The Divine Lamp

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Archive for May 7th, 2017

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15~In the second main part of this Epistle (viii-ix), 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; 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.

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

Now (δὲ  = de) marks the transition to another topic, as does also brethren (ἀδελφοί, = adelphoi). 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 Cor 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.

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 (ἡ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία = kata bathous he ptocheia) , that they made a generous contribution with a simplicity, i.e., a single-mindedness (ἁπλότητος = haplotetos) , 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.

2 Cor 8:3. For according to their power (I bear them witness), and beyond their power, they were willing.
2 Cor 8:4. With much entreaty begging of us the grace and communication of the ministry that is done toward the saints.
2 Cor 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:

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.

2 Cor 8:6. 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 2Cor 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.

2 cor 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.

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 (σπουδῇ  = spoude) 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. (ἵνα καὶ ἐν  = hina kai en). The ἵνα (hina) 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.

2 Cor 8:8. 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., γνήσιον = gnesion, sincerity) .

2 Cor 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.

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; 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.

2 Cor 8:10. And herein I give my advice; for this is profitable for you, who have begun not only to do, but also to be willing, a year ago.

My advice, i.e., my counsel (verse 8).

For this is profitable, i.e., to complete the collection begun before will enrich them with many spiritual blessings. Only counsel is needed for those who are both willing and have already begun.

Have begun to do (ποιῆσαι = poiesai) refers to the readiness with which the Corinthians on a former occasion began the collection, but which was soon broken up by dissensions and party strifes.

To be willing (θέλειν = thelein) expresses the disposition still abiding in the present to carry on the work begun previously.

A year ago can hardly mean that twelve months had intervened since the writing of 1 Cor. 16:2, because that Epistle
was written in the spring, and 2 Cor. followed very probably in the succeeding autumn. Perhaps the collection had been decided on sometime before 1 Cor. xvi. 2 was written ; or St. Paul might have been reckoning according to the Macedonian year which, like the Jewish civil year may have begun in autumn. In this latter supposition a year ago would mean last year.

2 Cor 8:11. Now therefore perform ye it also in deed; that as your mind is forward to be willing, so it may be also to perform, out of that which you have.

Knowing their abiding dispositions to help, St. Paul now tells the Corinthians to carry their wishes into effect and complete the collection according to their means. He does not ask them to go beyond their means, as did the Macedonians (verse 3).

2 Cor 8:12. For if the will be forward, it is accepted according to that which a man hath, not according to that which he hath not.

If the will be forward, etc., i.e., if the readiness be there, a man’s alms are acceptable to God according to his means; God does not require one to give more than he can afford. It is the disposition with which one gives, more than what is given, that counts before the Lord (Mark 12:41 ff. ; Luke 21:2 ff.).

2 Cor 8:13. For I mean not that others should be eased, and you burthened, but by an equality.

The meaning here is that St. Paul does not wish the poor in Jerusalem to be relieved by impoverishing the Corinthians, but that there should be some sort of equality between the one and the other. The implication is that the faithful of Corinth were in good circumstances as compared with those of the Holy City.

2 Cor 8:14. In this present time let your abundance supply their want, that their abundance also may supply your want, that there may be an equality.

There are two interpretations of the second part of this verse; namely, that the Palestinian Christians were to give the
Corinthians present spiritual help in return for material assistance, and so establish equality among them (Cornely, MacR., Sales, Rick., and most Catholics) ; or that sometime in the future, when the Corinthians are in temporal need the faithful of Palestine will come to their aid with material means and thus compensate them for what they are now asked to give (Maier, Rambaud, Plummer and most non-Catholics). An argument for the latter opinion might be gathered from the following verse, which gives an instance of equality in material things.

2 Cor 8:15. As it is written: He that had much, had nothing over; and he that had little, had no want.

The Apostle now cites a passage from Exod. 16:18, according to the LXX, which in this instance agrees with the Hebrew, to illustrate how there should be equality in temporal goods among the Christians, just as of old God so distributed the manna in the desert that all had what was necessary, superfluities being made to supply needs. Those who gathered more manna than others had not in the end more than they needed, while the others had all that they required.


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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:8-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 7:8-16~St. Paul knew that his recent letter had caused the Corinthians great sorrow; nevertheless he says that this salutary sadness is now the cause of greater joy. Their sorrow was not of a worldly kind, but according to God, as is evident from the fruits it has borne. This was the end the Apostle had in view when he wrote that severe letter, and therefore he is now comforted. The joy experienced by Titus among the Corinthians has
also added to the Apostle’s comfort, and has justified all that he had said to his envoy in their praise. Titus loves them much, and the Apostle trusts them in everything.

2 Cor 7:8. For although I made you sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent; and if I did repent, seeing that the same epistle (although but for a time) did make you sorrowful;

By my epistle. Literally, “In the letter,” i.e., in the letter he wrote. This again (cf. 2 Cor 2:3, 4, 9) seems to be an allusion to the lost letter of severity which was written after 1 Cor., because it is very hard to see anything in our First Corinthians that could have caused the Apostle so much sorrow and regret as he expresses in this verse and in the other passages of this Epistle just referred to.

The punctuation and connection of clauses in this verse, as well as the reading of the last clause of it, cause not a little confusion. If we put a full stop after the first clause and a comma after the last, perhaps our English version has the best rendering of the verse, thus: “For although I made you sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent. And if I did repent, seeing that the same epistle (although but for a time) did make you sorrowful, now I am glad,” etc. (verse 9). This rendering agrees almost exactly with that of Lachmann, Tisch., W. H., Comely, MacR., Rick., etc. It gives very good sense, and hence the Vulgate ought likely to be corrected so as to agree with it.

I do not repent, now that I learn through Titus how much good the letter produced. Before meeting his legate and learning from him the fruits of his severe letter, St. Paul did repent having sent it.

2 Cor 7:9. Now I am glad: not because you were made sorrowful; but because you were made sorrowful unto penance. For you were made sorrowful according to God, that you might suffer damage by us in nothing.

According to God, i.e., according to the will of God (Rom. 8:27), as God would have you sorrowful, namely, unto spiritual profit.

Might suffer damage, etc., i.e., by our silence and neglect. It was God’s will that the Corinthians should suffer a passing temporal sorrow in order to escape eternal loss.

2 Cor 7:10. For the sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

The salutary effect of sorrow according to God is now explained. Such sorrow springs from the love of God and produces penance steadfast, etc., i.e., penance that is not repented of (ἀμεταμέλητον = ametameleton), but endures unto salvation.

Steadfast (Vulg., stabilem) is therefore to be connected with penance, and not with salvation, for it is absurd to speak of regretting or repenting of salvation (against MacR.).

The sorrow of the world, i.e., sorrow that comes from worldly considerations and from an attachment to earthly things without regard for God. Sorrow of this kind leads to eternal death, while spiritual sorrow tends to eternal life.

2 Cor 7:11. For behold this selfsame thing, that you were made sorrowful according to God, how great carefulness it worketh in you; yea defence, yea indignation, yea fear, yea desire, yea zeal, yea revenge: in all things you have shewed yourselves to be undefiled in the matter.

The Corinthians are a definite illustration of the good results of sorrow that is according to God. What great carefulness, i.e., earnestness (σπουδήν = spouden) it wrought in them, as opposed to their previous indifference and neglect in not punishing the offender. It produced a defence, i.e., a clearing of themselves (ἀπολογίαν = apologian) before Titus, and so indirectly before St. Paul, of any sympathy with the sinner (ii. 5). It caused indignation at his crime; it caused fear of the Apostle’s punishment, desire, i.e., a longing, for his visit, zeal, i.e., a wish to punish the offender, and revenge, i.e., an actual avenging of the crime of the offender.

In all things, etc., i.e., in all these ways just mentioned you have shown yourselves to be guiltless in the matter of the sinful man. That the offender referred to here and in 2 Cor 2:5 was the incestuous man of 1 Cor. 5:1 ff. is by no means certain, or even probable for those who hold the hypothesis of a lost letter between 1 and 2 Cor. The phrase ἁγνοὺς εἶναι ἐν τῷ πράγματι (= hagous en to pragmati) means nothing more than “to be guiltless of an unpleasant affair.”

2 Cor 7:12. Wherefore although I wrote to you, it was not for his sake that did the wrong, nor for him that suffered it; but to manifest our carefulness that we have for you.

Although I wrote to you, etc. The painful letter written between 1 and 2 Cor. is again referred to, according to the
modern opinion, which seems more probable to us. It was not so much for the sake of the offender (2 Cor 2:5), nor for the sake of the one who suffered the offence, namely, St. Paul himself, in the opinion we adopt, that the severe letter was written; but to manifest, etc., i.e., to show our zeal and solicitude for your spiritual welfare; or, according to an equally good reading, to make manifest among you in the sight of God the earnestness and zeal you have for us.

2 Cor 7:13. Before God : therefore we were comforted. But in our consolation, we did the more abundantly rejoice for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

Before God. These words belong to the preceding verse, and should be followed by a full stop. They show the sincerity of the Apostle’s solicitude for the Corinthians, and the great consolation he experienced at the good report of Titus. But besides the comfort of meeting Titus, he experienced a special joy at seeing his legate so full of gladness. Titus had gone to Corinth distressed in spirit, not knowing what he might encounter there, but to his surprise, he was and is refreshed and rejoiced by the docility and loyalty of all the Corinthians.

By you all, i.e., by the majority that inflicted the punishment on the offender (2 Cor 2:5), and also by that ultra-loyal minority that thought the punishment inflicted should have been greater (see on 2 Cor 2:6).

2 Cor 7:14. And if I have boasted anything to him of you, I have not been put to shame; but as we have spoken all things to you in truth, so also our boasting that was made to Titus is found a truth.

And if. Rather, “For if” (ὅτι εἴ = hoti ei). The Apostle explains why he rejoiced. He has praised the Corinthians to Titus, and now Titus has seen that the praise was deserved.

As we have spoken all things to you, etc., i.e., both when speaking to them, and when speaking about them the Apostle is found to be true, i.e., sincere.

2 Cor 7:15. And his bowels are more abundantly towards you; remembering the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him.

His bowels are, etc., i.e., his affections go out to you. This shows the good effect produced in Titus. The affection of his heart goes out to the Corinthians as he recalls their docility and obedience, which were manifested in the fear and trembling with which they greeted him and were ready to do all that he desired. The Apostle regards as done to himself what was done to his legate.

The in vobis of the Vulgate should be erga vos, to agree with the Greek.

2 Cor 7:16. I rejoice that in all things I have confidence in you.

The Apostle’s closing words are calculated to conciliate the Corinthians towards Titus and towards himself, and form a fitting introduction to the plea for charity which is made in the next two chapters. Shortly he will send Titus back to Corinth to look after the collection for the poor in Jerusalem (2 Cor 8:6), and he is encouraged (θαρρῶ  = tharro) to trust the Corinthians in everything.

Here ends the first main division of this Epistle.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:2-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


2 Cor 7:2. Receive us. We have injured no man, we have corrupted no man, we have overreached no man.

Receive us. Rather, “Make room for us” (Χωρήσατε ἡμᾶς· = choresate hemas) in your hearts (cf. Matt. 19:11, 12). The reason why the Corinthians ought to open their hearts to the Apostle is given forthwith: he has done them no wrong.

We have injured no man in the exercise of our ministry, we have corrupted no man by teaching false doctrine, we have overreached no man by seeking to enrich ourselves in the preaching of the Gospel. The Apostle is doubtless hinting at the accusations made against him at Corinth, and perhaps also at the practices of the false teachers.

2 Cor 7:3. I speak not this to your condemnation. For we have said before, that you are in our hearts, to die together, and to live together.

I speak not this, etc. Literally, “I speak not to condemn you.” The Apostle is not blaming anyone, but only defending himself.
We have said before, etc. Rather, “I said before,” etc. He had expressed his deep affection for the Corinthians before (2 Cor 1:6; 3:2; 4:12; 6:11, 12).

To die together, etc., probably means that he is willing to share either death or life with them; or that neither death nor life can separate them from the love of his heart.

In the Vulgate praediximus should be praedixi, and vestram should be omitted.

2 Cor 7:4. Great is my confidence for you, great is my glorying for you. I am filled with comfort: I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation.

Confidence means rather “boldness of speech” (παρρησία = parresia), as in 2 Cor 3:12.

Glorying, i.e., boasting. The Apostle perhaps means to say that he is very frank in dealing with the Corinthians, and full of boasting when speaking to others about them; or that he has such confidence in them that he gives way to external boasting in their regard.

I am filled with comfort, etc., i.e., the good news brought from Corinth by Titus filled the Apostle with comfort and joy in spite of all his tribulations at the time. What some of these tribulations were he now proceeds to indicate.

2 Cor 7:5. For also when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we suffered all tribulation; combats without, fears within.

In order to explain the situation in which the good news brought by Titus found him, St. Paul now takes up the narrative broken off at 2 Cor 2:13. Having come to Troas from Ephesus sooner than was originally planned the Apostle did not find Titus there, as had been arranged. So anxious was he to meet his legate and learn of Corinthian conditions that he tarried not at Troas, but went immediately to Macedonia. Even there, however, he had no rest, suffering combats without, i.e., external opposition, perhaps from the Jews, pagans, and false brethren; and fears within, i.e., mental distress, caused by his uncertainty of the Corinthian situation, and probably also by the hostility around him.

2 Cor 7:6. But God, who comforteth the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

The humble, i.e., the low-spirited (ταπεινοὺς = tapeinous), those cast down by sorrow, depression and the like, but who trust in God (1 Peter 5:5).

The coming of Titus from Corinth, whither St. Paul had dispatched him to observe the effects of the previous letter.

2 Cor 7:7. And not by his coming only, but also by the consolation, wherewith he was comforted in you, relating to us your desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced the more.

St. Paul was rejoiced not only by the arrival of Titus, but especially by the comfort he manifested in telling of Corinthian conditions.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 6:11-18~St. Paul now begs the Corinthians to exhibit towards him the great love which he has shown them. And since charity is proved by deeds, he admonishes them to shun the vices of paganism, so repugnant to the sanctity of Christianity. They who have God for their father ought to keep themselves clean from all defilement.

2 Cor 6:11. Our mouth is open to you, O ye Corinthians, our heart is enlarged.

Before giving the severe admonition that follows in verses 14-18, the Apostle explains (verses 11-13) why he has spoken so freely to the Corinthians (verses 3-10) of the labors and sufferings of himself and his companions. It is because he loves them. His heart is enlarged towards them, and he speaks freely and frankly, as a friend to a friend. In spite of their treatment of him, his heart goes out to them.

O ye Corinthians is simply “Corinthians” in Greek. This is the only place in which he addresses them by name (cf. Gal. 3:1; Phil 4:15).

2 Cor 6:12. You are not straitened in us, but in your own bowels you are straitened.

You are not straitened in us, but in your, etc., i.e., there is plenty of room for you in my big heart; but in your heart there is no room for me; you are too full of suspicion and resentment.

Bowels here includes the heart, lungs and liver, rather than the bowels proper. The expressions heart and bowels both meant the seat of the affections (Plum.).

2 Cor 6:13. But having the same recompense, (I speak as to my children), be you also enlarged.

Having is not in the Greek. The sense of the verse is: By way of exchange … let your heart also be enlarged, i.e., reciprocate my love for you.

My children. The term here employed, τέκνοις (=teknois), is more affectionate than υἱόί (= huioi). Children should love their parents. The Apostle now returns to the thought of verse 1, and he tells the Corinthians practically how they can prove their fidelity to God and their love towards himself.

In the Vulgate habentes should be omitted.

2 Cor 6:14. Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?

Verses 14-18-vii. 1 are regarded by some Rationalists as an interpolation, or as belonging to a lost letter of St. Paul’s. See Introduction, III.

Bear not the yoke. Rather, “Bear not unequal yoke” (ἑτεροζυγοῦντες = heterozygountes). There is an allusion here to Deut. 22:10, where it is forbidden to yoke animals of a different kind: “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” The Apostle means that believers and unbelievers belong to different classes, and should not, therefore, have fellowship, one with the other; that is, Christian justice, i.e., righteousness (δικαιοσύνῃ = dikaiosyne), should not be mingled with pagan injustice, i.e., iniquity or lawlessness (ἀνομίᾳ = anomia); neither should light, i.e., the teachings of Christianity, be joined to the darkness, i.e., the ignorance, of paganism.

In the Vulgate jugum should be modified by inaequale, to agree with the Greek.

2 Cor 6:15. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?

Belial is usually read Beliar. It is a Hebrew word meaning, primarily, uselessness or worthlessness; its secondary meaning is extreme wickedness. Thus it was understood in the Old Testament (Deut. 13:13; Nahum 1:15; Job 34:18); but toward the dawn of the Christian era it came to be a designation for Satan. So the Fathers commonly interpret it.

2 Cor 6:16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith : I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The Apostle now says that Christians are the temple of God, and that they therefore should not suffer themselves to be profaned and desecrated by heathen vices and profanations.

You are the temple, etc., should be “We are the temple,” etc., according to the best MSS.

To prove that Christians are the temple of God St. Paul quotes the LXX of Lev. 26:12 with slight variation, and with a recollection of Ezek 37:27. The words quoted were originally spoken of God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34), but the divine dwelling is far more perfect among Christians (1 Cor. iii. 16; vi. 19; Eph. ii. 21). The Apostle is emphasizing God’s fidelity to His Christian people.

The Vulgate vos estis should read nos sumus, in accordance with the best Greek.

2 Cor 6:17. Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing:

Wherefore, Go out, etc. The meaning is that Christians must be separated at once and decisively from the corrupt practices and lives of the heathen. The quotation is freely from the LXX of Isa 52:11, which literally was an exhortation to the Jews to leave Babylon as soon as the captivity was ended, and to hold themselves aloof from the contamination of paganism.

2 Cor 6:18. And I will receive you; and I will be a Father to you; and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

This verse appears to be a combination of several passages of the Old Testament. The substance of it is found in Jer. 32:37, 38; 31:9; Deut. 14:1, 2; 32:6, 9. The Apostle is pointing out God’s fatherly care of all the faithful. The mention of daughters shows how all- embracing is this divine solicitude, and is especially intended to give woman, so degraded at Corinth, her proper and dignified place in the Christian family.


2 Cor 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.

As heirs to the glorious promises just mentioned (2 Cor 6:16-18) Christians should cleanse themselves from every kind of defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, i.e., they should be free from all impurity, gluttony, pride, idolatry and the like (1 Cor. vii. 34), in order to perfect the sanctification begun in Baptism.

In the fear of God. Christians cannot avoid sins of the flesh and of the spirit, neither can they attain to perfect holiness of life, unless they have a salutary fear of God. “Love begets security, which sometimes causes negligence, but he who fears is always solicitous” (St. Thomas).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 5:14-21~After saying that the Apostles direct all their actions to the glory of God and the good of souls, St. Paul indicates more specifically the moving power of the Apostolic life, namely, the love of Christ, who, by His example in dying for all men, invites all to embrace a new life, in which they shall live for Him alone who alone died for them. The Apostles are living this new life, and hence they now judge all things by the standard of faith. This grace they have received from the Father, who has not only reconciled them to Himself, but has also called them to the Apostolic ministry; they are ministers of Christ for the purpose of leading all men to Christ, who was made sin that we might be made just.

2 Cor 5:14. For the charity of Christ presseth us: judging this, that if one died for all, then all were dead.

The charity of Christ, i.e., the love Christ has towards us (Rom. 5:5, 8).

Presseth (συνέχει = synechei), i.e., restricts us from turning to objects other than the service of God and of our neighbor. And the reason for this is that since Christ died for all men, for the salvation of all, therefore all have died in Him, i.e., have participated in His death, sharing in its merits, so far as Christ is concerned. The death of Christ is considered equivalent to the death of all men, as a substitute for that of all.

That if one died for all. Better, “That one died for all.”

Then all were dead. Better, “Then all died” (ἀπέθανον· = apethanon), i.e., all participated in Christ’s death, Christ having died vicariously for all. This is by far the most probable interpretation of this passage. See on Rom. vi. 2 ff.

In the Vulgate quoniam si should be simply quod.

2 Cor 5:15. And Christ died for all; that they also, who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.

Christ should be omitted. The verse is closely connected with the preceding. Christ died for all, that all, having shared in His death, should now die to themselves, and live to Him in the new life of grace begun at Baptism.

They also, who live. This more probably refers to those who live the life of grace; not to all men on earth.

And rose again. See on Rom. 4:25; 5:9, 10.

In the Vulgate Christus should be omitted.

2 Cor 5:16. Wherefore henceforth, we know no man according to the flesh. And if we have known Christ according to the flesh; but now we know him so no longer.

The connection between this verse and what precedes is very close and intelligible, although some have thought that it breaks the argument, and must therefore be a subsequent insertion. There is no doubt about its authenticity. Since Christians should live now only for Christ and for others in Him, it follows that the Apostles henceforth, i.e., from their conversion, when they began to live the new, spiritual life, looked upon and judged men, not according to human standards and natural considerations, but according to the standards of faith and the life of grace.

And if we have known Christ, etc. Better, “Even if” (εἰ καὶ = ei kai with B א D) we have known Christ,” i.e., if before our conversion we considered Christ as a mere man, even as an impostor, it is not so any longer: now we recognize Him as the true Son of God, as the Lord and Saviour of all. There is no question in this verse of a personal acquaintance between St. Paul and Christ while our Lord was on earth.

2 Cor 5:17. If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.

The change in the Apostles, which the preceding verse describes, is now extended to all Christians. If any man be
in Christ, through Baptism, he has become a new creature, morally and spiritually (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 2:10, 15 ; Col. 3:9, 10).

The old things, etc., i.e., unregenerate man with his perverse inclinations and sins, are passed away, i.e., no longer exist.

They are made new, i.e., the whole man belongs to a new order.

All things (Vulg., omnia) should be omitted, according to the best Greek.

2 Cor 5:18. But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.

This great change and complete renovation is from God, the Father, who sent His Son into the world to redeem us Christians and reconcile us to Himself by means of the sacrifice of the cross, and who has given to us, i.e., to us Apostles, the appointment of continuing the work of Christ. That the first us of this verse refers to all men is clear from the world of verse 19; and that the second us means the Apostles is also clear from in us of verse 19.

2 Cor 5:19. For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation.

The thought of the preceding verse is amplified and explained.

For God indeed. Better, “God, as it were” (ὡς ὅτι Θεὸς  = hos hoti theos). God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, i.e., through Christ, in virtue of Christ’s merits, (a) by wiping out men’s sins, for which Christ atoned (1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 1:14, 22), and (b) by confiding to the Apostles the office of preaching the Gospel, of administering the Sacraments, etc.

In the Vulgate quoniam quidem would better be ut quod (Estius).

2 Cor 5:20. For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God.

In consequence of the ministry confided to the Apostles they were ambassadors of Christ, announcing in the name of Christ the message of the Father to the world.

We beseech you, etc., to be converted to God, implying that some of his readers were in need of reconciliation with God.

2 Cor 5:21. Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him.

To move those who were in need of repentance the Apostle recalls how much God has done for men. In order that we might be redeemed from our sins and justified, God hath made, etc., i.e., has treated His only Son, who was sinless, as if He were sin itself (Rom. 8:3); “He suffered Him to be condemned as a sinner, and to die as one accursed” (St. Chrys.). It is improbable that the meaning here is that Christ was made a victim for sin, as is clear from the antithesis between sin and justice; Christ was made a sinner as far as this was consistent with His entire sanctity, i.e., He took upon Himself our sins (Isa. 53:6) and suffered for them (MacR.).

Be made the justice, i.e., be justified, in him, i.e., by reason of our union with Him, who is our head. Our sins were external to Christ, who nevertheless suffered for them; but the justice of God, i.e., real internal sanctity, is communicated to us through the merits of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 1:14, 22).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:11-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 5:11-13~Having spoken so plainly of the lofty motives which guide his life and actions the Apostle might suspect that his enemies would again accuse him of boasting (cf. 2 Cor 3:1). But he has written
thus, not to commend himself, but that the faithful may understand him and may know how to reply to those who calumniate him. He and his companions have labored only for the faithful and for God.

2 Cor 5:11. Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we use persuasion to men; but to God we are manifest. And I trust also that in your consciences we are manifest.

The fear of the Lord, i.e., the fear inspired by the thought of the judgment to come.

We use persuasion to men, etc. The Apostle means that he and his companions had to use persuasion to convince men of their integrity, and thus further the work of the Gospel; but to God their sincerity was manifest. He trusts that the Corinthians have ceased to mistrust him, at least in their consciences, if not always in their actions, and that they now see him as God sees him.

2 Cor 5:12. We commend not ourselves again to you, but give you occasion to glory in our behalf; that you may have somewhat to answer them who glory in face and not in heart.

We commend not ourselves again, etc. Better, “We are not again commending ourselves to you.” From what the
Apostle has just been saying the Corinthians must not think him boastful again (2 Cor 5:1); for what he has said was only for the purpose of giving them something to use against the false teachers, who glory in face, etc., i.e., who have the appearance of Apostolic virtues without the reality (Cornely), who boast of their exclusive privileges, their descent from Abraham, and the like, but are seriously wanting in the interior graces of true Apostles.

2 Cor 5:13. For whether we be transported in mind, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for you.

For whether we be transported in mind. Better, “For whether we were beside ourselves” (εἴτε γὰρ ἐξέστημεν = eite gar exestemen) , i.e., whether you thought we were mad when we spoke of our graces and privileges, it was for God’s glory; or whether you think we are at other times in our right mind, it is for your spiritual welfare.
Whatever the Apostles did was for God’s glory and for the benefit of the Corinthians.

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