2 Corinthians 6:12
You are not straitened in us, but you are straitened in your own bowels.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Ye are not straitened in us.—The word presents a natural contrast to the expansion, the dilatation, of heart of the previous verse. There was no narrowness in him. In that large heart of his there was room for them and for a thousand others. It had, as it were, an infinite elasticity in its sympathies. The narrowness was found in their own “bowels”—i.e., in their own affections. They would not make room for him in those hearts that were so straitened by passions, and prejudices, and antipathies.

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?Ye are not straitened in us - That is, you do not possess a narrow or contracted place in our affections. We love you fully, ardently, and are ready to do all that can be done for your welfare. There is no lack of room in our affections toward you. It is not narrow, confined, pent up. It is ample and free.

But ye are straitened in your own bowels - That is, in the affections of your hearts. The word used here (σπλάγχνα splangchna) commonly means in the Bible the tender affections. The Greek word properly denotes the upper viscera; the heart, the lungs, the liver. It is applied by Greek writers to denote those parts of victims which were eaten during or after the sacrifice - Robinson (Lexicon). Hence, it is applied to the heart, as the seat of the emotions and passions; and especially the gentler emotions, the tender affections, compassion, pity, love, etc. Our word "bowels" is applied usually to the lower viscera, and by no means expresses the idea of the word which is used in Greek. The idea here is, that they were straitened, or were confined in their affections for him. It is the language of reproof, meaning that he had not received from them the demonstrations of attachment which he had a right to expect, and which was a fair and proportionate return for the love bestowed on them. Probably he refers to the fact that they had formed parties; had admitted false teachers; and had not received his instructions as implicitly and as kindly as they ought to have done.

12. Any constraint ye feel towards me, or narrowness of heart, is not from want of largeness of heart on my part towards you, but from want of it on your part towards me.

bowels—that is, affections (compare 2Co 12:15).

not straitened in us—that is, for want of room in our hearts to take you in.

Ye are not straitened in us; if you cannot mutually rejoice in me, and what I write, or if you do not repay me the like affection, the fault is not in me; I have done my duty, and that too from a true principle of love to you.

But ye are straitened in your own bowels; but it is through mistakes and misapprehensions in yourselves, your not aright conceiving of me in the discharge of my apostolical office. Or the cause of your trouble and sorrow is from yourselves, upon your suffering the incestuous person, and other scandalous persons, to abide in your communion; which was an error I could not but take notice of, according to that apostolical authority which God hath committed to me. Ye are not straitened in us,.... The meaning of which is, either you are not brought into straits and difficulties by us; we do not afflict and distress you, or fill you with anguish and trouble;

but ye are straitened in your own bowels; you are distressed by some among yourselves, who ought not to be with you, with whom you should have no fellowship and communion: or thus, you have room enough in our hearts, our hearts are so enlarged with love to you, that they are large enough to hold you all; an expression, setting forth the exceeding great love, and strong affection the apostle bore to the Corinthians; when, on the other hand, they had but very little love to him comparatively; he had a heart to hold them all without being straitened for room; and among all them they could scarce find room enough in their hearts and affections for him.

Ye are not {h} straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own {i} bowels.

(h) You are in my heart as in a house, and that no narrow or confined house, for I have opened my whole heart to you; but you are inwardly narrow towards me.

(i) After the manner of the Hebrews, he calls those tender affections which rest in the heart, bowels.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 6:12. A negative confirmation of the ἡ καρδία ἡμ. πεπλάτ. just said, and opposite state of matters on the part of the Corinthians.

Not straitened are ye in us, but straitened in your innermost part (σπλ., the seat of love, like καρδία, 2 Corinthians 6:11, to which the expression stands related under the increasing emotion by way of climax). The meaning of it is: “valde vos amo, non item vos me.” It is impossible, on account of the οὐ, to take it as an imperative (Aretius, Luther, Heumann, Morus, Schleusner).

οὐ στενοχ. ἐν ἡμῖν] non angusto spatio premimini in animis nostris: in this Paul retains the figure of the previous ἡ καρδ. ἡμ. πεπλάτ. Chrysostom aptly says: ὁ γὰρ φιλούμενος μετὰ πολλῆς ἔνδον ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τοῦ φιλοῦντος βαδίζει τῆς ἀδείας. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:3; Php 1:7. The negative expression is an affectionate, pathetic litotes, to be followed by an equally affectionate paternal reproof. This is explanation enough, and dispenses with the hypothesis that Paul is referring to the opinion of the church, that it had too narrow a space—a smaller place than it wished—in his heart (Hofmann). Those who interpret πλατ., 2 Corinthians 6:11, as to cheer, take the meaning to be: not through us do ye become troubled, but through yourselves (Kypke, Flatt; comp. Elsner, Estius, Wolf, Zachariae, Schrader; comp. also Luther),—a thought, however, which is foreign to the whole connection; hence Flatt also assumes that Paul has 2 Corinthians 7:2 ff. already in his thoughts; and Schrader explains 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 as an interpolation.[249]

στενοχ. δὲ ἐν τ. σπλ. ὑμ.] so that there is in them no right place for us (comp. 1 John 3:17). Chrysostom: οὐκ εἶπεν· οὐ φιλεῖτε ἡμᾶς, ἀλλʼ· οὐ μετὰ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μέτρου. Paul did not write στενοχωρούμεθα δὲ ἡμεῖς ἐν τοῖς σπλ. ἡμ., because by this the contrast would have passed from the thing to the persons (for he had not, in fact, written οὐχ ὑμεῖς στενοχωρ. ἐν ἡμῖν), and so the passage would have lost in fitting concert and sharp force. Rückert thinks that Paul refers in 2 Corinthians 6:12 to an utterance of the Corinthians, who had said: στενωχορούμεθα ἐν αὐτῷ! meaning, we are perplexed at him, and that now he explains to them how the matter stood with this στενοχωρεῖσθαι, but takes the word in another sense than they themselves had done. A strangely arbitrary view, since the use of the στενοχωρεῖσθαι in our passage was occasioned very naturally and completely by the previous πεπλάτ. Comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret.

[249] Emmerling explains this section 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 to be, not an interpolation, but a disturbing addition, only inserted by Paul on reading over the Epistle again, “sententiis subito in animo exortis.” And recently Ewald has explained it as an inserted fragment from another Epistle, proceeding probably only from some apostolic man, to a Gentile Christian church. But (1) the apparent want of fitting in to the connection, even if it did exist (but see on ver. 14), would least of all warrant this view in the case of an Epistle written under so lively emotion. (2) The contents are quite Pauline, and sufficiently ingenious. (3) The name βελίαρ, which does not occur elsewhere in Scripture, is not evidence against Paul, since in his Epistles (the Pastoral ones excepted) even the name διάβολος, so current elsewhere, occurs only at two passages of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Besides, the συμφών. Χριστῷ πρὸς βελίαρ may be an echo of some apocryphal utterance known to the readers (comp. Ephesians 5:14). (4) The expressions μετοχή (comp. μετέχειν, 1 Corinthians 9:10, al.), μερές (comp. Colossians 1:12), συμφώνησις (comp. σύμφωνος, 1 Corinthians 7:5), καθαρίζα (comp. Ephesians 5:26), cannot, any more than συγκατάθεσις which he does not use elsewhere, excite well-grounded suspicion in the case of one so rich in handling the language. (5) The critical evidence gives not the slightest trace of ground for assuming that the section did not originally stand in all the manuscripts. How different it is with passages really interpolated, such as Mark 16:9 ff.; John 7:33 ff.! Yet Holsten has also, zur Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 387, assented to the condemnation of the section.2 Corinthians 6:12. οὐ στενοχωρεῖσθε ἐν ἡμῖν κ.τ.λ.: ye are not straitened in us (this carries on the metaphor of πεπλάτυνται), but ye are straitened in your own affections; i.e., his adversaries at Corinth may have said that he was a man of narrow sympathies, and that there was no room in his heart for his Corinthian converts, but, in fact, the lack of sympathy was on their side—it is they that are “narrow-minded”. τὰ σπλάγχνα = the upper viscera, i.e., the heart, lungs and liver, the vital parts, and so may be rendered “the affections”.12. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels] i.e. “our heart is large enough to receive you and give you full possession of our affections, but yours is too narrow to receive any one but yourselves;” for such would seem to be the meaning hinted at, though not fully expressed, by the Apostle. The word bowels is a Hebraism for loving-kindness. As instances of its use in the O. T., take Song of Solomon 5:4; Isaiah 16:11; and in the New, Php 2:1. For straitened (angwischid, Wiclif) see note on ch. 2 Corinthians 4:8. The original meaning of the word is to coop up in a narrow space. The word strait in the sense of narrow (Latin, strictus) was a common phrase when the A. V. was made. e.g. Matthew 7:13. It survives in modern English in such words as straits, strait-waistcoat.2 Corinthians 6:12. Οὐ στενοχωρεῖσθε, ye are not straitened) The Indicative. The antithesis is, be ye enlarged [2 Corinthians 6:13].—ἐν ἡμῖν) in us. ἐν, in its strict sense, in, as at ch. 2 Corinthians 7:3. Our heart has sufficient room to take you in. The largeness of Paul’s heart is the same as that of the Corinthians, on account of their spiritual relationship, of which 2 Corinthians 6:13.—στενοχωρεῖσθε, ye are straitened) by the narrowness of your heart on account of your late offence.—ἐν τοῖς σπλάγχνοις ὑμῶν, in your bowels) which have been grieved on my account.Verse 12. - Ye are not straitened in us. Any narrowing of the sympathy or straining of the relations between us does not rise in any way from me. (For the verb, see 2 Corinthians 4:8.) Ye are straitened in your own bowels; rather, in your own hearts. Any tightening or pressure of the feelings which should exist between us rises solely from your own hearts. Enlarge and open them, as I have done, and we shall once more love each other aright. The verb has already occurred in 2 Corinthians 4:8 ("distressed"). Your own bowels. It is to be regretted that the Authorized Version adopted the meaningless and often rather incongruous word "bowels" for the Greek word σπλάγχνα used in its Hebraic sense of "feelings," "affections" (Song of Solomon 5:4; Isaiah 16:11). This literalism is always out of place, and especially in Philemon 1:7, 12, 20. Not straitened in us

It is not that our hearts are too narrow to take you in. Straitened in antithesis with enlarged.

In your own bowels (τοῖς οπλάγχνοις ὑμῶν)

See on 1 Peter 3:8; see on James 5:11. Rev., affections. It is your love that is contracted.

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