2 Corinthians 6:3
Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
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(3) Giving no offence . . .—The participial construction is resumed from 2Corinthians 6:1, 2Corinthians 6:2 being treated as parenthetical. A subtle distinction in the two forms of the Greek negative suggests the thought that he is here giving, as it were, his own estimate of his aim and endeavour in his work. He avoids all occasion of offence, not because he fears censure for himself, but that “the ministry be not blamed.”

2 Corinthians 6:3-7. Giving, as far as in us lies, no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed — On our account. But in all things — Or in every respect; approving ourselves — To our Divine Master and his church; as the ministers of God, in much patience — Shown, 1st, In afflictions, necessities, distresses — All which are general terms. 2d, In stripes, imprisonments, tumults — Which are particular sorts of affliction, necessity, distress. 3d, In labours, watchings, fastings — Voluntarily endured. All these are expressed in the plural number, to denote a variety of them. The first word, θλιψεις, Dr. Whitby understands to mean affliction in general: the second, αναγκαι, necessities, as signifying more grievous and unavoidable troubles; the third, στενοχωριαι, distresses, such pressures as reduce us to the greatest straits. In the first, several ways to escape may appear, though none without difficulty: in the second, one way only, and that a difficult one: in the last, none at all appears. In tumults — The Greek word, ακαταστασιαι, implies such attacks as a man cannot stand against; but which bear him hither and thither by violence. In labours — Incessantly pursued, either in our ministerial work, or in those secular callings by which we are often obliged to earn our daily bread. In watchings — When, in the prosecution of our various employments, the hours of the night are added to those of the day: in fastings — To which, besides those which devotion chooses, we are often obliged to submit, for want of proper supplies of food. By pureness — Of conduct, and by keeping ourselves unspotted from the world; or by purity of the motives which animate us. By knowledge — Of those divine truths, which it is our great business to teach others. Or, as some render the expression, by prudence; namely, that which is spiritual and divine: not that which the world terms so. Worldly prudence is the practical use of worldly wisdom: divine prudence, of spiritual understanding. By long-suffering — Under affronts and injuries from the people of the world, and amid the weaknesses, failings, and faults of the people of God. By kindness — Χρηστοτητι, gentleness, or goodness of disposition. By the Holy Ghost — Directing, strengthening, supporting, as well as sanctifying us, and by the exercise of his miraculous gifts. By love unfeigned — To God and man, manifested in all our words and actions. By the word of truth — That sword of the Spirit, whereby we repel the tempter; or by preaching the gospel faithfully and zealously. By the power of God — Attesting that word by divers miraculous operations, and rendering it effectual to the conviction and conversion of sinners; and which we know will render it finally victorious over all opposition. By the armour of righteousness — The shield of faith, the helmet of hope, as well as the breastplate of righteousness; on the right hand and on the left — On all sides; the panoply, or whole armour of God, even all Christian virtues. This is said in allusion to the armour of the ancients. For soldiers carried bucklers in their left hands, and swords and javelins in their right. The former were their defensive, the latter their offensive arms. Wherefore the apostle’s expression denotes all the branches of righteousness whereby, in those difficult times, the ministers of the gospel were as effectually enabled to defend themselves, and overcome their enemies, as soldiers were to defend their bodies, and vanquish their foes, by the offensive and defensive armour which they wore.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.Giving no offence in anything - We the ministers of God, 2 Corinthians 6:1. The word rendered "offence" means, properly, stumbling; then offence, or cause of offence, a falling into sin. The meaning here is, "giving no occasion for contemning or rejecting the gospel;" and the idea of Paul is, that he and his fellow-apostles so labored as that no one who saw or knew them, should have occasion to reproach the ministry, or the religion which they preached; but so that in their pure and self-denying lives, the strongest argument should be seen for embracing it; compare Matthew 10:16; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Corinthians 10:32-33. See the Philippians 2:15 note; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:22 notes. How they conducted so as to give no offence he states in the following verses.

That the ministry be not blamed - The phrase, "the ministry," refers here not merely to the ministry of Paul, that is, it does not mean merely that he would be subject to blame and reproach, but that the ministry itself which the Lord Jesus had established would be blamed, or would be reproached by the improper conduct of anyone who was engaged in that work. The idea is, that the misconduct of one minister of the gospel would bring a reproach upon the profession itself, and would prevent the usefulness and success of others, just as the misconduct of a physician exposes the whole profession to reproach, or the bad conduct of a lawyer reflects itself in some degree on the entire profession. And it is so everywhere. The errors, follies, misconduct, or bad example of one minister of the gospel brings a reproach upon the sacred calling itself, and prevents the usefulness of many others. Ministers do not stand alone. And though no one can be responsible for the errors and failings of others, yet no one can avoid suffering in regard to his usefulness by the sins of others. Not only, therefore, from a regard to his personal usefulness should every minister be circumspect in his walk, but from respect to the usefulness of all others who sustain the office of the ministry, and from respect to the success of religion all over the world. Paul made it one of the principles of his conduct so to act that no man should have cause to speak reproachfully of the ministry on his account. In order to this, he felt; it to be necessary not only to claim and assert honor for the ministry, but to lead such a life as should deserve the respect of people. If a man wishes to secure respect for his calling, it must be by living in the manner which that calling demands, and then respect and honor will follow as a matter of course; see Calvin.

3. Resuming the connection with 2Co 6:1, interrupted by the parenthetical 2Co 6:2. "Giving no offense" (compare 1Co 10:33), "approving ourselves," and all the other participles down to 2Co 6:10, are nominatives to "we also entreat you" (2Co 6:1), to show the pains he took to enforce his exhortation by example, as well as precept [Alford]. "Offense" would be given, if we were without "patience" and the other qualifications which he therefore subjoins (compare Ro 14:13). Giving no offence in any thing: to give no offence signifies, to avoid all actions which may be occasion of spiritual stumbling unto others, i.e. to make them to sin against God, or estrange their hearts from Christ, and the owning and profession of his gospel. These words may be understood as a general precept given to all Christians; so it agreeth with 1 Corinthians 10:30,32; or (which the following verses seem most to favour) as referring to himself and Timothy, and other ministers of the gospel; like true pastors of the church of Christ, going out before the flock, and showing in their example what they ought to be.

That the ministry be not blamed; the ministry here may either signify the office of the ministry, or the subject of it, the gospel, which, 2 Corinthians 5:18, is called the ministry of reconciliation: not only the office of the ministry, but the gospel itself, suffereth by the scandalous conversation of ministers and private Christians; ignorant persons being not able, or not willing, to distinguish between the faults of persons and the faults of a doctrine or office. Giving no offence in anything,.... These words are in connection with 2 Corinthians 6:1 and to be considered either as a continuation of the exhortation to others, that they would take care to give no offence to any; or rather as an account the apostle gives of himself, and other ministers, by way of example; and is as if he had said, I Paul, Timotheus, Silvanus, and other ministers of the word, take all possible care to lay no stumblingblock in the way of the hearers of the Gospel; to give no offence to them that are without, or to them that are within, to Jew or Gentile, or to the church of God, neither by word nor writing, by doctrine or conversation, or in any way whatever: that the ministry be not blamed; the ministry of the word of reconciliation, which they had received of the Lord Jesus. The apostle knew there were persons enow who were waiting all opportunities, and taking all advantages to vilify and reproach the ministry of the Gospel, and so hinder its progress and spread; and that if that was once brought into contempt by the disagreeable conduct of the preachers of it, there would be but little hope of success from it. Some copies read, "our ministry"; and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; the Ethiopic version reads, "your ministry". {3} Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

(3) He shows the Corinthians a pattern of a true minister in his own example, and in Timothy and Silvanus, to the end that he might procure authority for himself and his companions like him, as he purposed from the beginning.

2 Corinthians 6:3. The participle is not connected with 2 Corinthians 6:11, but (in opposition to Hofmann, see on 2 Corinthians 6:11) with παρακαλ. in 2 Corinthians 6:1, as a qualitative definition of the subject. Grotius aptly says: “ostendit enim, quam serio moneat qui ut aliquid proficiat nullis terreatur incommodis, nulla non commoda negligat.” Luther finds here an exhortation (let us give no one any kind of offence), which, however, is not allowed either by the construction (διδόντας must have been used) or by the contents of what follow.

ἐν μηδενι] not masculine (Luther) but neuter: in no respect. Comp. ἐν παντί, 2 Corinthians 6:4. The μή is here used, neither unsuitably to the connection with 2 Corinthians 6:1 (Hofmann), nor instead of οὐ (Rückert), but from a subjective point of view: “we exhort … as those, who,” etc. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:33, and see Winer, p. 451 [E. T. 608].

προσκοπή), only here in the N. T., not found in the LXX. and Apocr. (Polyb. vi. 6. 8, al.), is equivalent to πρόσκομμα, σκάνδαλον, i.e. an occasion for unbelief and unchristian conduct. This is given by a conduct of the teachers at variance with the doctrine taugh.

μωμηθῇ] be blamed; comp. 1 Corinthians 7:20. Paul is conscious that he represents the honour of the ministry entrusted to him. It cannot be proved that μωμ. denotes only light blame (Chrysostom and others, Osiander). See even in Homer, Il. iii. 412. It depends on.the context, as in Pindar, Pyth. i. 160; Lucian, Quom. hist 33: ὃ οὐδεὶς ἂν, ἀλλʼ οὐδʼ ὁ Μῶμος μωμήσασθαι δύναιτο.2 Corinthians 6:3. μηδεμίαν ἐν μηδενὶ κ.τ.λ.: giving no occasion of stumbling (see reff.; Alford aptly quotes Polybius, xxvii., 6, 10, διδόναι ἀφορμὰς προσκοπῆς) in anything, that our ministration be not blamed. The clause is parallel with 2 Corinthians 6:1, διδόντες corresponding to συνεργοῦντες, both being descriptive of the way in which παρακαλοῦμεν, etc.; cf., for like sentiments, 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Corinthians 10:33. We have μηδεμίανμηδενί rather than οὐδεμίανοὐδενί, as it is the thought or intention of the preacher which is the point to be brought out.3. Giving no offence in any thing] This verse is closely connected in sense with v, 1. St Paul now enters upon a long passage in which he shews how the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ is practically carried on. The demeanour of the Apostles towards those among whom they preached the Gospel is as forcible a mode of proclaiming the reconciliation as their words. Yet he has not lost sight of the vindication of himself, which runs through the whole Epistle. You may judge for yourself, he is saying in effect, whether this be the conduct to expect from one charged with such a mission.

offence] The Greek word is derived from a verb signifying to dash to the ground, and signifies, therefore, anything which causes one to fall.

the ministry] i.e. of reconciliation. See above.2 Corinthians 6:3. Ἐν μηδενὶ, in nothing) corresponds to ἐν παντὶ, in every thing, in the following verse.—διδόντες, giving) The participle depends on 2 Corinthians 6:1.—προσκοπὴν, offence) which would be the case, if we were without ‘patience’ and the other qualifications, which are presently afterwards mentioned.—ἡ διακονία, the ministry) The Abstract. The ministers of God, the Concrete, 2 Corinthians 6:4.Verse 3. - Giving no offence in anything. An undercurrent of necessary self defence runs through St. Paul's exhortation. The participle is, like "fellow workers," a nominative to "we exhort you" in ver. 1. Offence. The word here is not skandalon, which is so often rendered "offence," but proskope, which occurs here alone in the New Testament, and is not found in the LXX. It means "a cause of stumbling." Proskomma, a stumbling block, is used in 1 Corinthians 8:9. Be not blamed. When any just blame can be attached to the minister, the force of the ministry of reconciliation is fatally weakened. (For the word, see 2 Corinthians 8:20.) Ministry

Rev., ministration. See on Romans 12:7.

Blamed (μωμηθῇ)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 8:20. The kindred μῶμος blemish, is found 2 Peter 2:13, and in the Septuagint of bodily defects. Similarly the Septuagint ἄμωμος spotless, without bodily defect; and, in the moral sense, 1 Peter 1:19, applied to Christ. Compare Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 5:27; Jde 1:24.

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