2 Corinthians 1:24
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
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(24) Not for that we have dominion over your faith.—Better, are lording it over. He has scarcely written, or uttered, the words which imply authority, when the thought comes to him that he may seem to claim too much. He shrinks from “lording it over God’s heritage” (1Peter 5:3), and half apologises for so strong a word as “sparing.” He puts forward, therefore, the other side of his work. He was really seeking, not to domineer, or cause pain, but to be a fellow-worker with their “joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). He knows that they have a standing-ground, independently of him, in their faith in Christ, and he seeks to confirm that faith.

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.Not for that we have dominion ... - The sense of this passage I take to be this: "The course which we have pursued has been chosen not because we wish to lord it over your faith, to control your belief, but because we desired to promote your happiness. Had the former been our object, had we wished to set up a lordship or dominion over you, we should have come to you with our apostolical authority, and in the severity of apostolic discipline. We had power to command obedience, and to control your faith. But we chose not to do it. Our object was to promote your highest happiness. We, therefore, chose the mildest and gentlest manner possible; we did not exercise authority in discipline, we sent an affectionate and tender letter." While the apostles had the right to prescribe the articles of belief, and to propound the doctrines of God, yet they would not do even that in such a manner as to seem to "lord it over God's heritage" (οὐκ κυριευομεν ouk kurieuomen); they did not set up absolute authority, or prescribe the things to be believed in a lordly and imperative manner; nor would they make use of the severity of power to enforce what they taught. They appealed to reason; they employed persuasion; they made use of light and love to accomplish their desires.

Are helpers of your joy - This is our main object, to promote your joy. This object we have pursued in our plans, and in order to secure this. we forbore to come to you, when, if we did come at that time, we should have given occasion perhaps to the charge that we sought to lord it over your faith.

For by faith ye stand - see the note, 1 Corinthians 15:1. This seems to be a kind of proverbial expression, stating a general truth, that it was by faith that Christians were to be established or confirmed. The connection here requires us to understand this as a reason why he would not attempt to lord it over their faith; or to exercise dominion over them. That reason was, that thus far they had stood firm, in the main, in the faith 1 Corinthians 15:1; they had adhered to the truths of the gospel, and in a special manner now, in yielding obedience to the commands and entreaties of Paul in the First Epistle, they had showed that they were in the faith, and firm in faith. It was not necessary or proper, therefore, for him to attempt to exercise lordship over their belief, but all that was needful was to help forward their joy, for they were firm in the faith. We may observe:

(1) That it is a part of the duty of ministers to help forward the joy of Christians.

(2) this should be the object even in administering discipline and reproof.

(3) if even Paul would not attempt to lord it over the faith of Christians, to establish a domination over their belief, how absurd and wicked is it for uninspired ministers now, for individual ministers, for conferences, conventions, presbyteries, synods, councils, or for the pope, to attempt to establish a spiritual dominion in controlling the faith of people. The great evils in the church have arisen from their attempting to do what Paul would not do; from attempting to establish a dominion which Paul never sought, and which Paul would have abhorred. Faith must be free, and religion must be free, or they cannot exist at all.


In view of this chapter we may remark:

1. God is the only true and real Source of comfort in times of trial, 2 Corinthians 1:3. It is from Him that all real consolation must come, and he only can meet and sustain the soul when it is borne down with calamity. All persons are subjected to trial, and at some periods of their lives, to severe trial. Sickness is a trial; the death of a friend is a trial; the loss of property or health, disappointment, and reproach, and slander, and poverty, and want, are trials to which we are all more or less exposed. In these trials, it is natural to look to some source of consolation; some way in which they may be borne. Some seek consolation in philosophy, and endeavor to blunt their feelings and destroy their sensibilities, as the ancient stoics did. But "to destroy sensibility is not to produce comfort" - Dr. Mason. Some plunge deep into pleasures, and endeavor to drown their sorrows in the intoxicating draught; but this is not to produce comfort to the soul, even were it possible in such pleasures to forget their sorrows. Such were the ancient Epicureans. Some seek consolation in their surviving friends, and look to them to comfort and sustain the sinking heart. But the arm of an earthly friend is feeble, when God lays His hand upon us. It is only the hand that smites that can heal; only the God that sends the affliction, that can bind up the broken spirit. He is the "Father of mercies," and He is "the God of all consolation;" and in affliction there is no true comfort except in Him.

2. This consolation in God is derived from many sources:

(a) He is the "Father of mercies," and we may be assured, therefore, that He does nothing inconsistent with mercy.

(b) We may be assured that He is right - always right, and that He does nothing but right. We may not be able to see the reason of His actions, but we may have the assurance that it is all right, and will yet be seen to be right.

(c) There is comfort in the fact, that our afflictions are ordered by an intelligent Being, by One who is all-wise, and all-knowing.

They are not the result of blind chance; but they are ordered by One who is wise to know what ought to be done; and who is so fair that he will do nothing wrong. There could be no consolation in the feeling that mere chance directed our trials; nor can there be consolation except in the feeling that a being of intelligence and goodness directs and orders all. The true comfort, therefore, is to be found in religion, not in atheism and philosophy.


24. Not for that—that is, Not that. "Faith" is here emphatic. He had "dominion" or a right to control them in matters of discipline, but in matters of "faith" he was only a "fellow helper of their joy" (namely, in believing, Ro 15:13; Php 1:25). The Greek is, "Not that we lord it over your faith." This he adds to soften the magisterial tone of 2Co 1:23. His desire is to cause them not sorrow (2Co 2:1, 2), but "joy." The Greek for "helpers" implies a mutual leaning, one on the other, like the mutually supporting buttresses of a sacred building. "By faith (Ro 11:20) ye stand"; therefore it is that I bestow such pains in "helping" your faith, which is the source of all true "joy" (Ro 15:13). I want nothing more, not to lord it over your faith. Not for that we have dominion over your faith; not (say some) that we pretend or boast of any dominion over you because of your faith, as if upon that account we would be chargeable, and exact monies of you. But their interpretation is better, who think that by these words the apostle removes from himself, and much more from all inferior ministers, any power of imposing upon people to believe any thing, but what God had in his word revealed as the object of faith. He had in the verse before used the phrase spare you, which he thought might sound harsh in their ears, and give some occasion to carp at him, as if he designed some lordly power over them: No, (saith the apostle), though I speak of sparing you, I intend no exercise of lordly power,

but only to promote your joy, by removing those things which hinder your true rejoicing. Your present glorying is not good, while these disorders, contrary to the will of God, are amongst you; and you are full of contentions and divisions, which hinder your comfortable society and communion together, as one body.

For by faith ye stand; the most of you stand in the faith (so some interpret this). I should rather make this the sense, by faith you must stand; if you err in matters of faith, (as some of this church had done in the business of the resurrection, as the apostle told us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-58), you fall; you no longer stand than you keep the faith pure and uncorrupt. For, because of their errors as to the resurrection, I cannot tell how to make the apostle’s sense to be what some learned men make it to bear, that he had nothing to blame in them in matters of faith, but only in some things referring to order; and therefore they need not to suspect his exercise of any dominion over their faith.

Not for that we have dominion,.... Since he had spoke of "sparing" of them, lest it should be thought that he and his fellow ministers assumed to themselves any tyrannical power over the churches, or lorded it over God's heritage, these words are subjoined: in which there is something denied of the ministers of the Gospel, as that they

have not dominion over your faith: by which may be meant both the grace and doctrine of faith: they cannot give or produce in the heart the grace of faith; that is the gift of God; of which Christ is not only the object, but the author; it is of the operation of the Spirit, and the effect of almighty power; it flows entirely from the free grace of God; all that ministers can do is to propose the object of faith, and, by arguments taken from the word of God, encourage souls to believe in the object proposed, and so are, through a divine blessing on their ministrations, instruments by which some believe; but they themselves cannot command faith in any; nor can they increase or add unto it where it is; this also is the Lord's work: nor have they any dominion over the doctrine of faith; they are to deliver nothing to the people but what is contained in the Scriptures, and the people are obliged to believe no more than what they find there; no alteration is to be made in the rule and doctrine of faith; ministers have no power to make and impose new articles of faith, though they may require and insist upon an assent to those truths which they deliver, according to the word of God. Likewise, something is asserted of them,

but are helpers of your joy. "Joy" is a grace wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, of which Christ is the object; it goes along with faith, and as that improves, so does this; it is often interrupted by the corruptions of the heart, the temptations of Satan, and divine desertions, and so is in this life imperfect; though it may be increased, as it sometimes is, and that by the ministration of the Gospel; for as the ministers of it are the means and instruments of that joy which is first felt in conversion, so likewise of increasing it by their comfortable doctrines and instructions; for their ministry is, and is often blessed, for the furtherance and joy of faith. A reason of which is given,

for by faith ye stand; and so are not subject to men, nor to any tyrannical government of ours; nor have we anything to charge you with concerning your faith: which may design the grace of faith, and express its use in the perseverance of the saints, who stand not upon their faith, but "by it"; and by it, not as a cause but as a means of their perseverance; by which they rely on the power and faithfulness of God, lean upon Christ, and walk on in him, live upon him, continually receive from him, and in his strength stand against the temptations of Satan, and snares of the world: and it may also denote the strength and continuance of faith; a man may be said to stand by it, when he strongly believes his interest in God, in his love, and the covenant of his grace, his interest in Christ, and salvation by him; is satisfied about the truth of grace on his soul, makes no demur upon the promises, nor hesitates about the doctrines of grace, or his future happiness, but rejoices in hope of the glory of God; as also, when he continues in the exercise of faith, notwithstanding the corruptions of his nature, the temptations of Satan, the hidings of God's face, and the many afflictions and trials he meets with in the world. Moreover, this passage may be applied to the doctrine of faith, in and by which the saints may be said to stand, in opposition to any wavering or hesitation about it, to a cowardly spirit in giving way in the least to the adversaries of it, or to a departing from it; which by no means should be done, though a greater number is on the other side, and they be the rich and learned; though the doctrines of it are disagreeable to the carnal reason of man, are loaded with reproach, and followed with the rage, malice, and persecutions of men: or these words may relate to a profession of faith: care should be used in taking up a profession of faith; where the true grace of God is, it ought to be done; when it is made, it ought to be stood in, and abode by; and it is the honour of saints to stand in it, and to it, and hold it fast.

{15} Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your {a} joy: for by faith ye stand.

(15) He removes all suspicion of arrogance, declaring that he speaks not as a lord to them, but as a servant, appointed by God to comfort them.

(a) He sets the joy and peace of conscience, which God is author of, as opposed to tyrannous fear, and in addition shows the result of the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 1:24. Guarding against a possible misunderstanding of φειδόμενος. Theodoret says aptly: τοῦτο δὲ ὡς ὑφορμοῦν τέθεικεν; for the expression φειδόμενος might be interpreted as a pretension to lordship over fait.

οὐχ ὅτι] is equivalent to οὐκ ἐρῶ, ὅτι. See on John 6:46, and Tyrwhitt, ad Arist. Poet. p. 128.

κυριεύομεν κ.τ.λ.] The apostle knows that no lordship over faith belongs to him; how the faith in Christ is to be shaped among the churches as respects contents, vital activity, etc., he has not to command, as if he were lord over it, but only to teach, to rouse, and entreat (2 Corinthians 5:20) thereto, to promote it by praise or blame, etc. The order κυρ. ὑμῶν τ. πίστ. depends on the form of conception: we do not lord it over you as to faith. Comp. on John 11:32, and Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 117 A, Rep. p. 518 C. This prefixing of the pronoun occurs very often in the N. T.; hence it was the more preposterous to supply a ἕνεκα before τῆς πίστ. (Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Flatt, and others).

ἀλλὰ συνεργοί] but (it is implied in my φειδόμενος ὑμῶν) that we are joint helpers of your joy, that it is our business to be helpful to you, so that you rejoice. To this destined aim an earlier coming would have been opposed, because it would have caused grief (2 Corinthians 2:1). The συν in συνεργοί refers to the union of the helping efficacy with the working of the Corinthians themselves. Contrary to the context, Grotius suggests: “cum Deo et Christo,” which Osiander also imports. The χαρά is not to be taken of the joy of blessedness (Grotius and others), but of the joy of the church over the improvement and the success of the Christian life amongst them. Only this agrees with the context, for the want of this success had been the cause of Paul’s formerly coming ἐν λύπῃ to the Corinthians, and of the necessity for his coming again ἐν ῥάβδῳ (1 Corinthians 4:21).

τῇ γὰρ πίστει ἑστήκατε] for in respect to faith ye stand; the point of faith, in respect to which you are firm and stedfast, is not now under discussion. Note the emphatic placing of τῇ πίστ. first. Theophylact well says: οὐκ οὖν ἐν τούτοις (τοῖς κατὰ πίστιν) εἶχον τι μέμψασθαι ὑμᾶς· ἐν ἄλλοις δὲ ἐσαλεύεσθε. On the dative of more precise definition, comp. Polyb. xxi. 9. 3; Romans 4:19-20; Galatians 5:1 (Elzevir). It does not mean per fidem, Romans 11:20, as Bengel and Hofmann hold (through faith you have an independent and firm bearing), in which case we should have for ἑστήκ. a very vague and indefinite conception; but it is, in substance, not different from ἐν τῇ πίστει, 1 Corinthians 16:13.

2 Corinthians 1:24. This verse is parenthetical, and introduced to guard against misunderstanding. οὐχ ὅτι κυριεύομεν ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως: not that we have lordship over your faith. This is not the department of his Apostolic authority (cf. Luke 22:25, 1 Peter 5:3).—ἀλλὰ συνεργοί κ.τ.λ.: but we are (only) fellow-workers in (producing) your joy; a parenthesis within a parenthesis, not necessary to the sense, but added to emphasise once more his sense of the common ties between him and the Corinthians (cf. Romans 16:3, chap. 2 Corinthians 8:23, Colossians 4:11).—τῇ γὰρ πίστει ἑστήκατε: for by your faith ye stand. If it were dominated by the authority of another, it would not be thus the instrument of their steadfastness. Another (inferior) interpretation is, “As regards your faith ye stand,” i.e., “I have no fault to find with you so far as your faith is concerned”; but the parallel, Romans 11:20, seems to fix the dative as instrumental.

24. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy] Ben lordis of Wiclif, and so the other versions until the Rhemish, which characteristically renders overrule. St Paul here defines accurately his relation to his converts. What power he had—and it was considerable (see 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 7:15; 2 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 13:10)—was simply ministerial, to assist the free growth of the Christian life within them, one of whose foremost fruits (Galatians 5:22) was joy, the joy of the man redeemed and sanctified in Christ, a joy which could not be possessed by those who ‘hold the truth in unrighteousness’ (Romans 1:18). He had no right to place himself between their souls and God, as a necessary channel in all cases of the Divine life.

for by faith ye stand] If they are enabled to stand firm against the overrunning flood of ungodliness, it is not in dependence upon any human being, however great and noble his mission (see 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Matthew 10:40; John 13:20; John 20:21; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 7:40; and 1 Thessalonians 4:8), but by faith in a living Lord (cf. Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 15:1), Who is able to save and to destroy.

2 Corinthians 1:24. Κυριεύομεν, we have dominion) It would have been a serious matter for the apostle to have used even his lawful authority; and therefore he calls it to have [exercise] dominion; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:17, note, respecting such a mode of speaking.—τῆς πίστεως, over the faith) The faithful are free men.—συνεργοὶ, fellow-workers) not lords.—χαρᾶς, of joy) which flows from faith, Php 1:25. The antithesis sorrow, 2 Corinthians 2:1-2.—τῇ πίστει, by faith) Romans 11:20.—ἑστήκατε, ye stand) Ye have not fallen, although there was danger of it.

Verse 24. - Not for that we have dominion over your faith. The expression, "to spare you," might have been resented as involving a claim "to lord it over their faith." He had, indeed, authority (1 Colossians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Corinthians 13:2, 10), but it was a purely spiritual authority; it was valid only over those who recognized in him an apostolic commission. St. Peter, no less than St. Paul, discourages the spirit of ecclesiastical tyranny (1 Peter 5:3). But are helpers of your joy. We are fellow-helpers of your Christian joy, and therefore I would not come to cause your grief. That was how I desired to spare you. The object of my visits is always "for your furtherance and joy of faith" (Philippians 1:25). For by faith ye stand. The expression is not a mere general principle, but explains his disclaimer of any desire "to lord it over their faith." As far as their "faith" was concerned, they were not to blame; that remained unshaken, and was independent of any visit or authority of St. Paul. But while "in respect of faith ye stand" (Ephesians 6:13), there are other points in which you are being shaken, and in dealing with these I should have been obliged to take severe measures, which, if I postponed my visit, would (I hoped) become unnecessary.

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