2 Corinthians 2:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 2:4, NIV: For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

2 Corinthians 2:4, ESV: For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

2 Corinthians 2:4, KJV: For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

2 Corinthians 2:4, NASB: 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.

2 Corinthians 2:4, NLT: I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn't want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.

2 Corinthians 2:4, CSB: For I wrote to you with many tears out of an extremely troubled and anguished heart--not to cause you pain, but that you should know the abundant love I have for you.

What does 2 Corinthians 2:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Many Bible scholars believe that what's described here is a now-lost letter of Paul. This would have been sent between what we now know as 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. Some suggest the mystery letter was actually written prior to 1 Corinthians, but that's not as clean a fit with the context of those two letters.

Instead, the sequence seems to be that Paul visited the Corinthians briefly following the writing of 1 Corinthians. During that painful visit, a confrontation took place. This appears to have been with a church member challenging Paul's authority as an apostle. It is unclear if most in the church sided with Paul or with this other man. Paul wrote the now-lost letter to them in order to urge the church to deal with this man and make clear their support for Paul's authority as an apostle of Jesus.

Writing that letter, Paul now says, caused him great pain. He wrote it out of affliction and anguish of heart, shedding tears as he sent it. He did not write it in order to cause them pain. That's the last thing Paul wanted for them. Instead, he wrote it because he loved them so deeply. He knew that hearing the truth might hurt them, but he also hoped it would bring healing to everyone involved. Apparently, that's exactly what has happened.