2 Corinthians 2:13
I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) I had no rest in my spirit.—Instead of coming himself straight from Ephesus, as he had at first intended, and had intimated probably in the lost letter of 1Corinthians 5:9, or by Timotheus (1Corinthians 4:17), or pressing on through Macedonia, as he purposed when he wrote the First Epistle (1Corinthians 16:5), he had sent on Titus (himself possibly connected with Corinth: see Note on Acts 18:7) to ascertain what had been the effects of that Epistle on the Corinthian Church. Titus was to return to him at Troas. Not meeting him there, St. Paul, in his eager anxiety to hear something more than Timotheus had been able to tell him, left Troas, in spite of the opening which it presented for his work as a preacher of the gospel, and hastened on into Macedonia. Taking the route that he had taken before, he would probably go to Philippi, where he would find St. Luke; and we may conjecture, without much risk of error, that it was there that he and Titus met.

2:12-17 A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian's joy and rejoicing. In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place. Unto some, the gospel is a savour of death unto death. They reject it to their ruin. Unto others, the gospel is a savour of life unto life: as it quickened them at first when they were dead in trespasses and sins, so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternal life. Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon the apostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and of ourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God. But what we do in religion, unless it is done in sincerity, as in the sight of God, is not of God, does not come from him, and will not reach to him. May we carefully watch ourselves in this matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speak we in Christ and of Christ.I had no rest in my spirit - I was disappointed, sad, deeply anxious. Though the work in which I was engaged was that which usually gives me my highest joy, yet such was my anxiety to learn the state of things in Corinth, and the success of my letter, and to see Titus, whom I was expecting, that I had comparatively no peace, and no comfort.

But taking my leave of them - Though so many considerations urged me to stay; though there was such a promising field of labor, yet such was my anxiety to hear from you, that I left them.

I went from thence into Macedonia - see the note, Acts 16:9. I went over where I expected to find Titus, and to learn the state of your affairs. This is one of the few instances in which Paul left an inviting field of labor, and where there was a prospect of signal success, to go to another place. It is adduced here to show the deep interest which he had in the church at Corinth, and his anxiety to learn what was their condition. It shows that there may be cases where it is proper for ministers to leave a field of great and inviting usefulness, to go to another field and to engage in another part of the great vineyard.

13. no rest in my spirit—rather, "no rest for my spirit" (Ge 8:9). As here his "spirit" had no rest; so in 2Co 7:5, his "flesh." His "spirit" under the Holy Spirit, hence, concluded that it was not necessary to avail himself of the "door" of usefulness at Troas any longer.

taking … leave of them—the disciples at Troas.

He tells us, that when he came there, he was much troubled because he did not find his brother Titus; where the humility of this great apostle is considerable, in that he disdained not to call

Titus (a person, though a minister, yet much inferior to him as an apostle) brother. Several reasons are given of Paul’s trouble. That which is most probable is, that he did expect at Troas to have met with Titus come from Corinth, from whom he might more perfectly have understood the affairs of that church: not finding him there, he tells us he went forward into Macedonia; whither, after the uproar at Ephesus, he designed to go, (as we read, Acts 20:1), but went first into Greece, and stayed there three months, intending to come to Macedonia in his return, 2 Corinthians 2:3.

I had no rest in my spirit,.... Though there was such a door opened to preach the Gospel, and such an opportunity of doing good, yet he was greatly distressed in his mind; very restless and uneasy in his spirit, and could not be satisfied to stay; which shows, that though he was so great a man, he was but a man, and of like passions with others: and the occasion of this dissatisfaction and uneasiness was,

because, says he,

I found not Titus my brother; whom he so styles, not merely because he was a fellow Christian, but because he was a fellow labourer in the Gospel; and by calling him so, puts an honour upon him, and expresses his affliction for him: now not finding him as he expected, he grew uneasy: not that he wanted him as an interpreter for him, or his assistance in preaching the Gospel at Troas, where so many were inclined to hear the word; but because he was exceedingly desirous of knowing from him the state of affairs in the church at Corinth; so that this whole account is given, to show his affectionate concern for, and care of that church: which he goes on with, saying,

but taking my leave of them; the disciples at Troas, and ordering and prescribing, as the word here used signifies, how things should be managed for the best after his departure; for as there was a door opened for the ministry of the word, it cannot be thought he would leave it thus, without fixing proper persons to go on with the work, and proper directions how to conduct themselves; and very likely he ordained Carpus to be their elder, bishop, or overseer: and having done this, he

went into Macedonia; in quest of Titus, whom he so earnestly desired to see, and by whose coming to him he was greatly refreshed and comforted; see 2 Corinthians 7:5.

I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 2:13. οὐκ ἔσχηκα ἄνεσιν τῷ πν.: I had no relief for my spirit. So he says again (2 Corinthians 7:5) ἐλθόντων ἡμῶν εἰς Μακεδονίαν οὐδεμίαν ἔσχηκεν ἄνεσιν ἡ σὰρξ ἡμῶν. We are not to lay much stress on πνεῦμα being used here and σάρξ there (yet cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 7:1); σάρξ in the later passage is used of the whole mortal nature of man, which is subject to distress and disappointment; and πνεῦμα here is a general term for the “mind” (cf. Romans 1:9; Romans 8:6; Romans 12:11, 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 14:14, chap. 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13, etc., for St. Paul’s use of πνεῦμα for the human spirit, and see on 2 Corinthians 3:6 below). For the tense of ἔσχηκα, see on 2 Corinthians 1:9.—τῷ μὴ εὑρεῖν κ.τ.λ.: because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them (sc., the disciples at Troas) I went forth into Macedonia. ἐξέρχεσθαι is the word used in Acts 16:10; Acts 20:1 of “going out” of Asia to Macedonia; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:17.

13. I had no rest in my spirit] i.e. the higher and nobler part of his being, superior to the soul. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 and notes. Also 1 Corinthians 15:44-46.

because I found not Titus my brother] Titus (see ch. 2 Corinthians 8:6, 2 Corinthians 12:18) had been sent by the Apostle to superintend the ‘collection for the saints’ at Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:1). He was most probably the bearer of the former Epistle, and was anxiously expected by the Apostle (ch. 2 Corinthians 7:6) to bring information regarding the effect it had had upon the Corinthian Church. Though Titus is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, he possessed in a high degree the confidence of the Apostle (ch. 2 Corinthians 8:16), as is shewn by his taking the chief place—he seems even to have held a position of greater prominence than ‘the brother whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches’ (ch. 2 Corinthians 8:18)—in this important mission. Before this, he, as a Gentile, had been the subject of some discussion between St Paul and the Judaizing party at Jerusalem. The latter maintained that Titus ought to be circumcised, the former that he ought not; but St Paul carried his point. His character seems to have been one of deep earnestness and zeal (ch. 2 Corinthians 7:13; 2 Corinthians 7:15, 2 Corinthians 8:16-17) calculated to win the confidence of the great Apostle. He was afterwards placed in charge of the church in Crete, and in this capacity received from St Paul a letter of instruction known as the Epistle to Titus. The last mention of him in point of date is in 2 Timothy 4:10, when he is said to have ‘departed to Dalmatia,’ doubtless on a mission. For the Apostle’s feelings on this occasion (ch. 2 Corinthians 7:5-13) compare a similar anxiety displayed at an earlier period of his Apostolic career in 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:5-9.

I went from thence into Macedonia] Cf. Acts 20:1.

2 Corinthians 2:13. Εἰς Μακεδονίαν, to Macedonia) where I would be nearer and might be sooner informed [what was the fruit of my former epistle to you.—V. g.]—These topics are continued at 2 Corinthians 7:2; 2 Corinthians 7:5 : and a most noble digression is here introduced in respect to events, which had in the meantime occurred and sufferings which had been endured by him elsewhere: the benefit of which he makes to flow even towards the Corinthians, whilst he hereby prepares the way for a defence against the false apostles.

Verse 13. - I had; literally, I have had. The perfect vividly realizes the scene through which he had passed. I had no rest. St. Paul had evidently told Titus to come from his mission to Corinth and meet him at Troas. But either St. Paul reached the town earlier than he intended, or Titus had been delayed. Now, the apostle was so intensely eager to know how his rebukes had been received - the name of "Corinth" was so deeply engraven on his heart - he could so ill endure the thought of being on angry terms with converts which he so deeply loved, that the non-appearance of Titus filled him with devouring anxiety and rendered him incapable of any other work. In my spirit; rather, to my spirit. It was the loftiest part of St. Paul's nature - his spirit - which was utterly incapacitated from effort by the restlessness of his miserable uncertainty about the Corinthian Church. The disclosure of such feelings ought to have had a powerful influence on the Corinthians. We see from 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 9 that St. Paul yearned for tidings of his converts with an intensity which can hardly be realized by less fervent and self-devoted natures. I found not Titus my brother. Not only "the brother," but "my brother;" the man whom in matters of this kind I most trusted as an affectionate and able fellow worker (2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 12:18). Titus, though not mentioned in the Acts, is the most prominent person in this Epistle, and it is evident that St. Paul felt for him a warm affection and respect (2 Corinthians 7:13, 15; 2 Corinthians 8:16, 17; 2 Timothy 4:10). Taking my leave of them; i.e. of the Christians in Troas. The word for "taking leave" is also found in Mark 6:46. Into Macedonia. As he had intended to do (1 Corinthians 16:5; Acts 20:1). He had doubtless told Titus to look out for him at Philippi, and expected to meet him there on his way to Troas. 2 Corinthians 2:13Rest (ἄνεσιν)

Rev., relief. See on liberty, Acts 24:23.

Taking my leave (ἀποταξάμενος)

The verb means, primarily, to set apart or separate; hence to separate one's self, withdraw, and so to take leave of. The A.V. gives this sense in every case, except Mark 6:46, where it wrongly renders sent away. See Luke 9:61; Acts 18:18, Acts 18:21. Ignatius, ἀποτάξαμενος τῷ βίῳ having bid farewell to the life, that is, this lower life (Epistle to Philadelphia, 11).

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