2 Corinthians 6:11
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
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(11) O ye Corinthians.—There was manifestly a pause here as the letter was dictated. The rush of thoughts had reached its highest point. He rests, and feels almost as if some apology were needed for so vehement an outpouring of emotion. And now he writes as if personally pleading with them. Nowhere else in the whole range of his Epistles do we find any parallel to this form of speech—this “O ye Corinthians.” He has to tell them that he speaks out of the fulness of his heart, that if his mouth has been opened with an unusual freedom it is because his heart has felt a more than common expansion.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13. From the praise of the Christian ministry, which he began chapter 2 Corinthians 2:14, he now draws his affectionate exhortation. O ye Corinthians — He seldom uses this appellation; but it has here a peculiar force. Our mouth is opened unto you — With uncommon freedom, because our heart is enlarged — In tenderness, which neither words nor tears can sufficiently express. Ye are not straitened in us — Our heart is wide enough to receive you all; and all that we can do for your comfort and happiness ye may safely promise yourselves. But ye are straitened in your own bowels

Your hearts are contracted and shut up, and so not capable of receiving the blessings ye might enjoy. Now, for a recompense of the same — Of my paternal tenderness; (I speak as to my children — I ask nothing hard or grievous;) be ye also enlarged — Open your hearts first to God, and then to us, (see 2 Corinthians 8:5,) that God may dwell in you, (2 Corinthians 6:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1,) and that ye may receive us, 2 Corinthians 7:2.

6:11-18 It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into such unions, against the express warnings of God's word, they must expect must distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you - We speak freely, and fully. This is an affectionate address to them, and has reference to what he had just said. It means that, when the heart was full on the subject, words would flow freely, and that he had given vent to the fervid language which he had just used because his heart was full. He loved them; he felt deeply; and he spoke to them with the utmost freedom of what he had thought, and purposed, and done.

Our heart is enlarged - We have deep feelings, which naturally vent themselves in fervent and glowing language. The main idea here is, that he had a strong affection for them; a heart which embraced and loved them all, and which expressed itself in the language of deep emotion. He had loved them so that he was willing to be reproached, and to be persecuted, and to be poor, and to have his name cast out as evil. "I cannot be silent. I conceal or dissemble nothing. I am full of ardent attachment, and that naturally vents itself in the strong language which I have used." True attachment will find means of expressing itself. A heart full of love will give vent to its feelings. There will be no dissembling and hypocrisy there. And if a minister loves the souls of his people he will pour out the affections of his heart in strong and glowing language.

11. mouth … open unto you—I use no concealment, such as some at Corinth have insinuated (2Co 4:2). I use all freedom and openness of speech to you as to beloved friends. Hence he introduces here, "O Corinthians" (compare Php 4:15). The enlargement of his heart towards them (2Co 7:3) produced his openness of mouth, that is, his unreserved expression of his inmost feelings. As an unloving man is narrow in heart, so the apostle's heart is enlarged by love, so as to take in his converts at Corinth, not only with their graces, but with their many shortcomings (compare 1Ki 4:29; Ps 119:32; Isa 60:5). Our mouth is open to speak freely to you, and to communicate to you the whole will and counsel of God;

our heart is enlarged both by the love that I have towards you, and by the rejoicing that I have in you. This enlargement of my heart is that which openeth my lips, and makes me speak freely to you, both in admonishing you of your errors, and in exhorting you to your duty.

O ye Corinthians,.... The apostle having exhorted the ministers of the church at Corinth to take care of their ministry, that they fulfil it, and that it might appear that the Gospel, and gifts fitting them to preach it, were not received in vain by them; all which he strengthens and encourages by his own example; and that of others, addresses the members of the church in a very pathetic manner, saying,

our mouth is open to you; to speak our minds freely to you; we shall hide and conceal nothing from you, we shall deal with you with all plainness and faithfulness. This seems to refer unto, and pave the way for what he afterwards says about their unequal fellowship with unbelievers:

our heart is enlarged: with love to you, and eager desires after your good; and it is from the abundance of our hearts, and hearty affection for you, that our mouth is open so freely to communicate to you.

{6} O ye Corinthians, our mouth is {g} open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

(6) Going about to rebuke them he says first that he deals with them sincerely and with an open and plain heart, and in addition complains that they do not do the same in loving their Father.

(g) The opening of the mouth and heart signifies a most earnest affection in him that speaks, as it happens commonly with those that are in some great joy.

2 Corinthians 6:11. Our mouth stands open towards you, Corinthians; our heart is enlarged.

τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγε] This expression is in itself nothing further than a picturesque representation of the thought: to begin to speak, or to speak. See, especially, Fritzsche, Dissert. II. p. 97, and the remark on Matthew 5:2. A qualitative definition may be added simply through the context, as is the case also here partly through the general character of the previous passage, 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, which is a very open, unreserved utterance, partly by means of the parallel ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται. Thus in accordance with the context the opposite of reserve is here expressed. Comp. Chrysostom 1. Had Paul merely written λελαλήκαμεν ὑμῖν, the same thought would, in virtue of the context, have been implied in it (we have not been reserved, but have let ourselves be openly heard towards you); but the picturesque τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγε is better fitted to convey this meaning, and is therefore purposely chosen. Comp. Ezekiel 33:22; Sir 22:22; Ephesians 6:19; Aeschylus, Prometh. 612. This at the same time in opposition to Fritzsche, who adheres to the simple haec ad vos locutus sum, as to which, we may remark, the haec is imported. Rückert (comp. Chrysostom 2) finds the sense to be: “see, I have begun to speak with you once, I have not concealed … from you my apostolic sentiments; I cannot yet close my mouth, I must speak with you yet further.” But the thought: I must speak with you yet further, is imported; how could the reader conjecture it from the simple perfect? Just as little is it to be assumed, with Hofmann, that Paul wishes only to state that he had not been reserved with what he had to say, so that this expression is only a resumption of the παρακαλοῦμεν μὴ εἰς κενὸν κ.τ.λ. in 2 Corinthians 6:1. Only in an arbitrary and violent manner can we reject the reference to 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, where such a luxuriance of holy grandiloquentia has issued from his mout.

ἀνέῳγα, in the sense of ἀνέῳγμαι, is frequent in later Greek (in Il. xvi. 221, ἀνέῳγεν is imperfect), and is rejected by Phrynichus as a solecism. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 157 f.

Κορίνθιοι] Regarding this particular form of address without article or adjective (it is otherwise in Galatians 3:1) Chrysostom judges rightly: καὶ ἡ προσθήκη δὲ τοῦ ὀνόματος φιλίας πολλῆς καὶ διαθέσεως καὶ θερμότητος, καὶ γὰρ εἰώθαμεν τῶν ἀγαπωμένων συνεχῶς γυμνὰ τὰ ὀνόματα περιστρέφειν. Comp. Php 4:15. Bengel: “rara et praesentissima appellatio.”

ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται] cannot here mean either: I feel myself cheered and comforted (comp. Psalm 119:32; Isaiah 60:5), as Luther, Estius, Kypke, Michaelis, Schleusner, Flatt, Bretschneider, Schrader, and others hold, or I have expressed myself frankly, made a clean breast (Semler, Schulz, Morus, Rosenmüller, de Wette, comp. Beza), because 2 Corinthians 6:12-13 are against both ways of taking it; but, with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and the majority, it is to be taken as an expression of the love which, by being stirred up and felt, makes the heart wide, while by the want of love and by hate the heart is narrowed and contracted. The figurative expression needed no elucidation from the Hebrew, and least suitable of all is the comparison with Deuteronomy 11:16 (Hofmann), where the figurative meaning of יפתה is of quite another kind. See, however, the passages in Wetstein on 2 Corinthians 6:12.

The two parts of the verse stand side by side as parallels without a connective particle (καί), in order that thus the second thought, which outweighs the first, might come into more prominent relief,—a relation which is indicated by the emphatic prefixing of τὸ στόμα and ἡ καρδία. The meaning accordingly is: We have (2 Corinthians 6:3-10) spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has therein become right wide in love towards you—which, however, may not be interpreted of readiness to receive the readers (Hofmann), for they are already in his heart (2 Corinthians 7:3; comp. Php 1:7). The relation of the two clauses is taken differently by Emmerling, who inserts a because between them, and by Fritzsche, who says: “quod vobis dixi ejusmodi est, ut inde me vos amare appareat.” But it may be urged against both that we are not justified in taking the two perfects as different in temporal import, the one as a real praeterite, and the other with the force of a present. In πεπλάτυνται it is rather implied that Paul has felt his love to the Corinthians strengthened, his heart towards them widened, during his writing of the passage 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (by its contents)—a result, after such an outpouring, intelligible enough, psychologically true, and turned to account in order to move his readers.

2 Corinthians 6:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:1. After the episode in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10,[248] Paul turns with a conciliatory transition (2 Corinthians 6:11-13) to a special, and for the Corinthians necessary, form of the exhortation expressed in 2 Corinthians 6:1 (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). This is followed up in 2 Corinthians 7:1 by a general appeal, which embraces the whole moral duty of the Christian.

[248] The supposition that there is an abnormal, and in this respect certainly unexampled construction, under which ver. 11 should be taken as concluding the main clause along with “the preceding long-winded participial clause” (Hofmann), ought to have been precluded by the very consideration that that “long-winded” accumulation of participles, in which, however, Paul paints his whole life active and passive with so much enthusiasm, and, as it were, triumphant heroism, would stand utterly disproportioned to that which he says in ver. 11, and which is only a brief, gentle, kindly remark. What a magnificent preparation for such a little quiet sentence without substantial contents! The examples cited by Hofmann from Greek writers and the N. T. (Acts 20:3; Mark 9:20) are too weak analogies. See regarding similar real anacolutha, Winer, p. 527 f. [E. T. 709 f.]. Comp. on Mark 9:20.


11–7:1. Such a Ministry demands a suitable response on the part of those on whose behalf it is exercised

11. our mouth is open unto you] i.e. we have spoken with perfect frankness on all points, keeping nothing back, because we love you. Chrysostom. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 3:12.

our heart is enlarged] Rather, hath been enlarged, i.e. in what has been said. Chrysostom quotes Romans 1:11; Romans 1:13; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 3:14; Php 1:7; Php 4:1; Colossians 2:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 2:19 as instances of St Paul’s love of the faithful. Cf. also Romans 15:32; 2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:3-4. The expression refers to the expansive effect of love and sympathy in the affections, just as we speak of a man of wide sympathies as ‘large-hearted.’ The passages cited from the O. T. by Dean Stanley (1 Kings 4:29; Psalm 119:32; Isaiah 55:5) seem to have a somewhat different signification, that of the enlargement and exaltation consequent on the possession of intellectual, spiritual, or, in the last passage, it may be even material advantages. Robertson observes here, “Now what makes this remark wonderful in the Apostle’s mouth is that St Paul had received a multitude of provocations from the Corinthians. They had denied the truthfulness of his ministry, charged him with interested motives, sneered at his manner, and held up to scorn the meanness of his appearance. In the face of this his heart expands!”

2 Corinthians 6:11. Τὸ στόμα, the mouth) A Symperasma,[36] by which Paul prepares a way for himself, in order that, from the praise of the gospel ministry, brought down from 2 Corinthians 2:14 up to this point, he may derive an exhortation to the Corinthians.—ἀνέῳγε, is opened) hath opened itself. There is truly something very extraordinary in this epistle.—Κορίνθιοι, O Corinthians) a rare and very life-like address, expressive, as it were, of some privilege belonging to the Corinthians; comp. Php 4:15, note.—ἡ καρδία, the heart) They ought to have concluded [drawn an inference] from the mouth to the heart [of the apostle]. To be opened and enlarged, are closely connected.—πεπλάτυνται, has been enlarged) is diffused [in a widely extended stream of love], 1 Kings 4:29, רהב לב, largeness of heart as the sand, that is by the seashore.

[36] See App. A conclusion or brief summary drawn from the previous premisses.

Verses 11-18. - An appeal to the Corinthians to reciprocate his love for them, and separate themselves from evil. Verse 11. - Corinthians! A rare and very personal form of loving appeal, which occurs nowhere else in these Epistles (comp. Philippians 4:15). Our mouth is open to you. St. Paul has evidently been writing in a mood of inspired eloquence. The fervour of his feelings has found vent in an unusual flow of beautiful and forcible language. He appeals to the unreserved freedom with which he has written as a reason why they should treat him with the same frank love. Our heart is enlarged. After writing the foregoing majestic appeal, he felt that he had disburdened his heart, and as it were made room in it to receive the Corinthians unreservedly, in spite of all the wrongs which some of them had done him (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:3, 27). On the antithesis of the mouth and the heart, see Matthew 12:34; Romans 10:10. 2 Corinthians 6:11Ye Corinthians

The readers are addressed by name in only two other epistles, Galatians 3:1; Philippians 4:15.

Is enlarged (πεπλάτυνται)

Only here, 2 Corinthians 6:13, and Matthew 23:5, where it is used of widening the phylacteries. From πλατύς broad. Quite common in the Septuagint, and with various shades of meaning, but usually rendered enlarge. Of worldly prosperity, "waxed fat," Deuteronomy 32:15; compare Genesis 9:27. Of pride, Deuteronomy 11:16. Of deliverance in distress, Psalm 4:1. Expand with joy, Psalm 119:32. The idea of enlargement of heart in the sense of increased breadth of sympathy and understanding, as here, is also expressed in the Old Testament by other words, as concerning Solomon, to whom God gave largeness of heart, Sept., χύμα outpouring. Compare Isaiah 60:5.

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