2 Corinthians 12:15
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
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(15) And I will very gladly spend and be spent.—The pronoun is emphatic, I, for my part. The latter verb implies spending to the last farthing. As he sought not theirs, but them, so he is ready to spend for them not only all that he has, but even, as if to the verge of exhaustion, all that he is. And yet with all this there was the painful consciousness of toiling without adequate return. It seemed to him, in his intense craving for affection, as if their love varied inversely with his own.

12:11-21 We owe it to good men, to stand up in the defence of their reputation; and we are under special obligations to those from whom we have received benefit, especially spiritual benefit, to own them as instruments in God's hand of good to us. Here is an account of the apostle's behaviour and kind intentions; in which see the character of a faithful minister of the gospel. This was his great aim and design, to do good. Here are noticed several sins commonly found among professors of religion. Falls and misdeeds are humbling to a minister; and God sometimes takes this way to humble those who might be tempted to be lifted up. These vast verses show to what excesses the false teachers had drawn aside their deluded followers. How grievous it is that such evils should be found among professors of the gospel! Yet thus it is, and has been too often, and it was so even in the days of the apostles.And I will very gladly spend - I am willing to spend my strength, and time, and life, and all that I have, for your welfare, as a father cheerfully does for his children. Any expense which may be necessary to promote your salvation I am willing to submit to. The labor of a father for his children is cheerful and pleasant. Such is his love for them that he delights in toil for their sake, and that he may make them happy. The toil of a pastor for his flock should be cheerful. He should be willing to engage in unremitted efforts for their welfare; and if he has any right feeling he will find a pleasure in that toil He will not grudge the time demanded; he will not be grieved that it exhausts his strength, or his life, anymore than a father will who toils for his family. And as the pleasures of a father who is laboring for his children are among the purest and most pleasant which people ever enjoy, so it is with a pastor. Perhaps, on the whole, the pleasantest employment in life is that connected with the pastoral office; the happiest moments known on earth are the duties, arduous as they are, of the pastoral relation. God thus, as in the relation of a father, tempers toil and pleasure together; and accompanies most arduous labors with present and abundant reward.

Be spent - Be exhausted and worn out in my labors. So the Greek word means. Paul was willing that his powers should be entirely exhausted and his life consumed in this service.

For you - Margin, as in the Greek, for your souls. So it should have been rendered. So Tyndale renders it. The sense is, that he was willing to become wholly exhausted if by it he might secure the salvation of their souls.

Though the more abundantly I love you ... - This is designed doubtless as a gentle reproof. It refers to the fact that notwithstanding the tender attachment which he had evinced for them, they had not manifested the love in return which he had a right to expect. It is possible that there may be an allusion to the case of a fond, doting parent. It sometimes happens that a parent fixes his affections with undue degree on some one of his children; and in such cases it is not uncommon that the child evinces special ingratitude and lack of love. Such may be the allusion here - that Paul had fixed his affections on them like a fond, doting father, and that he had met with a return by no means corresponding with the fervour of his attachment; yet still he was willing, like such a father, to exhaust his time and strength for their welfare. The doctrine is, that we should be willing to labor and toil for the good of others, even when they evince great ingratitude. The proper end of laboring for their welfare is not to excite their gratitude, but to obey the will of God; and no matter whether others are grateful or not; whether they love us or not; whether we can promote our popularity with them or not, let us do them good always. It better shows the firmness of our Christian principle to endeavor to benefit others when they love us the less for all our attempts, than it does to attempt to do good on the swelling tide of popular favor.

15. I will … spend—all I have.

be spent—all that I am. This is more than even natural parents do. They "lay up treasures for their children." But I spend not merely my treasures, but myself.

for you—Greek, "for your souls"; not for your mere bodies.

the less I be loved—Love rather descends than ascends [Bengel]. Love him as a true friend who seeks your good more than your good will.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; I am so far from desiring your money, that, if I had it, I would willingly spend it for you; and I do spend my strength for you, willing to die in your service, labouring for the good of your immortal souls.

Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved; but I am very unhappy as to some of you, who will not rightly understand me, but love me the less, the more they see my love to them.

And I will gladly spend,.... Meaning all his time, talents, and strength, which God had bestowed upon him for their spiritual profit and advantage; yea, all that small pittance of worldly goods that he enjoyed: he not only determined to take nothing from them, but was willing to communicate his little substance to them, or spend it in their service; and not only so, but be spent for them:

and be spent for you, or "for your souls": for the good of them; his sense is, either that he was willing to have his whole substance expended, if it would be of any use to them; or his whole strength exhausted, in laborious preaching to them; or even his life to be laid down for them, was it necessary; which sense is favoured by the Syriac and Arabic versions; all which expressed his tender affection as a spiritual father for them: adding,

though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved; though he loved them more than he did other churches, or than the false apostles loved them, and yet were loved by them less than he was by other churches; or by them, than the false apostles were; or rather the meaning is, that though he increased in his love, and in the expressions of it to them, and they grew colder and more indifferent to him, yet this should not hinder his warmest desires and most earnest endeavours after their spiritual and eternal welfare. This way of speaking strongly expresses his love to them, and tacitly implies the lukewarmness of theirs to him; and yet that it should be no discouragement to him to proceed in doing them all the service he was capable of.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
2 Corinthians 12:15. Paul applies what was said generally in 2 Corinthians 12:14 : οὐ γὰρ ὀφείλει κ.τ.λ., to himself (ἐγώ, I on my part): I, however, will very willingly spend and be spent for the good of your souls, in order, namely, to prepare them for the salvation of eternal life (Hebrews 10:39; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 1:9; Jam 1:21). Theodoret rightly says: ἐγὼ δὲ τῶν φύσει πατέρων καὶ πλέον τι ποιεῖν ἐπαγγέλλομαι.

For examples of δαπανᾶκ (ἐκ strengthens, Polyb. xxv. 8. 4, xxi. 8. 9, xvii. 11. 10) used of the life, see Kypke, II. p. 272. On the subject-matter, comp. Horace, Od. i. 12. 38 f.: “animaeque magnae prodigum Paullum.”

εἰ περισσοτ. ὑμᾶς ἀγαπῶν ἧττον ἀγαπῶμαι] εἰ does not stand for εἰ καί (which is read by Elzevir and Tischendorf), for which Rückert takes it, but is the simple if, and that not even in the sense of ἐπεί or ὅτι, as it is used “ne quid confidentius, directius affirmetur” (Dissen, ad Dem, de Cor. p. 195), but, as is here most in keeping with tender delicacy in the expression of a harsh thought, in the purely hypothetical sense: if, which I leave undecided, etc. In view of the possible case, that he finds the less love among his readers, the more he loves them (this is implied in the mutual reference of the two comparatives, see Matthiae, § 455, Rem. 7),[381] the apostle will most gladly sacrifice his own (what he has from others, or even by his own work) and himself (comp. Romans 9:3; Php 2:17) for their souls, in order that thus he may do his utmost to overcome this supposed—and possibly existing—disproportion between his loving and being loved by stimulating and increasing the latter (Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Hofmann, not observing the clever turn of the hypothetical expression of the thought, without reason finds this view absurd, and with sufficient crudeness and clumsiness takes εἰ to ἀγαπῶμαι as an independent question, to which Paul himself makes answer with ἔστω δέ (in the sense: be it so withal, I will let it rest there). To this interrogative view Hofmann ought all the less to have resorted, seeing that interrogation in such an indirect form (Winer, p. 474 [E. T. 639], and see on Matthew 12:10; Luke 13:23) is wholly without example in Paul, often as he has had an opportunity for using it. It is found often in Luke, more rarely in Matthew and Mark. Except in the writings of these three, the N. T. does not present that independent use of the indirectly interrogative εἰ.

[381] In opposition to Hofmann, who, not attending to the correspondence of the two comparatives, supplies with περισσ.: than others, and with ἧττον: than by others.

2 Corinthians 12:15. ἐγὼ δὲ ἥδιστα κ.τ.λ.: and I will most gladly spend and be wholly spent for your souls’ sake (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 1:6, Romans 9:3, Php 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:10 for the like expressions of unselfish devotion). ψυχή is here used (as at Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 2:11) of the spiritual part of man, the interests of which are eternal.—εἰ περισσοτέρως ὑμᾶς ἀγαπῶ κ.τ.λ.: if I loved you more abundantly, i.e., than I love other Churches of my foundation (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:11), am I loved less (sc., than I am loved by other Churches)? Is it thus that you requite my affection?

15. very gladly] Or most gladly.

spend and be spent] St Paul regards himself but as a gift of Christ’s love, in that he has been made a channel of His grace. Simply as such, as a means whereby Christ is enriching them with Himself, he will not only spend himself, but be spent by others, just as money is, which is worthless in itself, and is only valuable for what it enables us to obtain.

though the more abundantly I love you] This passage shews us how the man valued and yearned for affection, even while the Apostle knew it to be right to do his duty, without expecting the least return of any kind.

2 Corinthians 12:15. Ἐγὼ δὲ, but I) The δὲ makes an Epitasis [emphatic addition to the enunciation already made].—δαπανήσω) I will spend what belongs to me.—ἐκδαπανηθήσομαι, I myself will be spent)—ἧττον, less) Love rather descends, than ascends. [It is unworthy to repay the most devoted love with a scanty measure of love.—V. g.]

Verse 15. - Spend and be spent; rather, spend and be outspent, or spent to the uttermost (Philippians 2:17). 2 Corinthians 12:15Be spent (ἐκδαπανηθήσομαι)

Only here in the New Testament. To spend utterly. Later Greek writers use the simple verb δαπανάω to expend, of the consumption of life.

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