2 Corinthians 2:5
But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
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(5) But if any have caused grief.—The man who had been the chief cause of his sorrow is now prominent in his thoughts. He will not name him. He is, as in 1Corinthians 5:1-5, and here in 2Corinthians 2:7, “a man,” “such a one.” The abrupt introduction of the qualifying clause, “but in part,” and the absence of any authoritative punctuation, makes the construction ambiguous. It admits of three possible explanations: (1) “If any have caused grief, it is not I alone whom he hath grieved, but in part, to some extent—not to press the charge against him too heavily—all of you” They, the members of the Corinthian Church, were really the greatest sufferers from the scandal which brought shame upon it. (2) “If any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, save in part” (i.e., he is not the only offender), “that I may not press the charge against all of you—so that I may not treat you as if you were all open to the same condemnation, or had all caused the same sorrow.” (3) Combining parts of (1) and (2): “It is not I whom he hath grieved, save in part, that I may not lay the blame on all of you.” Of these (1) seems the simplest and most natural. In any case, it is important to remember that the position of the pronoun in the Greek, “me he hath not grieved,” makes it specially emphatic.

2:5-11 The apostle desires them to receive the person who had done wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of his fault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow for sin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. Not only was there danger last Satan should get advantage, by tempting the penitent to hard thoughts of God and religion, and so drive him to despair; but against the churches and the ministers of Christ, by bringing an evil report upon Christians as unforgiving; thus making divisions, and hindering the success of the ministry. In this, as in other things, wisdom is to be used, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how to make a bad use of our mistakes.If any have caused grief - There is doubtless here an allusion to the incestuous person. But it is very delicately done. He does not mention him by name. There is not anywhere an allusion to his name; nor is it possible now to know it. Is this not a proof that the names of the offending brethren in a church should not be put on the records of sessions, and churches, and presbyteries, to be handed down to posterity? Paul does not here either expressly refer to such a person. He makes his remark general, that it might be as tender and kind to the offending brother as possible. They would know whom he meant, but they had already punished him, as Paul supposed, enough, and note all that he said in regard to him was as tender as possible, and suited, as much as possible, to conciliate his feelings and allay his grief. He did not harshly charge him with sin; he did not use any abusive or severe epithets; but he gently insinuates that he "had caused grief;" he had pained the hearts of his brethren.

He hath not grieved me, but in part - He has not particularly offended or grieved me. He has grieved me only in common with others, and as a part of the church of Christ. All have common cause of grief; and I have no interest in it which is not common to you all. I am but one of a great number who have felt the deepest concern on account of his conduct.

That I may not overcharge you all - That I may not bear hard (ἐπιβαρῶ epibarō) on you all; that I may not accuse you all of having caused me grief. The sense is, "Grief has been produced. I, in common with the church, have been pained, and deeply pained, with the conduct of the individual referred to; and with that of his abettors and friends. But I would not charge the whole church with it; or seem to bear hard on them, or overcharge them with lack of zeal for their purity, or unwillingness to remove the evil." They had shown their willingness to correct the evil by promptly removing the offender when he had directed it. The sense of this verse should be connected with the verse that follows; and the idea is, that they had promptly administered sufficient discipline, and that they were not now to be charged severely with having neglected it. Even while Paul said he had been pained and grieved, he had seen occasion not to bear hard on the whole church, but to be ready to commend them for their promptness in removing the cause of the offence.

5. grief … grieved—Translate as before, "sorrow … made sorry." The "any" is a delicate way of referring to the incestuous person.

not … me, but in part—He has grieved me only in part (compare 2Co 1:14; Ro 11:25), that is, I am not the sole party aggrieved; most of you, also, were aggrieved.

that I may not overcharge—that I may not unduly lay the weight of the charge on you all, which I should do, if I made myself to be the sole party aggrieved. Alford punctuates, "He hath not made sorry me, but in part (that I press not too heavily; namely, on him) you all." Thus "you all" is in contrast to "me"; and "in part" is explained in the parenthetical clause.

The particle if doth not here signify any doubting or uncertainty (for the incestuous person, of whom the apostle here, and in the following verses, speaks, had certainly caused grief both to the apostle, and also the church whereof he was a member). It is as much as although; or the apostle speaketh in this form, because by his repentance his grief was much allayed. But how doth the apostle say, that he had grieved him

but in part? Some think he saith so, because the apostle’s grief for his sin was now turned into joy by his repentance: others think, that those words, in part, signify that it was not the whole church that had grieved him, but only a part of it, viz. this incestuous person, and those who took part with him. Others say, the apostle saith, in part, to let us know, that it was not a grief to him only, but to them also. The last would bid very fair for the sense of the place, if the apostle had not in his First Epistle, 1 Corinthians 5:2, said that they were puffed up, and had not mourned. So as I judge the second more like to be the sense of the apostle; viz. that it was not the whole church that had grieved him, but a part of it only: and therefore the next words are added, that

I may not overcharge you all, that is, that I might not load you all with that imputation, as if you were all involved in it.

But if any have caused grief,.... The incestuous person is here manifestly designed, though he is not named, who had been the cause and occasion of much grief and sorrow, both to himself and others; for the apostle is not to be understood, as though he doubted whether he had caused grief or not, but rather takes it for granted, as a certain point; "if", seeing, or although he has caused grief:

he hath not grieved me but in part; or in some measure; as it has reflected dishonour on God and his ways, truths and ordinances; and has brought trouble upon himself, and the church of which he is a member; for the apostle now rejoiced, that he was truly humbled for his sin, and sincerely, and in an evangelical manner, repented of it; his grief was over, and it was as if it was not; and the offence he took was now wholly removed: besides, though this man did grieve him, it was but in part; he was not the sole cause of his grief: they also greatly added to it by their unconcernedness of him, and negligence in reproving him, though he takes notice only of this single man:

that I may not overcharge you all; bear hard upon them, aggravate their sin, and increase their trouble: or thus, that man has not grieved me only, but in some measure all of you; for the phrase "all you", may be considered, not in connection with the word "overcharge", but with the word "grieved"; and the reading and sense of the whole be this, "he hath not grieved me, but in part, or in some measure"; or as the Syriac reads it, , "almost all of you": but this, as if he should say, I do but just mention, would not dwell upon it, "that I may not overcharge" him, or be thought to be overbearing, or should aggravate his sin and sorrow: for,

{1} But if any have caused grief, he hath not {c} grieved me, but {d} in part: that I may not {e} overcharge you all.

(1) He passes to another part of this epistle: which nonetheless is put among the first, and to which he returns afterwards: and he handles the releasing and unloosing of the incestuous person, because he seemed to have been given sufficient testimony of his repentance. And this shows the true use of excommunication, that is, that it proceeds not from hatred, but from love, and so end, lest if we keep it up, we serve Satan the devil.

(c) As if he said, All that sorrow is so completely wiped away, that I have never felt it.

(d) As for me, says Paul, I have no more to do with him.

(e) Lest I should overcharge him who is burdened enough as it is, which burden I would be glad if it were taken from him.

2 Corinthians 2:5. “To cause grief among you was not my intention (2 Corinthians 2:4); he, however, who has (really) caused grief has not grieved me.” In other words: “I did not wish to grieve you; one of you, however, has with his afflicting influence, not affected me, but,” etc. Olshausen connects 2 Corinthians 2:5 with 2 Corinthians 2:3 : “if, however, any one formerly has awakened grief.” But how arbitrary it is to leap over the natural reference to the immediately preceding λυπηθῆτε! And if the “formerly” made the contrast, it must have been somehow expressed.

In the hypothetical εἰ, as in the indefinite τις, there lies a delicate, tender forbearanc.

οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπηκεν, ἀλλʼ] Paul does not say οὐ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καί, because as concerns the relation of the matter to himself he wishes absolutely to deny that he is the injured party. He could do this, because he did not belong to the church, and he wishes to leave wholly out of view his position as apostle and founder of the church in the interest of love and pardon. Olshausen thinks that he wishes indirectly to refute the erroneous position of some (impenitent) Corinthians towards the incident with the incestuous person; that many, namely, had lamented much to the apostle about the solicitude which that unhappy person had caused to him; and that, in order to make these turn from him to themselves, he says that the question is not about him, but about them, that they should look to their own pain. But of this alleged direction to occupy themselves with their own pain, there is nothing whatever in what follows; and the apostle would have set forth in more precise terms a rebuke so weighty; it was not at all fitting here, where the touched heart beats only with mildness and forgivenes.

λελύπηκεν] Bengel says aptly: “contristatum habet.”

ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους κ.τ.λ.] but in part, that I may not burden him (with greater guilt), you all. ἀπὸ μέρους, which Paul adds φειδόμενος αὐτοῦ (Chrysostom), softens the thought in λελύπηκεν πάντας ὑμᾶς, while it expresses that the grief is only in a partial degree, not wholly and fully (as on the one immediately concerned), inflicted on all, i.e. on the whole church by means of moral sympathy; only quodammodo (see Fritzsche, Diss. I. p. 16 ff.), therefore, are the readers all affected by that grief as sharers in it. The ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ (sc. αὐτόν) contains the purpose, for which he had added the softening limitation ἀπὸ μέρους. Beza, Calvin (in the Commentary), Calovius, Hammond, Homberg, Wolf, Estius, and others, following Chrysostom, agree with this punctuation and explanation; also Emmerling, Fritzsche, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald. Yet Räbiger explains it as if Paul had written σχεδόν instead of ἀπὸ μέρους. But others read ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβ. πάντας ὑμ. together: he has not grieved me (alone and truly), but only in part (consequently you also); in order that I may not lay something to the charge of you all; for, if he had grieved me alone, you would all have been indifferent towards the crime. So Thomas, Lyra, Luther, Castalio, Zeger, Bengel, Wetstein, and others, including Flatt. Incorrectly, because οὐκ ἐμέ and ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους cannot be antitheses. Mosheim and Billroth separate πάντας and ὑμᾶς: he has not grieved me, but in part, that I may not accuse all, you; for I will not be unjust, and give you all the blame of having been indifferent towards that crime. At variance with the words; for, according to these, with this punctuation those whom Paul accuses (ἐπιβαρεῖ) must appear to be not those indifferent, but those grieved by the incest. Olshausen also follows this punctuation, but finds in ἀπὸ μέρους, ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβ. πάντας a delicate irony (comp. also Michaelis, who, however, follows our punctuation), in so far as Paul would have held it as the highest praise of the Corinthians, if he could have said: he has grieved you without exception. Since he could not have said this, he wittily turns his words in this way: he has not grieved me, but, as regards a part, you, in order that I may not burden you all with this care. But this very wit and irony are quite foreign to the mild tone and the conciliatory disposition of this part of the Epistle. Hofmann takes οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπ. as a question, after which there comes in with ἀλλά the contrast (nevertheless) which continues over 2 Corinthians 2:5 and includes 2 Corinthians 2:6; in this case ἀπὸ μέρους is temporal in meaning (yet “firstly is enough”); and ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς, which is to be taken together, is meant to say that the apostle, if he expressed himself dissatisfied with what had been done by the majority, would burden the whole church with the pain of knowing that one of their members was under the ban of sin which remained unforgiven on the part of the apostle; lastly, the ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων stands in opposition to a minority, which had wished to go beyond the punishment decreed, a minority which is included in πάντας. But all this involved explanation is inadmissible, partly because the blunt question οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπ., bringing forward so nakedly a sense of personal injury, would be sadly out of unison with the shrewdly conciliatory tone of the whole context; partly because ἀπὸ μέρους, taken of time, is as linguistically incorrect as at 2 Corinthians 1:14, and would also furnish the indelicate thought of a ἱκανότης with reservation, and till something further; partly because the complexity of thought, which is said to lie in ἐπιβαρῶ, is just imported into it; partly because the supposition that the minority of the church would have gone still further in the punishment than the resolution of the majority went, is without all ground, nay, is in the highest degree improbable after the reproach of too great indulgence, 5

On ἐπιβαρεῖν, comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Dion. Hal. iv. 9, viii. 73; Appian, B. C. 4:31. Comp. βάρος of the burden of a feeling of guilt, Galatians 6:2.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11. Digression regarding the pardon to be granted to the incestuous person.

That the incestuous person is meant, as even Klöpper maintains in spite of his assumption of a lost intermediate letter, is denied by Tertullian (de Pudicitiâ, 13) simply for dogmatic-ascetic reasons. The exclusion, which Paul demanded in the first Epistle, 2 Corinthians 5:13, left open the possibility of a return to the communion of the church by the path of suitable penitence and expiation; as may be gathered also from 1 Corinthians 5:5, where the apostle’s threat of the higher excommunication, of the giving over to Satan, contemplates in this punishment the conversion and saving of the offender, and consequently shows clearly that in the apostle’s eyes the penal procedure of the church, even in the case of so grave a sin, was of a paedagogic nature in reference to the person of the evil-doer. The penance of the latter, however, as well as that of the whole church on his account (2 Corinthians 7:7 ff.), may have really been so deeply and keenly manifested, that Paul, in accordance with the now changed state of things, might express himself in such a mild, conciliatory way as he does here. And there is no sufficient ground in the passage for the assumption of an intermediate letter, or that there is here meant, not the unchaste person, but a slanderer rebuked by Paul in this intermediate letter (see Introd. § 1). Besides, the mild, soft tone of the present passage, if it referred to such a personal opponent, would not be in keeping with the quite different way in which, from chap. 10 onwards, he pours forth his apostolic zeal against his personal opponents and slanderers.


5. he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all] According to the A. V. the meaning is that the Apostle, anxious not to lay too heavy a charge at the door of the Corinthian Church, to which (see 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:6) he considers the guilt to attach, declares that the offender has only pained him to a certain extent. But the words are capable of another rendering, ‘But if any one hath caused pain, it is not me whom he has pained, but to a certain extent—not to press too heavily upon him—all of you.’ This rendering is susceptible of two interpretations (1) he has caused pain to the whole community; but not to be too severe upon him, the Apostle is willing to admit that this pain is to a certain extent lessened by the mutual sympathy of the members of the Church. Or perhaps (2) there is a slight reproof here, implying, as in 1 Corinthians 5:2, that the Corinthians had not sufficiently felt the disgrace brought on them all by such a crime. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 1:14. The Apostle thus, with no less adroitness than simple honesty, places the personal aspect of the question in the background, and deals with it as a matter of public principle, with which every member of the Church is as intimately concerned as himself. The whole passage refers to the offender mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5.

2 Corinthians 2:5. Τὶς, any) He now speaks mildly; any one and any thing, 2 Corinthians 2:10. In both epistles Paul refrained from mentioning the name of him, of whom he is speaking.—οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπηκεν, he hath not grieved me) i.e., He has not made me lastingly grieved [I am not now so disposed towards him] ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους, only in part) he has occasioned me sorrow.—ἐπιβαρῶ, be heavy upon [overcharge]) a weightier expression, than I make sorry, 2 Corinthians 2:2.

Verses 5-11. - The results of his letter in their treatment of the incestuous offender. Verse 5. - But if any have caused grief. The word "pain" or "grief" which has been so prominent in the last verses, naturally reminds St. Paul of the person whose misdoings had caused all this trouble. The "any" is in the singular. He hath not grieved me, but in part, etc. Of the various ways of taking this verse, the most tenable seems to be this: "If any one has caused pain, he has not pained me but partly (not to weigh down too heavily) all of you. St. Paul is denying that the feelings with which he hat(written his severe letter were due to mere personal sorrow or indignation. In writing he felt for the wrong done to them, to the whole Corinthian Church, at least as much as for the smart of his own grief and disappointment. The word "partly" is introduced, as St. Chrysostom says, to soften the expression, "he has grieved you all." It will then mean "to a certain extent." The words, "that I may not overcharge," or rather, as in the Revised Version, "that I press not too heavily," assign the reason for the modifying clause, "in part." When St. Paul says that this man's conduct had even to any extent grieved the whole community, his words may seem to conflict with 1 Corinthians 5:2; but he is thinking, not of the immediate condonation of the offender there alluded to, but of the agony of subsequent repentance which his letter had awoke in the whole (or practically the whole) community (2 Corinthians 7:11). The phrase, "that I press not too heavily," refers then to the offender: "I will not say outright that he has grieved not me, but all of you, because I do not wish to bear too hard on him" (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), "but I will say that he has grieved you and me alike to some extent." The phrase, "in part," occurs also in Romans 11:25. 2 Corinthians 2:5Any

Referring to the incestuous person.

Not to me

Not that Paul did not grieve over the offender; but he desires to emphasize the fact that the injury caused by the sin was not to him personally, but to the Church.

But in part, that I may not overcharge you all (ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ μέρους ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς)

For overcharge, Rev., press too heavily, in order to bring out more distinctly the idea of the verb, laying a burden (βάρος) upon. Overcharge, however, is not incorrect, though possibly ambiguous in the light of the various uses of charge. Charge is from the Latin carrus a wagon. Compare the low Latin carricare to load a wagon, and carica a freight-ship. Hence charge is a load; compare the interchange of charge and load applied to the contents of a gun. So cargo, and caricature, which is an exaggerated or overloaded drawing. Hence expense, cost, commission, accusation, all implying a burden, either of pecuniary or of other responsibility, or of guilt. In part does not refer to Paul, as if he had said, "You have not grieved me alone and principally, but in part, since my sorrow is shared by the Church." With in part is to be construed, parenthetically, that I press not too heavily, that is, on the offender: the whole clause being intended to mitigate the charge against the offender of having wounded the whole Church. Thus you all depends upon he hath caused sorrow, not upon that I press not too heavily upon. Render, as Rev., He hath caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I press not too heavily) to you all.

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