2 Corinthians 7:2 MEANING

2 Corinthians 7:2
(2) Receive us; we have wronged no man.--Better, Make room for us; we wronged no man: with the same change of tense in the verbs that follow. There is an almost infinite pathos in that entreaty, uttered, we may well believe, as from the very depths of the soul--"Make room for us." The under-current of thought flows on. He had complained of their being straitened in their affections, had entreated that they would enlarge their hearts towards him, as his heart was enlarged towards them. He has travelled on--his thoughts turning now to the party of license, with whom he had pleaded so earnestly in 1 Corinthians 8-10--to the terribly unutterable contaminations to which they were exposing themselves by their companionship with idolaters. He now, almost, as it were, with sobs, entreats once more: "You can find a place for such as these in your heart. Have you no place for me?" In the words "we wronged no man" we find reference to charges of greed of gain and self-interested motives that had been whispered against him, and to which he refers again in 2 Corinthians 8:20; 2 Corinthians 12:18. Perhaps, also, he contrasts himself with others, who "did wrong and defrauded" (1 Corinthians 6:8).

We have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.--The word for "corrupt" is the same as that translated "defile" in 1 Corinthians 3:17, and is used with manifest reference to sensual impurity in 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10; Revelation 19:2. The word for "defrauded" is not the same as that in 1 Corinthians 6:8, and though meaning literally "to make a gain," or "seek a gain," had, with its cognate nouns, acquired a darker shade of meaning. The verb is used in obvious connection with impurity in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6, where see Note. The nouns often appear in closest companionship with those which indicate that form of evil (1 Corinthians 5:10-11; Ephesians 5:5; 2 Peter 2:14; Romans 1:29; Colossians 3:5). Mere greed of gain is commonly described by another word, which we translate "the love of money" (Luke 16:14; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2). There seems, then, sufficient reason for connecting this verb also with the same class of sins. It would seem as if the word had colloquially acquired a secondary meaning, and was used of those who sought gain by ministering to the vice of others--who became, as it were, purveyors of impurity. The words, so understood, give us a momentary glimpse into a depth of evil from which we would willingly turn our eyes. But they leave no room for doubt that, in the infinite pruriency of such a city as Corinth, even such things as these had been said of the Apostle in the cynical jests of the paganising party of license. They tolerated such things themselves. They welcomed those who practised them to their friendship (1 Corinthians 5:11). They whispered, we may well believe, of private interviews in lonely lodgings, of public gatherings at night of men and women, and of the kiss of peace. They insinuated that, after all, he was even such a one as themselves. So, in like manner, was the fair fame of a disciple of St. Paul's attacked by Martial, not apparently with malignity, but only in the wantonness of jest. (See Excursus on the Later. Years of St. Paul's Life, at the end of the Acts of the Apostles.) So like charges were levelled at the reputation of Athanasius (Sozomen. Hist. ii. 25), and of Hooker (Walton's Life). So, generally, it was the ever-recurring calumny of the heathen against the Christians that their Agapae, or Feasts of Love, were scenes of foulest license. It is obvious that there is much in the popular outcry against confession that partakes more or less of the same character. Against charges of this nature St. Paul utters his indignant denial: "No," he virtually says; "you find a place in your affections for those who do such things: can you not find a place also for us who are free from them?" The sense which some have given to the word "corrupt," as referring only to doctrinal corruptions, is manifestly out of the question.

Verse 2. - Receive us; rather, open your hearts to us; make room for us (comp. Mark 2:2; John 2:6). It is an appeal to them to get rid of the narrowness of heart, the constricted affections, of which he has complained in 2 Corinthians 6:12. We have wronged... corrupted... defrauded no man. The "no man" in the original is placed first, and this emphatic position, together with its triple repetition, marks St. Paul's insistence on the fact that, whatever his enemies might insinuate, there was no single member of their Church who could complain of injury, moral harm, or unfair treatment from him. Clearly he is again thinking of definite slanders against himself. His sternness to the offender may have been denounced as a wrong; his generous sanction of broad views about clean and unclean meats, idol-offerings, etc., may have been represented as corrupting others by false teaching (2 Corinthians 2:17) or bad example (2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:6); his urgency about the collection for the saints (2 Corinthians 12:16; Acts 20:33), or his assertion of legitimate authority, may have been specified as greed for power. The verb pleonektein is often used in connection with other verbs, implying sensuality. It is difficult for us even to imagine that St. Paul had ever been charged with gross immorality; but it may have been so, for in a corrupt atmosphere everything is corrupt. Men like Nero and Heliogabalus, being themselves the vilest of men, openly declared their belief that no man was pure, and many in the heathen world may have been inclined to similar suspicions. Of Whitefield, the poet says -

"His sins were such as Sodom never knew,
And calumny stood up to swear all true."
We know too that the Christians were universally charged with Thyestean banquets and promiscuous licentiousness. It is, however, more natural to take pleonektein in its general sense, in which it means "to overreach," "to claim or seize more than one's just rights" (see 2 Corinthians 2:11) In 1 Corinthians 9:1-6 he is defending himself against similar charges, as also in this Epistle (2 Corinthians 5:12; 6:3; 10:7-11; 11; 12., passim). For similar strains of defence, see those of Moses and of Samuel.

7:1-4 The promises of God are strong reasons for us to follow after holiness; we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. If we hope in God as our Father, we must seek to be holy as he is holy, and perfect as our Father in heaven. His grace, by the influences of his Spirit, alone can purify, but holiness should be the object of our constant prayers. If the ministers of the gospel are thought contemptible, there is danger lest the gospel itself be despised also; and though ministers must flatter none, yet they must be gentle towards all. Ministers may look for esteem and favour, when they can safely appeal to the people, that they have corrupted no man by false doctrines or flattering speeches; that they have defrauded no man; nor sought to promote their own interests so as to hurt any. It was affection to them made the apostle speak so freely to them, and caused him to glory of them, in all places, and upon all occasions.Receive us,.... Into your affections, let us have a place in your hearts, as you have in ours: Gospel ministers ought to be received with love and respect, both into the hearts and houses of the saints; for "he that receiveth you", says Christ, "receiveth me", Matthew 10:40. Their doctrines are to be received in the love of them, and with faith and meekness; and this may be another part of the apostle's meaning here; receive the word and ministry of reconciliation, which we as the ambassadors of Christ bring, and the several exhortations we give in his name, particularly the last mentioned: next follow reasons, or arguments, engaging, them to comply with this request,

we have wronged no man; we have done no man any injury in his person, estate, or name. There is one among you that has done wrong, and another among you that has suffered wrong, 2 Corinthians 7:12 and we have given very faithful advice to the church how to behave in this affair; but, in so doing, we have neither wronged him nor you; and as not in this, so neither in any other case: if I or my fellow apostles have wronged you in anything, it is in not being "burdensome" to you for our maintenance, "forgive me this wrong", 2 Corinthians 12:13 for in no other respect have we done you any: some understand this of any lordly power, or tyrannical domination they had exercised over them, denied by the apostle; we have not behaved in an insolent manner towards you, we have not lorded it over God's heritage, or claimed any dominion over your faith, or required any unreasonable obedience and submission from you:

we have corrupted no man; neither by our doctrines and principles, which are perfectly agreeable to the word of God, make for the good of souls, and tend to the glory of Christ; nor by our example, but have been careful to lead such lives and conversations as are becoming the Gospel of Christ, adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, and are patterns to them that believe; nor have we corrupted by flatteries, or with bribes, any of the leading men among you, in order to gain their good will, and thereby respect and credit among others:

we have defrauded no man, or "coveted no man"; no man's silver, gold, or apparel; we have not sought yours, but you; not to amass wealth to ourselves, but that we might be useful to your souls, for your spiritual good, and serviceable to the glory of Christ; we have not through covetousness made merchandise of you, with feigned words, as the false apostles have done, therefore receive us.

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