2 Corinthians 6:8
By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) By honour and dishonour.—The enumeration of the elements in and by which his ministry is carried on begins to take a more personal character. We trace once more in the words that follow the sensitiveness of a recent experience. He has to do his work, at one time, as through a glory which he has not sought; at another time under an ignominy which he has not deserved. Men at one time speak well of him, and at another he falls upon evil and bitter tongues. The very word “deceiver,” most galling of all words to one who is conscious of his truthfulness, is recklessly flung at him. Through all these he goes on his work, believing that in them also he may find a way of commending himself as a minister of God.

2 Corinthians 6:8-10. By honour and dishonour — When we are present; by evil report and good report — When we are absent. Who could bear honour and good report, were they not balanced by dishonour and evil report? As deceivers — Artful, designing men. So the world represents all true ministers of Christ; yet true — Upright, sincere, in the sight of God. As unknown — For the world knoweth us not, as it knew him not: yet well known — To God, and to those who are the seals of our ministry. As dying, yet behold — Suddenly, unexpectedly, God interposes, and we live — Seeing the apostle, in this description of the behaviour proper to ministers of the gospel, in the various circumstances in which they may be placed, and under the various sufferings to which they may be exposed, doubtless included himself, we may suppose that he here alludes partly to his being stoned to death at Lystra, and his afterward reviving and walking into the city. Acts 14:20. As sorrowful — For our manifold imperfections, and for the sins and sufferings of mankind, especially of our brethren in Christ; yet always rejoicing — In present peace, love, and power over sin; in assurances of the divine favour, and a lively hope of future eternal glory. As poor — In this world, having neither silver nor gold, nor houses nor lands; yet making many rich — With treasures which they would not part with for all the revenues of princes and kings; as having nothing — That we can call our own; and yet possessing all things — For all are ours if we are Christ’s. 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.By honor and dishonor - The apostle is still illustrating the proposition that he and his fellow-laborers endeavored to give no offence 2 Corinthians 6:3, and to commend themselves as the ministers of God, 2 Corinthians 6:4. He here 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 introduces another group of particulars in which it was done. The main idea is, that they endeavored to act in a manner so as to commend the ministry and the gospel, whether they were in circumstances of honor or dishonor, whether lauded or despised by the world. The word rendered "by" (διὰ dia) does not here denote the means by which they commended the gospel, but the medium. In the midst of honor and dishonor; whatever might be the esteem in which they were held by the world, they gave no offence. The first is, "by honor." They were not everywhere honored, or treated with respect. Yet they were sometimes honored by people. The churches which they founded would honor them, and as the ministers of religion they would be by them treated with respect.

Perhaps occasionally also they might be treated with great attention and regard by the people of the world on account of their miraculous powers; compare Acts 28:7. So now, ministers of the gospel are often treated with great respect and honor. They are beloved and venerated; caressed and flattered, by the people of their charge. As ministers of God, as exercising a holy function, their office is often treated with great respect by the world. If they are eloquent or learned, or if they are eminently successful they are often highly esteemed and loved. It is difficult in such circumstances to "commend themselves as the ministers of God." Few are the people who are not injured by honor; few who are not corrupted by flattery. Few are the ministers who are proof against this influence, and who in such circumstances can honor the ministry. If done, it is by showing that they regard such things as of little moment; by showing that they are influenced by higher considerations than the love of praise; by not allowing this to interfere with their duties, or to make them less faithful and laborious; but rather by making this the occasion of increased fidelity and increased zeal in their master's cause.

Most ministers do more to "give offence" in times when they are greatly honored by the world than when they are despised. Yet it is possible for a minister who is greatly honored to make it the occasion of commending himself more and more as a minister of God. And he should do it; as Paul said he did. The other situation was "in dishonor." It is needless to say, that the apostles were often in situations where they had opportunity thus to commend themselves as the ministers of God. If sometimes honored, they were often dishonored. If the world sometimes flattered and caressed them, it often despised them, and cast out their names as evil; see the note, 1 Corinthians 4:13. And perhaps it is so substantially now with those who are faithful. In such circumstances, also, Paul sought to commend himself as a minister of God. It was by receiving all expressions of contempt with meekness; by not suffering them to interfere with the faithful discharge of his duties; by rising above them, and showing the power of religion to sustain him; and by returning good for evil, prayers for maledictions, blessings for curses, and by seeking to save, not injure and destroy those who thus sought to overwhelm him with disgrace. It may be difficult to do this, but it can be done; and when done, a man always does good.

By evil report - The word used here (δυσφημία dusphēmia), means, properly, ill-omened language, malediction, reproach, contumely. It refers to the fact that they were often slandered and calumniated. Their motives were called in question, and their names aspersed. They were represented as deceivers and impostors, etc. The statement here is, that in such circumstances, and when thus assailed and reproached, they endeavored to commend themselves as the ministers of God. Evidently they endeavored to do this by not slandering or reviling in return; by manifesting a Christian spirit; by living down the slanderous accusation, and by doing good if possible even to their calumniators. It is more difficult, says Chrysostom, to bear such reports than it is pain of body; and it is consequently more difficult to evince a Christian spirit then. To human nature it is trying to have the name slandered and cast out as evil when we are conscious only of a desire to do good. But it is sufficient for the disciple that he be as his master, and if they called the master of the house Beelzebub, we must expect they will also those of his household. It is a fine field for a Christian minister, or any other Christian, to do good when his name is unjustly slandered. It gives him an opportunity of showing the true excellency of the Christian spirit; and it gives him the inexpressible privilege of being like Christ - like him in his suffering and in the moral excellence of character. A man should be willing to be anything if it will make him like the Redeemer - whether it be in suffering or in glory; see Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13.

And good report - When people speak well of us; when we are commended, praised, or honored. To honor the gospel then, and to commend the ministry, is:

(1) To show that the heart is not set on this, and does not seek it;

(2) To keep the heart from being puffed up with pride and self-estimation;

(3) Not to suffer it to interfere with our fidelity to others and with our faithfully presenting to them the truth.

Satan often attempts to bribe people by praise, and to neutralize the influence of ministers by flattery. It seems hard to go and proclaim to people painful truths who are causing the incense of praise to ascend around us. And it is commonly much easier for a minister of the gospel to commend himself as a minister of God when he is slandered than when he is praised, when his name is cast out as evil than when the breezes of popular favor are wafted upon him. Few people can withstand the influence of flattery, but many people can meet persecution with a proper spirit; few people comparatively can always evince Christian fidelity to others when they live always amidst the influence of "good report," but there are many who can be faithful when they are poor, and despised, and reviled. Hence, it has happened, that God has so ordered it that his faithful servants have had but little of the "good report" which this world can furnish, but that they have been generally subjected to persecution and slander.

As deceivers - That is, we are regarded and treated as if we were deceivers, and as if we were practicing an imposition on mankind, and as if we would advance our cause by any trick or fraud that would be possible. We are regarded and treated as deceivers. Perhaps this refers to some charges which had been brought against them by the opposing faction at Corinth (Locke), or perhaps to the opinion which the Jewish priests and pagan philosophers entertained of them. The idea is, that though they were extensively regarded and treated as impostors, yet they endeavored to live as became the ministers of God. They bore the imputation with patience, and they applied themselves diligently to the work of saving souls. Paul seldom turned aside to vindicate himself from such charges, but pursued his master's work, and evidently felt that if he had a reputation that was worth anything, or deserved any reputation, God would take care of it; compare Psalm 37:1-4. A man, especially a minister, who is constantly endeavoring to vindicate his own reputation, usually has a reputation which is not worth vindicating. A man who deserves a reputation will ultimately obtain just as much as is good for him, and as will advance the cause in which he is embarked.

And yet true - We are not deceivers and impostors. Though we are regarded as such, yet we show ourselves to be true and faithful ministers of Christ.

8. Translate, "Through glory and dishonor (disgrace)," namely, from those in authority, and accruing to us present. "By," or "through evil report and good report," from the multitude, and affecting us absent [Bengel]. Regarded "as deceivers" by those who, not knowing (2Co 6:9), dishonor and give us an evil report; "as true," by those who "know" (2Co 6:9) us in the real "glory" of our ministry. In proportion as one has more or less of glory and good report, in that degree has he more or less of dishonor and evil report. By honour and dishonour; we depart not from our integrity, whether we be honoured or dishonoured.

By evil report and good report; well or evilly reported of. This hath from the beginning been the lot of all the faithful ministers of Christ; some have given them honour, others have cast reproach upon them; some have given a good report of them, some an evil report.

As deceivers, and yet true; some have represented them as impostors, and such as deceived the people; others have spoken of them as true men: their business is to go through good report and bad report, honour and dishonour, still holding fast their integrity. By honour and dishonour,.... Some persons think and speak honourably of us, and behave in a reverent manner towards us; they wish us well, bid us God speed, receive us into their houses, and treat us with respect: others think meanly of us, speak of us with the utmost contempt, and use us as if we were the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; so we pass through the world; this is the treatment we meet with on the right hand and on the left; nor are we much affected with it:

by evil report and good report; as it fares with our persons, so with our doctrine: some speak well of it, receive and embrace it; others blaspheme it, and have it in the utmost abhorrence; we are charged with the vilest of crimes, and our doctrines loaded with the most absurd and wicked consequences, and both branded in the most infamous manner by one set of men; and by others both our persons and principles are cleared and vindicated from all such aspersions, and are highly commended and applauded.

As deceivers; for so they were accounted, as Christ was before them, by the unbelieving Jews, and by the false apostles, as if they were the authors, or abettors, and spreaders of errors, and the instruments of leading people aside.

And yet true; true and faithful ministers of the word; true to their Lord and master; true to the trust committed to them; true to the Gospel of Christ, and to the souls of men.

By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 6:8. It is usually supposed that διά here is not again instrumental, but local: (going) through honour and shame, or in the sense of the accompanying circumstances (Hofmann): amid honour and shame, we commend ourselves, namely, as God’s servants, 2 Corinthians 6:4. This is arbitrary on the very face of it; besides, in this way of taking it there is no mode of the apostolic self-commendation at all expressed. Hence Billroth was right in trying to keep to the instrumental sense: “as well honour as shame (the latter, in so far as he bears it with courage and patience) must contribute to the apostle’s commendation” But, on the other hand, it may be urged that, according to the words, it must be the shame itself (as also the δόξα itself), and not the manner of bearing it, which commends. Hence it is rather to be taken: through glory, which we earn for ourselves among the friends of God, and through dishonour, which we draw on ourselves among opponents; through both we commend ourselves as God’s servants. On the latter idea (καὶ ἀτιμίας), comp. Matthew 5:11; Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14; also Galatians 1:10. In a corresponding way also what follows is to be taken: through evil report and good report.

ὡς πλάνοι κ. ἀληθεῖς] With this there begins a series of modal definitions, which furnish a triumphant commentary on the two previous statements, διὰ δόξης κ. ἀτιμίας, διὰ δυσφημ. κ. εὐφημ. In this case the order of the clauses (the injurious aspect being always put first) corresponds to the order of δυσφ. κ. εὐφημ. The first clause always gives the tenor of the ἀτιμία and δυσφημία; the second clause, on the other hand, gives the actual state of the case, and consequently also the tenor of the δόξα and εὐφημία. Hence: as deceivers and true, i.e. as people who are both, the former in the opinion and in the mouth of enemies, the latter in point of fact. Accordingly, καί is not “and yet” (Luther and many others), but the simple and.

On the seven times repeated ὡς, Valla rightly remarks: “Paulina oratio sublimis atque urgens.” Comp. Augustine, de doctr. Christ. iv. 20.

On πλάνοι, which does not mean “erring” (Ewald), comp. Matthew 27:63; 1 Timothy 4:1; John 7:12; and Wetstein.2 Corinthians 6:8. (b) διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀτιμίας, διὰ δυσφημίας καὶ εὐφημίας: by glory (cf. John 5:41) and dishonour, by evil report and good report. To misrepresentation and slander St. Paul was much exposed, and he evidently felt it deeply (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:12).—(iv.) Finally, he proceeds to specify the charges made against him by his opponents; he can afford to neglect them, inasmuch as in each case they are quite opposed to the real facts. Towards the close he adds one or two antitheses to the list, which may not have been directly suggested by the current calumnies about him, but which are yet quite in keeping with the rest. There are seven antitheses in all.—ὡς πλάνοι καὶ ἀληθεῖς: as deceivers (so his opponents said of him, as it was formerly said of his Master, John 7:12; cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 4:2) and yet true. In the Clementines St. Paul is expressly described by his adversaries as πλάνος and as disseminating deceit (πλάνην).8. by honour and dishonour] The preposition is here changed in the original, and not in our version. It means either by means of, or by endurance of, both of which senses are given by our English through. The sense is that not only did he persevere through evil report and good report, but that both were overruled to the furtherance of the Gospel.

as deceivers, and yet true] The Apostle now reaches the last division of the modes in which he sets forth the genuineness of his mission. This consists in the contrast between the ideas of his person and work formed by the world without, and the fact of which he was conscious within. The world (Matthew 27:63) held Jesus Christ to be a deceiver, and ‘the disciple is not above his master.’2 Corinthians 6:8. Δόξης, glory) δόξα and ἀτιμία, glory and disgrace are derived from those, who possess authority, and fall upon those, who are present; evil report and good report are in the hands of the multitude, and fall upon the absent. [Furthermore, glory proceeds from those, who recognise the character which the minister of God sustains; disgrace, from those, who do not recognise him as such, and therefore esteem more highly others, that in the affairs of this world perform any trifling work whatever. Infamy or evil report proceeds from the ignorant and malevolent; good report from the well-informed in like manner as also the well affected. In proportion as a man has more or less of glory or good report, in the same proportion has he also more or less of either disgrace or infamy respectively.—V. g.] The contraries are elegantly mixed togother.—δυσφημίας, evil report) If not even the apostles escaped this evil report, who can ask to escape it?—ὡς πλάνοι, as deceivers) men of the deepest infamy.—ἀληθεῖς, true) in the opinion of believers, and in reality.Verse 8. - By honour and dishonour; rather, by glory and dishonour. There is no need to change here the meaning of διὰ, "by means of," to "through," i.e. "amid." The honour and dishonor are alike means which contribute to the commendation of the ministry. Of our Lord some said, "He is a deceiver," while others said, "He is a good man" (John 7:12); and the dispraise of some is the highest praise (Matthew 5:11). Compare with the whole passage 1 Corinthians 4:9-13, where we see that "abuse," "insult," and "slander," constituted no small part of the apostle's daily trial. By evil report and good report. The beatitude of malediction (Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14). St. Paul had deliberately abandoned the desire to win the suffrages of men at the cost of undesirable concessions (Galatians 1:10). As deceivers. The Jews called Christ "a deceiver" (mesith, i.e. a deliberate and misleading impostor), Matthew 27:63; John 7:12. This is an illustration of the "evil report," and in the Clementine homilies, a century later, St. Paul, under the disgraceful pseudonym of "Simon Magus," is still defamed as a deceiver. And yet true. There is no "yet" in the original, and its omission gives more force to these eloquent and impassioned contrasts. Deceivers

See 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2. The opinions concerning Paul as a deceiver are mirrored in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, spurious writings, ascribed to Clement of Rome, but emanating from the Ebionites, a Judaizing sect, in the latter half of the second century. In these Paul is covertly attacked, though his name is passed over in silence. His glory as the apostle to the Gentiles is passed over to Peter. The readers are warned, in the person of Peter, to beware of any teacher who does not conform to the standard of James, and come with witnesses (compare 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 10:12-18). Paul is assailed under the guise of Simon Magus, and with the same words as those in this passage, deceiver and unknown.

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