2 Corinthians 2

2 Cor. 2:2 Paul Paraphrased

"If I make you depressed, how can I expect you to cheer me up?"

2 Cor. 2:5 he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all

What does Paul mean in this verse? If we paraphrase his words, the message becomes clear, "Those among you who are guilty of the sins I spoke of in my previous epistle have grieved you by their transgressions. Yet, they have not grieved me except for that grief of soul which comes from having to testify unto you concerning wickedness among you, when I would have rather been 'consoling and healing [your] wounds' (see Jacob. 2:6-9)."

"This verse and those that follow it provide an interesting insight into the love and compassion of Paul. We do not know whether the transgressor Paul refers to here is the fornicator mentioned in his first letter (1 Corinthians 5:1) or one of the false teachers in the church who had led a revolt against Paul and his teachings. But it is evident that the church has taken action against the man, and now Paul cautions them against withholding their love from him. In verse 5 he hastens to point out that he was upset with the news of this brother, not because his own feelings were hurt but because the man was doing damage to the entire church in Corinth. Now Paul encourages them to forgive and comfort this man so that he will not be lost from fellowship (vss. 6-12). This attitude of firmness on adherence to church rules and procedure, but loving forgiveness when the transgressor shows true repentance and corrects the errant behavior, is a mark of the church of Jesus Christ today as well as in former times." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 302)

2 Cor. 2:7 ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him

Bishop Robert L. Simpson

"Paul wrote to the Saints at Corinth about the importance of forgiving readily, 'Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.' (2 Cor. 2:11.) Only as we forgive do we earn the right to be forgiven. This is an eternal principle, so taught by the Savior when he said: 'For if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.' (Matt. 6:14.)

"Paul certainly understood this great truth, for he taught: 'And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' (Eph. 4:32.)

"Not only need we forgive to be forgiven, but we must also repent to earn this great blessing. A prophet of our day has recorded that the repentant 'shall be forgiven, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.' (D&C 68:24.) Then this sweet assurance followed: '. . . and I, the Lord, remember them no more.' (D&C 58:42.)" (Conference Report, October 1966, Afternoon Meeting 128.)

2 Cor. 2:7 lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow

Neal A. Maxwell

"The guidelines for reproof are clear:

'Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.' (D&C 121:43-44.)

"But sharp reproof should come as a matter of inspiration, not to meet an ego need which requires putting someone else in his place!

'So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.' (2 Corinthians 2:7-8.)

"Paul stresses the need to reassure the reproved individual beyond the usual levels of love and affection. Verbal putdowns can create a sense of defeat and despair that only the most resilient can rise above-unless the reassurance comes quickly. When we know we are loved by the reprover, we are more likely to consider the merits of his criticism; otherwise, we may live out our lives inside a fortified view of ourselves, with a network of tripwires alerting us to the probes of friend and foe. The passwords which permit the friend's words to be heard are 'love unfeigned,' which let him inside with his sometimes precious communiques which we need to hear." (A Time to Choose [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 79.)

2 Cor. 2:8 confirm your love toward him

Neal A. Maxwell

"'Confirm your love toward him.' That is strikingly the same as the 121st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, where we are asked to 'increase' our love towards him whom we have reproved. To 'confirm' and to 'increase' are simple, central, and consistent because the water comes from the same well." (For the Power is in them...: Mormon Musings, 47)

Harold B. Lee

"Let us not forget Paul's wise urging when he said 'confirm' our love to those around us, especially to those who may be swallowed up in sadness (see 2 Corinthians 2:7-8). Peter said much the same thing in 1 Peter, the first chapter, in urging members to not only exhibit 'unfeigned love' but to 'see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently' (1 Peter 1:22). In the kingdom our capacity to love is crucial because we live in a time when 'the love of men shall wax cold' (D&C 45:27). We must do all we can to see that that doesn't happen between leaders and people in this church." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 606.)

2 Cor. 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also...for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ

Perhaps you know of someone who has repented of some grievous sin. They have repented and been forgiven by the Bishop or other church court. Yet, they can't seem to forgive themselves. They can't believe that the Lord has really forgiven them. They struggle for years searching for some great manifestation of divine forgiveness.

Paul teaches an important principle in this regard. As a General Authority he forgives any individual who has been forgiven by the local authorities in Corinth. He sustains the decisions of the local leaders. He is not going to overturn the decision of a lower court just because he can. He is willing to forgive anyone whom they have forgiven. Not only that, he has the boldness to grant forgiveness 'in the person of Christ.' As an apostle of the Lord, he has the right to declare forgiveness on behalf of the Savior.

If we apply this principle to our repentant member, we are to understand that the General Authorities and even the Savior will support the decisions of a Bishop in matters of church discipline. Therefore, if the Bishop says you are forgiven, the General Authorities say you are forgiven, and the Lord himself says you are forgiven, 'whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same' (DC 1:38). Otherwise, the Lord's house is not a house of order, but a house of confusion. This is just the sort of confusion Satan tries to infuse into the church. That is why Paul is so careful to support the local leaders, 'Lest Satan should get an advantage of us' (v. 11).

Indeed, one of Satan's 'devices' is to tell the repentant member that they are not really forgiven, that they are not worthy of full fellowship, that God can't possibly forgive them for what they have done. Rather than listen to Satan's lies, they need to believe in this principle, whereby the Apostles and the Lord say to the bishops of the church, 'to whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also.'

2 Cor. 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices

James E. Faust

"It is not good practice to become intrigued by Satan and his mysteries. No good can come from getting close to evil. Like playing with fire, it is too easy to get burned: 'The knowledge of sin tempteth to its commission.' (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 373.) The only safe course is to keep well distanced from him and from any of his wicked activities or nefarious practices. The mischief of devil worship, sorcery, casting spells, witchcraft, voodooism, black magic, and all other forms of demonism should be avoided like the plague.

"However, Brigham Young said that it is important to 'study . . . evil, and its consequences.' (Discourses of Brigham Young, comp. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 257.) Since Satan is the author of all evil in the world, it would therefore be essential to realize that he is the influence behind the opposition to the work of God. Alma stated the issue succinctly: 'For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.' (Alma 5:40.)

"My principal reason for choosing this subject is to help young people by warning them, as Paul said, 'lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.' (2 Cor. 2:11.) ("Trying to Serve the Lord without Offending the Devil," BYU Speeches, 15 Nov. 1994, 59.)

"SATAN HAS HAD great success with this gullible generation. As a consequence, literally hosts of people have been victimized by him and his angels. There is, however, an ample shield against the power of Lucifer and his hosts. This protection lies in the spirit of discernment through the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift comes undeviatingly by personal revelation to those who strive to obey the commandments of the Lord and to follow the counsel of the living prophets...Satan's efforts can be thwarted by all who come unto Christ by obedience to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel. . . ." (James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 415-416.)

James E. Faust

"...as Paul said, 'lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.' (2 Corinthians 2:11.) We hope that [our young people], unfamiliar with the sophistries of the world, can keep themselves free of Satan's enticements and deceitful ways. I personally claim no special insight into Satan's methods, but I have at times been able to identify his influence and his actions in my life and in the lives of others. When I was on my mission, Satan sought to divert me from my future path and, if possible, to destroy my usefulness in the Lord's work. That was almost fifty years ago, and I still remember how reasonable his entreaties seemed.

"Who has not heard and felt the enticings of the devil? His voice often sounds reasonable and his message easy to justify. It is an enticing, intriguing voice with dulcet tones. It is neither hard nor discordant. No one would listen to Satan's voice if it sounded harsh or mean. If the devil's voice were unpleasant, it would not entice people to listen to it." (Reach Up for the Light [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 102.)

2 Cor. 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother

Apparently, Paul expected news from Titus regarding the status of the Corinthian branch. It would seem that he was concerned how they had responded to the rebuke he gave them in 1 Corinthians. This is why he says he 'had no rest' when he couldn't find Titus. "He had evidently prearranged to meet Titus returning from Corinth in Troas, and when Titus did not appear at Troas, he went to Macedonia to meet him there. (2 Cor. 2:12-13.) Paul's anxiety about the affairs at Corinth were finally relieved when Titus arrived and informed him that the Corinthians had mourned and repented of their past behavior. (2 Cor. 7:6-7.)" (David R. Seely, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, ed., [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 72 - 73.)

"Titus emerges as a seasoned assistant in disciplining the Corinthian branch of the Church. The story is found here and there in 2 Corinthians. Paul had expected to meet Titus to hear his report in Asia Minor (2 Cor. 2:12-13) but crossed to Northern Greece, where his fears were replaced with the comforting news that the branch as a whole had repented (2 Cor. 7:7). Titus obviously had done his work with courage and capacity, but Paul goes further to show another critical ingredient in his success-his love for the people that he sought to help. 'And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, and the fear and trembling with which you received him' (2 Cor. 7:15, RSV)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 342.)

2 Cor. 2:16 the savour of death unto death; and...the savour of life unto life

Bruce R. McConkie

"Those who partake of the spirit breathed by the saints, the spirit of the gospel, the sweet influence that results from obedience to God's laws, gain eternal life; those who reject it inherit eternal death. That is, the gospel is an instrument of life and of death, of life to the obedient, of death to the disobedient." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 413)

2 Cor. 2:17 we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God

Hugh Nibley

"It is entirely possible for important churchmen of high position (a number are pointed out by name in the New Testament) to 'preach another Jesus' and to 'pervert the gospel of Christ' and to 'corrupt the word of God' (2 Corinthians 2:17), and to 'wrest . . . the . . . scriptures' (2 Peter 3:16). And it is quite possible for these to enjoy great success and become the leaders of the church after the apostles are gone (2 Timothy 4:2-5). This is the process the apostles and the Lord predicted." (Mormonism and Early Christianity, edited by Todd M. Compton and Stephen D. Ricks [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987], 286.)