Sympathy Towards Paul - Page 1 (series: Lessons on 2nd Corinthians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

July 16, 2014

Tom Lowe
The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians


Lesson II.C.1.a: Sympathy Towards Paul. (6:11-13)

2nd Corinthians 6:11-13 (NKJV)
11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.
12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.



Commentary


11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.

O ye Corinthians
“O ye Corinthians” is a rare and very personal form of loving appeal, which occurs nowhere else in these Epistles. This passage is an affectionate declaration of his frankness and sympathy, and an appeal that the Corinthians should show the same.

There was clearly a pause here as the letter was dictated. The rush of thoughts had reached its highest level. He rests, and feels almost as if some apology were needed for such a fierce outpouring of emotion. And now he writes as if personally pleading with them. Nowhere else in the whole range of his Epistles do we find any parallel to this form of speech—this “O ye Corinthians.” He has to tell them that he speaks out of the fullness of his heart, that if his mouth has been opened with an unusual frankness it is because his heart has felt more than common sympathy for them.

We have spoken openly to you

O ye Corinthians, we have spoken with perfect frankness on all points, keeping nothing back, because we love you. This is an affectionate expression of his honesty when speaking or writing to them, and it has reference to what he had just said. It means that, when his heart was full on the subject, words would flow freely, and that he had given vent to the heated language which he had just used because his heart was full. He loved them, he wanted them to enjoy God’s blessings, and he spoke to them with the utmost freedom, saying what he thought, and what he planned for them, and what he had done; hence he tells them, we shall hide and conceal nothing from you, we shall deal with you with all frankness and faithfulness.

He seems to be paving the way for what he says afterwards about their unequal fellowship with unbelievers. And, at the same time he may have meant to contradict what some at Corinth had said about him—that he concealed certain things from them: “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (2 Co. 4:2).

Our heart is wide open
“Our heart is wide open” means we love to you, and have eager desires for your good, which naturally manifests itself in passionate and glowing language. The main idea here is that he had a strong affection for them; a heart which embraced and loved them all, and which expressed itself in the language of deep emotion. He loved them so much that he was willing to be rebuked, and to be persecuted, and to be poor, and to be accused of

being evil. "I cannot be silent. I cannot conceal or mislead anyone. I am full of fervent affection, and that naturally vents itself in the strong language which I have used." True love will find a means of expressing itself. A heart full of love will give vent to its feelings. There will be no pretending and hypocrisy there. And if a minister loves his people he will pour out the affections of his heart in strong and glowing language. He felt this way in spite of all the wrongs which some of them had done him. Compare
• 2 Corinthians 7:3: “I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.”
• Matthew 12:34: “O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
• Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”





12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

You are not restricted by us
The meaning is the opposite of the previous verse. “You are not confined within narrow limits by us. You are not brought into difficulties by us; we do not afflict and distress you, or fill you with anguish and trouble. The word “restricted” presents a natural contrast to the expansion, the enlargement, of heart of the previous verse. There was no narrowness in him. In that large heart of his there was room for them and for a thousand others. It had, as it were, an infinite elasticity in its sympathies.

Any narrowness of heart you feel for me, is not from a lack of largeness of heart on my part towards you, but from lack of it on your part towards me. We love you fully, ardently, and are ready to do all that can be done for your welfare. There is no lack of room in our affections toward you. I have opened my whole heart to you; but you are inwardly narrow towards me.

But you are restricted by your own
“But you are restricted by your own” means that you are restricted because of your own mistakes and misapprehensions; therefore, you are wrong in your opinion of me, when you accuse me of misusing my apostolic office. Or the cause of your trouble and sorrow is within yourselves, because of your allowing the incestuous person, false teachers, and other scandalous persons, to remain in your fellowship; which was an error I could not help but notice and warn you of the consequences, because of the apostolic authority which God has committed to me.

You have room enough in our hearts, our hearts are so enlarged with love for you, that they are large enough to hold all of you; an expression of the great love, and strong affection the apostle felt for the Corinthians; when, on the other hand, they had but very little love for him comparatively; he had a heart enlarged enough to hold all of them with room to spare; but they could not find room enough in their hearts and affections for him.

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