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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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For I decided not to come to you again in
For if I inflict pain upon you, then who is
there to cheer me except the one pained by me?
And I wrote as I did 1 so
that when I came I might not be pained by those in whom I should have rejoiced,
confident about all of you that my joy is that of all of you.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart
I wrote to you with many tears, not that you might be pained but that you might
know the abundant love I have for you.
2 If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it
not to me, but in some measure (not to exaggerate) to all of you.
This punishment by the majority is enough for
such a person,
so that on the contrary you should forgive and
encourage him instead, or else the person may be overwhelmed by excessive pain.
Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love for
For this is why I wrote, to know your proven
character, whether you were obedient in everything.
Whomever you forgive anything, so do I. For
indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for you in
the presence of Christ,
so that we might not be taken advantage of by
Satan, for we are not unaware of his purposes.
3 When I went to Troas for the gospel of Christ,
although a door was opened for me in the Lord,
4 I had no relief in my spirit because I did not
find my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
5 6 7 8
9 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in
Christ and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of him in every
For we are the aroma of Christ for God among
those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
to the latter an odor of death that leads to
death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life. Who is qualified 10
For we are not like the many who trade on the
word of God; but as out of sincerity, indeed as from God and in the presence of
God, we speak in Christ.
1 [3,4] I wrote as I did: we learn
for the first time about the sending of a letter in place of the proposed
visit. Paul mentions the letter in passing, but emphasizes his motivation in
sending it: to avoid being saddened by them (cf ⇒ 1 Cor
2:1), and to help them realize the depth of his love. Another motive
will be added in ⇒ 2 Cor 7:12 - to bring to light
their own concern for him. With many tears: it has been suggested that we may
have all or part of this "tearful letter" somewhere in the Corinthian
correspondence, either in 1 Cor 5 (the case of the incestuous man), or in 1 Cor
as a whole, or in ⇒ 2 Cor 2:10-13. None of these
hypotheses is entirely convincing. See the note on ⇒ 2 Cor
2 [5-11] The nature of the pain
(⇒ 2 Cor 2:5) is unclear, though some believe an
individual at Corinth rejected Paul's authority, thereby scandalizing many in
the community. In any case, action has been taken, and Paul judges the
measuresa adequate to right the situation (⇒ 2 Cor 2:6).
The follow-up directives he now gives are entirely positive: forgive,
encourage, love. Overwhelmed (⇒ 2 Cor 2:7): a vivid
metaphor (literally "swallowed") that Paul employs positively at
⇒ 2 Cor 5:4 and in ⇒ 1 Cor
15:54 (⇒ 2 Cor 2:7). It is often used to
describe satanic activity (cf ⇒ 1 Peter 5:8); note
the reference to Satan here in ⇒ 2 Cor 2:11.
3 [12-13] I had no relief: Paul does
not explain the reason for his anxiety until he resumes the thread of his
narrative at ⇒ 2 Cor 7:5: he was waiting to hear how
the Corinthians would respond to his letter. Since ⇒ 2 Cor
7:5-16 describes their response in entirely positive terms, we never
learn in detail why he found it necessary to defend and justify his change of
plans, as in ⇒ 2 Cor 1:15-24. Was this portion of
the letter written before the arrival of Titus with his good news
(⇒ 2 Cor 7:6-7)?
4  Macedonia: a Roman province in
[⇒ 2:14-⇒ 7:4] This
section constitutes a digression within the narrative of the crisis and its
resolution (⇒ 2 Cor
1:12-⇒ 2:13 and ⇒ 2 Cor
7:5-16). The main component (⇒ 2 Cor
2:14-⇒ 6:10) treats the nature of Paul's
ministry and his qualifications for it; this material bears some similarity to
the defense of his ministry in chs ⇒ 2 Cor 2:10-13,
but it may well come from a period close to the crisis. This is followed by a
supplementary block of material quite different in character and tone
(⇒ 2 Cor 6:14-⇒ 7:1).
These materials may have been brought together into their present position
during final editing of the letter; appeals to the Corinthians link them to one
another (⇒ 2 Cor 6:11-13) and lead back to the
interrupted narrative (⇒ 2 Cor 7:2-4).
[⇒ 2:14-⇒ 6:10] The
question of Paul's adequacy (⇒ 2 Cor 2:16; cf
⇒ 2 Cor 3:5) and his credentials
(⇒ 2 Cor 3:1-2) has been raised. Paul responds by an
extended treatment of the nature of his ministry. It is a ministry of glory
(⇒ 2 Cor 3:7-⇒ 4:6), of
life (⇒ 2 Cor 4:7-⇒ 5:10),
of reconciliation (⇒ 2 Cor
7 [14-16a] The initial statement
plunges us abruptly into another train of thought. Paul describes his personal
existence and his function as a preacher in two powerful images
(⇒ 2 Cor 2:14) that constitute a prelude to the
development to follow.
8 [14a] Leads us in triumph in
Christ: this metaphor of a festive parade in honor of a conquering military
hero can suggest either a positive sharing in Christ's triumph or an experience
of defeat, being led in captivity and submission (cf ⇒ 2 Cor
4:8-11; ⇒ 1 Cor 4:9). Paul is probably aware
of the ambiguity, as he is in the case of the next metaphor.
9 [14b-16a] The odor of the knowledge
of him: incense was commonly used in triumphal processions. The metaphor
suggests the gradual diffusion of the knowledge of God through the apostolic
preaching. The aroma of Christ: the image shifts from the fragrance Paul
diffuses to the aroma that he is. Paul is probably thinking of the "sweet
odor" of the sacrifices in the Old Testament (e.g.,
⇒ Genesis 8:21; ⇒ Exodus
29:18) and perhaps of the metaphor of wisdom as a sweet odor
(⇒ Sirach 24:15). Death . . . life: the aroma of
Christ that comes to them through Paul is perceived differently by various
classes of people. To some his preaching and his life (cf ⇒ 1
Cor 1:17-⇒ 2:6) are perceived as death,
and the effect is death for them; others perceive him, despite appearances, as
life, and the effect is life for them. This fragrance thus produces a
separation and a judgment (cf the function of the "light" in John's
10 [16b-17] Qualified: Paul may be
echoing either the self-satisfied claims of other preachers or their charges
about Paul's deficiencies. No one is really qualified, but the apostle
contrasts himself with those who dilute or falsify the preaching for personal
advantage and insists on his totally good conscience: his ministry is from God,
and he has exercised it with fidelity and integrity (cf ⇒ 2
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