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Summary: Paul said, “We despaired even of life.” It is evident that the record in Acts does not give all the dangers that threatened Paul in Ephesus.

August 14, 2014

Tom Lowe

The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

Lesson II.C.2.a: Comfort of Titus. (7:5-7)

2nd Corinthians 7:5-7 (NKJV)

5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.

6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,

7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

Commentary

5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia

The Greek foe “for indeed” is “for also” (for “even”). The apostle has spoken of his trials in Ephesus—“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). The great trouble that befell Paul at Ephesus, was probably that caused by Demetrius and his fellow-craftsmen (See Acts, chapter 19). There, he said, “We despaired even of life.” It is evident that the record in Acts does not give all the dangers that threatened Paul in Ephesus. His hasty departure from Ephesus immediately after the riot shows that he was in danger (See Acts 20:1). He was not one to exaggerate his danger. The allusions here, and in 1 Corinthians 15:31-32, show that he met with extreme peril. And then he had trouble in Troas—“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 2:12, 13). He had expected to meet Titus in Troas, and to get news concerning the state of affairs at Corinth. Hence, not finding him there, he didn’t stay very long, but went on to Macedonia, hoping to meet Titus on the way. And now he tells them that even in Macedonia he was no less troubled and agitated. He had come from Troas full of anxiety and agitation, but when he arrived in Macedonia, much remained the same. His body was still suffering from lack of rest, even though his spirit had found relief in the thought that the coming of Titus could not now be far off. We have a short account of what he did and suffered there, in Acts 20:1-38.

Our bodies had no rest

“Our bodies had no rest”—we were extremely distressed and agitated. We had no rest. External troubles assailed him as well as inward anxiety. He relates the causes of his distress in what immediately follows. Their outward man, their bodies were continually fatigued from preaching, debating, and fighting. The false teachers, and violent persecutors, gave them no rest in their bodies; though, in their souls, they had divine support and spiritual consolation; and it brought joy to their hearts to hear from Titus regarding the flourishing condition of the Corinthian church.

The word translated “rest” means remission of care. The phrase is precisely the same as in 2 Corinthians 2:13—“I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia,” with the substitution of ‘spirit’ for ‘bodies.’ The change of expression is noticeable, and must imply that Paul’s inward distress; like that of other men, seriously affected his bodily health.

But we were troubled on every side

Paul was troubled both by Jews and Gentiles from every quarter, in every way, by all sorts of enemies, in all places where he went—“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). Wherever we are, into whatever country, city, or town we enter, we are sure to meet with trouble, of one sort or another; for wherever we are, we are in the world, in which we must expect tribulation: “always,” every day and hour we live, we are never free from one trial or another. We were forced to enter into stressful activities and strife, and we were full of anxiety in regard to you. We had no rest in any quarter, so that it seemed as if we were afflicted in everything we did. We can almost picture him sobbing as he speaks about his troubles.

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