For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not to you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For we stretch not ourselves . . . as though we reached not unto you.—Some of the better MSS. omit the negative, and then the sentence must be taken as a question: “Are we over-reaching” (i.e., transgressing boundaries), “as though you were not within the limit assigned to us?”
For we are come as far as to you also.—The word for “come” (not the usual verb) is one which almost always in the New Testament, as in classical Greek, carries with it the sense of anticipation, “getting before others.” (See Note on Matthew 12:28.) And this is obviously St. Paul’s meaning. “We were the first to come,” he says, “as working within our limits; the very fact that we did so come being a proof of it.” They (his rivals) came afterwards, and were intruders. On Corinth, as the then limit of his work, see Note on the preceding verse.2 Corinthians 10:14-16. We stretch not, &c. — In preaching at Corinth, we do not, like the false teacher, go out of our line, as not reaching to you; but we are come even as far as you — By a gradual, regular process, having taken the intermediate places in our way. The apostles themselves, (unless they received particular direction to that purpose, see Acts 16:6-7,) “were not at liberty to preach in some countries, and pass by others. St. Paul, therefore, following this rule, preached in all the countries of the Lesser Asia, beginning at Jerusalem. From Asia he passed into Macedonia, where he preached in many of the chief cities. Then he preached in Greece, and particularly at Athens; and at last came to Corinth, in a regular course of preaching the gospel, where it had not been preached before.” Not — Like those whom I have had so much reason to complain of; boasting of things without, or beyond, our proper measure — Not intruding into churches planted by other men’s labours — Where we have no natural and proper call. “The apostle justly considered the false teacher’s coming, and establishing himself in the Corinthian church, as one of its ordinary pastors, and his assuming the direction of that church, in opposition to him, as an unlawful intrusion; because that church having been planted by St. Paul, the edification and direction of it belonged only to him, and the bishops and deacons ordained by him. Besides, this intruder, by pretending to more knowledge than the apostle, and by assuming an authority superior to his, endeavoured to draw the Corinthians from following his doctrines and precepts.” — Macknight. But having hope, when your faith is increased — And I can leave you to the care of your ordinary teachers; to be by you enlarged according to our rule — That is, with respect to our line of preaching; abundantly. To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you — The apostle hoped that the believers at Corinth would soon be so well instructed in the doctrines of the gospel, and so confirmed in the faith, as to render it proper for him to leave them to the care of others; and to go and preach the gospel in the countries beyond them, where the gospel had not been preached, namely, in the regions of Italy and Spain, whither we know he intended to go. For in Laconia, Arcadia, and the other countries of Peloponnesus, which composed the Roman province of Achaia, he had already preached the gospel, as is plain from the inscription of both his letters to the Corinthians. And not to boast in another man’s line — Or province, marked out, as it were, by a line; of things made ready to our hand — As some, who are very solicitous about their own case, affect to do, and then pride themselves in sowing the ground which others had cleared. As the apostle here contrasts his own behaviour with that of the false teacher, we may infer, from what he says, that that teacher took to himself great praise for having instructed the Corinthians more perfectly than, he said, Paul had done, and for having regulated the affairs of the church, which he pretended had been left in disorder by the apostle.
As though we reached not unto you - That is, as if our boundaries did not extend so far as to comprehend you. We have not overstepped the proper limits, as if Greece was not within the proper sphere of action.
For we are come as far as to you ... - In the regular work of preaching the gospel we have come to you. We have gone from place to place preaching the gospel where we had opportunity; we have omitted no important places, until in the regular discharge of our duties in preaching we have reached you and have preached the gospel to you. We have not omitted other places in order to come to you and enter into the proper field of labor of others, but in the regular work of making the gospel known as far as possible to all people we have come to Corinth. Far as it is, therefore, from the place where we started, we have approached it in a regular manner, and have not gone out of our proper province in doing it.
we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, and arrogate that to ourselves which belongeth not to us: for the thing is true, and ye know that in our
preaching the gospel we have come as far as unto you, and that God hath given our labours success amongst you.
as though we reached not unto you; by right, or according to the will of God, and the measuring line and bounds he drew and fixed for them:
for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the Gospel of Christ. The case is clear, it is a plain matter of fact, that they were not only come to other places, where they had preached the Gospel, and planted churches, but as far as to Corinth also, where they came "in, by, or with the Gospel of Christ": not their own, or what was of their own invention, but Christ's; of which he is the author, minister, and subject; they did not come without something with them; they came with the good news and glad tidings of salvation by Christ; they came preaching the Gospel, which was owned for the conversion of many souls, and for the raising a very considerable church; all which was a full proof that they were of right, and not by usurpation, come to them; that they had not thrusted themselves in, where they had no business, and consequently still retained a power over them.For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Corinthians 10:14. A parenthetical (see on 2 Corinthians 10:15) confirmation of ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν: for not, as though we were such as do not reach to you, do we overstretch ourselves, i.e., dropping the figure: for we do not usurp for ourselves any extension of our working at variance with its destined limit, as would be the case, if you lay beyond the measured-off province which is divinely assigned to us. Paul abides by his figure: for if he were not destined to extend his official working even to Corinth, and yet wished to do so, he would resemble a man who stretches himself beyond the boundary-line drawn for him, in order to reach to a point that lies beyond the limits which he is forbidden to overpas.
ὡς μὴ ἐφικν. εἰς ὑμᾶς] ἐφικν. is to be taken in no other sense than the previous ἐφικέσθαι. The present, however, denotes: as though we were persons, in whose case the reaching to you does not occur, i.e. whose position within their measured local district implies that you are not capable of being reached by them, because, forsooth, you lie beyond the limits of this district. Luther, Beza, and many others, overlooking this continuation of the figure, and taking ἐφικνούμενοι, in spite of the present (and in spite of the present ὑπερεκτείνομεν), historically, have explained it: ut si non pervenissemus, from which error there has sprung the participle of the second aorist, supported by very weak evidence, and yet preferred by Billroth. Regarding μή, Winer, p. 442 [E. T. 595], very correctly remarks: “a mere conception; in point of fact, the state of the case is otherwise; compare, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 9:26.”
ἄχρι γὰρ καὶ ὑμῶν κ.τ.λ.] This is now the historical position of the case, in confirmation of what was just figuratively expressed by οὐ γὰρ … ἑαυτούς. How fraught with shame must the sum of recollections, which this simple historical fact embraced, have been for the misled portion of the church! ἐφθάσαμεν is simply: we have arrived at (Romans 9:31; Php 3:16; Matthew 12:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:16), not: we have arrived before (sooner than the opponents, Osiander, comp. Ewald). This important point Paul must have denoted by some such expression as ἐφθάσ. ἐκείνους (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:15).
ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. τ. Χ.] The gospel of Christ is conceived as the official element in which the ἐφθάσαμεν took place: in the matter of the gospel, i.e. in functione evangelica (Bengel). Comp. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:18; Php 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:2.2 Corinthians 10:14. οὐ γὰρ ὡς μὴ κ.τ.λ.: for we stretch not ourselves overmuch, as though we reached not unto you (ὡς μή indicating that the case is only a hypothetical one; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:18); for we came (φθάνω being used as in modern Greek; see reff.) as far as unto you in the Gospel of Christ. Corinth was the westernmost point that he had reached. This verse, it will be observed, is parenthetical, and is introduced to make it clear that Corinth was part of his appointed sphere; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 9:1.For we stretch not] The meaning is, For we are not straining ourselves beyond our due limits in claiming you as our charge, for it is an undeniable fact that we came (the tense is the simple past in the original and the word has the sense of anticipating others in coming) as far as you in our work of preaching the Gospel. Corinth was the farthest point the Apostle had yet reached.2 Corinthians 10:14. Οὐ γὰρ ὑπερεκτείνομεν) for we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure.—ἄχρι γὰρ, for as far as) Paul proves from the effect, that the Corinthians were included in the rule marked out to him by God.—ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, in the office of (preaching) the Gospel) comp. 2 Corinthians 2:12, [ἐλθὼν—εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον Χριστοῦ, when I came to (preach) Christ’s Gospel.]Verse 14. - As though we reached not unto you. In including you within the reach of our measuring line, we are guilty neither of presumption nor of intrusion. Your Church is a part of our legitimate province and range of work (Acts 18:1, 4). We are come as far as to you; rather, we anticipated others in coming to you; "we were the first to come as far as unto you." To St. Paul belonged the undisputed glory of having first introduced the gospel into the regions of Macedonia and Achaia.
The verb only here in the New Testament. The A.V. is needlessly verbose. Rev., better, stretch not ourselves overmuch.
As though we reached not unto you
Lit., as not reaching. Paul would say: It is not as if God had not appointed our apostolic labor to reach to you. If He had not thus appointed, then our desire to labor among you would have been an overstretching of ourselves. Therefore, in boasting of our labor in Corinth, we do not boast beyond our measure.
We are come (ἐφθάσαμεν)
Rev., we came. The verb originally means to come before, anticipate, as 1 Thessalonians 4:15 (A.V., prevent; Rev., precede); but it gradually loses the idea of priority, and means simply come to, arrive at. So Matthew 12:28; Philippians 3:16. It may possibly be used here with a hint of the earlier meaning, were the first to come. See Rev., margin.
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