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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

HOW THE BODY WILL RISE; THE QUALITIES OF THE RISEN BODY

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58~The fact of the resurrection being established, the Apostle now goes on to describe how it will take place. He first shows, by illustrations drawn from what takes place in the natural order of the world around us, that the risen body will be indeed the same body that was buried, but vested with vastly different qualities (verses 35-50). The manner of the resurrection, the transition from the present to the future life, and the effects of the resurrection are next discussed (verses 51-58).

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed.

Coming now to describe the way the dead shall rise at the end of the world, the Apostle first solves a difficulty that might arise out of the preceding verse, namely, if our corruptible bodies cannot inherit incorruptible life, what about the just who will be living when Christ appears on the last day? In reply the Apostle says: I tell you a mystery, i.e., a truth of revelation, which human means could not discover (1 Thess 4:14). What is this mystery? It is that the just who are living at the Second Coming of Christ shall not die, but shall be suddenly changed from their corruptible to an incorruptible and glorious state.

This interpretation is (a) according to the best reading of the second part of this verse; (b) it is in harmony with the context, verses 50 and 52, and with the whole drift of St. Paul’s argument; (c) it agrees with the explanation of the same doctrine given by St. Paul elsewhere (1 Thess 4:15-17; 2 Cor 5:1-9; 2 Tim 4:1), and with the teaching of St. Peter on the subject (1 Peter 4:5); (d) it alone gives to mystery the proper and obvious meaning of that term; (e) it finds approval in the words of the Creed, “He shall come to judge the living and the dead”; (f) it has the support of practically all the Greek Fathers, and of all modern exegetes.

There is no “mystery” in St. Paul’s mind about the dead, good or bad, rising again. Neither is there any sense in: We shall not all be changed of this verse, and “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” etc., of the following verse. In fact, we shall not be changed here is in direct contradiction with the words, we shall be changed of the next verse.

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse, which is found in our version, in the Codex Bezae, and in the Vulgate, and which was commonly accepted by all the Latin Fathers and Latin versions from the time of Tertullian, must be rejected as erroneous for the reasons given above. The Council of Trent, in making the Vulgate the official version of the Church, was well aware that it contained some wrong readings; but when these are of minor importance, or can receive a correct interpretation from other parallel passages of Scripture, as in the present instance, there is no difficulty. Moreover, the Council approved of all the parts of the original Vulgate, “as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church”; but the East never read this verse as it is in the Vulgate. “If the Vulgate in the present passage were interpreted to mean that all the just without exception are to rise from the dead at the last day, it would not merely contradict the inspired text and the Creeds, but would be hopelessly at variance with itself” (Lattey, in Westm. Ver.).

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse which is adopted by all modern scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic, and which has the support of the Greek MSS. B E K L P, of practically all cursives, and of most versions, is: “We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed.” A rival reading of  א C F G and of the cursive no. 17, if read without punctuation, might have the same meaning, thus:  “we shall all sleep (die) not but we shall all be changed.” Generally, however, this reading is understood to agree with that of the Vulgate, and is given as follows: “We shall all sleep (die), but we shall not all be changed.”

While it is practically certain that the reading of this verse which we have adopted is the only correct one, it must be admitted that the Vulgate reading, taken by itself, can receive an orthodox explanation. Thus, we shall all indeed rise again may be taken to refer to mankind as a whole, without including the few that will be alive at the end (cf. Titus 1:12, 13; Heb 9:27). In like manner, the words, we shall not all be changed can mean that all the dead shall not be glorified.

It is objected against the above interpretation (a) that verse 22 of this chapter, Rom 5:12, and Heb 9:27 seem to say that all men must die; (b) that St. Paul seemed to expect to be still alive when Christ would come. Answer: (a) Even though all men do not actually die, still there is in them all the liability to death, but the penalty can be taken away by God (St. Thomas, Summa, 1a 2ae, qu. 81, a. 3, ad 3). (b) St. Paul did not really believe or mean to teach that the end of the world was at hand in his time. Doubtless he had no revelation on this subject. If here he associates himself with those who are to be alive at the last day, he elsewhere (1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14) speaks of being among those who are to be raised up from the dead at that time. Hence he seems to have been uncertain about the time of the Lord’s coming.

52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed.

In a moment, etc. These words indicate the swiftness with which the dead shall be called from their graves and the bodies of the living just glorified at the last day.

The last trumpet, i.e., the last sign by which the living and the dead shall be summoned to judgment. Perhaps it will be the voice of Christ (John 5:28), or the voice of an archangel (1 Thess 4:15), or some other signal from on high. The expression, “trumpet,” is metaphorical, being borrowed from the instrument used by the Jews to convoke their religious assemblies (Num 10:2-10).

The dead shall rise again incorruptible, i.e., the just shall rise clothed with glorified bodies.

We shall be changed, i.e., the just who are alive at the last day shall not die as others do, but shall pass in the twinkling of an eye from their mortal to an immortal and glorious state.

53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality.

The Apostle again insists upon the necessity of the transformation already spoken of in verse 50. The just who are in their graves must put on incorruptible bodies, and those who are still living must exchange their mortal frames for immortal and glorified bodies.

54. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Most authorities repeat here both clauses of the preceding verse. The Vulgate reading in this place, however, is found in the Sinaitic MS. and in some other versions. When the transformation spoken of in the preceding verse is effected, then shall come the complete triumph of Christ over death.

Death is swallowed up, etc. The Apostle is referring to Isaiah 25:8, where the Hebrew reads: “He (Jehovah) hath swallowed up death forever.” The Prophet is announcing that in the heavenly Jerusalem there shall be no more death, or pain, or the like; and St. Paul, slightly modifying the same words, proclaims the victory of Christ in the Resurrection over death and its consequences (Gen 3:19).

In the LXX this passage of Isaias is very obscure: “Death having prevailed swallowed up” (κατεπιεν ο θανατος ισχυσας). With the resurrection, death, the last enemy of man, shall be defeated and life shall triumph in all its glory.

55. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

At the thought of the final triumph over death the Apostle bursts forth in a hymn of exultation, freely citing the Septuagint of Hosea 13:14. Literally, the Prophet was foretelling the restoration of Israel, which was a figure of the redemption of Christ.

Where is thy victory over the dead who are risen again from their graves? Where now is the sting of thy cruel dominion over them?

56. Now the sting of death is sin: and the power of sin is the law.

The sting of death is sin, i.e., death wounds us, like a poisonous serpent, through sin. The reference is to original sin by which death first stung and poisoned our race. And the Mosaic Law which was later given only served, by its numerous regulations and prohibitions, to stir up and strengthen the baneful consequences of original sin (cf. Rom 4:5 ff.; 5:13; 7:7-11).

57. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What the Law could not do, Christ our Lord has done for us. By His death He has conquered both sin and death, satisfying for our transgressions and delivering us from bondage.

Who hath given (Vulg., qui dedit). The Greek has the present tense, which better expresses the victory already begun, although its completion is reserved for the resurrection.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 and is followed by his notes on today’s reading (2 Cor 5:1, 6-10). Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions

In the first part of this chapter, the Apostle proceeds to account for his own cheerful intrepidity, as well as that of his colleagues, in the midst of dangers and persecutions. It proceeds from the consideration of their future glory, from their firm belief in the future glorification of their bodies (2 Cor 5:1), which glory they are anxious to have imparted to them without bodily dissolution, as nature recoils so strongly from death (2 Cor 5:2-4). But bearing in mind, that it is God who fits them for future glory, of which he has given them a sure earnest, they have great courage and confidence in undergoing all hardships for the Gospel with the hope of arriving at this supreme felicity (2 Cor 5:5–9), to attain which they endeavour, under all circumstances to please God; and keeping before their eyes his tremendous judgement, they so act as to prove to men their sincerity, lest they should be a stumbling-block or a scandal to anyone (2 Cor 5:10-11). He guards against the misconstruction which the false teachers might put upon the circumstance of his praising himself, by an assurance that whether he praises or speaks humbly of his own exploits—he has, in both cases, the glory of God and his neighbour’s good in view (2 Cor 5:12-13). He is moved to pursue this disinterested line of conduct by the example of Christ, whose purchased slaves we are all become by Redemption, who has, therefore, a right to all our services (2 Cor 5:14-1515). Hence, the Apostles, dead to themselves and living only to Christ, regard no one, not even the Redeemer himself, from human considerations; but they regard all from the highest spiritual motives (2 Cor 5:16). This should not be peculiar to the Apostles, as every Christian, after having entered on his new spiritual existence, should do the same (2 Cor 5:17). He refers the merit of all these blessings resulting from our new spiritual existence, to their true source, viz., God, who made us sharers in them by having reconciled us with himself (2 Cor 5:18). He explains the mode in which this reconciliation was effected (2 Cor 5:19). He points out the exalted dignity of the ministers of religion (2 Cor 5:20); and, lastly, assigns a new reason for confidently expecting reconciliation with God, founded on the death of Christ (2 Cor 5:21).

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

“For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers (verse 14) of preceding chapter. This interpretation derives great probability from (verse 3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

2 Cor 5:6 Therefore having always confidence, knowing that while we are in the body we are absent from the Lord.

Having, therefore, this firm faith, and sure earnest of future glory, we cheerfully undergo all sufferings in the cause of the gospel, knowing that as long as we are in the body, we are sojourners from the Lord.

. In consequence of the sure earnest of God’s spirit in our hearts, we always act with courage and cheerfulness under crosses and afflictions—the most secure road of safely arriving at our end—knowing that while we are in this body, we are sojourners from the Lord; we, therefore, hasten towards that country of which we are enrolled as citizens, and in which is our everlasting inheritance.

2 Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith and not by sight.) 

(For, in this life we are tending towards our heavenly country, guided by the obscure and glimmering light of faith; but we have not yet arrived at the enjoyment of the clear and intuitive vision of God).

This verse is to be included in a parenthesis—(see Paraphrase).

2 Cor 5:8 But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

We have, I say, courage cheerfully to undergo all sufferings for the gospel, and we regard it as a blessing to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord to enjoy his vision.

He continues the subject digressed from in the preceding verse: We have courage, I say, under adversity, and we even prefer to be freed from the body to remaining in it, and thus to enjoy God’s beatific vision.

2 Cor 5:9 And therefore we labour, whether absent or present, to please him.

And therefore, we exert our utmost might, whether absent or present in the body, to be pleasing and acceptable to him.

If while here “present” in the body, we merit heavenly bliss, and please God, we shall please Him hereafter, when “absent” from the body; we shall be objects always pleasing in His sight, and we shall merit that this happiness be not taken from us for eternity.

2 Cor 5:10 For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil.

For we must all, without exception, stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the Supreme Judge of all, and have our deeds then publicly manifested and exposed, so that each one may receive either the reward or punishment due to him, conformably to the life which he led in the body, according as that life was good or wicked.

In this verse is given a reason why we should always endeavour to please God; because we must all stand and be examined before the judgment seat of Christ, to whom the Father has transferred all judgment, and whom he has constituted Judge of the living and of the dead. In this judgment, five circumstances are here noticed by the Apostle:—First, it is to be universal—“we all.” Second, inevitable—“we must.” Third, clear and evident, exposing both interior actions and intentions; and hence a source of shame and confusion—“be manifested.” Fourth, irrevocable, as occurring before a supreme Judge, Christ—“before the judgment seat of Christ.” Fifth, most just; being grounded on all the actions, thoughts, &c., of our entire life, “according as he hath done.” What a subject of most serious reflection!

“The proper things of the body.” In Greek, τα δια τοῦ σώματος, the things by the body. The Vulgate interpreters read, ιδια τοῦ σώματος, propria corporis, the reading of Origen. ιδια seems to communicate a stronger or more emphatic meaning: one’s own body.

 

 

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Father McEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 followed by his comments on today’s reading (2 Cor 4:14-5:1). Text in purple represent the author’s paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 2 CORINTHIANS 4:1-18

2 Cor 4:14 Knowing that he who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and place us with you.

 Firmly impressed with the belief, that he who raised Jesus from the dead, will so raise us, and bestow on us a like glory with Jesus, and give us a place with you in his heavenly kingdom.

“Raised up Jesus.” In the common Greek, raised up the Lord Jesus. (The Codex Vaticanus has not the word Lord). “With Jesus.” (In the common Greek, δια Ιησου, through Jesus). The Codex Vaticanus has, συν ιησου (together with Jesus), the Vulgate reading retained by St. Jerome. This firm belief in their future resurrection animates the Apostles to proclaim it aloud and preach the gospel intrepidly amid the most appalling dangers. “And place us with you.” He uses this form rather than place you with us, to show the great value he attaches to them, so as to prefer them to himself in glory, since he is only to come in for a share of glory of which they will be in possession.

2 Cor 4:15 For all things are for your sakes: that the grace, abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.

 I said, give us a place with you, for all our ministrations are ordained for your salvation, that the grace of the gospel, being diffused amongst many, whilst many are returning thanks for it, may redound to the glory of God.

It is not without cause that he placed them first; for they, or rather their salvation, is the end for which all his labours are designed. From making them sharers in his own glory this good shall result, viz., that the benefits of the gospel being more widely diffused and more extensively communicated, may redound to the glory of God, whilst the many on whom they are conferred will join in returning God thanks for them. Acts of thanksgiving, therefore, contribute much to God’s glory. The Greek, την ευχαριστιαν περισευσση εἰς την δοξαν τοῦ θεοῦ, admits the construction of Erasmus, viz., that the grace abounding through many may abound with thanksgiving unto the glory of God, in which the verb “abound” has a transitive signification, as in 2 Cor 11:8.

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not: but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Propped up by this hope of future glory (verse 14), we faint not in adversity. For, although our bodies, the exterior portion of our persons, be attenuated by the sufferings we undergo for Christ, and tending to dissolution; still, our interior part, the soul, is daily becoming more and more vigorous and renovated.

It is the hope of future glory in heaven that animates the just in the midst of sufferings and persecutions. By the “outward man,” is meant the outward and sensible portion of man, viz., his frail and corruptible body. This is attenuated and worn by sufferings. But the “inward man,” the invisible soul, from these same sufferings receives vigour, and is renovated from the oldness of sin to the newness of truth and justice.

2 Cor 4:17 For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure, exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.

For the fleeting and light afflictions of the body, which we endure at present, shall beget and insure for us hereafter an eternal weight of glory, which ineffably and incomparably exceeds the light and passing afflictions of the present life.

The Greek reading runs thus:—τὸ γὰρ παραυτικα ελαφρὸν τῆς θλιψεως καθʼ ὑπερβολην εἰς ὑπερβολην κατεργαζεται, “for the present lightness of affliction from excess to excess worketh for us above measure,” & c.. From excess to excess, or, as we have it, “above measure exceedingly,” means that this weight of eternal glory, which our present light and passing afflictions merit for us, is also ineffable, superlatively immense. This form of expression is common with the Hebrews to express what is ineffably great in its kind; or, the words may mean, that this glory inexpressibly exceeds the sufferings undergone here to gain it. The lightness of our sufferings, and their momentary continuance, are contrasted with the weight and eternal duration of the glory, that shall one day be exchanged for them. “O! our tribulation:” “our” is not in the Codex Vaticanus, as in the above quotation.

2 Cor 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

Whilst we keep steadily in view, not the goods of the present life, viz., honours, riches, &c., which fill beneath the senses—but the good of the life to come, which are not seen, but only believed. For, the things of this life, which are seen, are fleeting and temporary, while the invisible things of the life to come are eternal and never-ending.

“While we look not at the things which are seen.” The Greek word for “look,” σκοπουντων means keeping steadily in view. Oh! were we, with the eyes of the understanding, and in the light of faith, to consider the nothingness of earthly enjoyments and pleasures, in duration exceedingly brief, and even this very brief enjoyment alloyed with bitterness and remorse and disappointments of all sorts; and on the other hand, were we to contemplate the things of the invisible world, their never-ending duration, their intensity exceeding all human comprehension; were we but to “consider in the heart,” on the awful import of these words, “EVER,” “NEVER;” ever to continue, never to end; what a stimulus to walk in the way of virtue, and keeping God always in view, to look to the remuneration he has in store for us; what a consolation under the crosses and afflictions with which this loving Father may visit us, in order to chasten us with the rod of discipline, and wean us from the nothingness of earthly pleasures. O God! increase in us a spirit of lively faith, so as to view temporal and eternal things, the fleeting affairs of this visible world, and the never-ending concerns of the invisible world, as they are; ever to bear in mind that there are two worlds, the visible and invisible—the one to pass away, as regards us, very soon, nay, sooner than we may imagine; the other never to end, to continue as long as God shall be God—and be influenced in our conduct, with reference to them, according to their relative importance.

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

“For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers in the preceding chapter (2 Cor 4:14). This interpretation derives great probability from (2 Cor 5:3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 3, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 9 of Second Corinthians as a whole, followed by his notes on verses 6-10. Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

2Co 9:6  Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings shall also reap blessings.

What I mean to convey is this: the man who dispenses charity sparingly, shall meet a recompense in the same proportion, and the man who dispenses it liberally and generously, shall also reap a proportionate, i.e., a liberal, recompense from God.

He says that the man who gives alms—which is meant by “sowing”—“sparingly,” “will reap,” i.e., will receive but a small reward, not trifling or small in itself, but in comparison with that which shall be received by him, who shall sow or dispense “in blessings,” i.e., plentifully and abundantly. Such a person will obtain an abundant reward.

2Co 9:7  Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Let each person, however, contribute just according to his will and inclination; but let him do so cheerfully, and not as a man acting from reluctance or constraint, because God loves and remunerates a cheerful giver.

He now recommends this quality of cheerfulness in the giving of alms. With God, who sees the heart, no alms deeds are acceptable, unless given from a cheerful heart. Hence, St. Augustine says—if you give away your bread with sadness, you lose both your bread and its reward.

2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound in you: that ye always, having all sufficiently in all things, may abound to every good work,

(Let no groundless fears of personal want, resulting from the exercise of charity to the poor, deter you); for God is able to bestow upon you such an abundance of good gifts, that, having in all things, and at all times, an ample sufficiency, you may be fully equal to every good work of charity.

Having explained the conditions of alms-deeds, he now meets a difficulty, which the timid fears of some might suggest, viz., that if they were to contribute generously, they themselves might perhaps be reduced to want. He tells them to banish such groundless apprehensions; for, that God, who is generous to those who are themselves liberal, can make their substance prosper, so as to enable them to exercise without difficulty the works of charity.

2Co 9:9  As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever.

As we find it written in Psalm 111 regarding the just man:—Like a sower, he hath scattered his wealth, he liberally distributed it to the poor, his alms deeds remain in their effects, both for time and eternity.

He employs the authority of Sacred Scripture in banishing all such groundless fears. The same thing shall happen them, that is recorded of the just man (Psalm 112), of whom it is said, “he hath dispersed,” &c.—(See Paraphrase). “His justice,” by which is meant alms-deeds, to which the designation of “justice,” is applied in the Gospel (v.g.): “See, you do not your justice before men.”—(Matt. chap. 6.) “Remaineth for ever;” it remains in time, in the temporal benedictions and graces which it merits, and in eternity, in the glory with which it shall be abundantly rewarded.

2Co 9:10  And he that ministereth seed to the sower will both give you bread to eat and will multiply your seed and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice:

Therefore, banish all groundless fears, because God, who supplies you with the means of dispensing your charities, will also furnish you with the necessaries of life, and will even multiply your temporal substance which you dispense to the poor, and increase the spiritual fruits of your justice and sanctification.

He dispels their fears by recounting the rewards attached to almsgiving. God, who supplies them with temporal means (“the seed”), wherewith to relieve their distressed brethren, like the master who supplies the husbandman with seed to sow in his field, will supply them with food and the other necessaries of life; he will even multiply their “seed,” i.e., their temporal substance, and reward them in this life with graces, which are the seed of glory in the life to come. The ordinary course of God’s providence is to reward aims-deeds with temporal benedictions in this life, and whenever he departs from this course, as he sometimes does, it is for the trial and good of his elect, and for his own greater glory. The words “will multiply,” &c., are read optatively in the common Greek, χορηγησαι και πληθυναι, &c., may he, who … give and multiply, &c. According to this reading, the Apostle begs a blessing for them. The Vulgate reading in the future, χορηγησει, και πληθυνεῖ, &c., is, however, generally preferred by critics, on the authority of the chief MSS. Note: “optatively.” Words in the grammatical optative mood are to be taken as expressing a hope, desire, or wish.

 

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

Synopsis of 2 Corinthians 8:

1. He exhorts the Corinthians to imitate the generosity of the Macedonian Christians in sending alms to the poor at Jerusalem.

2. He points (ver. 9) to the example of Christ, who for our sakes was made poor, that through His poverty we might be rich.

3. He urges them (ver. 10) to fulfil their purpose and half-promise, and bids each one give according to his means.

4. He says (ver. 13) that by so doing rich and poor will be equalised, through the former giving their temporal goods in return for spiritual benefits.

5. He reminds them (ver. 16) that he had sent Titus and other Apostles to make this collection, and warns them that if they put His messengers to shame they themselves will also be put to shame before them.

The first example of the almsgiving referred to in this and the next chapters is related by S. Luke (Act_11:28). This famine under Claudius is referred by many to his fourth year, by Baronius to his second, i.e., A.D. 44. From S. Luke’s narrative it appears that the Christians of Antioch zealously met the famine beforehand by sending alms by the hands of Barnabas and Paul. Many years afterwards, in A.D. 58, the collection spoken of in this chapter was made in Corinth and the neighbouring places. Further, a greater and more lasting cause of the poverty of the Christians of Jerusalem was the constant persecution suffered by them at the hands of the Jews since the death of Stephen, frequently taking the form of banishment and confiscation of their goods (Act_8:1, and Heb_10:34). From that time forward the Jews were sworn foes to Christ: and bitterly persecuted the Christians; and since the Church of Jerusalem was the mother of all others, the custom prevailed amongst Christians in all parts of the world of sending, help to the poor of that Church. When Vigilantius found fault with this custom in the time of Theodosius, S. Jerome, writing against him, testifies to its prevalence with approbation. He says: “This custom down to the present time remains, not only among us, but also among the Jews, that they who meditate in the law of the Lord day and night, and have no lot in the earth save God only, be supported by the ministry of the synagogues, and of the uhole earth.”

In this chapter, then, the Apostle is urging the Corinthians, as being rich, to the duty of almsgiving. Corinth was the most frequented emporium of Greece, and in it were many wealthy merchants

2Co 8:1  Now we make known unto you, brethren, the grace of God that hath been given in the churches of Macedonia.

Now we make known unto you, brethren, the grace of God. God has given to the Macedonian Christians great patience, liberality, and pity for others.

2Co 8:2  That in much experience of tribulation, they have had abundance of joy and their very deep poverty hath abounded unto the riches of their simplicity.

That in much experience of tribulation, they have had abundance of joy. When greatly tried by sundry tribulations, they were very joyful.

And their very deep poverty hath abounded. Having sounded the depths of poverty, the Macedonians, as it were, broke out into plentiful and abundant kindness and almsgiving.

Simplicity denotes a pure, liberal, and ready will to give. Liberality is measured not by the greatness of the gift, but by the promptitude of the mind, as Chrysostom and Theophylact say. “Simplicity” says Ambrose (Ep. 10), “weighs not pros and cons, has no mean suspicions or dishonest thoughts, but overflows with pure affection.” Cf. Rom 12:8.

2Co 8:3  For according to their power (I bear them witness) and beyond their power, they were willing:

For according to their power…they were willing.  Of their own free will, without being solicited, they came forward and contributed as much as and more than they were able to afford.

2Co 8:4  With much entreaty begging of us the grace and communication of the ministry that is done toward the saints.

Begging of us. Begging us to undertake the gracious work of collection, and take our part in it. The Apostle often applies the word χάρις (gift) to what is gratuitous and munificent. Here he applies it to the work of collection. In ver. 7 and elsewhere he applies it to the alms itself.

2Co 8:5  And not as we hoped: but they gave their own selves, first to the Lord, then to us by the will of God;

Not as we hoped. They gave much more than we expected.

They gave their own selves, first to the Lord, then to us. They first surrendered themselves to the will of God and then to ours, to do and give whatever I wished.

Observe here that they who give alms ought, if they are to do it properly, first to give their hearts to God, and in token that they have so surrendered themselves to Him, they ought then to give alms, as tribute paid to Him.

By the will of God. God wishes people to follow our directions, and regard our wish as His, and us as the interpreters of His will, so what we will God also wills to be done by those under us. He Himself says: “He that heareth you heareth Me” (Anselm and Theophylact).

2Co 8:6  Insomuch, that we desired Titus, that, as he had begun, so also he would finish among you this same grace.

Insomuch that we desired Titus. We asked Titus to collect these alms, just as we had collected them in Macedonia. We doubted not for a moment that the liberality of the rich Corinthians would not be outshone in readiness and amount by the poverty of the Macedonians. This is to stimulate the Corinthians to liberality by the example of the Macedonians.

2Co 8:7  That as in all things you abound in faith and word and knowledge and all carefulness, moreover also in your charity towards us: so in this grace also you may abound.

So in this grace also you may abound. See that, as ye abound in faith, care, and love towards me, so ye abound in almsgiving to the poor (Anselm).

2Co 8:8  I speak not as commanding: but by the carefulness of others, approving also the good disposition of your charity.

I speak not as commanding: but by the carefulness of others. I do not command, but seek to move you by the example of the Macedonians, who were so anxious to help the poor.

And improve the good disposition of your charity. I say this to make test of your love, sincerity, and goodness, and to stimulate you by others’ example. The Latin ingenium, which is the rendering of the Greek γνήσιον, does not here denote the good disposition of charity, as Anselm thinks, in which case the meaning would be: I say this, not to test and show that your charity has a good disposition, by its suggesting, dictating, and advising that you do this good deed without any order from me; but γνήσιον denotes, not ingenium, but ingenuum, or an innate disposition. Again, the word for prove has the double idea of testing and then demonstrating. Maldonatus, indeed (Notæ Manusc.), renders it, “longing to prove to others;” for, as he says, the Greek verb here denotes not the effect but the affection.

2Co 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich he became poor for your sakes: that through his poverty you might be rich.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a fresh stimulus to almsgiving. Christ, the King of kings, for your sakes became poor when He was born in the stable, because there was no room for Him in the inn. Instead of His royal throne He had a manger; for bedding, hay; for fire, the breath of ox and ass; for curtains, spiders’ webs; for sweet perfumes, stable ordure; for purple, filthy rags; for His stud, ox and ass; for a crowd of nobles, Joseph and Mary. So, too, His whole after-life was stamped with poverty, or, as Erasmus renders the Greek here, with beggary. From this it appears that Christ was not merely poor, but was also an actual beggar.

That through His poverty you might be rich. Rich with spiritual riches, with lessons of godliness, with forgiveness of sins, righteousness, holiness, and other virtues. The Corinthians are tacitly bidden, if they wish to imitate Christ closely, to enrich the poor with their alms, to impoverish themselves so as to enrich others. Cf. Anselm on the riches and poverty of Christ, and Chrysostom (Hom. 17), who points out how the Christian should not be ashamed of or shrink from poverty.

S. Gregory Nazianzen (Oral. 1 in Pascha) beautifully contrasts our benefits and Christ’s loving-kindness. He says: “Christ was made poor that we through His poverty might be rich. He took the form of a servant that we might regain liberty. He descended that we might be exalted. He was tempted that we might overcome. He was despised that He might fill us with glory. He died that we might be saved. He ascended, to draw to Himself those lying prostrate on the ground through sin’s stumblingblock.” S. Augustine again says beautifully: “What will His riches do if His poverty made us rich?” Lastly, from these words of the Apostle, Bede infers: “All good faithful souls are rich: let none despise himself. The poor in his cell, being rich in his conscience, sleeps more quietly on the hard ground than he that is Rich in gold sleeps in purple.”

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of 2 Corinthians 11 followed by his notes on verses 1-11. Text in purple represent the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF 2 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 11

In this chapter, the Apostle from a motive of holy zeal, and the purest necessity, is almost wholly employed in commending himself and his own actions, and depressing the false teachers, the enemies of God and his Holy Church, who, by depreciating the labours of the Apostle, wished to increase their own claims to respect in the minds of the Corinthians. And first, he claims their indulgence and forbearance for his apparent folly in praising himself—a course adopted by him from a holy jealousy which he conceived regarding their souls (verse 1).

He explains the nature and cause of this jealousy. He acted the part of paranymph in betrothing them to Christ; and he dreads lest the Devil might corrupt them, as he formerly corrupted the virginal mind of Eve (2, 3).

He next, reproaches them with their unmerited preference for the false teachers before himself (4), and shows, that he had far higher claims to respect than they, although in point of elegance and fluency in the use of the Greek tongue, he may be somewhat inferior to them (5, 6). He gave the Corinthians no grounds for depreciating his services; on the contrary, his very humiliations were intended to exalt them, and his preaching among them quite disinterested (8, 9); and he still determined to follow the same disinterested course, in order to deprive the false teachers of every ground for boasting in this respect (10, 13).

In the next place, he depicts these deceitful men in their true colours (13, 16). He then claims indulgence for the apparent folly of praising himself: he says, however, that he is better entitled to indulgence even in this respect, than the false teachers are, who treat them so contumeliously, and are always engaged in self-commendation (20). In a tone of bitter sarcasm, he says, he will adjudge the superiority in favour of the false teachers, both as regards their maltreatment of their followers, and their anxiety to commend themselves (21)

He shows how much he is superior to those deceitful men, both as regards their common origin, and the gifts of divine grace, or the Evangelical ministry (22, 23).

He employs the remainder of the chapter in showing, how much he is superior to them in everything that should distinguish a zealous minister of religion, in bodily labours, sufferings and privations, in mental anxiety, and concern for the spiritual interests and advancement of his people.

2Co 11:1  Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly! But do bear with me.

1. Would to God you would bear with some little of my folly, while engaged in self-commendation. But as I am forced, in my own defence, into this apparently foolish course; then, bear with me, I beseech you.

“You could bear with some little of my folly.” The Greek of which is, ἀνειχεσθε μου μικρον τι ἀφροσυνης, you would bear with me a little in folly. He terms it “folly;” because, it is generally reputed folly to praise one’s self. “But do bear with me,” as I have good reason for commending myself. I am forced to it in self-defence, and to protect you against the snares and designs of your spiritual enemies.

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

2. For, my folly in thus praising myself proceeds solely from the jealousy which I entertain towards you, on the part of God. For, as a bridesman, or paranymph, I have betrothed your Church to one husband, viz., Christ, and I wish to present her a chaste virgin spouse to him, as the spouse of such a husband should be.

He assigns a reason why they ought to bear with him in his apparent folly, as this folly is occasioned by his zeal for them, and by the jealousy he conceives regarding them, on the part of God. He acted as a paranymph in betrothing their Church to Christ. It was, therefore incumbent on him to deliver over this virgin spouse to Christ, pure and undefiled by any false corrupting doctrines. Hence, the jealous care with which he endeavoured to guard against the approaches of any spiritual adulterers, such as the false teachers prove themselves to be by the dissemination of corrupt doctrines. Every Christian, but especially every religious soul, is in a special manner, the spouse of Jesus Christ. Do we ever seriously reflect on the relations that exist between us and our heavenly Bridegroom? Do we ever make this thought a wall of defence against the assaults of our spiritual enemies, against the force of temptation? Do we look forward to the happy day, when these nuptials shall be consummated in our heavenly country?

2Co 11:3  But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.

3. But I dread, lest, as Satan under a serpent’s form seduced Eve, through his crafty wiles, the judgments of your minds would also be corrupted by his ministers, and seduced from that virginal simplicity which you have in Christ.

“The serpent,” i.e., the devil under the form of a serpent, “seduced Eve,” yet a virgin, “by his subtilty,” or crafty wiles. “So your minds should be corrupted and fall from,” &c. The word “fall,” is not in the Greek. It has probably been inserted by the Latin interpreter, to make the meaning more evident. “Simplicity,” refers to their unadulterated faith and morals. It may also convey an allusion to the corruption by the serpent, of Eve, while yet a virgin. Every Christian soul is betrothed to Christ in baptism, and becomes his spouse; a number of souls, or a particular church, as also the Universal Church, form one Spouse of Christ. The virginity of this spouse is pure, unalloyed faith. Her marriage portion, the kingdom of heaven. The nuptials are prepared by faith, hope, and charity in this life, and consummated by vision and fruition in the life to come.

2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel, which you have not received: you might well bear with him.

4. For, in truth, if any new teacher coming amongst you, were to announce better tidings than those which have been announced by us—another Saviour, and a better one than we have announced—or if you were to receive, through his preaching, other and more excellent spiritual gifts than those imparted by us, or another gospel differing from ours and announcing better promises; you would, with some reason, bear with such a person, and admit his claims to a preference.

He shows how undeserving of preference the false teachers were before himself, since they taught nothing after entering on his labours that he himself had not taught already, nor could they impart any spiritual gift superior to those received through his preaching and ministry. “Preached another Christ.” In Greek, another JESUS.

2Co 11:5  For I suppose that I have done nothing less than the great apostles.

5. (But such is by no means the case), for, neither in works nor in doctrine do I regard myself as inferior I will not say, to the false teachers; but, to the chiefs, among the apostles of Christ.

“Some interpreters say, he refers ironically to the false teachers, whom he calls of the great Apostles,” All the ancient expositors, however, assert, that he refers to the chief among the Apostles of Christ, whom (Gal. 2) he calls “pillars.” With these, St. Paul places himself on a level here, because the glory of God and the good of his people required of him to do so, although (1 Cor 15:9) he speaks of himself in different terms, from a feeling of holy humility.

2Co 11:6  For although I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge: but in all things we have been made manifest to you.

6. For, granting, that in my use of the Greek tongue, I may be rude and inelegant, compared with these false teachers; still, I am by no means their inferior in the knowledge of divine things becoming an Apostle. But in all matters, both in word and work, we act openly and undisguisedly, without reserve or dissimulation with regard to you.

He admits that he was not so perfect a master of the Greek tongue, as the learned orators of Greece or the false teachers. The Greek word for “rude in speech,” ιδιωτης, means, not better versed in it than ordinary persons are. From this passage, it is disputed whether or not St. Paul was really deficient in language. St. Jerome and Origen state, that he was not eloquent, while St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom, on the contrary, assert that he was most eloquent; and it appears, he was regarded as such, at Lystra in Lycaonia (Acts, 14). He might not be gifted with eloquence and fluent facility in the use of the Greek tongue, which was borrowed from Pagan rhetoric; nor did he write Greek, probably, with the elegance of Demosthenes and others, or even of the false teachers; but, he was gifted with eloquence of a higher order—bold and masculine—which made Festus tremble on his throne, and made St. Augustine wish, among the four things he longed to see, to behold Paul preaching. “But in all things,” &c. In this he rebukes the false teachers for their dissimulation and hypocrisy. Everything in his conduct was candid and known to them all.

2Co 11:7  Or did I commit a fault, humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached unto you the Gospel of God freely?

7. Or, have I committed a fault which would lower me in your estimation, by humbling myself among you, in order, by this humiliation, to exalt you in the faith? Or, have I been guilty of any such fault by preaching the gospel amongst you, without any temporal recompense whatever?

This is intended as a reproach to the Corinthians for the unmerited preference shown the false teachers. He made great sacrifices, working at an humble, laborious trade, to exalt them in the faith, and he preached gratuitously. The contrary was the case with the false teachers, and in the language of bitter irony, he asks, was it this that lowered him in their esteem?

2Co 11:8  I have taken from other churches, receiving wages of them for your ministry.

8. Other churches I have distressed, owing to their great poverty, by receiving from them the necessary means of subsistence in order to minister to you.

He urges the second point regarding his gratuitous preaching, and reproaches them for their cupidity. He took the necessary means of support from poor churches, while engaged in the service of the Corinthians, who were so wealthy.

2Co 11:9  And, when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was wanting to me, the brethren supplied who came from Macedonia. And in all things I have kept myself from being burthensome to you: and so I will keep myself.

9. And when amongst you, although destitute of the necessaries of life, I was not a burthen to any of you; for, the necessary means of subsistence, which could not be fully supplied from my own manual labour, were furnished to me by the brethren who came from Macedonia. And in all things I have kept myself from being a charge to you, and I shall observe the same course in future.

“The brethren supplied.” He says, “supplied,” because from manual labour, at the trade of a tent maker, he partly derived the means necessary for support; the Macedonian brethren supplied what was further needed. He makes no express mention of manual labour; he merely refers to the generosity of the Macedonians, in order to stimulate the avaricious Corinthians to emulate them, and to show that independently of his own manual labour, he had a right to support as a minister of the gospel. He says, he shall receive nothing in future, lest it might be supposed that he referred to the matter in hopes of future remuneration.

2Co 11:10  The truth of Christ is in me, that this glorying shall not be broken off in me in the regions of Achaia.

10. I call the truth of Christ to witness, that this subject of boasting in having preached the gospel gratuitously, shall receive no interruption, either at Corinth, or even throughout all Achaia.

“This glorying,” viz., in preaching gratuitously.

2Co 11:11  Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth it.

11. Is this my resolve to receive nothing from you owing to any want of affection for you? I call God, the searcher of hearts, to witness the sincerity of my love for you.

It is not from want of affection for them, as persons who entertain mutual dislike decline presents, that he will not accept anything from them.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief summary of chapter 9 followed by his notes on verses 6-11. Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the verses he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF 2 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 9

After having commended the persons sent by him to receive their contributions, the Apostle now resumes the subject of alms-deeds. He says, it is superfluous to stimulate them to this holy work, as lie is well aware of their prompt and ready willingness in the matter. He confines himself to three qualities which should characterise their alms-deeds—viz., promptitude, generosity, and cheerfulness. He stimulates them to promptitude, by the consideration of his former boasting regarding them, and of the consequent cause of shame it would be, both to himself and them, if they were not prepared when he should arrive accompanied by some of the Macedonians (2–4). He employs the beautiful illustration of the sower who reaps according to the abundance of the seed which he sows, to stimulate their generosity (5, 6). He recommends the quality of cheerfulness in their almsgiving (7). Having recounted the conditions of alms-deeds, he meets a difficulty which the timorous fears of some might suggest—viz., that by the exercise of generous charity, they might themselves be reduced to want, and he shows the groundless nature of such fears Firstly, because God is able to supply their necessary wants, and also to furnish means of further charity (8). Secondly, because such is the ordinary dispensation of God’s Providence (9). And he illustrates this by the example of the master, who furnishes the husbandman with seed (10). Thirdly, by recounting the several advantages of alms-deeds.

2Co 9:6  Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings shall also reap blessings.

6. What I mean to convey is this: the man who dispenses charity sparingly, shall meet a recompense in the same proportion, and the man who dispenses it liberally and generously, shall also reap a proportionate, i.e., a liberal, recompense from God.

He says that the man who gives alms—which is meant by “sowing”—“sparingly,” “will reap,” i.e., will receive but a small reward, not trifling or small in itself, but in comparison with that which shall be received by him, who shall sow or dispense “in blessings,” i.e., plentifully and abundantly. Such a person will obtain an abundant reward.

2Co 9:7  Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

7. Let each person, however, contribute just according to his will and inclination; but let him do so cheerfully, and not as a man acting from reluctance or constraint, because God loves and remunerates a cheerful giver.

He now recommends this quality of cheerfulness in the giving of alms. With God, who sees the heart, no alms deeds are acceptable, unless given from a cheerful heart. Hence, St. Augustine says—if you give away your bread with sadness, you lose both your bread and its reward.

2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound in you: that ye always, having all sufficiently in all things, may abound to every good work,

8. (Let no groundless fears of personal want, resulting from the exercise of charity to the poor, deter you); for God is able to bestow upon you such an abundance of good gifts, that, having in all things, and at all times, an ample sufficiency, you may be fully equal to every good work of charity.

Having explained the conditions of alms-deeds, he now meets a difficulty, which the timid fears of some might suggest, viz., that if they were to contribute generously, they themselves might perhaps be reduced to want. He tells them to banish such groundless apprehensions; for, that God, who is generous to those who are themselves liberal, can make their substance prosper, so as to enable them to exercise without difficulty the works of charity.

2Co 9:9  As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever.

9. As we find it written in Psalm 111 regarding the just man:—Like a sower, he hath scattered his wealth, he liberally distributed it to the poor, his alms deeds remain in their effects, both for time and eternity.

He employs the authority of Sacred Scripture in banishing all such groundless fears. The same thing shall happen them, that is recorded of the just man (Psalm 112), of whom it is said, “he hath dispersed,” &c.—(See Paraphrase). “His justice,” by which is meant alms-deeds, to which the designation of “justice,” is applied in the Gospel (v.g.): “See, you do not your justice before men.”—(Matt 6.) “Remaineth for ever;” it remains in time, in the temporal benedictions and graces which it merits, and in eternity, in the glory with which it shall be abundantly rewarded.

2Co 9:10  And he that ministereth seed to the sower will both give you bread to eat and will multiply your seed and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice:

10. Therefore, banish all groundless fears, because God, who supplies you with the means of dispensing your charities, will also furnish you with the necessaries of life, and will even multiply your temporal substance which you dispense to the poor, and increase the spiritual fruits of your justice and sanctification.

He dispels their fears by recounting the rewards attached to almsgiving. God, who supplies them with temporal means (“the seed”), wherewith to relieve their distressed brethren, like the master who supplies the husbandman with seed to sow in his field, will supply them with food and the other necessaries of life; he will even multiply their “seed,” i.e., their temporal substance, and reward them in this life with graces, which are the seed of glory in the life to come. The ordinary course of God’s providence is to reward aims-deeds with temporal benedictions in this life, and whenever he departs from this course, as he sometimes does, it is for the trial and good of his elect, and for his own greater glory. The words “will multiply,” &c., are read optatively in the common Greek, χορηγησαι και πληθυναι, &c., may he, who … give and multiply, &c. According to this reading, the Apostle begs a blessing for them. The Vulgate reading in the future, χορηγησει, και πληθυνεῖ, &c., is, however, generally preferred by critics, on the authority of the chief MSS.

2Co 9:11  That being enriched in all things, you may abound unto all simplicity which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.

11. So that having become enriched in all kinds of blessings, you may be enabled to exercise the works of charity with cheerful generosity, which, on your part, affords us matter for returning thanks to God.

“You may abound unto all simplicity,” that is, be able to exercise heartfelt generosity from pure motives. The Apostle, in the preceding passage, in order the more effectually to dispel all feelings of diffidence from the minds of the Corinthians, promises them these two things which he had shown (verse 8) to be possible with God, and (verse 9) to be ordinarily given to the just, viz., sufficiency for support, and abundance for the purposes of charity; and this he illustrates by the example of the master who furnishes the husbandman with seed. For, as the master supplies seed to the tiller of the ground, and furnishes him with the necessaries of life, and, moreover, at harvest time, assigns to him a share in the harvest, by the multiplication of which he can sow more extensively at the coming spring; so, God who supplies the almsgiver with the seed, or means or dispensing charity, which he is to dispense to his own poor, will also supply him with the necessaries of life, and will multiply more and more his resources and means for the further sowing or dispensing of charity.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

This post includes Fr. Callan’s brief summary of 2 Cor 9:6-15 followed by his notes on the reading (verses 6-11).

EXHORTATION TO GENEROSITY

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 9:6-15~The Apostle is sending his delegates to Corinth beforehand, in order that the collection may be completed in advance of his own arrival; and yet he hopes haste may not in any way interfere with the generosity and willingness of the Corinthians. Accordingly, before closing this topic, he takes occasion briefly to exhort the faithful to give freely and generously, in view of their future recompense. God will reward their charity with greater benefits, both temporal and spiritual, because their bounty will not only relieve the necessities of those who receive of it, but will also glorify God. Wherefore the Apostle concludes with an act of thanksgiving to the heavenly Father.

6. Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings.

St. Paul now tells the Corinthians that as the harvest corresponds to the sowing, so their reward will be in proportion to their generosity in giving: he who gives little will receive little; he that gives much will likewise receive much. The reward, then, will be according to the work performed, as the doctrine of merit teaches.

7. Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: For God loveth a cheerful giver.

The alms must be given joyously.

As he hath determined. The Corinthians had already shown a willingness to make the collection (2 Cor 5:2; 2 Cor 8:10 ff), and St. Paul supposes that each one has fixed what he intends to give. Therefore let him give what he has determined, not with sadness, i.e., regretfully, or of necessity, i.e., unwillingly. To enforce his words the Apostle quotes the LXX of Prov 22:8, which literally runs as follows : “God loveth a man cheerful and a giver.” These words are an addition in the LXX; they are not in the Hebrew or in the Vulgate of Proverbs A similar sentence is found in Sirach 35:11.

8. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work,

St. Paul now begins to speak of the fruits of almsgiving. He who gives in charity ought not to fear want in his own case; for God is able to make him always abound in temporal blessings, so that he can take part in every work of beneficence.

All grace means here chiefly earthly blessings, but the term
is so comprehensive as to include also spiritual goods.

Sufficiency, i.e., the wherewith to help others.

9. As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever.

The Apostle confirms what he has just said by citing the LXX of Psalm 112:9. The just man scatters his gifts as the sower his grain, and his justice remaineth, etc., i.e., the remembrance of his good deeds will never be forgotten: his reward will await him hereafter. This is the most probable meaning of justice (δικαιοσυνη) here.

The saeculi of the Vulgate is not in the Greek.

10. And he that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice:

St. Paul now proves from a fact of experience that God will provide “sufficiency” (verse 8) for him who gives in charity.

And he that ministereth, etc. Better, “And he that ministereth seed to the sower and bread to eat, will also provide and multiply your seed,” etc. These words are a quotation from Isaiah 55:10. What the Prophet says of the rain from heaven, St. Paul applies to God’s ordinary Providence, which not only will enable the charitable man to give, but will also increase his temporal possessions, the fruits of his justice, i.e., the reward of his virtue.

11. That being enriched in all things, you may abound unto all simplicity, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.

That . . . you may abound (Vulg., ut . . . abundetis) is not represented in the Greek, which has simply: “Ye being enriched in all things unto all simplicity,” etc. The meaning of the verse is: “Your singleness of heart, your absence of all secondary and selfish motives, provides us with the means of alleviating the distresses of others, and thus elicits from them thanks to God out of the fulness of a grateful heart” (Lias).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

This post begins with Fr. Callan’s summary of 2 Cor 8:1-15 followed by his notes on verses 1-9.

THE COLLECTION AT CORINTH FOR THE POOR IN JERUSALEM

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15~In the second main part of this Epistle (2 Cor 8-9), which begins here, St. Paul discusses a difficult question, but with great tact and dexterity of language. He was deeply concerned with the collection for the poor of the Holy City to be made at Corinth, first, because the need was pressing. But there were also other considerations which weighed upon him in this matter. A generous collection at Corinth would not only be a special sign of unity between that Gentile Church and their Jewish brethren so far away, but it would also be an outstanding proof that the Apostle’s own authority had been thoroughly rehabilitated where but recently it had been questioned. Furthermore, how would his lingering adversaries at Corinth and his opponents at Jerusalem regard this collection?

These were some of the considerations which made St. Paul proceed cautiously with the subject in hand. He begins, therefore, by citing the example set by the Macedonian Churches. It was the great success of the collection there that moved him to send Titus to collect among the Corinthians; and he is sure that the faithful of Achaia are not less zealous than their poor neighbors, nor less mindful of the great truth that Christ became poor that they might be enriched. They who were among the first to begin the collection (2 Cor 8:10; 2 Cor 9:2) will not fail to complete it according to their means.

In 1 Cor 16:1-3 the Apostle had already spoken of this collection, and later, in his Epistle to the Romans (Rom 15:26-27), he again returns to it. From St. Luke (Acts 24:17) we know that the proceeds of the collection were finally taken to Jerusalem by St. Paul himself.

1. Now we make known unto you, brethren, the grace of God, that hath been given in the churches of Macedonia.

Now (δε) marks the transition to another topic, as does also brethren (αδελφοι). The Apostle assumes a more serious tone.

The grace of God, i.e., the effect of the grace of God, which was manifested in the liberality of the Macedonian Christians.

The churches of Macedonia which were at Philippi (Acts 16:12), Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), and Berea (Acts 17:10).

2. That in much experience of tribulation, they have had abundance of joy; and their very deep poverty hath abounded unto the riches of their simplicity.

The meaning here is that, though tried by many afflictions, the Macedonians experienced so much spiritual joy, and appreciated so keenly the needs of the poor from their own abject poverty (η κατα βαθους πτωχεια) , that they made a generous contribution with a simplicity, i.e., a single-mindedness (απλοτητος) , which considers only the necessities of others and the glory of God. There are two reasons assigned for the single-minded generosity of the Macedonians, namely, their spiritual joy and their own experience of dire poverty.

3. For according to their power (I bear them witness), and beyond their power, they were willing.
4. With much entreaty begging of us the grace and communication of the ministry that is done toward the saints.
5. And not as we hoped, but they gave their own selves first to the Lord, then to us by the will of God:

These three verses make one sentence in Greek. The meaning is that the Macedonians were not only willing to contribute to the collection, but they gladly gave beyond their means; and more than this, they earnestly entreated the Apostles that they might be allowed to share in the almsgiving to the poor in Jerusalem. Their generosity and willingness exceeded all expectations. And not only did they give beyond their means, but they put their own lives and persons at the disposal, first of Christ, then of His Apostles, being moved by the will, i.e., by the grace of God.

The grace and communication, etc., i.e., the favor to share in helping the poor Christians of Jerusalem.

6. Insomuch, that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so also he would finish among you this same grace.

Insomuch, that, etc. Better, “So much so that,” etc., i.e., the generosity of the Macedonians was so great that Paul and Timothy were encouraged to send Titus to Corinth to complete the collection which he had begun there earlier. On a previous occasion Titus had been sent to Corinth to start the collection. Perhaps it was the visit from which he had just returned, and which is again referred to in 2 Cor 12:18. It is, however, thought more probable by certain scholars that the present verse and 12:18 refer to a visit by Titus to Corinth prior to the sending of the painful letter and the consequent visit to observe its effects. They rightly observe that a mission to quiet a revolt could not well be associated with one to collect money.

This same grace, i.e., grace of contributing towards the poor.

7. That as in all things you abound in faith, and word, and knowledge, and all carefulness; moreover also in your charity towards us, so in this grace also you may abound.

Beginning his exhortation to the Corinthians (verses 7-15) the Apostle reminds them of their faith, their knowledge, their charity, etc., and he says if they so excel in these virtues, they ought also to be conspicuous for their liberality towards the poor.

Faith means the theological virtue by which we believe God’s revelation.

Word . . . knowledge. See on 1 Cor 1:5.

Carefulness, i.e., earnestness (σπουδη) in the practice of their faith.

In your charity towards us. Better, “In the charity you have from us,” i.e., in the charity we have awakened in you.

So in this, etc. (ινα και εν). The ινα here is perhaps imperative in meaning, as in 1 Cor 7:29; Eph 5:33; Gal 2:10, etc., and the sense is: Since you abound in those other virtues, see that you abound also in this grace of giving to the poor.

8. I speak not as commanding; but by the carefulness of others, approving also the good disposition of your charity.

The Apostle observes that he is not commanding the faithful, but only reminding them of the carefulness of others, i.e., of the earnestness of the Macedonians, and is thus approving, i.e., testing, the good disposition, etc., i.e., the sincerity of their love.

The ingenium of the Vulgate is likely a copyist’s error for ingenuum (Gr.,  γνωσει, sincerity) .

9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich he became poor, for your sakes; that through his poverty you might be rich.

It was not necessary to command those to be generous who knew, as did the Corinthians, how our Lord Jesus Christ left the riches of heaven and the bosom of His Eternal Father (John 16:28; John 17:5) and became poor (Matt 8:20), in order that they might be made rich with the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8). If Christ made such a great sacrifice for the Corinthians, surely they will make a sacrifice for their poor brethren.

This verse offers a very clear proof of the Divinity of Christ.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2013

THE APOSTLES IN THEIR MANNER OF LIFE IMITATE THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 6:1-10~In verse 20 of the preceding chapter St. Paul had exhorted the Corinthians, especially those who were not yet Christians, to be reconciled to God. He now extends that exhortation directly to the faithful who, while they have received God’s friendship, must be careful not to lose it, if they wish to be saved. They have before them the life of the Apostles, who, in their way of living, in the virtues they practice, and in the vicissitudes they encounter, never allow themselves to be disturbed or moved from their faithfulness.

1. And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain.

And we helping, etc. Better, “But we co-operating” (συνεργουντες δε), i.e., we Apostles, working together with God (cf. 2 Cor 5:20), do exhort, i.e., do entreat, that you remember your obligation of being faithful to the grace which God has given you in converting you from paganism to Christianity.

2. For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

This verse is parenthetical. Citing the LXX of Isaiah 49:8 the Apostle now gives a reason why the Corinthians should heed his exhortation without delay.

For he saith, i.e., God says in Isaiah, etc. The Prophet represents God as addressing His Servant, the Messiah, and through Him His people, assuring Him that His prayers and labors for the salvation of mankind have been heard. Commenting briefly on the words quoted, the Apostle says that the Messianic time spoken of by the Prophet has come, and that therefore everyone should profit by the graces now given, because, if they are abused, there will be no hope of salvation, since another Messiah shall not come. “We must labor now, while still the eleventh hour is left” (St. Chrys.).

3. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed:

After the parenthesis in verse 2 the thought goes back to verse 1, and giving no offence, etc., follows immediately upon we helping, etc. (verse 1). Hence the sense is: The Apostles, St. Paul and his companions, give no offence in anything (εν μηδενι), i.e., they avoid everything in the exercise of their ministry, and in their dealings with men, that might bring any blemish on their profession and thus keep people from the Gospel. If a preacher of the Gospel leads a life that is out of harmony with his preaching, he gives occasion to men of despising the sacred ministry.

That our ministry. Better, “That the ministry,” etc.

The nemini of the Vulgate should be in nullo.

4. But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses,
5. In stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings,

But in all things let us exhibit, etc., should be, according to the Greek: “But in everything commending ourselves,” etc. St. Paul is continuing the description of the Apostles’ conduct, as in verses 1 and 3.

Ministers (Vulg., ministros) is nominative in Greek (διακονια), agreeing with the subject of the clause, (we) commending, etc., and the sense is: The Apostles, as ministers of God, commending themselves in much patience, etc.

In much patience, etc., i.e., by much patience, the preposition  εν (“in”) being used to indicate instrumentality. Nine classes of things which tried the patience of the Apostles are now mentioned in these two verses; the first three are general, the others particular. Of the last six, three came unsought from without, three are voluntarily assumed.

Tribulations . . . necessities . . . distresses, i.e., a gradation of evils, increasing in pressure.

Stripes refers to the scourgings or beatings of 2 Cor 11:23-25; Acts 16:23.

Prisons. We are told of only one imprisonment of St. Paul previous to this letter, and that was at Philippi, but there must have been others (2 Cor 11:23).

In seditions, i.e., in tumults (Acts 19:23 ff.).

In labours, etc. The Apostle now mentions three classes of troubles which were voluntarily undertaken. Labours, i.e., things that cause weariness and fatigue; watchings, i.e., things interfering with sleep, such as traveling, praying, anxiety and the like; fastings, i.e., voluntary abstinences from food and drink. For other New Testament references to fasting and its lawfulness,
see 2 Cor 11:27; Matt 4:2; Matt 9:15; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:22.

6. In chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned,
7. In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand and on the left;

From the ways in which patience was especially exercised the Apostle now passes to nine other practices by which he and his companions commended themselves and their ministry.

In chastity, i.e., in general purity of soul and holiness of life.

In knowledge, i.e., in the wisdom of the Gospel, or in the practice of religious truth, or in prudence.

In long-suffering, i.e., in forebearance of injuries.

In sweetness, i.e., in kindness towards others.

In the Holy Ghost. This likely means that the Holy Spirit is the source of the foregoing virtues, and He is mentioned, like the “power of God” below, as the closing member of a series.

The word of truth perhaps does not refer to the Gospel, but to the general sincerity of the Apostles’ utterances.

The power of God, i.e., the special divine assistance which accompanied the whole Apostolic ministry, and which was particularly manifested in the miracles of the Apostles.

By the armour of justice, etc. The preposition changes here from εν (“in”) to δια (“by”). The Apostle probably means that he and his companions made use of all the weapons of justice, or of righteousness, having on the right hand weapons of offence, i.e., virtues by which justice is promoted, and on the left weapons of defense, i.e., virtues by which justice is maintained.

8. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known;
9. As dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed;
10. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.

In a series of antitheses St. Paul now shows how, under all conditions of life, he and his companions conducted themselves as became their high office and ministry. No external condition could make them unfaithful to their duty. When they were honored by God, they were not puffed up; when dishonored by their enemies, they were not discouraged. In their practice of virtue they were not influenced by reports bad or good. Although called deceivers by their enemies, they ever spoke the truth; although they were said to be unknown and insignificant teachers, they were known throughout the Church (1 Cor 13:12; 1 Cor 14:38). While they were always in a dying state, i.e., exposed to death (2 Cor 4:10-11), they were constantly being revived spiritually; while they were chastised, i.e., chastened by God, they were preserved from death (iv. 8 ff.). Their enemies regarded them as sorrowful, but they were in reality filled with joy (Acts 5:41 ff.). They were derided as paupers and beggars, but they were all the while enriched with the treasures of grace (1 Cor 1:5; cf. Mark 10:27-30).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, liturgy, Notes on 2 Corinthians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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