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given quite a fresh rank and impressiveness to the theory (HC, ii. pp.
THE INTERMEDIATE LETTER TO CORINTH
His authority had apparently been defied, and his credit and influence decidedly lowered ; and he had even had to endure personal insult. It was under these circumstances that he wrote another letter to the Corinthians inimediately upon his return to Ephesus, defending himself against the attacks of his enemies, and calling the Corinthians sharply to account for their disloyalty to him, and for allowing themselves to be influenced by his opponents and detractors. The general tone of chapters x.-xiii. is exactly what Paul's references to that epistle would lead us to expect. Those chapters were evidently written out of much sorrow and anguish of heart, and there was good reason to doubt whether the Corinthians would receive them kindly. They were calculated, if they did not move them to repentance, to make them angry, and to widen the breach already existing. ... This sharp and passionate epistle, which was carried by Titus to Corinth, produced the effect for which it was intended. Paul had feared for the result, but his fears proved groundless. The Corinthians realised their error, and took their stand unequivocally on his side. — McGiffert,
The invective: Vindication of his mission and himself against
THE INTERMEDIATE LETTER TO CORINTH
.(2 Co 101-1310)
10 1... Now personally I Paul appeal to you by the gentleness and for
bearance of Christ, I who "am humble in presence” among you “but 2 make a brave front to you in my absence.” I do entreat you that when I am present I may not have to “make a brave front,” with the confidence
with which I am determined to deal boldly with certain persons who look 3 upon us as if we “walked according to the flesh.” No, we walk in the 4 flesh, but we do not make war according to the flesh—for the weapons of
our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful to throw down 5 strongholds—we throw down reasonings and every rampart that erects
itself against the knowledge of God, we bring every scheme captive to 6 obey Christ, and we are in readiness to punish all disobedience, when
once your obedience is complete. 7 Look at what lies before your very face. If any man is self-confident
that he “is Christ's," let him once more reflect to himself that just as he 8 "is Christ's," so too are we. For though I were to exult further over our
authority, which the Lord has given to upbuild you, not to throw you 9 down, I shall not be put to shame. But I refrain, in case it might 10 appear as if I wanted to frighten you merely by my letters. For “his
letters,” says one, " are of weight and forcible : but when he is here in 11 person, he is weak, and his speech despicable." Let him who says so
take this into consideration : what we are in word by letters when we
are absent, that we shall prove ourselves to be in deed when we are 12 present. We do not venture forsooth to include ourselves among, or to
compare ourselves with, some of those who commend themselves! Nay,
as we measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with our13 selves, 1 ours will be no immoderate exultation ; it will be exultation
according to the measure of the sphere which God has assigned to us-a 14 measure by which we reach the length of you. For we are not stretching
beyond our limits, as though our reach did not include you; we came
the length of you before anyone else came with the gospel of Christ. 15 Ours is no immoderate exulting on the ground of other men's labours ;
our hope rather is that, as your faith grows, we shall be magnified yet 16 more and more in you according to our sphere, our object being to preach
the gospel even to the regions that lie beyond you, not to exult in another 17 man's sphere over work that lies already done. Let him who exults exult 18 in the Lord. For the man of genuine character is not he who commends
himself, it is he whom the Lord commends. 111 Would that you could bear with a little “senselessness” from me!
2 Yes indeed, do bear with me! With a divine jealousy I am jealous over you ; for I have betrothed you, to present you as a chaste maiden to
1 Omitting ou ouviãow : nuiis då.
3 one husband, to Christ. But I am afraid lest haply, as the serpent beguiled
Eve with his craftiness, your minds be corrupted from that singleness of 4 heartl which is for Christ. For indeed if the new-comer preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you get a different spirit, a
spirit which you did not get, or a different gospel, which you did not 5 accept-you put up with them well enough! Why not with me? I 6 reckon myself not a whit inferior to those superlative apostles! Even if
in speech I am uneducated, in knowledge I am not. No, we have made 7 that perfectly clear to you in every way.
What! did I commit a sin when I humbled myself that you might be raised, preaching the 8 gospel of God to you for nothing ? Other Communities I robbed by 9 taking pay from them that I might minister to you; and when I was with you and fell into want, I did not become an encumbrance to any one. My want was supplied by the brothers who came from Macedonia ;
and so in every way I kept (and will keep) myself from proving a burden 10 to you. As the truth of Christ is in me, I will not be stopped from exult11 ing thus in the regions of Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you ? 12 God knows I do. But I will continue to do what I am doing, that those
who would fain have the opportunity may be deprived of it, that in the 13 matter of exulting it may be found they are just like ourselves. Such
men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as “apostles of 14 Christ.” And no wonder ! Satan himself masquerades as an angel of 15 light. It is in no wise remarkable then if his ministers also masquerade
as “ministers of uprightness.” As their works are, so shall be their fate. 16 Once more I say, let no one think me “senseless." Even if they do,
put up with me, were it only as with a “senseless” man, that I too may 17 have some little exulting. (In what I now say, I speak not after the 18 Lord, but as in “senselessness," from this stand point of exulting. Since 19 many exult after the flesh, I too will exult.) For you, who are sensible 20 people, are glad to bear with the senseless! You bear with a man if he
enslaves you, if he devours you, if he catches you, if he uplifts himself, 21 if he upbraids you to your face !-I say this to my discredit, implying that we at all events were “weak.”
But in whatever point anyone makes bold (I am speaking in “senselessness”), I make bold as well. 22 Are they Hebrews ? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they 23 the offspring of Abraham ? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?
(I am speaking like one out of his senses.) I still more : far beyond
them in labours, far beyond them in imprisonments, in stripes above 24 measure, in deaths many a time. Five times have I received from the 25 Jews forty stripes save one. Three times have I been beaten with rods,
once I was pelted with stones, three times I have suffered shipwreck, for 26 twenty-four hours I was in the ocean. Many a time have I been on
journeys, in dangers amid rivers, in dangers amid robbers, in dangers from my own race, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the city,
in dangers in the desert, in dangers in the sea, in dangers among false 27 brothers, in labour and toil, in vigils many a time, in hunger and thirst, 28 in fastings many a time, in cold and nakedness. Apart from all the
rest, there is my daily oversight, my anxious care for all the Com29 munities. Who is weak, and I am not weak ? Who is hindered, and I 30 am not on fire ? If exult I must, then I will exult about my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for ever, 32 knows that I lie not. [In Damascus the ethnarch of Aretas the king 33 was guarding the city of the Damascenes, in order to arrest me. But
1 Omitting [[*à Tĩs oryTaros]].
through a window I was lowered in a hamper over the wall, and so 12 1 escaped his hands.]
Exult I must, though advantage there is none. But I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago
whether in the body I know not, or out of the body I know not : God knows
was caught up as far as the third heaven.
whether in the body or apart from the body I know not : God
and heard utterances ineffable, which it is not for man to utter. 5 I will exult on his behalf
But on my own I will not exult- unless in the matter of my
weaknesses. 6 (Did I wish to exult I would not be “senseless," for I should be
speaking the truth ; but I abstain, in case anyone should esteem me
revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given me,
highly. 8 Three times over this I appealed to the Lord, that it might leave me ; 9 yet he has said to me, “My grace is enough for thee: for in weakness
my power is perfected.” Right gladly then will I rather exult in my 10 weaknesses, that the power of Christ may settle upon me. Wherefore
on behalf of Christ I take delight in weaknesses, in insults, in troubles, in persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then am
I strong. 11 I have become “senseless" ? It was you who compelled me to it. For
I ought to have been commended by you. “Nothing” though I am, in no 12 whit have I been inferior to those superlative apostles! The signs of an
apostle were indeed effected among you in all endurance, by signs and 13 wonders and miraculous powers. For in what way were you rendered
inferior to the rest of the Communities, except in the fact that personally 14 I was no encumbrance to you? Forgive me this terrible wrong!
Look, for the third time now I am ready to visit you. Nor will I be any
encumbrance to you. I seek not your goods but yourselves : children 15 ought not to lay up for parents, but parents for children. And right
gladly will I spend and be spent entirely for your souls. If I love you 16 more and more, am I to be loved the less ? But “that is granted" : 1,
you admit-I did not come upon you as a burden. No, but I was 17 crafty," you say, “and caught you by guile”? Did I take advantage 18 of you by any of the men whom I despatched to you? I appealed to
Titus, and despatched the brother along with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you ? Did he and I not proceed in the same spirit ? in the
same steps ? 19 Do you imagine all this time that we are “defending ourselves to
you"? It is before God that we speak, in Christ; and all is for your 20 upbuilding, beloved. For I am afraid that perhaps I may come and
find you are not what I would like to find, and that you may find me not what you would like to find ; afraid there may perhaps be quarrelling, jealousy, angry passions, factions, accusations, secret slanders,
i Omitting diò.