The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for ever more, knows that I lie not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.—The solemn attestation was, we may believe, a natural introduction to what was possibly intended, as the words passed from his lips, to be the beginning of a much fuller narrative than that which was its actual outcome.
Which is blessed for evermore.—The Greek has no conjunction, but its force is best given either by which is, and is blessed for evermore, or, by an emphasis of punctuation and the insertion of a verb, which is: blessed is He for evermore. The Greek participle is not a single predicate of blessedness, such as the English expresses, but is that constantly used in the LXX. version as the equivalent of the Hebrew name for Jehovah: “He that is,” the “I AM” of Exodus 3:13-14; Jeremiah 14:13; and in a later and probably contemporary work, not translated from the Hebrew, in Wisdom Of Solomon 13:1 (“they could not . . . know Him that is”). So Philo, in like manner, speaks of “He that is” as a received name of God. (See also Notes on John 8:58-59; Romans 9:5.)2 Corinthians 11:10; compare Romans 9:1. The solemn appeal which he here makes to God is made in view of what he had just said of his sufferings, not of what follows - for there was nothing in the occurrence at Damascus that demanded so solemn an appeal to God. The reason of this asseveration is probably that the transactions to which he had referred were known to but few, and perhaps not all of them to even his best friends; that his trials and calamities had been so numerous and extraordinary that his enemies would say that they were improbable, and that all this had been the mere fruit of exaggeration; and as he had no witnesses to appeal to for the truth of what he said, he makes a solemn appeal to the ever-blessed God. This appeal is made with great reverence. It is not rash, or bold, and is by no means irreverent or profane. He appeals to God as the Father of the Redeemer whom he so much venerated and loved, and as himself blessed for evermore. If all appeals to God were made on as important occasions as this, and with the same profound veneration and reverence, such appeals would never be improper, and we should never be shocked as we are often now when people appeal to God. This passage proves that an appeal to God on great occasions is not improper; it proves also that it should be done with profound veneration.
blessed for evermore, may either be applied to the Father, or to Jesus Christ. It is applied to the Creator, Romans 1:25, and to Jesus Christ, Romans 9:5. It is here so used, as that it is applicable either to the First or Second Person. The usage of it in these three texts, is an undeniable argument to prove the Godhead of Christ. The apostle, in these words, seemeth rather to refer to what he had said before, of his various labours and sufferings, than to that which followeth; which was but a single thing, and a danger rather than a suffering.
knoweth that I lie not; in anyone single instance he had mentioned, nor in what he was about to declare; which because it was a fact done by a stratagem, and a good while ago, and which was not known to the Corinthians, and of which perhaps at that time he could not produce any witnesses; therefore calls God to testify the truth of it, whom he describes as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"; God is his "God" as Mediator, and head of the elect, to whom as to them he is a covenant God; and as man, being his Creator, supporter, and the object of his faith, hope, love, and worship; and his "Father" as God, and the Son of God, by supernatural generation, being the only begotten of him, in a way ineffable and inexpressible: "and who is blessed for evermore"; in himself, and Son, and Spirit, and is the source of all happiness to his creatures.The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Corinthians 11:31. He is now about to illustrate (see 2 Corinthians 11:32-33) the just announced τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μου καυχήσομαι by an historical enumeration of his sufferings from the beginning, but he first prefaces this detailed illustration (“rem quasi difficilem dicturus,” Pelagius) by the assurance, in God’s name, that he narrates nothing false. The objections taken against referring this assurance to what follows (see Estius and Rückert)—that the incident adduced in 2 Corinthians 11:32 stands, as regards importance, out of all proportion to so solemn an assurance, and the like—lose their weight, when we reflect that Paul has afterwards again broken off (see 2 Corinthians 12:1) the narrative begun in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33, and therefore, when writing his assurance, referred it not merely to this single incident, but also to all which he had it in his mind still to subjoin (which, however, was left undone owing to the interruption). Others refer the oath to what precedes, and that either to everything said from 2 Corinthians 11:23 onward (Estius, Calovius, Flatt, Olshausen), or to 2 Corinthians 11:30 alone (Morus, Rückert, Hofmann; Billroth gives a choice between the two). But in the former case logically we could not but have expected 2 Corinthians 11:31 after 2 Corinthians 11:29, and in the latter case the assurance would appear as quite irrelevant, since Paul at once begins actually to give the details of his τὰ τῆς ἀσθεν. μου καυχήσομαι (2 Corinthians 11:31 f.).
ὁ θεὸς κ. πατὴρ τ. κυρ. ἡμ. Ἰ. Χ.] Union of the general and of the specifically Christian idea of God. Ἡμῶν γὰρ θεὸς τοῦ δὲ κυρίου πατήρ, Theodoret. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:24 and Ephesians 1:3.
ὁ ὢν εὐλογητὸς κ.τ.λ.] appended by the apostle’s pious feeling, in order to strengthen the sacredness of the assurance. “Absit ut abutar ejus testimonio, cui omnis laus et honor debetur in omnem aeternitatem,” Calovius.2 Corinthians 11:31. ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ κ.τ.λ.: the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed for evermore (see on 2 Corinthians 1:3, and for ὁ ὤν as applied to God, “the self-existent one,” cf. Exodus 3:14, Wis 13:1, Revelation 1:8), knoweth that I lie not (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:6). This solemn asseveration belongs (see reff.) to what follows, and not to the statements which precede it. If the text is not corrupt, it would seem that the Apostle intended now to illustrate in detail the providence which overruled his life, the “strength which was perfected in weakness,” and that, beginning with one of the earliest and least dignified perils of his career as a Christian missionary, he then is led off through some train of ideas which we cannot trace into the quite different subject of his “visions” and “revelations,” which diverts him from his original intention. If, on the other hand, we might suppose 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 to be a marginal gloss (founded on Acts 9:23-25, and perhaps introduced in reference to the κίνδυνοι ἐκ γένους of 2 Corinthians 11:26) which was not part of the original text—though possibly an autograph addition made after the letter was finished—the argument would be quite consecutive. He feels the remarkable account in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 to be so incredible that he thinks it right to prefix the strong asseveration of 2 Corinthians 11:31 that he is telling the truth. But there is no MS. authority for thus treating 2 Corinthians 11:32-33.The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] St Paul is now about to give a remarkable proof of the truth of what he has just said, and one which he confirms by a solemn asseveration (cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 1:23). That these words belong to what follows, and not to what precedes, is the opinion of commentators so widely differing as Chrysostom, Calvin, Meyer, Bp Wordsworth, Deans Stanley and Alford. A strong argument appears to be brought against this view by the fact that the incident related does not warrant so strong an affirmation. But as Meyer reminds us, the visions and revelations related in ch. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 are an interruption of his enumeration of his infirmities, which he resumes in ch. 2 Corinthians 12:5. And perhaps eighteen centuries of Christianity have somewhat dimmed our perception of the immense difference between this vaunt, and those customary among the inflated teachers of St Paul’s day. They enlarged upon their triumphs, their influence with the rich and great, the success of their Oratory, the number of their disciples, and this with an arrogance which in our days would be justly contemptible. St Paul, while he shews his sincerity by the fact that his life was exposed to danger, narrates nothing but his escape, a circumstance not likely in itself to raise his reputation among men who judged according to outward appearance (we may compare the reproaches cast upon Cyprian for a similar flight), and not rendered more dignified by the manner in which it was accomplished. See Dean Alford’s note.
which is blessed for evermore] Literally, existing, blessed unto the ages.2 Corinthians 11:31. Εὐλογητὸς, blessed) This increases the sacredness of the cath.—οἶδεν, knoweth) The persecution at Damascus was one of the first and greatest, and belonged particularly to this place; and Paul calls God to witness, for he could produce to the Corinthians no witness among men, concerning a matter which was known to few, and had happened long before: comp. Galatians 1:20. Luke afterwards recorded it, Acts 9:25. This religious preface increases even the credit of the circumstances, related in the following chapter.Verse 31. - The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This solemn asseveration does not seem to be retrospective. It is used to preface what was perhaps intended to be a definite sketch of the most perilous incidents and trials of his life, which would have been to us of inestimable value. This awful attestation of his truthfulness was necessary,
(1) because even the very little which we do know shows us that the tale would have been "passing strange;" and
(2) because his base and shameless calumniators had evidently insinuated that he was not straightforward (2 Corinthians 12:16). (On the phrases used, see 2 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:3.)
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