What does 2 Corinthians 2:1 mean?
ESV: For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you.
NIV: So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.
NASB: But I decided this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again.
CSB: In fact, I made up my mind about this: I would not come to you on another painful visit.
NLT: So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit.
KJV: But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
NKJV: But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.
Verse Commentary:
Once again, readers of Scripture should keep in mind that chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original writing. What's said here is not meant to be a separate thought from the prior words. In fact, Paul is completing a statement begun in the previous two verses. He is explaining why he delayed a second planned visit to Corinth instead of arriving when he initially said he would. He has written that this change was to spare the Corinthians in some way, likely from his own discipline for their potential sinfulness (2 Corinthians 1:23).

Now he describes his decision—"I made up my mind"—not to make another upsetting visit to them. That begs the question of what's causing this controversy. Most interpreters look at the context of 2 Corinthians and determine that Paul traveled directly to Corinth from Ephesus after writing 1 Corinthians. This would have been instead of first traveling to Macedonia as described in that earlier letter (1 Corinthians 16:5–9). Perhaps Paul received news from Timothy about issues in Corinth that needed his immediate attention.

In any case, that visit with them is the one Paul now describes as "painful." It seems there was a confrontation of some kind between Paul and one of the Corinthians. Given the earlier divisions in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10–12), this may have been about Paul's qualifications to be an apostle in the first place. In challenging Paul's authority, this man was challenging the spiritual foundation of the entire church. Despite this, it seems the rest of the Christians in Corinth did not intervene.

So, Paul left and continued to Macedonia. From there, he wrote a painful letter to them about the incident and about their responsibility to stand for what was right and true, including his authority as an apostle. Paul may have sent that letter with Titus and then waited for Titus to return with news about their response. The text of that letter has not been conserved; we don't know exactly what was said.

That incident and its aftermath is why Paul did not return to Corinth as quickly as he had said. He did not want to put anyone through another painful visit until he learned how they had responded to his letter.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 2:1–4 finds Paul explaining with great emotion how he decided not to return to Corinth until he learned whether they would side with or against him. He did not want to cause mutual needless pain with another difficult visit. Instead, he wrote to them in great anguish. That letter—now lost—told them to correct the man and to remain loyal to God's authority in and through him. He did not write to hurt them but out of abundant love for them.
Chapter Summary:
Paul explains why he delayed coming to visit the Corinthians. In great anguish, he had written a painful letter to tell them they must correct a man among them. This person may have challenged Paul's authority as an apostle of Jesus. The Corinthians disciplined the man, and he repented. Paul told them to forgive him. He tells of Titus failing to show up in Troas with news about the Corinthians, then transitions into teaching that Christians are the aroma of Christ on earth to everyone they know.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians continues uninterrupted from the previous chapter. Paul is explaining why he waited to come to Corinth. He wanted to see if they would side with him, or with the man who challenged his authority. They disciplined the man. He repented. Paul commands restoration and forgiveness. He then tells of failing to find Titus in Troas with news about them before transitioning into teaching that Christians are the aroma of Christ on earth, smelling of death to the perishing and life to those being saved. This brings Paul back to the subject of his own authority in chapter 3.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:56:05 PM
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