the Gospel to Corinth (Acts 18:5), and were closely associated during the Apostle’s labours in that city (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1). Silvanus is only another form of the name Silas; he was a prophet (Acts 15:32), and apparently, like St. Paul, a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37), and shared the Apostle’s perils during the whole of his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40 to Acts 18:18). We hear of him again at Rome (1 Peter 5:12).—οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ καὶ οὔ, ἀλλὰ ναὶ ἐν αυτῷ γέγονεν: was not Yea and Nay, but in Him is (sc., has been and continues to be) Yea. There is no doubtfulness or vacillation in the words of Christ (Matthew 7:29, John 12:50); and He continually emphasised the positive and certain character of His teaching by the introductory formula Ἀμὴν, ἀμήν. More than this, however, is involved here. Christ, who is the Object and Sum of St. Paul’s preaching, is unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), for He is not only “true” (Revelation 3:7), but “the Truth” (John 14:6): He is, in brief, ὁ Ἀμήν (Revelation 3:14), and so it may be said that an Eternal “Yea” has come into being (γέγονεν, through His incarnate Life) in Him.19. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ] St Paul now labours to impress the Corinthians with the weight of the commission with which he had been entrusted to them. It was nothing less than Jesus, the Promised and Anointed One, the Son of God, Whom he had preached.

was preached] Literally, proclaimed, as by a herald. The word has come usually to mean an exposition of God’s Word in the Christian congregation.

Silvanus] Called Silas in the Acts. He was sent with Paul and Barnabas, as ‘a chief man among the brethren,’ to guarantee the authenticity of the Apostolic letter which the former brought back with them from Jerusalem to Antioch after the discussion recorded in Acts 15, since, had Paul and Barnabas returned alone, their opponents might not improbably have disputed its genuineness. See Acts 15:22; Acts 15:25; Acts 15:27. He was a prophet, Acts 15:32 (see 1 Corinthians 14), and was chosen by St Paul, after his dispute with St Barnabas, as his fellow-traveller, by the advice of the Churches. Some have thought that he was the brother mentioned in ch. 2 Corinthians 8:18, 2 Corinthians 12:18. He is mentioned by St Paul with himself in the opening of each of the Epistles to the Thessalonians. He was with the Apostle at Philippi (Acts 16:19-40), at Thessalonica (Acts 17:1; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:10), at Berea (Acts 17:10), at Corinth (not at Athens, Acts 17:15, Acts 18:5). He is not mentioned again in Scripture save by St Peter in his first Epistle (ch. 2 Corinthians 5:12), in which he speaks of him as one with whom he has little personal acquaintance, but much confidence. Silas is contracted from the fuller form Silvanus as Lucas from Lucanus. The similar signification of the two words Lucas and Silvanus have led some to suppose that St Luke and St Silas were the same person. But a perusal of the narrative in Acts 16, 17, especially Acts 16:4-8; Acts 16:10-17; Acts 16:19-20, will shew that they were two distinct persons. See Alford, Prolegomena to Acts of the Apostles, for a fuller investigation of this point. We may observe that not only does St Paul, in his humility, identify himself with the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:14) but he takes care to associate his subordinates with him as fellow labourers in a common work. Paley, Horae Paulinae, remarks on the undesigned coincidence between this verse and Acts 18:5. The two books are not written by the same person. There is no particular stress laid on the fact of Silas and Timotheus having been with the Apostle in either book, but the reference to them slips out quite accidentally. But both declare in this accidental way that Silas and Timotheus were with the Apostle at Corinth. Such minute agreement is beyond the power of the compiler of fictitious narrative. See a fuller discussion of this subject in the Introduction.

was not yea and nay, but in him was yea] The Son of God, the subject-matter of the Gospel, was no uncertain conception, sometimes affirmed and sometimes denied. The preaching of Him was the constant affirmation of a truth, an unchangeable blessing vouchsafed in Him to mankind. For ‘in Him was yea;’ the original has the perfect, ‘in Him i.e. in God, 2 Corinthians 1:18) hath been (or become) yea.’ For in Him ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ Numbers 23:19; James 1:17. How then could the change of purpose in His minister be ascribed to the capricious infirmity of the mere human will? Cf. also Romans 15:8; Hebrews 13:8.2 Corinthians 1:19. Ὁ γὰρ τοῦ Θεοῦ υἱὸς, Ιἠσοῦς Χριστὸς, for the Son of God, Jesus Christ) who is the principal subject of our discourse. We should observe the joining together of the three appellations, thereby showing forth firmness;[7] as also their position in the natural order; for the first is evidently not the same as the third.—καὶ Σιλουανοῦ, and Silvanus) Luke calls him Silas; Acts 15:22 note.—ἀλλὰ ναὶ) but yea pure and unmixed, on our part and yours.—ἐν αὐτῷ, in Himself) Christ preached, i.e. our preaching of Christ became yea in Christ Himself. So the reason assigned [aetiologia, end.] in the following verse is in consonance. All the promises in Christ are yea. Therefore truly also the testimony concerning Christ Himself is yea in Christ.

[7] For “union is strength.”—ED.Verse 19. - For. This is a proof of what he has just said. His preaching was as firm as a rock; for, tried by time, it had proved itself a changeless" yea," being a preaching of Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. By me and Silvanus and Timotheus. They are mentioned because they had been his companions in the first visit to Corinth (Acts 18:5), and he wishes to show that his preaching of Christ had never wavered. "Silvanus" (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) is the "Silas" of Acts 15:22. He disappears from the New Testament in this verse, unless he be the "Silvanus" of 1 Peter 5:12. Was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. "Became not (proved not to be) yes and no (in one breath, as it were, and therefore utterly untrustworthy), but in him there has been a yea." The perfect, "has become," means that in him the everlasting" yes" has proved itself valid, and still continues to be a changeless affirmation (Hebrews 13:8). Was not (οὐκ ἐγένετο)

Rather, did not prove to be, in the result.

In Him was yea (ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν)

Lit., yea has come to pass in Him. He has shown Himself absolutely the truth. Compare John 14:6; Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14.

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