2 Corinthians 2

2 Corinthians 2:4

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.

I wrote to you. Paul wrote several letters to the Corinthians. This painful letter (2 Cor. 7:8) may have been prompted by a poor response to his first one. If so, it worked (see 2 Cor. 7:11).

(Note: What happened to the painful letter? Some believe it was tacked on to the end of Second Corinthians as chapters 10 to 13.)

2 Corinthians 2:5

But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you.

He has caused sorrow. Who was the man who caused sorrow? Was Paul referring to the incestuous man of 1 Cor. 5:1? Or was he a divisive man who had opposed Paul’s message? Most likely it was the latter for Paul feels the need to forgive him (see 2 Cor. 2:10). It is a testimony to Paul’s grace and forbearance that he never names and shames this man.

2 Corinthians 2:6

Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority,

Inflicted by the majority. Some in the church did not agree with the way this situation was handled. The Corinthian church was famously divided. Reading between the lines we see a situation where a man had challenged Paul’s apostolic authority and some in the church had sided with him (2 Cor. 10:10, 13:3). Paul visited the church (2 Cor. 2:1, 13:2), confronted the issue, and the majority of the church supported Paul. What was the punishment inflicted on the rebel? Perhaps they asked him to step down from leadership or stop teaching.

2 Corinthians 2:7-8

so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.

Forgive. The original word for forgive (charizomai) means to show favor or kindness. It’s closely related to the word that means grace (charis). In context, the word means unconditional forgiveness (see also Eph. 4:32, Col. 2:13, 3:13).

The man had evidently repented. To continue punishing him would give Satan the opportunity to sow discord in the church (2 Cor. 2:11). “It’s time to move on,” said Paul. “Show him love and forgive him” (2 Cor. 2:10).

2 Corinthians 2:10

But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

Forgive…forgiven… forgiven. Three times in this verse Paul uses a word (charizomai) that implies unconditional forgiveness. Their forgiveness ought to be wholehearted and abundant. Paul might have said, “Forgive as Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). See also the entry for 2 Cor. 2:8.

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