The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2017

WHY THE APOSTLE HAS WRITTEN THIS DEFENSE OF HIMSELF

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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