2 Corinthians 11:27
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
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(27) In weariness and painfullness . . .—The same combination meets us in 2Thessalonians 3:8, where the English version has “labour and travail,” as Tyndale and Cranmer have in this passage. “Weariness and painfulness” appear first in the Geneva version; toil and trouble is, perhaps, the best English equivalent. From the use of the phrase in 2Thessalonians 3:8, it probably refers chiefly to St. Paul’s daily labour as a tent-maker. The “watchings” indicate the sleepless nights spent in anxiety, or pain, or prayer. “Hunger and thirst” are named as privations incident to his journeys or his labours. “Fastings,” as distinguished from these, can hardly mean anything but times of self-chosen abstinence, of which we have at least two instances in Acts 13:2-3, and which would be natural in St. Paul both as a Pharisee (see Notes on Matthew 6:16, and Luke 18:12) and as a disciple of Christ (see Note on Matthew 9:15). “Cold and nakedness” seem to speak not only of lonely journeys, thinly clad and thinly shod, on the high passes from Syria into Asia Minor, but also of lodgings without fire, and of threadbare garments. The whole passage reminds us of the narrative given by an old chronicler of the first appearance of the disciples of Francis of Assisi in England, walking with naked and bleeding feet through ice and snow, clothed only with their one friar’s cloak, shivering and frost-bitten (Eccleston, De Adventu Minorum). He obviously contrasts this picture of his sufferings with what the Corinthians knew of the life of his rivals, who, if they were like their brethren of Judæa, walked in long robes, and loved the uppermost places at feasts (Matthew 23:6). It had become a Jewish proverb that “the disciples of the wise had a right to a goodly house, a fair wife, and a soft couch” (Ursini. Antiqq. Hebr. c. 5, in Ugolini’s Thesaurus, vol. xxi.).

11:22-33 The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.In weariness - Resulting from traveling, exposure, labor, and want. The word κόπος kopos (from κόπτω koptō, "to beat, to cut") means, properly, "wailing and grief," accompanied with beating the breast. Hence, the word means "toil, labor, wearisome effort."

And painfulness - This word (μόχθος mochthos) is a stronger term than the former. It implies painful effort; labor producing sorrow, and in the New Testament is uniformly connected with the word rendered "weariness" (1 Thess, 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), rendered in both those places "travail."

In watchings often - In loss of sleep, arising from abundant toils and from danger; see the note on 2 Corinthians 6:5.

In hunger and thirst - From traveling among strangers, and being dependent on them and on his own personal labors; see the note, 1 Corinthians 4:11.

In fastings often - Either voluntary or involuntary; see the note on 2 Corinthians 6:5.

In cold and nakedness - see the note, 1 Corinthians 4:11.

27. fastings—voluntary, in order to kindle devotions (Ac 13:2, 3; 14:23; 1Co 9:27); for they are distinguished from "hunger and thirst," which were involuntary [Grotius]. However, see on [2325]2Co 6:5. The context refers solely to hardships, not to self-imposed devotional mortification. "Hunger and thirst" are not synonymous with "foodlessness" (as the Greek of "fasting" means), but are its consequences.

cold … nakedness—"cold" resulting from "nakedness," or insufficient clothing, as the Greek often means: as "hunger and thirst" result from "foodlessness." (Compare Ac 28:2; Ro 8:35). "When we remember that he who endured all this was a man constantly suffering from infirm health (2Co 4:7-12; 12:7-10; Ga 4:13, 14), such heroic self-devotion seems almost superhuman" [Conybeare and Howson].

The apostle reckons up several afflictive evils, ordinarily incident to such as travel in foreign countries. Of this nature were the

weariness and painfulness, the hunger and thirst, the cold and nakedness, here mentioned. He also mentioneth the watchings and fastings, as voluntary acts of discipline, which he used for the end mentioned, 1 Corinthians 9:27, for the keeping under his body, and bringing it into subjection, and that he might the better attend and discharge the work of the ministry.

In weariness and painfulness,.... Through long journeys and frequent preaching; or "in labour and trouble"; or in troublesome labour, for all labour is not so; as hunting, hawking, &c. though laborious, yet delightful; but the labours of the apostle were painful and troublesome to the flesh, though he had much inward spiritual delight and pleasure in them:

in watchings often; being sometimes engaged at midnight, either in preaching, or praying, or staging psalms, and sometimes obliged to work early and late with his own hands to supply his necessities:

in hunger and thirst; as when at sea, or in wilderness places, or where no notice was taken of him for preaching the Gospel; he doing that freely without asking the assistance of any, which in some places would have been prejudicial to his designs, and the spread of the Gospel:

in fastings often; voluntary ones, which he engaged in, not as meritorious works, but to keep under his body, and as proper to attend the work of prayer at certain times:

in cold and nakedness; when travelling in the winter season, and but poorly clothed to keep him from the inclemencies of the weather; and having no certain dwelling place to retire unto and abide in, during any severe season there might be, and wanting the comforts of life to support him under such inconveniences.

In weariness and {r} painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

(r) Painfulness is a troublesome sickness, as when a man who is weary and wants rest is forced to begin new labour.

2 Corinthians 11:27. κόπῳ καὶ μόχ. κ.τ.λ.: in labour and travail, in watchings often (see on 2 Corinthians 6:5), in hunger and thirst (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11, Php 4:12), in fastings often, i.e., plainly, in involuntary deprivation of all food (the idea of voluntary devotional fastings is quite foreign to the context here, and to bring it in spoils the rhetorical force of the passage; see on 2 Corinthians 6:5), in cold and nakedness (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11).

27. in weariness and painfulness] In laboure and travayle (Tyndale), more literally. So Cranmer also. Our translators followed the Geneva version. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:8, where the words in the Greek are the same as here.

in watchings] Literally, in sleeplessnesses, i.e. in repeated nights of sleeplessness, whether from anxiety or other causes.

in hunger and thirst] Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11; Php 4:12.

in fastings often] “Voluntary ones, as he has before spoken of hunger and want.” Calvin. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 6:5.

in cold and nakedness] Dr Plumptre reminds us of the sharp contrast between this view of the greatness of a teacher and that current among the Jews, who had a proverb that “a goodly house, a fair wife, and a soft couch” were the prerogatives of the “disciples of the wise.” He refers to Matthew 23:6. See also Matthew 8:20.

2 Corinthians 11:27. Ἐν, in) Five clauses; the second agrees with the first, the fourth with the third, in pleasant harmony.—ἐν λιμῷ, in hunger) Deuteronomy 28:48, ἐν λιμῷ καὶ ἐν δίψει, καὶ ἐν γυμνότητι, καὶ ἐν ἐκλείψει πάντων.

Verse 27. - In weariness and painfulness; literally, in toil and travail (1 Thessalonians 2:9 2 Thessalonians 3:8). In watchings; literally, in spells of sleeplessness (Acts 20:34). In hunger and thirst (ver. 8; 1 Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 4:12). In fastings often. It is not clear whether this refers to voluntary fastings (2 Corinthians 6:5; Acts 27:9) or to general destitution short of the actual pangs of hunger. In cold and nakedness. St. Paul's ideal, like that of his Master Christ, was the very antithesis of that adopted by the wealthy, honoured, and full-fed Shammais and Hillels of Jewish rabbinism, who delighted in banquets, fine garments, pompous titles, domestic comforts, and stationary ease. 2 Corinthians 11:27Watchings

See on 2 Corinthians 6:5.

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