« PreviousContinue »
TEXT. 16 To the one, we are the savour of death unto death ; and to the other,
the savour of life unto life; and who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of
sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.
16 regard of those that are saved, and those that perish. To the
one my preaching is of ill savour, unacceptable and offensive, by their rejecting whereof they draw death on themselves; and to the other, being as a sweet savour,
acceptable, they thereby receive eternal life. And who is sufficient for these things ? And yet, as I said, my service in the Gospel is well-pleasing to
God. For I am not, as several o are, who are hucksters of the 17 word of God, preaching it for gain ; but I preach the Gospel
of Jesus Christ in sincerity. I speak, as from God himself, and I deliver it, as in the presence of God.
16 - Vid. ch. ii. 5, 6.
His speaking well of himself, (as he did sometimes in his first epistle, and with much more freedom in this, which, as it seems, had been objected to him, amongst the Corinthians) his plainness of speech, and his sincerity in preaching the Gospel, are the things which he chiefly justifies, in this section, many ways. We shall observe his arguments, as they come in the order of St. Paul's discourse, in which are mingled, with great insinuation, many expressions of an overflowing kindness to the Corinthians, not without some exhortations to them.
TEXT. 1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves ? or need we, as some
others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation
from you? 2 Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ,
ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the
living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we, through Christ, to God-ward : 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing, as of our
selves; but our sufficiency is of God;
1 Do I begin again to commend myself a; or need I, as 2 someb, commendatory letters to or from you? You are
my commendatory epistle, written in my heart, known and 3 read by all men. I need no other commendatory letter, but
that you being manifested to be the commendatory epistle of Christ, written on my behalf; not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone', but of the
heart, whereof I was the amanuensis ; i. e. your conversation 4 was the effect of my ministry. And this so great confidence 5 have I, through Christ, in God. Not as if I were sufficient
of myself to reckon upon any thing, as of myself; but my
NOTES. 1 - This is a plain indication, that he had been blamed, amongst them, for com
mending himself. b Seems to intimate, that their false apostle had got himself recommended to
them by letters, and so had introduced himself into that church. 3 The sense of St. Paul, in this 3d verse, is plainly this : that he needed no
letters of commendation to them; but that their conversion, and the Gospel, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, in the tables of their hearts, and not in tables of stone, by his ministry, was as clear an evidence and testimony to them, of his mission from Christ, as the law, writ in tables of stone, was an evidence of Moses's mission; so that he, St. Paul, needed no other recommendation: this is what is to be understood by this verse, unless we will make “ the tables of stone” to have no signification here. But to say, as he does, that the Corinthians, being writ upon, in their hearts, not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, by the hand of St. Paul, was Christ's commendatory letter of him, being a pretty bold expression, liable to the exception of the captious part of the Corinthians; he, to obviate all imputation of vanity, or vain
glory, hereiv immediately subjoins what follows in the next verse. 4 As if he had said, “ But mistake me vot, as if I boasted of myself: this so
great boasting, that I use, is only my confidence in God, through Christ: for it was God, that made me a minister of the Gospel, that bestowed on me the
ability for it; and whatever I perform in it is wholly from him.” 5 . fleroionois, “ trust," ver. 4, a milder term for “ boasting," for so St.
Paul uses it, chap. x. 7, compared with ver. 8, where also doyosisiw, ver. 7, is used, as here, for counting upon one's self; St. Paul also uses néqudas, for
thou boastest," Rom. ii. 19, which will appear, if compared with ver. 17;
TEXT. 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not
of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,
was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold
the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away; 8 How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious ?
PARAPHRASE. sufficiency, my ability, to perform any thing, is wholly from 6 God: who has fitted and enabled me to be a minister of the
New Testament, not of the letter', but of the spirit; for the 7 letter kills 5, but the spirit gives life. But, if the ministry of
the law written in stone, which condemns to death, were so glorious to Moses, that his face shone so, that the children of
Israel could not steadily behold the brightness of it, which was 8 but temporary, and was quickly to vanish "; How can it be
NOTES. or if aoyisacfar shall rather be thought to signify here to discover by reasoning, then the apostle's sense will run thus: “Not as if I were sufficient of myself, by the strength of my own natural parts, to attain the knowledge of the Gospel truths, that I preach ; but my ability herein is all from God." Bui, in whatever sense agyloxobar is here taken, it is certain ri, which is translated “
any thing," must be limited to the subject in hand, viz. the Gospel that he preached to
them. 6 roj ypá polos, ánna aveuwatos,“ pot of the letter, but of the spirit.” By ex
pressing himself, as he does here, St. Paul may be understood to intimate, that “the New Testament, or covenant,' was also, though obscurely, held forih in the law: For he says, he was constituted a minister, aveúparos,“ of the spirit," or spiritual meaning of the law, which was Christ, (as he tells us himself, ver. 17) and giveth life, whilst the letter killeth. But both letter and spirit must be understood of the same thing, viz. “the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law.” And, in fact, we find St. Paul truly a minister of the spirit of the law; especially in his epistle to the Hebrews, where he shows what a spiritual sense ran through the Mosaical institution and writings.
“ The letter kills," i. e. pronouncing death, without any way of remission, on all transgressors, leaves them under an irrevocable sentence of death. But the
Spirit, i. e. Christ, ver. 17, who is a quickening Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45, gireth life. 7 H Kalapycupérrin, “ done away,” is applied here to the shining of Moses's face,
and to the law, ver. 11, and 13. In all which places it is used in the present teuse, and has the signification of an adjective, standing for temporary, or of a duration whose end was determined; and is opposed to tu pívovza
, “ that which remaineth," i.e. that which is lasting, and hath no predetermined end set to it, as ver. 11, where the Gospel dispensation is called só péron, “that which remaiveth." This may help us to understand and 86€ns eis 866ay, ver. 18, “from glory to glory,” which is manifestly opposed to 6657 xarapyounévn, “the glory done away,” of this verse; and so plainly signifies a continued, lasting glory of the ministers of the Gospel; which, as he tells us there, consisted in their being
TEXT. 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth
the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that, which was made glorious, had no glory, in this
respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which
remaineth, is glorious. 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech :
PARAPHRASE. otherwise, but that the ministry of the Spirit, which giveth
life, should confer more glory and lustre on the ministers of 9 the Gospel ? For if the ministration of condemnation were
glory, the ministry of justification, in the Gospel, doth cer10 tainly much more exceed in glory. Though even the glory,
that Moses's ministration had, was no glory, in comparison of 11 the far more excelling glory of the Gospel ministry k. Farther,
if that which is temporary, and to be done away, were deli
vered with glory, how much rather is that which remains, 12 without being done away, to appear in glory!? Wherefore,
having such hope "", we use great freedom and plainness of
NOTES. changed into the image and clear representation of the Lord himself; as the glory of Moses consisted in the transitory brightness of his face, which was a
faint reflection of the glory of God, appearing to him in the mouut. 9 i Altxoría tas doxalosivne, “the ministration of righteousness ;" so the miuistry
of the Gospel is called, because, by the Gospel, a way is provided for the justification of those who have transgressed: but the law has nothing but rigid con. dempation for all transgressors; and, therefore, is called here “the ministra
tion of condemnation." 10 k Though the showing, that the ministry of the Gospel is more glorions than
that of the law be what St. Paul is upon here, thereby to justify himself, if he has assumed some authority and commendation to himself, in his ministry and apostieship; yet in his thus industriously placing the ministry of the Gospel, iu honour, above that of Moses, may he not possibly have an eye to the Judaizing false apostle of the Corinthians, to let them see what little regard was to be had to that ministration, in comparison of the ministry of the Gospel ?
Here St. Paul mentions another pre-eminency and superiority of glory, in the Gospel over the law, viz. that the law was to cease, and to be abolished; but
the Gospel to remain, and never be abolished. 12 m“Sueh hope :” that St. Paul, by these words, means the so honourable em
ployment of an apostle and minister of the Gospel, or the glory belonging to his ministry in the Gospel, is evident, by the whole foregoing comparison, which he has made, which is all along between 80.xoria, “the ministry of the law, and of the Gospel, and not between the law and the Gospel themselves. The calling. of it “ hope," instead of glory, here, where he speaks of his having of it, is the Janguage of modesty, which more particularly suited bis present purpose. For the conclusion, which, in this verse, he draws from what went before, plainly shows the apostle's design, in this discourse, to be the justifying his speaking freely of himself and others; his argument amounting to thus much :
TEXT. 13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children
of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. 14 But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the
same veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
13 speech. And not as Moses, who put a veil over his face, do
we veil the light; so that the obscurity of what we deliver should hinder the children of Israel from seeing, in the law,
which was to be done away, Christ, who was the end of the 14 law. But their not seeing it, is from the blindness of their
own minds: for, unto this day, the same veil remains upon their understandings, in reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ; i. e. Christ, now he is come, so
NOTES. “ Haring, therefore, so honourable an employment, as is the ministry of the Gospel, which far exceeds the ministry of the law in glory; though even that gave so great a lustre to Moses's face, that the children of Israel could not with fixed eyes look upon him; I, as becomes one of such hopes, in such a post as sets me above all mean considerations and compliances, use great freedom and
plainness of speech, in all things that concern my ministry.” 13 2 Προς το μη ατενίσαι, &c. “That the children of Israel could not stedfastly
look," &c. St. Paul is here justifying, in himself, and other ministers of the Gospel, the plainness and openness of their preaching, which he had asserted in the immediately preceding verse. These words, therefore, here, must of necessity be understood, not of Moses, but of the ministers of the Gospel ; viz. that it was not the obscurity of their preaching, not any thing veiled, in their way of proposing the Gospel, which was the cause why the children of Israel did not uuderstand the law to the bottom, and see Christ, the end of it, in the writings of Moses. What St. Paul says, in the next verse, “But their minds were blinded : for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away,” plainly determines the words we are upon to the sense I have taken them in : for what sense is this ? “ Moses put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not see the end of the law; but their minds were blinded; for the veil remains upon them until this day. But this is very good sense, and to St. Paul's purpose, viz. “We, the ministers of the Gospel, speak plainly and openly, and put no veil upon ourselves, as Moses did, whereby to hinder the Jews from seeing Christ, in the law; but that, which hinders thein, is a blindness on their minds, which has been always on them, and remains to this day.” This seems to be an obviating an objection, which some among the Corinthians might make to his boasting of so much plainness and clearness in his preaching, viz. If you preach the Gospel, and Christ, contained in the law, with such a shining clearness and evidence, how comes it that the Jews are not converted to it? His reply is, “ Their uubelief comes not from any obscurity in our preaching, but from a blinduess, which rests upon their minds to this day; which shall be taken away when they turn to the Lord.” • Vid. Rom. x. 2–4.