Consolation - Part 1 (series: Lessons on 2nd Corinthians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

September 18, 2014

Tom Lowe


The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians


Lesson II.C.2.c: Consolation. (7:13-16)

2nd Corinthians 7:13-16 (NKJV)

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.


Introduction

The apostle Paul was not disappointed with the believers in Corinth, which he indicated to Titus; and though they faced an uncertain future, he could joyfully declare the confidence he had in them for the time to come. Included in this short passage are the duties of a pastor and of his flock; the latter must lighten the troubles of the pastor, by showing him respect and obedience; the former must demonstrate his care of them, and cherish the flock by giving testimonies of satisfaction, joy, and tenderness


Commentary

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

Therefore we were comforted in your comfort
Since my Epistle led you to express your true feelings towards me, "we have been comforted;" and in addition to our comfort, we rejoice at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by all you. That was a new source of happiness for Paul. The intense sympathy of his nature would have made him share the disappointment of his representative, and in like manner he now shares his joy. The messenger had shown himself to be his true son in the faith.

The phrase "your comfort," seems to mean the happiness which they had, or might reasonably be expected to have by obeying the instructions of Paul, and in the repentance which they had displayed by the changes made in their lives. Paul had spoken of no other consolation or comfort than this, and the idea seems to be that they were happy people and would continue to be happy by obeying the commands of God. This fact gave Paul additional joy, and he could not help but rejoice that they had removed from their lives, the cause of the offense, and, as the result, they would not be exposed to the displeasure of God. Had they not repented and put away the evil, the consequences to them would have been deep distress. As it was, they would be blessed and happy.

The comfortable situation that the church was currently enjoying, was the effect of a godly sorrow; by which it appeared that their repentance was genuine and that they were no longer guilty in the matter that had given them so much trouble; and that Paul’s epistle had been well received and acted upon for the welfare and more comfortable condition of the church in the future.


Yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we, for the joy of Titus"
It was not only the repentance of the Corinthians, and the blessed effects which it brought that gave rise to joy in the apostle; but what added to it, and increased it, was the joy of Titus, which came upon his understanding of your affairs, and your ready obedience to the Epistle which I wrote to you. Titus had been kindly received, and hospitably entertained, and had become very attached to them. To Paul, this was another occasion for joy—“and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” (2 Corinthians 7:7). Such is the union between the true members of Christ that they are comforted by one another’s comforts and afflicted by one another’s sorrows and grief. Paul’s joy resulted from the joy that Titus felt during the time he spent with the believers in Corinth.

Because his spirit was refreshed by you all
“Because his spirit was (has been, and is) refreshed by you all,” not by one only, or a few, but by all the members of the church; Titus was received by them with great respect, provided for in a liberal manner, treated with all humanity and courteousness; and, above all, his mind was eased and filled with unexpected pleasure, to find them in such an agreeable frame of mind; so aware of their neglect of duty, so ready to reform, so united in themselves, so concerned about the apostle, and so determined to abide

by the directives, ordinances, and truths of the Gospel, against the teaching of all false teachers.

The phrase “His spirit was refreshed” was a favorite of the writer. Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus had “refreshed” his spirit—“For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.” (1Corinthians 16:18; Compare Philemon 1:20). The primary idea of the word “refreshed” is that of “giving rest” to the weary, as in Matthew 11:28—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Compare Matthew 26:45.


14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

For if I have boasted anything to him of you
It is obviously implied that he had boasted. “For if I have boasted anything (anything at all) to him—This seems to imply that before Titus left for Corinth that Paul had spoken very favorably to Titus of the Corinthians. He had probably expressed his belief that he would be welcomed and treated well; that they would be willing to listen to him, and to comply with the instructions of the apostle; that he would find many elements of good mingled with the evil which he was sent to correct; perhaps he had spoken to him of what he anticipated would be their liberality in regard to the collection which he was about to make for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Moreover, he may have mentioned their faith in Christ, their affection for him, and obedience to him which was like children to a father

I am not ashamed”
“I am (was) not ashamed,” since everything I told Titus about you has been confirmed to be true by his report. Had it been otherwise, I would certainly have been ashamed. He has found you to be as I said you would be. All my expectations are realized, and you have been as kind, and hospitable, and benevolent as I assured him you would be. One reason for my great joy was that you fully justified that very favorable picture of you which I had drawn for Titus when I was urging him to be the bearer of my letter.

But as we spake all things to you in truth
“As we spake all things to you in truth,” that is, everything I said to you was said in truth. All my promises to you, and all my preaching to you, and all the doctrines we delivered to you, and our word was not yea and nay, but uniform, and all my commands, and all my reasonable expectations expressed to you, were sincere. I do not disguise anything, and all that I have said thus far turned out to be true.

Even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth
It appears from this phrase, “even so our boasting,” that the apostle had at some time in the past said something to Titus which commended the church in Corinth, which he calls here, “boasting” of them. This particular boasting was proved to be true by the report Titus made to Paul, upon his return. “My boasting of your character, and of your disposition to do right, which I made before Titus has turned out to be true. It was as I said it would be. I did not commend you too highly to him, and I did not overstate the matter to you in my Epistle, because what I said of you to Titus turned out to be true, so I recognize that what you said to him of yourselves, of your zeal and longing (as in 2Corinthians 7:11), was spoken truly. We spoke truly to you of your faults; we spoke truly to Titus of your good qualities.”

Some understand this to refer to the boasting which the apostle made concerning Titus, in his epistle to them, where he highly commended him, and which they found to be exactly true in every respect; but the words, most likely concern his boasting about the Corinthians to Titus, which he found to be true.

“I always spoke the truth to you; but I might have feared that in speaking of you to Titus, my affection for you might lead me to overstep the limits of perfect accuracy. But you yourselves, by proving yourselves worthy of all I said of you, have established my perfect truthfulness, even in the only point where I might have thought it questionable.”

“Our boasting is found to be truthful; literally, proved itself to be truth, just as our speaking in general to you was true—“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay” (2Co 1:18). He boasted that he had said nothing but the truth, which Titus had experienced, and reported to him.

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