This section running through verse 11 of chapter 2 really begins at verse 23 of chapter 1. It was written in defense of certain actions and decisions which Paul had made relating to his proposed visits to the assembly.
Because of the postponement, through unavoidable circumstances, there were those who said openly that he was not to be trusted, that he was not sincere, and some even questioned his apostolic authority.
The verses in this paragraph are the beginning of his defense of his apostolic authority and also the sincerity of his motives and actions.
V. 23-He appeals to the highest authority. “I call God as my soul’s witness.”
Thus he gives the reason for the postponement of his visit, “It was to avoid hurting them further.”
In not visiting them, Paul was showing His love for them and also giving them time to repent.
V. 26-Paul is careful to remind the church that he in no way seeks to hold ecclesiastical tyranny over their faith, but as a fellow laborer or helper, to promote this joy.
2:1-Because of the sincere convictions—God is my judge—I made up my mind to not grieve and distress you by another painful visit. His first visit to them had been very distressing.
V. 2-Paul gets no sadistic pleasure out of the pain he causes his converts. His sadness and joy are contingent on this spiritual state.
V. 3-In this verse Paul indicates his writing of the 1st Epistle. He hoped that it would be the desired effect, that there would be repentance and godly sorrow and that they themselves would rectify the many evils by following his exhortations.
V. 4-This verse is a revelation of the heart of Paul. It reveals the strain and distress under which he wrote.
1. “Out of much affliction and aguish of heart.” Mental torture and anxiety. This would show us the depth of his emotional involvement.
2. “With many tears” would show the visible expression of this.
3. “That you should not be grieved” – the negative purpose of writing,
4. “That you may know the love which I have for you more abundantly” – reveals his positive purpose.
Verses 5-11: He asks the church to forgive the persistent offender.
It is generally accepted that the man in question is the man of chapter 5 (1 Corinthians). Paul says that he is the one who has caused them, and to a lesser degree himself, much grief and pain.
Paul evidently had learned of this man’s repentance and reckoned that the discipline that had been administered by the majority was sufficient punishment. (Verse 6)
V. 7- He urges them to forgive and encourage him, lest he should be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow and despair and never recover.
V. 8-He urges the church to bring him back into the fellowship.
V. 9-In this verse, Paul gives one of the reasons why he wrote the 1st Epistle. “To see if they would be obedient in all things.” The other reasons were: to prepare him for his visit (verse 3), and to manifest his love for them (verse 4).
V. 10-Paul puts himself into the actions of the church. Whom and what you forgive…I forgive also. Then he adds, “If I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes, with the approval of Christ.”
V. 11-This I did also to keep Satan from getting the advantage over us.
V. 12-13-These verses tell us of Paul’s sorrow. He came to Troas…he felt that a door had been opened to him to preach the Gospel…he was sure that this was of the Lord. He also expected to meet Titus there. Titus evidently was coming from Corinth. Paul was anxious to here from him the effects of his letter upon the church.
When Titus failed to appear, Paul was so distraught that he left Troas and went to Macedonia. Such a decision must have been a painful one, but at this time news from Corinth was of more importance to him that preaching the Gospel in Troas.
God was gracious…on his return journey he stopped at Troas for seven days.
Consider Paul’s hour of darkness. Think of his disappointment … apprehensiveness and the physical sickness which afflicted him. This seems to have been a critical period in Paul’s life. Corinth appeared to be in full revolt against him. Galatia was falling to another gospel. He had just escaped from Ephesus. He wrote of this period, “Our flesh had no rest, we were troubled on every side. Without was fighting, within was fear” (7:5).
Quote Vs. 8-9 of Chapter 1.
These expressions help us to see the mental distress and the physical weakness as Paul lay sick, not knowing whether the messenger of death or Titus would reach him first.
Titus did reach Paul first (Chapter 7:6). He was greatly comforted.
V. 14-“But thanks be unto God.”
In all this Paul could give God thanks. (Romans 8:28) Despite the seeming setbacks, he declares that he was being led in triumph by the triumphant Christ.
Describe the “triumph” in which military captives were led by victorious generals.
Note the words “always”… “make manifest” … “in every place” … “Victory.”
V. 15-Paul says here that because of his spiritual victory that he is the fragrance of Christ to God, and also to those who are being saved, and to those who perish.
V. 16-The life which he lived and the Gospel which he preached was life-giving to those who were being saved. To those who refused the message it brought death. Who is qualified for such a task?
V. 17-The inference here is “I am” or “We are.” We are not like some false teachers who adulterate the message. We are sincere, as men sent from God, and living in His presence so we speak his message.