What does 2 Corinthians 7:5 mean?
ESV: For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.
NIV: For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn--conflicts on the outside, fears within.
NASB: For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts on the outside, fears inside.
CSB: In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears within.
NLT: When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.
KJV: For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
Paul is returning to a story he left off suddenly earlier in this letter (2 Corinthians 2:13). The story is this: He had sent Titus with a difficult, corrective letter he had written to the Corinthians. He instructed them to hold an influential man among them accountable for his sin. The letter, which is now lost to us, may have been harsh. Paul waited anxiously to hear how they would respond.
However, Titus wasn't in Troas when Paul arrived there to meet with him after the trip to Corinth. This troubled Paul deeply and he returned to Macedonia. Now Paul picks up the story. When he and his co-workers got back to Macedonia, things did not improve for them. Both physically and emotionally, they continued to struggle. They could not rest. They were afflicted with trouble, which included fighting of some kind and fear. Some of this was likely fueled by Paul's concern for Titus and wanting to know how the Corinthians had responded to his letter. Apparently, he was also experiencing additional opposition.
Finally, as the following verses reveal, Titus did return from Corinth, and the news was good.
Second Corinthians 7:2–16 begins with Paul urging the Corinthians to make room in their hearts for him and his co-workers for the gospel. He then describes the great affliction they were under until Titus returned from a visit to Corinth. Titus' report that the Corinthians had responded to a severe rebuke from Paul with sadness and repentance brought Paul great comfort and caused him to rejoice. Titus, too, expressed affection for the Corinthians after seeing their obedience and humility. Paul concludes by declaring his complete confidence in the Corinthians, though he will discuss other difficult issues in the following chapters.
Verse 1 concludes the previous chapter's declaration that believers, as God's holy people, must cleanse their lives of defilement. Next, Paul urges the Corinthians once more to make room in their hearts for him and his co-workers. He expresses his great comfort and joy over Titus' report that they received a letter of rebuke from him with sorrow and repentance, eager to make things right. He is glad to hear that Titus was impressed with their obedience and humble attitude. This hasn't resolved all the issues between Paul and the Corinthians, but he expresses his complete confidence in them.
Second Corinthians 7 begins with a single verse concluding Paul's teaching about what it means for Christians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. He then urges the Corinthians once more to make room in their hearts for him and his fellow ministers. He expresses enormous comfort at hearing that they have received a letter of rebuke from him with an eagerness to make things right with him. Titus, too, is impressed with their obedience and humility. Paul declares that he now has complete confidence in them. Following chapters will continue to address spiritual problems within that church.
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.
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