2 Corinthians 2:10
To whom you forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also.—The procedure of 1Corinthians 5:3-7 is again, obviously, in his mind. Though absent in body, he had made himself a sharer spiritually in that censure. He now, anticipating their compliance with his request, makes himself a sharer in the sentence of absolution.

For if I forgave any thing.—Better, if I have forgiven; and so in the following clauses. The case is put hypothetically, though he has an actual offender in his thoughts, because he had, in 2Corinthians 2:5, all but disclaimed the character of being an aggrieved person. He confines himself, therefore, to saying: “So far as I was aggrieved, I have forgiven; so far as I have forgiven, it is for your sake as a body, not merely for my own and that of the offender.”

In the person of Christ.—Literally, in the face of Christ (See Note on 2Corinthians 1:11.) In the presence of Christ is, therefore, a possible rendering. The English version is probably correct, the phrase conveying the same sense as “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” in 1Corinthians 5:4, but in a somewhat stronger form. He had forgiven, as though Christ was acting in or by him. The forgiveness would be as authoritative as the censure. It will be noted that he claims in its fulness the authority given to the Apostles of Christ in John 20:23.

2:5-11 The apostle desires them to receive the person who had done wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of his fault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow for sin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. Not only was there danger last Satan should get advantage, by tempting the penitent to hard thoughts of God and religion, and so drive him to despair; but against the churches and the ministers of Christ, by bringing an evil report upon Christians as unforgiving; thus making divisions, and hindering the success of the ministry. In this, as in other things, wisdom is to be used, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how to make a bad use of our mistakes.To whom ye forgive anything - The sense here is, "I have confidence in you as a Christian society and such confidence, that if you forgive an offence in one of your members, I shall approve the act, and shall also be ready to forgive." He refers, doubtless, to this particular case; but he makes his remark general. It is implied here, I think, that the Corinthians were disposed to forgive the offending brother; and Paul here assures them that they had his hearty assent to this, and that if they did forgive him, he was ready to join them in the act, and to forgive him also.

For if I forgave anything - If I forgive anything; if I remit any of the punishments which have been inflicted by my authority.

For your sakes - It is not on account of the offender alone; it is in order to promote the happiness and purity of the church.

In the person of Christ - Locke paraphrases this, "By the authority, and in the name of Christ." Doddridge," As in the person of Christ, and by the high authority with which he has been pleased to invest me." Tyndale, "In the room of Christ." The word rendered "person" (Margin, "sight," πρόσωπον prosōpon, from πρός pros and ὤψ ōps), means properly the part toward, at, and around the eye - Robinson. Then it means the face, visage, countenance; then the presence, person, etc. Here it probably means, in the presence of Christ; with his eye upon me, and conscious that I am acting before him, and must give account to him. It implies, undoubtedly, that Paul acted by his authority, and felt that he was doing that which Christ would approve.

10. Another encouragement to their taking on themselves the responsibility of restoring the offender. They may be assured of Paul's apostolic sanction to their doing so.

for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it—The oldest manuscripts read, "For even what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything."

for your sakes forgave I it—He uses the past tense, as of a thing already determined on; as in 1Co 5:3, "I have judged already"; or, as speaking generally of forgiveness granted, or to be granted. It is for your sakes I have forgiven, and do forgive, that the Church (of which you are constituent members) may suffer no hurt by the loss of a soul, and that ye may learn leniency as well as faithfulness.

in the person of Christ—representing Christ, and acting by His authority: answering to 1Co 5:4, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ … my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The word so often repeated in this verse, and translated

forgive, is carizomai, which signifies to give, or gratify, or do a kindness, as well as to forgive; so as it needeth not always to be interpreted of any judicial act of absolution. If you see reason to remit any thing of the punishment inflicted upon the incestuous person, I am satisfied with what you do, I shall take no offence at you for it. If I have showed any favour to any person amongst you that hath fallen under my reproof and chastisement, it hath been for your sake, for the good and advantage of your church, or upon their motion and intercession; and I have done it sincerely in the sight of Christ (the Greek is, in the face of Christ). To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also,.... This may extend to the forgiveness of any person, in any case; either in time past, or at the present time, or in time to come; though it has a particular respect to the forgiveness of the incestuous man, which the apostle had determined in his own mind, and was very ready to come into, and very desirous to join with the church in, as they had joined with him in the excommunication of him; and in order to engage them in such a temper and disposition, he tells them it was on their account he did it:

for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it; which is as if he should say, whenever I have forgiven any offender, as I now do forgive this man, I always do it for your sake; either at your request, or in confidence of this, that you yourselves have forgiven; or for your good, peace, and welfare: and besides, what I do of this kind, I do it

in the person of Christ; in his sight and presence, who knows that what I do this way, I do it sincerely, and with my whole heart and soul; or rather I do it in his name, and by his authority; and since I forgive this man for your sakes, and in the name of Christ, you ought to do so likewise.

To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the {h} person of Christ;

(h) Truly, and from the heart.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 2:10. A second motive for the κυρῶσαι εἰς αὐτὸν ἀγάπ. And to whomsoever (in order to hold before you yet another motive) you give pardon as to anything, to him I also give pardon. Δέ, accordingly, is the simple μεταβατικόν. Rückert wishes to supply a μέν before γάρ in 2 Corinthians 2:9, so that 2 Corinthians 2:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:10 together may give the sense: “It was, indeed, my wish to find perfect obedience among you; but since you are willing to pardon him, I too am willing.” But here, too, this supplement is altogether groundless; nay, in this very case, where 2 Corinthians 2:9 is referred by γάρ to what goes before, the express marking of the mutual relation of the two clauses would have been logically necessary, and hence μέν must have been used. Further, the meaning contained in Rückert’s explanation would express an indifference and accommodation so strangely at variance with the apostolic authority, that the apostle would only have been thereby lowered in the eyes of his reader.

ᾧ δέ τι χαρίζεσθε, καὶ ἐγώ] general assurance (and this general expression remains also in the reason assigned that follows), to which the present special case is subordinated. The reader knew to whom the ὅς and to what the τί were to be applie.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ κ.τ.λ.] Reason assigned for what was just said. “For this circumstance, that I also pardon him to whom you pardon anything, rests on reciprocity: what also I on my part have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, I have pardoned with a regard to you”—i.e. in order that my forgiveness may be followed by yours. This definite meaning of διʼ ὑμᾶς (not the general: for your benefit, as Flatt, de Wette, Osiander, and many others have it) is, according to the context, demanded by ᾧ τι χαρ., καὶ ἐγώ, in virtue of the logical relation of the clause containing the reason to this assurance. Paul, however, has not again written the present χαρίζομαι, but κεχάρισμαι, because he wishes to hold before his readers his own example, consequently his own precedent already set in the pardon in question. Between this κεχάρισμαι, however, and the χαρίζομαι to be supplied after καὶ ἐγώ, there is no logical contradiction. For in ᾧ δέ τι χαρίζεσθε the act of the sinner is considered as an offence to the church; as such, the church is to forgive it, and then the apostle will also forgive it: but in καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ὁ κεχάρισμαι it is conceived as a vexation to the apostle; as such, Paul has forgiven it, and that διʼ ὑμᾶς, for the sake of the church, in order that it too may now give free course to the pardon which the offence produced in it needed.[144] To this thoughtful combination of the various references of the act, and to the placable spirit by which the representation is pervaded, the intervening clause ΕἼ ΤΙ ΚΕΧΆΡΙΣΜΑΙ corresponds, which is by no means intended to make the act of pardon problematical (de Wette), or to designate it only as eventual, turning on the supposition of the church granting forgiveness (Billroth), but contains a delicate reference back to 2 Corinthians 2:5, in this sense, namely: if—seeing that the sinner, according to 2 Corinthians 2:5, has not properly grieved me, but you—that which I designate as κεχάρισμαι is really this; for the having pardoned presupposes the pardoner to be the injured party, which Paul, however, 2 Corinthians 2:5, denied himself to be.

Against all versions, Fathers and expositors, Rückert has taken κεχάρισμαι passively[145] of the pardoning grace which Paul experienced through his conversion. The sense would thus be: “for whatever I have got pardoned, if I have got anything pardoned, I have got it pardoned for your sakes (in order as apostle of the Gentiles to lead you to salvation).” See my third edition. This exposition is incorrect, partly because there is nothing in the text to suggest an allusion to the apostle’s conversion; partly because this pardoning grace was to him so firm and certain, and, in fact, the whole psychological basis of his working, that he could not, even in the most humble reminiscence of his pre-Christian conduct (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10), have presented it as problematical by εἴ τι κεχάρισμαι; partly because with this problematical inserted clause the very ἘΝ ΠΡΟΣΏΠῼ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ (explained by Rückert: “on the countenance of Christ beaming with God’s grace”) would be at varianc.

ἘΝ ΠΡΟΣΏΠῼ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ] i.e. in conspectu Christi, comp. Proverbs 8:30, Sir 32:4, denotes the having pardoned, in so far as it has taken place διʼ ὑμᾶς, in its fullest purity and truth. It has taken place in presence of Christ, so that He was witness of it. Interpretations at variance with the words are: in Christ’s stead (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Luther, Calovius, Wetstein, and others): by Christ, as an oath (Emmerling), and others. Hofmann, who without reason maintains that according to our view it must have run ὡς ἐν προσώπῳ Χ., attaches the words to what follows, so that they would precede the ἽΝΑ by way of emphasis, like Τ. ἈΓΆΠΗΝ, 2 Corinthians 2:4 (see on Romans 11:31), and the meaning would be: Christ should not be obliged to be a spectator of how Satan deprives His church of one of its members. This interpretation could only be justified if we were in any way by the context prepared for the ἐν προσώπῳ Χ., thus taken as a specially tragic feature of the devil’s guile. Besides, the thought that the devil injures the church under the eyes of Christ, would be nowhere else expressed.

Observe, further, how, according to this passage, the penitence of the sinner, just as much as the removal of the offence to the church, is the aim of church-discipline, and hence its initiation and cessation are to be measured accordingly; but the Roman Catholic doctrine of indulgence[146] is at variance with this.

[144] Not: to get rid of the painful relation in which they stood to that sinner, as Hofmann infers, from his incorrect interpretation of ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς, ver. 5.

[145] This passive use would in itself be correct as to language. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 10. The transitive use, however, is the more usual one, as at Galatians 3:18; Acts 27:24.

[146] Still Bisping finds its principles clearly traced out in this passage.2 Corinthians 2:10. ᾧ δέ τι χαρίζεσθε κ.τ.λ.: but to whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also; for what I also have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) for your sakes have I forgiven it in the face of Christ. This is not a general principle, but a statement of the Apostle’s feelings at the present juncture; if they are willing to forgive the offender, so is he. Whether he advocates punishment or forgiveness it is always διʼ ὑμᾶς, “for your sakes,” and it is ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ, “in the sight of Christ”. πρόσωπον (see on 2 Corinthians 1:11) is a “face,” and so ἐν προσ. Χρ. is a stronger way of saying ἐνώπιον Χριστοῦ (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 8:21, Galatians 1:20); the Apostle claims that his acts of condemnation and forgiveness are done as “in the presence of Christ”. Both A.V. and R.V. render “in the person of Christ,” which would mean that St. Paul had acted as Christ’s delegate. But the usage of πρόσωπον in 2 Cor. is against this interpretation.10. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also] St Paul is here exercising the power of the keys (see Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18; John 20:23). He is not speaking of any private forgiveness of a personal injury, but of the public absolution of an offender lying under the censure of the church. See 1 Corinthians 5:4-5. We may observe (1) that St Paul acts upon the report of the Corinthian Church properly authenticated by Titus, his representative there (ch. 2 Corinthians 7:6-14), and (2) that he gives his official sanction to their act.

to whom I forgave it] Most modern Editors read what for to whom, and the verb stands in the perfect, implying that the affair is at an end. ‘What I have forgiven, I have forgiven on your account.’ St Paul does not claim the right to ratify their act for the satisfaction of his own sense of importance, but because his Apostolic office is necessary for their edification and guidance.

in the person of Christ] Cranmer and the Geneva version render ‘in the sight’ (literally, in the face) of Christ. So also Calvin. The Vulgate which is followed by Wiclif, and of course the Rhemish, renders as in the text. Tyndale renders roume. As the Greek word signifies both person and face, the point must be left undecided. If the A. V. be correct, then St Paul acts in this matter as Christ’s representative. If the other is the correct rendering, then he performs a solemn public act in the sight of Christ and the powers unseen. It should however, be added that in this Epistle we have the word here used in the sense of person in ch. 2 Corinthians 1:11, and in the sense of face in ch. 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18, and that the expression occurs again in ch. 2 Corinthians 4:6, where see note.2 Corinthians 2:10. Τὶ, any thing) He speaks very gently of the atrocious, but acknowledged sin.—χαρίζεσθε, ye forgive) He has no doubt, but that they will do what he wrote at 2 Corinthians 2:7.—καὶ ἐγὼ, I also) He modestly subscribes assent to the act of the Corinthians, and regards himself, as it were in the same category with them.—εἲ τι κεχάρισμαι, if I forgave any thing) The matter is limited by if any thing, in order that Paul may show his willingness to follow up the forgiveness granted to the sinner by the Corinthians. From the present I forgive, the past immediately results, I have forgiven, while Paul is in the act of writing these things.—διʼ ὑμᾶς, for your sakes) namely, I forgave.—ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ, in the presence [but Engl. Vers., person] of Christ) in the face of [before] Christ, 1 Corinthians 5:4.—ἵνα μὴ πλεονεκτηθῶμεν, lest we should be defrauded [lest an advantage be gained over us.]) The loss of a single sinner is a common loss; therefore he said for your sakes.—ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, by Satan) to whom Paul delivered or was about to deliver the sinner; 1 Corinthians 5:5. Satan not only devised to destroy the flesh, but the soul: and he seeks an opportunity of doing a very great injury by means of sorrow.Verse 10. - To whom ye forgive any thing. In the original there is a conjunction, "but." It would, perhaps, be pressing it too much to imply that their "forgiveness" showed that they had not accurately stood the test of perfect obedience; yet it is difficult to read the whole passage without suspecting that St. Paul, while by temperament he leaned to the side of mercy, is here showing a spirit of generous self-suppression m accepting the course which the Corinthians had followed, although it had, in some way or other, diverged from his exact directions. To whom, Obviously, again, a purposely indefinite reference to the incestuous person. I forgive also. The power of "binding" and "loosing," of "forgiving" and "retaining," had only been given to the apostles representatively and collectively, and therefore to the Christian Church (John 20:23) in its corporate capacity. The Corinthian Church had in this case decided to forgive, and St. Paul ratifies their decision. For if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it. The reading here varies between , what, and ω΅, to whom, which in dictation might be easily confused. The order of the words also varies. The best reading seems to be expressed by the version, "For what I also have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything (I have pardoned it) for your sakes." This represents the reading of א, A, B, C, F, G, etc., and is followed by the Revised Version. There seems to be here an intentional vagueness, and reference to circumstances of which we are not informed, which might, perhaps, have given room for wounded feelings in any one less magnanimous than St. Paul. The line he took in this matter was taken for their sakes - that is all he says, he adopted it as the best relatively, whether it was absolutely the best or not. In the person of Christ; literally, in the face of Christ; which seems to mean "in the presence of Christ," as though he were looking on at what I did (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 3:7, 13, 18; 2 Corinthians 4:6). It may be doubted whether the word prosopon ever means "person" in the New Testament, except in a secondary sense. In the person (ἐν προσώπῳ)

Better, as Rev., in margin, presence; or face, as if Christ were looking on. See on 2 Corinthians 1:11.

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