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2 Corinthians 2:7

ESV so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
NIV Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
NASB so that on the other hand, you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a person might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
CSB As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, he may be overwhelmed by excessive grief.
NLT Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.
KJV So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

What does 2 Corinthians 2:7 mean?

A man in the church in Corinth had apparently confronted Paul in some way. Given the divisions of that church (1 Corinthians 1:10–12) he probably challenged Paul's authority as apostle and whether he had authority over the church in Corinth. In any case, this made for a painful visit for Paul when he was last in Corinth. In fact, it had brought hurt to the entire congregation (2 Corinthians 2:5). Paul had written a painful letter to the believers, explaining the need for the church to confront and deal with this sinful man. They had done so using some kind of "punishment by the majority" (2 Corinthians 2:6), and the man seems to have repented from his sin. Paul now writes that the time has come for forgiveness.

Church discipline is a difficult issue. It has been handled poorly by many well-intentioned congregations. Such discipline often involves removing the person from the community and having nothing to do with him or her, if not turning the person over to Satan as described in 1 Corinthians 5. It requires the congregation to be consistent, motivated by love, and led by men who are above reproach themselves. Based on passages like this, many churches feel led by God to exercise discipline when someone among them is involved in clear and obvious sin and refuses to repent. The goal of such discipline is first to protect the church from the sin involved and, second, to restore the individual once repentance has occurred. That's what Paul is describing in this verse.

Paul urges the Corinthians to turn back to the man who has sinned against them and to forgive and comfort him. If they don't, the man may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. If that were to happen, a main reason for the discipline would be missed. The goal is to build the man back up and welcome him into full participation in the family of faith.
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