What does 2 Corinthians 7:7 mean?
ESV: and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
NIV: and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
NASB: and not only by his arrival, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted among you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.
CSB: and not only by his arrival but also by the comfort he received from you. He told us about your deep longing, your sorrow, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
NLT: His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told us how much you long to see me, and how sorry you are for what happened, and how loyal you are to me, I was filled with joy!
KJV: And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
Paul and his companions were "downcast." Verse 6 used a Greek term referring to humility, lowliness, and being "low". They were suffering affliction from several sources. One of those was that they did not know where Titus was. Traveling in the ancient world could be dangerous, and they were concerned for his safety. In addition, Paul did not know how the Corinthians had responded to a severe and corrective letter he had written to them after his previous painful visit with them. While we do not have the text of that letter, we learn about it in 2 Corinthians.
God comforts the downcast, however, and Paul reported that God provided comfort through Titus' arrival. Now he clarifies. They were comforted to find that Titus was safe, but they were also comforted by hearing Titus' report about how the Corinthians had comforted him, especially in their response to Paul's letter.
How had the Corinthians responded? They had spoken of their longing for Paul. They had described their mourning or grief about their sinfulness and their enthusiastic support of Paul. In short, they had repented of their sin and expressed their affection for Paul. This was all he could have hoped for. Paul experienced not just comfort in hearing this, but he also experienced great joy.
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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