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

Archive for May 12th, 2017

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:7-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 11:7-15~Although St. Paul had a right to temporal support from the faithful, he willingly surrendered this for the sake of greater reward and greater success in his preaching (1 Cor. 9:1-18). The false teachers, however, observed the contrary practice. They not only took support from the faithful, but they pointed to St. Paul’s way of acting as unbecoming an Apostle and as a sign that he was not a true Apostle. Beginning, therefore, to show, not only his equality with his adversaries, but his vast superiority to them, the Apostle recalls first to the Corinthians the integrity of his life among them. He then goes on to say that he will continue to preach the Gospel gratis in Achaia, so that his enemies will not be able to boast at least this equality with him; they are not true Apostles anyway, but ministers of Satan.

2 Cor 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?

The Apostle now asks if he was blameworthy in working for his support at his own humble handicraft (1 Cor. 4:12; Acts 18:3), in order to be of no expense to the faithful while preaching the Gospel to them.

That you might be exalted, i.e., that you might be raised from the depths of paganism to the sanctity of faith and grace, and to the dignity of Christianity.

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

Here St. Paul says that, in addition to working with his own hands while at Corinth, he took, literally, robbed (ἐσύλησα = esylesa), from other churches, i.e., he allowed the Churches of Macedonia to give him more than they could well afford towards helping his work among the Corinthians. Thus his mission to Achaia was supported partly by his own labor, partly by assistance received from Macedonia.

For your ministry, i.e., for my work among you.

2 Cor 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.

Wanted, i.e., he was in want.

The brethren, i.e., Silas and Timothy (Acts 18:1, 5).

And so I will keep myself shows the Apostle’s approval of his past practice and his determination to continue it for the future in Achaia.

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

The Apostle appeals to his own sincerity, which is grounded on the truth of Christ within him, that he will never permit anything to hinder, literally, block (φραγήσεται = phragesetai) , his boasting that he was not a temporal burden to the faithful of Achaia.

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

St. Paul’s enemies had likely said that he did not accept temporal assistance from the Corinthians because he did not like them well enough to wish to be under obligations to them. The truth was that he wished them to understand that his ministry among them was one of love, and not of earthly gain. This God knew.

2 Cor 11:12. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off the occasion from them that desire occasion, that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

Wherein they glory. The false teachers took remuneration for their labors (verse 20; 1 Cor. 9:12), and apparently
gloried in it, or in the amount they received, thinking their collections were a sign of approval on the part of the faithful. “They would gladly have had St. Paul for an example to quote and a rival to meet on this ground; and that is the occasion which he says he is resolved to cut off” (Rick.).

2 Cor 11:13. For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

For such false, etc. Better, “For such men as these are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”

2 Cor 11:14. And no wonder : for Satan himself transformed himself into an angel of light.

It is not wonderful that the false teachers can simulate the actions and preaching of true Apostles, because even Satan, the prince of darkness (Luke 22:53; Col. 1:13; Eph. 6:12), can, with God’s permission, transform himself into an angel of light, i.e., can appear to be a good angel, for the purpose of seducing men.

2 Cor 11:15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as the ministers of justice, whose end shall be according to their works.

His ministers, i.e., the false teachers, the Judaizers, who were champions of the Law, which St. Paul declared was abrogated.

Ministers of justice, i.e., the true Apostles who, through the preaching of the Gospel, enabled men to become just and holy in God’s sight. The false teachers may deceive men, but God in the end will deal with them according to their evil lives and works.


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

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2017


After having forcefully vindicated his Apostolic authority against his adversaries the Apostle now draws a comparison between himself and them for the sake of refuting them more completely. He shows how far superior to them he really is, and how unworthy they are of the esteem and authority they have enjoyed among the Corinthians. Beginning, therefore, to praise himself he asks the indulgence of the faithful and explains his reasons. In speaking of himself he seeks only the good of his converts who are exposed to the danger of being led into error. He has a right, however, to glory because he is in nowise inferior, at least in knowledge, to his opponents who extol themselves so excessively.

2 Cor 11:1. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me.

St. Paul asks the toleration of his readers while he indulges in some little . . . folly, literally, “in a little bit of foolishness,” i.e., self-praise. His adversaries have praised themselves to an extreme degree, but he will say only a little in his own behalf.

Do bear (ἀνείχεσθέ = aneichesthe) may be indicative or imperative. If indicative, as the Greek Fathers think, the Apostle corrects what he has just spoken of as an impossible wish: “Would to God you could . . . but indeed you do bear,” etc. More probably the imperative is correct, as appears from the following verse, where a reason is assigned for the petition.

2 Cor 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.

I am jealous. So ardent and elevated is the Apostle’s feeling for the Corinthians that he is sure they will bear with him in his folly; for in praising himself he is not seeking his own glory, but only their salvation and security against seduction.

With the jealousy of God, i.e., the jealousy or zeal which St. Paul entertained for the Corinthians was similar to that which God had for the people of Israel, and which He now has for Christians. Like a father or friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29), the Apostle had espoused the Corinthian Church to one husband, i.e., to Christ, through faith and Baptism, and he hoped to present her on the day of judgment as a chaste virgin, i.e., as free from corruption in faith, to her heavenly Spouse.

This verse, as in 2 Cor 10:13-17, is a clear proof that the Apostle is addressing the whole Corinthian Church, and not
the disloyal faction only. This, however, does not mean that the third part of the Epistle (2 Cor 10:1-13:10) was not intended chiefly for the Apostle’s adversaries. Those who were guilty knew to whom his words applied.

2 Cor 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.

As the serpent seduced Eve. See Gen. 3:1-6. The Church of Corinth, as a second Eve, is espoused to Christ, the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). She must beware lest, like Eve, she listen to the voice of the same tempter, who ever lieth in wait to deceive, and so lose the privileges she was destined to enjoy (Lias).

The simplicity, etc., should read, as in the best MSS., “The simplicity and the purity (καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος = kai tes hagnotetos) that is towards Christ,” i.e., the simple and pure teachings of the faith of Christ. A local Church, like that of Corinth, might fall away from the pure faith of Christ, but the universal Church can never fail (Matt. 16:18).

So (Vulg., ita) is not in the best MSS.

2 Cor 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.

This verse has received many explanations, of which we give the two most natural and probable, (a) If he that cometh to you as a teacher, could preach another Christ, literally, “another Jesus,” different from that whom we have preached to you, or if at his preaching you could receive another Spirit and other gifts superior to those received at our preaching, or if he could announce to you another gospel more sublime than that which we have announced, you might well bear with him, i.e., listen to and follow him. Such, however, is not the case, since
there is only one Jesus, only one Spirit and only one Gospel (2 Cor 11:5; Gal. 1:6-9). Therefore you have abandoned without reason our teaching, to go after false teachers.

He that cometh (ὁ ἐρχόμενος = ho erchomenos) does not mean a particular individual, but refers to a class of intruders, namely, the Judaizers.

This is the older interpretation of the present verse. But modern scholars give another explanation, (b) I, says the Apostle (verse 3), have good reason to fear for you; for if a false apostle comes to you and preaches a different doctrine about Christ from that preached by me, or tells you that the converts of the other Apostles have received gifts superior to yours, or teaches that the Gospel announced by the other Apostles contains conditions of salvation other than those I have announced, you have borne (ἀνήχεσθε = anechesthe, as in א D G K L M P) with him finely (καλῶς = kalos). The past tense is used, you have borne, to indicate that such a condition did exist, but not now any longer. We prefer the first interpretation.

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

If the false teachers had really been superior to St. Paul and had preached a more sublime Gospel, the Corinthians would have had reason to bear with them. But such was not the case. St. Paul affirms that he is not in the least inferior to them in any way.

In this interpretation, which harmonizes with the first explanation of the preceding verse, great apostles is used ironically, as of those who would be great, or were considered great. If the expression “great apostles” be referred to the twelve, this verse agrees rather with the second interpretation of the preceding verse. It is doubtful if there is here any reference to the older Apostles, Peter, James and John; but if there is, the Apostle is referring to his spiritual gifts and right to preach, and not to any authority to govern the Church as a whole.

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

Here the reference is plainly to the false teachers, who perhaps were more polished and elegant in their use of language than was St. Paul, but who were by no means his superior in knowledge (1 Cor. 1:5). The Apostle speaks modestly; but it may be that he is referring to what his opponents say about his speech, without admitting that they are right. Perhaps he wishes to allow that he is not a polished orator (1 Cor. 2:1, 4).

That St. Paul is not inferior to any in knowledge of heavenly truths the Corinthians themselves are witnesses, because in all things, i.e., in all his actions and dealings with them, he has been made manifest, i.e., has been frank and open.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:12-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 10:12-18~The reason why the Apostle can speak of boasting, as well by his presence as by his letters, is that he glories in the Lord, without exceeding the limits of the province committed to him by God. He and Timothy, therefore, unlike their opponents who commend themselves, will glory only in the work which God has entrusted to them, which work includes the Corinthians. If then he glories concerning them, he is not boasting
of other men’s labors. Moreover, he hopes to extend his preaching farther west, and thus have more converts in whom to glory. Those who glory, should not do so on the strength of other men’s labors. Let him who glories, glory in the Lord, as if commended by the Lord Himself who gives success to one’s work.

2 Cor 10:12. For we dare not match, or compare ourselves with some, that commend themselves; but we measure ourselves by ourselves, and compare ourselves with ourselves.

Match. Better, “class,” “number with” (ἐγκρῖναι = enkrinai). The Apostle is ironically referring to his enemies.
But we measure, etc. Our version, like the Vulgate, has perhaps missed the meaning here, because it has failed to take account of the words οὐ συνιοῦσιν (= ou syniasin). they do not understand, which occur in nearly all the MSS. and in the citations of many of the Fathers. Hence the clause should read: “They measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, and (so) they do not understand.” The general sense is: “They make fools of themselves, measuring themselves by their own standards” (Rick.).

The reading of our version and of the Vulgate here is doubtless explained by the fact that several MSS. and Fathers omit not only the two final words of this verse, but also the two opening words of verse 13, But we. In this way the second clause of the present verse could easily refer to St. Paul and Timothy, and would read: “But we, measuring ourselves by ourselves, etc., will not glory beyond our measure.”

2 Cor 10:13. But we will not glory beyond our measure; but according to the measure of the rule, which God hath measured to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

Which God hath measured to us, i.e., the measure God has assigned to us (οὗ ἐμέρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς μέτρου = ou emerisen hemin ho theos metron). This is the best reading, and the verse should run: “But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of our commission, the measure God hath assigned to us, to reach even unto you.” Unlike his adversaries, the Apostle would not glory, except in his own labors, but those labors included the Corinthians. He was the divinely appointed Apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 11:15; 22:21; Gal. 2:7-9; Eph. 3:7, 8), and hence his preaching and labors were directed by the Holy Ghost (Acts 16:6-9).

2 Cor 10:14. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as if we reached not unto you. For we are come as far as to you in the gospel of Christ.

Here the Apostle simply says that if he glories in the Corinthians, it is because he has a right to do so, since they fall
within his province, and since he first brought the Gospel to them. The punctuation of the verse is uncertain. Some put an interrogation point after the first half ending with unto you; more probably there should be only a comma or semi-colon. It is also doubtful whether ἐφικέσθαι (= ephthasamen) should retain its original meaning, “we came first“; or, “we came as far as,” Corinth. It seems more natural to understand the Apostle to mean that he was the first
to bring the Gospel to the Corinthians.

2 Cor 10:15. Not glorying beyond measure in other men’s labours; but having hope of your increasing faith, to be magnified in you according to our rule abundantly;
2 Cor 10:16. Yea, unto those places that are beyond you, to preach the gospel, not to glory in another man’s rule, in those things that are made ready to our hand.

These two verses form but one sentence in Greek, and consequently should not be separated by a full stop. The Apostle is referring to his opponents at Corinth who have obtruded themselves into the field of his own labors and commission, and he says literally: “Not boasting beyond our measure in other men’s labors, but having hope that, as your faith increaseth, We shall be magnified in you according to the province allotted to us, so as to preach the Gospel to places that are beyond you, and not to boast of things already done in another man’s province.”

Your increasing faith. An increase of faith at Corinth would be a help in spreading the Gospel to others, and thus through the Corinthians the Apostle’s labors would be increased. Doubtless St. Paul was thinking of Rome and Spain.

Things . . . made ready, etc., i.e., places already evangelized.

2 Cor 10:17. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

See on 1 Cor. 1:31. In glorying only of the work done in the field assigned to him by God St. Paul does not mean that
the credit of his labors is due to himself, but only to God who gave him the work and enabled him to perform it. The only right way to glory, therefore, is in the Lord, and this is St. Paul’s rule (cf. 1 Cor. 15:10; Rom. 15:17-19; Gal. 2:8; Eph. 3:7).

2 Cor 1018. For not he who commendeth himself, is approved, but he, whom God commendeth.

Here the Apostle says for the benefit of his adversaries, the false teachers, that he who commends himself, instead of
giving all glory and credit to God, is not approved, i.e., tried, genuine; whereas he whom God commends, as happened in his own case in being divinely called, is reliable and solid and true.

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