Text in red, if any, are my additions.
THE APOSTOLIC GREETING
A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:1-2~As in the previous letter so here, St. Paul begins by an assertion of his Apostolic authority and divine commission. Timothy, his faithful companion and fellow-laborer in preaching the Gospel (1 Cor 16:10; Rom 16:21), is associated in the writing of this Epistle because, since the Apostle is going to speak much of himself and defend his life and actions against his adversaries, he could have no better witness than Timothy, and no one who was more highly esteemed by the Corinthians. Here too, all the faithful, not only of Corinth, but of the whole Roman Province of Achaia, are addressed.
2 Cor 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother: to the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in all Achaia:
Paul, an apostle, etc. See on Rom 1:1. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote in his comments on Rom 1:1~Paul. The Apostle probably assumed this name for the first time in Cyprus when he converted the Proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7-12), perhaps, as St. Jerome says (in Philem.), in honor of his victory in making so great a convert. St. Thomas and others, however, think he was called both Paul and Saul from his infancy; the latter being his Jewish, and the former his Latin name. As Tarsus, the Apostle’s birth place, was under the Roman Empire, it seems not improbable that he should have been given a Latin, as well as a Jewish name, from the beginning. It seems unlikely (pace St Jerome) that St Paul would have been so ostentatious as to “honor his victory in making so great a convert” as to adopt the name Paulus from the Proconsul Sergius Paulus Gallio.
Of Jesus Christ (Vulg., Jesu Christi) is according toA D G K; whereas B M P read, “Of Christ Jesus.”
Our brother. Literally, “The brother,” i.e., not only a fellow-Christian, but a co-laborer in preaching the Gospel. In five other Epistles (Philip., Col., 1 and 2 Thess. and Philem.) Timothy is similarly associated with St. Paul.
With all the saints, etc., i.e., this letter is addressed to Corinth, and also to all the other Christian communities of Achaia. Unlike Galatians, however, this was not a circular Epistle. It embraced the outlying Churches of Achaia only so far as they shared the disorders and opinions of the central Church at Corinth.
Achaia was a distinct Roman Province including the Peloponnesus and north Greece as far as Macedonia. Corinth was its capital.
2 Cor 1:2. Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
See on Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3. Concerning grace and peace Fr. Callan wrote this on Rom 1:7~Grace . . . peace, etc. This form of well-wishing, which occurs in nearly all the Epistles of St. Paul, is found nowhere before the Apostle, and therefore seems to have been his own creation (Lagrange). Grace, in its proper sense, is a special gift of God by which one is made holy and agreeable in God’s sight, and is rendered a participant of the divine nature, a brother of Christ, and heir to the glory of the Father in heaven. Peace with God insures interior tranquility of mind and soul, and is one of the most precious effects of grace. St. Paul here speaks of these eminent gifts as coming from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, thus placing the latter on a level with the former, but not identifying the two as persons.
At 1 Cor 1:3 he wrote~Cf. 1 Thess 1:1; 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.
THANKSGIVING FOR RECENT BENEFITS
A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11~The Apostle has lately passed through dire perils, for deliverance from which he now thanks God, especially since his trials and his safe escape from them have been ordained to the ultimate good and comfort of his dear ones in the faith. It was by their prayers that he was assisted in time of danger, and he trusts to their devout cooperation for deliverance from similar circumstances in the future.
2 Cor 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
The Apostle now thanks God the Father for the mercy and comfort which he, Timothy, and perhaps other fellow-laborers (verse 19) have experienced in their trials and toils.
The God and Father ( ο θεος και πατηρ). The one article for the two names shows that they both refer to the one Divine Person. The Father is called the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the Saviour Himself said: “I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God” (John 20:17).
The Father of mercies, etc., i.e., the merciful Father who is the source of all consolation (Eph 2:4).
2 Cor 1:4. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation wherewith we also are exhorted by God.
God comforts St. Paul, Timothy and their fellow-workers in the ministry, in order that they in turn may comfort the faithful in their afflictions.
Distress represents the same word in Greek (θλιψει) as tribulation; and likewise comfort and comforteth render the same Greek terms as exhortation and exhorted. The same variation between our version and the Vulgate, on the one hand, and the Greek text, on the other, occurs again in verse 6.
The et . . . et (“also”) of the Vulgate here are not in the Greek. The Vulgate reads: qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra ut possimus et ipsi consolari eos qui in omni pressura sunt per exhortationem qua exhortamur et ipsi a Deo.
2 Cor 1:5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.
If the sufferings of the Apostles were extraordinary, their consolations were correspondingly great.
The sufferings of Christ, i.e., the sufferings which Christ bore for the diffusion of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, and which are continued in the members of His mystical body (Col 1:24). There is no thought here of Christ now suffering in glory.
2 Cor 1:6. Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation: or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.
The Apostle wishes to say now that whatever happens to him and his fellow workers for Christ—whether it be joy or sorrow, comfort or affliction, it is all ordained for the good of the faithful. Their afflictions beget patience, and their comfort inspires hope in the goodness of God.
The text of this verse causes much confusion. In the first place the Vulgate clause, sive autem tribulamur pro vestra exhortatione et salute must be omitted as a repetition of the last part of the first clause (a case of scribal dittography). The corresponding words in our version, or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation must likewise be omitted.
This done, there are two principal readings of the verse: (a) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is wrought out in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation, knowing that,” etc. [as in verse 7] (see manuscripts B D F G K L); (b) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we be comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer” (see manuscripts A C M P).
The latter reading is more like the Vulgate and is preferable.
2 Cor 1:7. That our hope for you may be steadfast: knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.
The Apostle expresses his unwavering hope that as the Corinthians bear their afflictions courageously they may also experience much comfort and consolation.
That our hope, etc. ( Vulg., Ut spes nostra, etc.) should be “And our hope,” etc. This clause is transferred by the Vatican MS. and many other authorities to the middle of the preceding verse, but such placing is against the best internal and external evidence. It is true that the participle knowing is without an antecedent, but this is not uncommon in St. Paul.
2 Cor 1:8. For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, of our tribulation, which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure above our strength, so that we were weary even of life.
A particular instance of great suffering endured by St. Paul, and perhaps by Timothy, in Asia is now recalled to the minds of the Corinthians. What was this terrible affliction? Since it seemed to be well known to the Corinthians, it was probably the report of the rebellion in Corinth against the Apostle's authority. It overwhelmed him with grief. Now this could hardly be said of the uproar caused by Demetrius at Ephesus (Acts 19:23), for Timothy was not there at that time (Acts 19:22). Neither could we easily suppose it to have been some mere private distress caused by sickness, shipwreck or the like.
In Asia, i.e., in the Roman Province of Asia, which consisted of the coastlands of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea, of which Ephesus was the capital.
That we were pressed, etc., i.e., exceedingly above our strength, so that we were weary, etc., i.e., so that we despaired even of life. The Apostle is saying that his affliction was more than his natural strength could support, but which he was able to bear by the grace of God (1 Cor. 10:13).
2 Cor 1:9. But we had in ourselves the answer of death, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.
So great was the affliction of St. Paul and Timothy that they felt sure they must die, if left to their own strength. This extremity of suffering was given them that they might learn to trust in God who is able to raise the dead to life, and so, a fortiori, can rescue from death (Rom. 4:17).
But (αλλα = alla) is not adversative here; it confirms what was said before and should be translated, "Nay."
The answer of death, i.e., the sentence, the judgment, the expectation of death (St. Chrys.).
2 Cor 1:10. Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of so great dangers: in whom we trust that he will yet also deliver us.
So great dangers. More literally, "So great a death." The danger was naturally tantamount to death.
That he will yet also, etc. This shows that the same situation might occur again, which is against the supposition that the affliction in question was caused by the uproar of the silversmiths (Acts 19:23).
And doth deliver (Vulg., et emit with F G K L) would better be "and will deliver," et eruet (B א C).
2 Cor 1:11. You helping withal in prayer for us: that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf.
The Apostle is confident that in future the help of God will not be wanting to him, because he trusts in the prayers of all the faithful, and of the Corinthians in particular.
That for this gift, etc. The meaning is : That from many persons (faces) thanks may be given on our behalf for the gift obtained for us through the prayers of many. St. Paul desires many prayers
to be offered for him and his companions, so that when the favor is obtained God may be honored by the thanksgiving of many.