2 Corinthians 6:10
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
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(10) As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.—Are we still in the region of the taunts and sneers of which we have found such distinct traces in the previous verses? Did men say of him, as others had said of the saints of God before him, that he was “smitten of God, and afflicted”? Was it with him, as with David, that when he wept, that “was turned to his reproof”? that when he “made sackcloth his garment” he “became a proverb unto them”? (Psalm 69:10-11.) This seems, on the whole, the most probable explanation of the words. His Jewish rivals, or the jesters of Corinth, taunted him with his want of cheerfulness, “He was always in trouble.” This, at least, enables us to understand the bitterness of spirit in which St. Paul spoke, and to enter into the full force of his answer: “Yea, but with our sorrow there is also the ever-flowing well-spring of joy—a joy not of the world, but of the Holy Ghost.”

As poor, yet making many rich.—Better, as a beggar. It is not hard to imagine that the outward circumstances of St. Paul’s life, his daily toil as a tent-maker, his accepting gifts from the Church of Philippi (2Corinthians 11:8-9; Philippians 4:15), would furnish occasion for some taunting jest. We seem to hear men speaking of him as a “beggar,” a “mendicant.” “Yes,” he answers, “but I am able to make many rich.” It is a possible, though perhaps not altogether an adequate, explanation of the words to see in them a reference to the fact that out of his “poverty” he was able to supply the necessities of others (Acts 20:35). We must, at all events, think of his words as including something more than this, and reminding the Corinthians that he had made many rich with the unsearchable riches of Christ.

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.—The series of paradoxes culminates in this. In language which has found echoes in the thoughts of sages, saints, mystics, he utters the truth that in the absolute surrender of the thought of calling anything its own the soul becomes the heir of the universe. All things are his, as with the certainty of an assured inheritance. The beatitude of the meek, of those who claim nothing, is that they “shall inherit the earth,” and so all things are theirs—the forces of nature, and the changes and chances of life—for all are working together for their good. (See Note on Matthew 5:5.)

6:1-10 The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.As sorrowful - (λυπούμενοι lupoumenoi). Grieving, afflicted, troubled, sad. Under these sufferings we seem always to be cast down and sad. We endure afflictions that usually lead to the deepest expressions of grief. If the world looks only upon our trials, we must be regarded as always suffering, and always sad. The world will suppose that we have cause for continued lamentation (Doddridge), and they will regard us as among the most unhappy of mortals. Such, perhaps, is the estimate which the world usually affixes to the Christian life. They regard it as a life of sadness and of gloom; of trial and of melancholy. They see little in it that is cheerful, and they suppose that a heavy burden presses constantly on the heart of the Christian. Joy they think pertains to the gaieties and pleasures of this life; sadness to religion. And perhaps a more comprehensive statement of the feelings with which the frivolous people of the world regard Christians cannot be found than in this expression, "as sorrowful." True, they are not free from sorrow. They are tried like others. They have special trials arising from persecution, opposition, contempt, and from the conscious and deep-felt depravity of their hearts. They are serious; and their seriousness is often interpreted as gloom. But there is another side to this picture, and there is much in the Christian character and feelings unseen or unappreciated by the world. For they are.

Alway rejoicing - So Paul was, notwithstanding the fact that he always appeared to have occasion for grief. Religion had a power not only to sustain the soul in trial, but to fill it with positive joy. The sources of his joy were doubtless the assurances of the divine favor and the hopes of eternal glory. And the same is true of religion always. There is an internal peace and joy which the world may not see or appreciate, but which is far more than a compensation for all the trials which the Christian endures.

As poor - The idea is, we are poor, yet in our poverty we endeavor "to give no offence, and to commend ourselves as the ministers of God." This would be done by their patience and resignation; by their entire freedom from everything dishonest and dishonorable, and by their readiness, when necessary. to labor for their own support. There is no doubt that the apostles were poor; compare Acts 3:6. The little property which some of them had, had all been forsaken in order that they might follow the Saviour, and go and preach his gospel. And there is as little doubt that the mass of ministers are still poor, and that, God designs and desires that they should be. It is in such circumstances that he designs they should illustrate the beauty and the sustaining power of religion, and be examples to the world.

Yet making many rich - On the meaning of the word rich see the note, Romans 2:4. Here the apostle means that he and his fellow-laborers, though poor themselves, were the instruments of conferring durable and most valuable possessions on many persons. They had bestowed on them the true riches. They had been the means of investing them with treasures infinitely more valuable than any which kings and princes could bestow. They to whom they ministered were made partakers of the treasure where the moth doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

As having nothing - Being utterly destitute. Having no property. This was true, doubtless, in a literal sense, of most of the apostles. "And yet possessing all things." That is:

(1) Possessing a portion of all things that may be necessary for our welfare, as far as our heavenly Father shall deem to be necessary for us.

(2) possessing an interest in all things, so that we can enjoy them. We can derive pleasure from the works of God - the heavens, the earth, the hills, the streams, the cattle on the mountains or in the vales, as the works of God. We have a possession in them so that we can enjoy them as his works, and can say, "Our Father made them all." They are given to man to enjoy. They are a part of the inheritance of man. And though we cannot call them our own in the legal sense, yet we can call them ours in the sense that we can derive pleasure from their contemplation, and see in them the proofs of the wisdom and the goodness of God. The child of God that looks upon the hills and vales; upon an extensive and beautiful farm or landscape, may derive more pleasure from the contemplation of them as the work of God and his gift to people, than the real owner does, if irreligious, from contemplating all this as his own. And so far as mere happiness is concerned, the friend of God who sees in all this the proofs of God's beneficence and wisdom, may have a more valuable possession in those things than he who holds the title-deeds.

(3) Heirs of all things. We have a title to immortal life - a promised part in all that the universe can furnish that can make us happy.

(4) in the possession of pardon and peace; of the friendship of God and the knowledge of the Redeemer, we have the possession of all things. This comprises all. He that has this, what need has he of more? This meets all the desires; satisfies the soul; makes the man happy and blessed. He that has God for his portion, may be said to have all things, for he is "all in all." He that has the Redeemer for his friend has all things that he needs, for "he that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32.

10. The "as" no longer is used to express the opinion of his adversaries, but the real state of him and his fellow laborers.

making many rich—Spiritually (1Co 1:5), after the example of our Lord, who "by His poverty made many rich" (2Co 8:9).

having nothing—Whatever of earthly goods we have, and these are few, we have as though we had not; as tenants removable at will, not owners (1Co 7:30).

possessing all things—The Greek implies firm possession, holding fast in possession (compare 1Co 3:21, 22). The things both of the present and of the future are, in the truest sense, the believer's in possession, for he possesses them all in Christ, his lasting possession, though the full fruition of them is reserved for the future eternity.

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; appearing to others as persons drowned in griefs and sorrows, yet we are always rejoicing in God, {Habakkuk 3:17,18} and in the testimony of a good conscience, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

As poor, yet making many rich; in outward appearance poor, having no abundance of the good things of this life; yet making many rich in knowledge and grace, God by us dispensing to them the riches of his grace.

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things as having nothing, no houses, no lands, no silver or gold, Acts 3:6; yet being as well satisfied and contented, as if all things were ours; as well satisfied with that little which we have, as the men of the world are with their abundance; possessing all things in Christ, though having little in the creature.

As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,.... As to their outward appearance they are

sorrowful, and oftentimes really so on account of sin, their own and others, by reason of afflictions, temporal and spiritual; and as to the state and condition of the church of Christ, and the interest of religion: and

yet always rejoicing; not in themselves, or in any creature, but in the Lord, in the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, and salvation by him. As poor, yet making many rich. It is, generally speaking, the lot of Christ's ministers to be poor in this world; and there are some reasons for it, why it is, and should be so; as that they might be maintained by the people, which is the ordinance of God; that it might appear that Christ's kingdom is not of this world; that the faith of men might not stand in the riches of the world, but in the power of God; that ministers might not be above their work, nor neglect it, nor drop it; and that they might not be ensnared and encumbered with the things of life.

And yet making many rich: are instruments in making many souls rich in things spiritual; by showing them their spiritual poverty, stripping them of what they trusted in, and valued themselves upon; directing them where true riches are, and furnishing them with spiritual knowledge, with the knowledge of things more worth than thousands of gold and silver.

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things; for the apostles left all for Christ, were sent out bare by him; what they had they gave away, and were very destitute of worldly enjoyments: "and possessing all things"; they had food and raiment, with which they were content, what was sufficient for them, and which they had in mercy, and with a blessing; and then they enjoyed all spiritual good things; they had not only a right unto them, but were possessed of them; they had all things pertaining to life and godliness; they had Christ, and all things with him, and therefore could say as Jacob did, that they had enough, yea, that they had all things.

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:10. ὡς λυπούμενοι, ἀεὶ δὲ χαίροντες: as sorrowful (this charge in one sense was no doubt quite true), yet alway rejoicing. This, which is frequently spoken of by the Apostle as a Christian duty (see reff.), is specially prominent in this Epistle; cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 7:4, and the note on 2 Corinthians 2:2-3. St. Paul’s words are an echo of the farewell words of Christ (John 16:22), ὑμεῖς οὖν νῦν μὲν λύπην ἔχετετὴν χαρὰν ὑμῶν οὐδεὶς ἀρεῖ ἀφʼ ὑμῶν.—ὡς πτωχοὶ, πολλοὺς δὲ πλουτίζοντες: as poor, sc., as a pauper—the word is stronger than πένης (the taunt seems to have been thrown at him; cf. Php 4:12 and chap. 2 Corinthians 11:7), and yet making many rich, sc., in the heavenly riches; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5, Matthew 5:3, and esp. Proverbs 13:7 (a passage which seems to have been in the Apostle’s mind), εἰσὶν οἱ πλουτίζοντες ἑαυτοὺς μηδὲν ἔχοντες, καὶ εἰσὶν οἱ ταπεινοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς ἐν πολλῷ πλούτῳ.—ὡς μηδὲν ἔχοντες καὶ πάντα κατέχοντες: as having nothing and yet possessing all things; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:22, “all things are yours”. κατέχειν (see reff.) is a stronger word than ἔχειν; it is “to hold fast” or “to possess,” as, e.g., the land of promise (Joshua 1:11).

10. as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing] Or afflicted, see ch. 2 Corinthians 2:2. What the afflictions of the Apostle were, is obvious enough. His fount of joy was independent of things external. See Romans 5:3; Romans 5:11; Php 2:16-17; Php 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16, and ch. 2 Corinthians 12:10.

making many rich] With the riches of the Gospel. See Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16, &c.

possessing all things] The whole passage bears a close similarity to 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, where, however, the turn given to the thought assumes a converse form. It was in Christ that His ministers could be said to possess all things. Cf. Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:22-23. Also Php 4:13.

2 Corinthians 6:10. Ἀεὶ) alway, at every time. As often as we had been made sorrowful.—πλουτίζοντες, making rich) spiritually.—πάντα κατέχοντες [Engl. V. not so well, possessing], holding fast all things) lest they should be lost to others.

Verse 10. - As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing. The early Christians always insist on "joy" as one of the fruits of the Spirit (comp. Matthew 5:10-12), and especially joy in the midst of grief and anguish (Romans 5:3; Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice always"). The best proof that this was no mere phraseology, but an amazing and new charism granted to the world, may be seen in the Epistle to the Philippians. It was written when St. Paul was old, poor, deserted, imprisoned, in danger of immediate death. and apparently in the lowest deeps of forsakes sorrow; vet the spontaneous keynote of the whole Epistle is, "I rejoice; rejoice ye" (Philippians 4:6, 12). As poor. The word means even "paupers," and describes a very literal fact. St. Paul, for Christ's sake, had suffered "the loss of all things" (Philippians 3:8). Yet making many rich. Not by getting collections for them (which would be a most unworthy antithesis, though it is strangely accepted by Chrysostom and others); but "by imparting to them the true riches, in the form of spiritual gifts, and the teaching of the gospel" (comp. James 2:5). Possessing all things; rather, as having nothing, and fully having all things. The verb means "possessing all things to the full." For "all things are ours" (1 Corinthians 3:21, 22). 2 Corinthians 6:10Having - possessing (ἔχοντες - κατέχοντες)

The contrast is twofold: between having and not having, and between temporary and permanent having, or having and keeping. Compare Luke 8:15; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Hebrews 3:6.

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