The Book of 2 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 2 Part 1 Leave a Comment / Love Israel Connection Blog / By Rivka Korman Our next reading is from 2 Cor 2:1-9 v1: I determined this: Paul considered this. He prayerfully brought it before the L-rd, seeking G-d’s instruction on this matter as well as the leadership of the Holy Spirit.· Not come again: Paul is not saying that the previous time he had been with them was filled with sorrow. · Come… in sorrow: Paul decided, after hearing the instruction of the L-rd, that he would not go to them. He did not want to visit them in sorrow or with grief and nor did he want to cause grief. We do not know what caused Paul to write this letter, but from textual clues it appears as if someone had done something to bring grief to this congregation and it needed to be dealt with. Paul, instead of going there to deal with it personally, wanted to write rather than to go to them and cause additional grief. v2: If I make you sorrowful: Meaning, if he went to them to deal with this matter personally then he would be an instrument bringing more grief to them. Paul did not want to bring more grief to them.· Makes me glad: This congregation was an instrument that were a cause of joy and gladness for Paul. He rejoiced over them. v3: I wrote… to you: Paul wanted to encourage them and let them know that he had confidence in them. He trusted them to deal with this issue in the right way. They did not need to have Paul there to set things straight. Paul was happy to keep his distance, but at the same time he sent this epistle to them to share a bit of instruction and counsel with them.· I ought to have joy: Paul is emphasizing that his work, his influence, is to bring joy out of the obedience of this congregation for the things of G-d. He did not want to simply be an instrument of punishment that would bring grief. · Having confidence in you: Paul trusts that they have dealt in a proper way with this issue. He does not want to go there to have this matter retried, re-discussed, and then set in order again. He feels that, for the most part, the punishment has fit the crime (Paul is not speaking here about an issue that requires discipline to be meted out among the congregation – something that is so important and often neglected). v4: Affliction: That which is stressful. Anxiety. · Anguish of heart: Paul was a loving man and a sensitive individual. He truly loved these people, and his heart was tender towards them.· Not that you should be grieved: Paul’s motivation was not that they should be sterner with the person. The punishment, and how it had been dealt with, was sufficient. Many scholars believe that Paul had been contacted about this issue (word had arrived to him), and this congregation wanted him to come and personally deal with it. Paul wanted to go to them so that he could add to their understanding of G-d’s workmanship in a person’s life (how He moves to build up and edify that person), but after giving it serious thought he decided it was wiser to not go to them. If he went, this matter would continue to be rehashed and Paul deemed it unnecessary as it would just add more grief and sorrow to the situation. · But: In contrast to that.· Love: Paul has abundant love for them. v5: Caused grief: Paul is drawing this topic to a close, but he wants to give them a few more words of counsel that lay the foundation of the lack of necessity that he comes personally.· He has not grieved me: Paul had not been personally affected by this. Paul is grieved that the congregation has had to go through this, but he has not experienced this sorrow in a first-hand kind of way. · But all of you: Although this man had not grieved Paul he did not need to recuse himself as he was not personally connected to this man (Paul was acting as one outside of the issue – in the judicial systems in many countries if the one who is giving judgment is connected in some way to the person over whom he needs to give judgement then he is supposed to recuse himself, he is not supposed to get involved, as it is hard to separate your own personal feelings, if you are connected to the person in some way, in order to make a right judgment). · Not to be too severe: They ought not be too stern. The punishment ought to fit the offense – It was sufficient punishment for that person to know that this congregation were angry, mad and hurt by what he had done. v6: The punishment: Rebuke · Inflicted by the majority: Most of this congregation had come together to deal with this issue, but apparently there were those who felt it was not sufficient. Paul, rather than coming personally and bringing this all up again, simply wants to share with them a few brief words in this regard. v7: On the contrary: In contrast to what this minority wants.· Forgiving and comfort: Instead of making the punishment more severe Paul wanted them to forgive and encourage this man. Paul wanted restoration. He wanted this person to be brought back into the congregation where he could become productive, a servant, again. We need to realise something though: There are offenses or sinful behaviours that will disqualify someone from serving in a certain position ever again. But even though they might do something that disqualifies them from serving in that position (for example a congregational leader, a pastor, a ruling elder or a deacon) – they lose the title or the position – that does not mean that we cannot restore them to the congregation, to the fellowship of believers. It does not mean that we cannot love them or pray for them or accept them as brothers or sisters among us. Do not confuse restoration to the body of believers as meaning that this person is also restored to their previous role. Restoration to the body does not mean restoration to the role. There should be a desire to see people restored and not keep them in continual punishment.· Swallowed up: Guilt and grief consumes him. v8: Urge: Beseech. Strongly encourage.· Reaffirm your love: Paul wanted this congregation to let this man know that he was still loved. He wanted them to let this man know that he was not hated. Although they had contempt for his offense, they did not have contempt for him. If an offender is going to be a recipient of love and restoration to the fellowship depends upon true repentance, and acknowledgement of the offense as having been wrong. If they do not repent, if they do not confess, if they do not own up to it then there can be no restoration to the congregation. v9: To this end I also wrote: This is one of the main things that Paul is writing about: that they affirm their love for this man.· Put you to the test: Prove. One of the things that document or prove our faith is our willingness to forgive – completely and thoroughly putting the offense aside. That does not mean that the offender does not have to deal with the consequences, he does, but he can deal with them knowing that he is forgiven. Forgiveness does not mean a removal of consequence. There are consequences to sin – sometimes long and serious consequences – but love can still be placed upon that person.· Obedient in all things: Paul instructed them not to punish this offender anymore. He instructed this congregation to love and encourage this man.