2 Corinthians 2:1
But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
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(1) But I determined this with myself.—Better, I determined for myself. The chapter division is here obviously wrong, and interrupts the sequence of thought. St. Paul continues his explanation. He did not wish to come again, i.e., to make his second visit to Corinth, in grief, and if he had carried out his first plan that would have been the almost inevitable result. He consulted his own feelings (“for myself”) as well as theirs.

2 Corinthians 2:1-3. But I, &c. — The apostle proceeds with his apology, begun in the preceding chapter, for delaying his visit to the Corinthians, and signifies that he had deferred it because he had determined with himself not to come among them with sorrow, by punishing the guilty, if he could by any means avoid it; and therefore, instead of coming to punish them, he had written to them, that he might have joy from their repentance: and in excuse for the severity of his first letter, he told them that he wrote it in the deepest affliction; not to make them sorry, but to show the greatness of his love to them. I determined this with myself — As if he had said, I will now plainly and faithfully tell you the true reason of that delay of my journey, which has so much surprised many of you, and at which some appear to have taken offence; it was not that I forgot you, or failed in my friendly regards to you; but I resolved, on hearing how things were among you, that if it could by any means be prevented, I would not come again to you with heaviness Εν λυπη, in grief, either on account of the sin of the particular offender, or of the disorders in the church in general, or in circumstances which must have grieved both myself and you; but that I would wait for those fruits which I hoped would be the effect of my endeavours, in my former epistle, to regulate what had been amiss. For if I make you sorry — If I should be obliged to grieve you still more by my reproofs and censures, and particularly by punishing the disobedient among you; who is he then that maketh me glad — That could give me joy; but the same who is made sorry by me? — That is, I cannot be comforted myself till his grief is removed. The apostle, knowing that the sincere part of the church would be made sorry by his punishing their disobedient brethren, wished, if possible, to avoid doing it. And, added to this, the recovery of offenders would give him more sensible joy than any thing else; considerations which, taken together, abundantly justify the language he here uses. And I wrote this same, τουτο αυτο, this very thing, to you — About reforming what is amiss, particularly to excommunicate the incestuous person, and to shun all contentions, sinful practices, and confusion in your meetings; lest when I came again to Corinth, as I proposed, I should have sorrow from them — Lest I should have occasion to censure and punish any, (to do which would be grievous to me,) of whom — In whose repentance; I ought to rejoice, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all — That in general you bear the same affection toward me, as I feel in my heart toward you, and are desirous of giving me cause of joy, rather than of sorrow. It seems either the apostle is speaking here of the sincere part of the Christian Church, or the word all must be taken in a qualified sense.2:1-4 The apostle desired to have a cheerful meeting with them; and he had written in confidence of their doing what was to their benefit and his comfort; and that therefore they would be glad to remove every cause of disquiet from him. We should always give pain unwillingly, even when duty requires that it must be given.But I determined this with myself - I made up my mind on this point; I formed this resolution in regard to my course.

That I would not come again to you in heaviness - In grief (ἐνη λύπ enē lup). "I would not come, if I could avoid it, in circumstances which must have grieved both me and you. I would not come while there existed among you such irregularities as must have pained my heart, and as must have compelled me to resort to such acts of discipline as would be painful to you. I resolved, therefore, to endeavor to remove these evils before I came, that when I did come, my visit might be mutually agreeable to us both. For that reason I changed my purpose about visiting you, when I heard of those disorders, and resolved to send an epistle. If that should be successful, then the way would be open for an agreeable visit to you." This verse, therefore, contains the statement of the principal reason why he had not come to them as he had at first proposed. It was really from no fickleness, but it was from love to them, and a desire that his visit should be mutually agreeable, compare the notes, 2 Corinthians 1:23.


2Co 2:1-17. Reason Why He Had Not Visited Them on His Way to Macedonia; the Incestuous Person Ought Now to Be Forgiven; His Anxiety to Hear Tidings of Their State from Titus, and His Joy When at Last the Good News Reaches Him.

1. with myself—in contrast to "you" (2Co 1:23). The same antithesis between Paul and them appears in 2Co 2:2.

not come again … in heaviness—"sorrow"; implying that he had already paid them one visit in sorrow since his coming for the first time to Corinth. At that visit he had warned them "he would not spare if he should come again" (see on [2304]2Co 13:2; compare 2Co 12:14; 13:1). See [2305]Introduction to the first Epistle. The "in heaviness" implies mutual pain; they grieving him, and he them. Compare 2Co 2:2, "I make you sorry," and 2Co 2:5, "If any have caused grief (sorrow)." In this verse he accounts for having postponed his visit, following up 2Co 1:23.2 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul, having shown a motive of tenderness for not

coming to Corinth, as also for writing his former Epistle,

2 Corinthians 2:6-9 declareth himself satisfied with the censure inflicted

on the incestuous person, and desireth them to forgive

and comfort him,

2 Corinthians 2:10,11 as he himself had forgiven him in Christ’s name.

2 Corinthians 2:12,13 His uneasiness for not finding Titus at Troas had

caused him to go forthwith into Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 He blesseth God for the successfulness of his labours

every where,

2 Corinthians 2:17 professing his sincerity and disinterestedness before God.

One reason why I put off my formerly intended journey to you, was, that I might give you time to repent, and reform those disorders that were amongst you, that my coming to you might neither cause heaviness in you, seeing me come with a rod, to chide and reprove you; nor yet in myself, who do not delight in censures and chidings, but must myself have been sad to have seen such errors and disorders amongst you, as I must by my paternal and apostolical authority have corrected.

But I determined with myself,.... The apostle having removed the charge of levity and inconstancy brought against him, goes on to excuse his delay in coming to them, and to soften the severity, which some thought too much, he had used in his former epistle: he determined with himself, he took up a resolution within his own breast some time ago, says he,

that I would not come again to you in heaviness; that he would not come with sorrow and heaviness, bewailing their sins not repented of, and by sharp reproofs and censures, which in such a case would be necessary, be the cause of grief and trouble to them; wherefore he determined to wait their repentance and amendment before he came again. The word "again", may be connected with the phrase "in heaviness"; and the sense be, that in his former epistle, which was a sort of coming to them, he made them heavy and sorry, by sharply rebuking them for some disorders that were among them; and since it has been a settled point with him, that he would not come in heaviness again: or with the word "come"; and then the meaning is, as his first coming among them was to the joy of their souls, so it was a determined case with him, that his second coming should not be with grief, either to them or himself, or both; and this is the true reason why he had deferred it so long.

But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in {a} heaviness.

(a) Causing grief among you, which he would have done if he had come to them before they had repented.

2 Corinthians 2:1. Ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ τοῦτο] δέ is the usual μεταβατικόν, which leads on from the assurance given by Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:23, to the thought that he in his own interest (ἐμαυτῷ, dativus commodi; for see 2 Corinthians 2:2) was not willing to come again to them ἐν λύπῃ.

The interpretation apud me (Vulgate, Luther, Beza, and many others) would require παρʼ ἐμαυτῷ or ἐν ἐμ. (1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 11:13). Paul, by means of ἐμαυτῷ, gives to the matter an ingenious, affectionate turn, regarding the truth of which, however, there is no doub.

ἔκρινα] I determined, as 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 7:27. As to the emphatically preparatory τοῦτο with following infinitive accompanied by the article, comp. on Romans 14:13, and Krüger, § li. 7. 4.

πάλιν] belongs to ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμ. ἐλθεῖν, taken together, so that Paul had once already (namely, on his second arrival) come to the Corinthians ἐν λύπῃ. The connection with ἐλθεῖν merely (Pelagius, Primasius, Theodoret, and the most; also Flatt, Baur, Reiche), a consequence of the error that Paul before our Epistles had been only once in Corinth,[137] is improbable even with the Recepta (the more suitable order of the words would be: τὸ μὴ ἐν λύπῃ πάλιν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς), but is impossible both with our reading and with that of Tischendorf (see the critical remarks), unless we quite arbitrarily suppose, with Grotius (comp. also Reiche), a trajectio, or, with Baur, I. p. 342, an inaccuracy of epistolary styl.

ἐν λύπῃ] provided with affliction (Bernhardy, p. 109; comp. Romans 15:29), bringing affliction with me, i.e. afflicting you. This explanation (Theodoret, Calvin, Grotius, and others, including Ewald) is, indeed, held by Hofmann to be impossible in itself, but is required by the following εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς. Hence Billroth and Hofmann, following Chrysostom and many others, are wrong in thinking that the apostle’s own sadness is meant; and so also Bengel, Olshausen, Rückert, de Wette, Reiche, Neander, following Ambrosiaster, and others, who think that it is also included. That it is not meant at all, is shown by φειδόμενος, 2 Corinthians 1:23, and by the coupling of what follows with ΓΆΡ. Comp. ἘΝ ῬΆΒΔῼ, 1 Corinthians 4:21. The apparent difficulty, that Paul in our first Epistle makes no mention whatever of the fact and manner of his former visit to Corinth when he caused affliction, is obviated by the consideration that only after our first Epistle was the change of plan used to the apostle’s disadvantage, and that only now was he thereby compelled to mention the earlier arrival which had been made ἘΝ ΛΎΠῌ. Hence this passage is not a proof for the assumption of a journey to Corinth between our two Epistles (see the Introd.).

[137] This error has compelled many to get out of the difficulty by conceiving our first Epistle as the first coming ἐν λύπῃ So Chrysostom, Calvin, Beza, Bengel, and others. Lange, Apostol. Zeitalt. I. p. 204, believes that he has found another way: that Paul had the veryfirst time come to Corinth in affliction (1 Corinthians 2:1 ff.), which affliction he had brought mill him from Athens. As if in 1 Corinthians 2:1 ff. he is speaking of a λύπη! and as if a λύπη brought with him from Athens, though nowhere proved, would have had anything to do with the Corinthians!

2 Corinthians 2:1-4. Continuation of what was begun in 2 Corinthians 1:23.2 Corinthians 2:1. ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ τοῦτο κ.τ.λ.: but I decided this for my own sake, that I would not come again to you with sorrow; i.e., I determined that my next visit should not be painful, as my last was. The juxtaposition of πάλιν with ἐν λύπῃ (see crit. note) requires that interpretation. Hence the former visit in St. Paul’s mind could not have been his first visit to Corinth (Acts 18:1 ff.), for that was not ἐν λύπῃ. And thus we are forced to conclude that another visit was paid from Ephesus, of which no details have been preserved (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:14, 2 Corinthians 13:1). The conditions of the scanty evidence available seem best satisfied by supposing that St. Paul’s second visit to Corinth was paid from Ephesus during the period Acts 19:10. Alarming news had probably reached him, and he determined to make enquiries for himself. On his return to Ephesus he wrote the letter (now lost) alluded to in 1 Corinthians 5:9, in which he charged the Corinthians “to keep no company with fornicators”. Subsequently to this he again received distressing intelligence (1 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 5:1, etc.), whereupon he wrote the first canonical Epistle (see Introd., p. 7).Ch. 2. St Paul’s only Object the Spiritual Advancement of his Converts

1. But I determined this with myself] St Paul now further vindicates his consistency. Not only did he stay away from Corinth to spare the Corinthians the sharp rebukes which his immediate presence would have necessitated, but he hoped by means of the Epistle to work so salutary a reformation as to make his visit to Corinth a time of the deepest spiritual joy. The ‘but’ in the English version should be rendered and, thus carrying on the explanation from ch. 2 Corinthians 1:23. For ‘with myself recent commentators prefer the rendering for myself,’ i.e. for the better carrying on of the work St Paul had in hand, which however (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; 1 Corinthians 10:33) was not his own profit, but the good of his converts. We may thus paraphrase his words, I decided that the best course for me to pursue was not to come again to you in heaviness.

that I would not come again to you in heaviness] There seems no need to suppose, with some commentators, that ‘again’ belongs to ‘in heaviness,’ and to explain it of some unrecorded visit which the Apostle paid in trouble of mind. The very contrary seems to be implied. St Paul’s great anxiety was not to visit the Corinthian Church in such a frame of mind. It falls in best with the context to explain ‘I determined that my second visit should not be paid while under the influence of painful feelings.’ Olshausen remarks that the ‘heaviness’ here spoken of belongs as much to the Corinthians as to the Apostle. See next verse.2 Corinthians 2:1. Ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ, But I determined for myself) so far as I myself am concerned, for my own advantage. The antithesis is, to you in this ver.: comp. 2 Corinthians 1:23.—δὲ, but) This is an antithesis to not as yet, 2 Corinthians 1:23.—πάλιν, again) This is construed with come; not with, come in heaviness (sorrow): he had formerly written in heaviness, he had not come.—ἐν λύπῃ, in heaviness (sorrow) twofold; for there follows, for if I make you sorry, and, if any one have caused grief [sorrow, 2 Corinthians 2:5.] This repetition (anaphora[11]) forms two antithetic parts, the discussion of which elegantly corresponds to each respectively, I wrote that you might know [2 Corinthians 2:4]; I wrote that I might know, 2 Corinthians 2:9; [the joy] of you all; [overcharge] you all, 2 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 2:5.

[11] See Append. The frequent repetition of the same word to mark the beginnings of sections.Verse 1. - But I determined this. The division of chapters is here unfortunate, since this and the next three verses belong to the paragraph which began at 2 Corinthians 1:23. The verb means, literally, "I judged," but is rightly rendered "determined," as in 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 7:37. He is contrasting his final decision with his original desire, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:15. With myself; rather, for myself; as the best course which I could take. That I would net come again to you in heaviness. The "again" in the true reading is not placed immediately before the verb, but it seems (as Theodoret says) to belong to it, so that the meaning is not "that I would not pay you a second sad visit," but "that my second visit to you should not be a sad one." There have been interminable discussions, founded on this expression and on ch. 13:1, as to whether St. Paul had up to the time of writing this letter visited Corinth twice or only once. There is no question that only one visit is recorded in the Acts (Acts 18:1-18) previous to the one which he paid to this Church after this Epistle had been sent (Acts 20:2, 3). If he paid them a second brief, sad, and unrecorded visit, it can only have been during his long stay in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 10). But the possibility of this does not seem to be recognized in Acts 20:31, where he speaks of his work at Ephesus "night and day" during this period. The assumption of such a visit, as we shall see, is not necessitated by 2 Corinthians 13:1, but in any case we know nothing whatever about the details of the visit, even if there was one, and the question, being supremely unimportant, is hardly worth the time which has been spent upon it. If he had paid such a visit, it would be almost unaccountable that there should be no reference to it in the First Epistle, and here in 2 Corinthians 1:19 he refers only to one occasion on which he had preached Christ in Corinth. Each fresh review of the circumstances convinces me more strongly that the notion of three visits to Corinth, of which one is unrecorded, is a needless and mistaken inference, due to unimaginative literalism in interpreting one or two phrases, and encumbered with difficulties on every side. In heaviness. The expression applies as much to the Corinthians as to himself, he did not wish his second visit to Corinth to be a painful one. With myself (ἐμαυτῷ)

Rev., better, for myself. Paul, with affectionate tact, puts it as if he had taken this resolution for his own pleasure.

In heaviness (ἐν λύπῃ)

Meaning, apparently, the apostle's own sorrowful state of mind. This is wrong. He refers to the sorrow which his coming would bring to the Church. Compare to spare, 2 Corinthians 1:23. Rev., with sorrow.


Referring to a former unrecorded visit.

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