2 Corinthians 6:5
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;
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(5) In stripes . . .—The list becomes more specific. “Stripes” we have seen at Philippi (Acts 16:23), and 2Corinthians 11:23-24 show that there were other instances. Of “imprisonment?,” that at Philippi is, so far, the only recorded instance (Acts 16:24); but there may well have been others, as in 2Corinthians 11:23. “Tumults” (the same word as in Luke 21:9) at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:50), Lystra (Acts 14:5-19), Thessalonica (Acts 17:5), Corinth itself (Acts 18:12), and Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41). “Labours” describe the usual tenor of his life, the daily work of his calling as a tent-maker, as well as that connected with his ministry. “Watchings” and “fastings” are, probably, both of them (comp. 2Corinthians 11:27) to be referred to voluntary acts—nights of vigil and self-imposed abstinence—rather than to privations incidental to his work.

6:1-10 The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.In stripes - In this verse, Paul proceeds to specifications of what he had been called to endure. In the previous verse, he had spoken of his afflictions in general terms. In this expression, he refers to the fact that he and his fellow-laborers were scourged in the synagogues and cities as if they had been the worst of people. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-25, Paul says that he had been scourged five times by the Jews, and had been thrice beaten with rods. See the notes on that place.

In imprisonments - As at Philippi; Acts 16:24 ff. It was no uncommon thing for the early preachers of Christianity to be imprisoned.

In tumults - Margin, "Tossing to and fro." The Greek word (ἀκαταστασία akatastasia) denotes properly "instability," thence disorder, tumult, commotion. Here it means that in the various tumults and commotions which were produced by the preaching of the gospel, Paul endeavored to act as became a minister of God. Such tumults were excited at Corinth Act 18:6; at Philippi Acts 16:19-20; at Lystra and Derbe Acts 14:19; at Ephesus Acts 19, and in various other places. The idea is, that if the ministers of religion are assailed by a lawless mob, they are to endeavor to show the spirit of Christ there, and to evince all patience, and to do good even in such a scene. Patience and the Christian spirit may often do more good in such scenes than much preaching would do elsewhere.

In labors - Referring probably to the labors of the ministry, and its incessant duties, and perhaps also to the labors which they performed for their own support, as it is well known that Paul and probably also the other apostles, labored often to support themselves.

In watchings - In wakefulness, or lack of sleep. He probably refers to the fact that in these arduous duties, and in his travels, and in anxious cares for the churches, and for the advancement of religion, he was often deprived of his ordinary rest. He refers to this again in 2 Corinthians 11:27.

In fastings - Referring probably not only to the somewhat frequent fasts to which he voluntarily submitted as acts of devotion, but also to the fact that in his travels, when abroad and among strangers, he was often destitute of food. To such trials, those who traveled as Paul did, among strangers, and without property, would be often compelled to submit; and such trials, almost without number, the religion which we now enjoy has cost. It at first cost the painful life, the toils, the anxieties, and the sufferings of the Redeemer; and it has been propagated and perpetuated amidst the deep sorrows, the sacrifices, and the tears and blood of those who have contributed to perpetuate it on earth. For such a religion, originated, extended, and preserved in such a manner, we can never express suitable gratitude to God. Such a religion we cannot overestimate in value; and for the extension and perpetuity of such a religion, we also should be willing to practice unwearied self denial.

5. stripes—(2Co 11:23, 24; Ac 16:23).

imprisonments—(2Co 11:23). He had been, doubtless, elsewhere imprisoned besides at Philippi when he wrote this Epistle.

tumults—(Ac 13:50; 14:5, 19; 16:22; and recently Ac 19:23-41).

labours—in the cause of Christ (2Co 11:23; Ro 16:12).

watchings—(2Co 11:27). Sleepless nights.

fastings—The context here refers to his trials, rather than devotional exercises (compare 2Co 11:27). Thus "foodlessness" would seem to be the sense (compare 1Co 4:11; Php 4:12). But the usual sense of the Greek is fasts, in the strict sense; and in 2Co 11:27 it is spoken of independently of "hunger and thirst." (Compare Lu 2:37; Ac 10:30; 14:23). However, Mt 15:32; Mr 8:3, justify the sense, more favored by the context, foodlessness, though a rare use of the word. Gaussen remarks "The apostles combine the highest offices with the humblest exterior: as everything in the Church was to be cast in the mould of death and resurrection, the cardinal principle throughout Christianity."

In stripes: the apostle, 2 Corinthians 11:23, tells us he was in stripes above measure; and 2 Corinthians 11:24, that of the Jews he five times received forty stripes save one: we read of his many stripes, Acts 16:23.

In imprisonments; of the imprisonment of him and Silas, Acts 16:23, which was not the only time before the writing of this Epistle, as appeareth by this verse.

In tumults, or seditions raised by the Jews and the heathens; we have a record of one at Ephesus, Acts 19:21-41, caused by Demetrius: others, by tumults, here, understand unfixed and uncertain habitations, tossing to and fro, so as they could be quiet in no place; but the former seemeth rather the sense of the word, as Luke 21:9 1 Corinthians 14:33.

In labours; he either means labours with his hands, (which Paul was sometimes put to, as Acts 18:3 20:34), or travels and journeys. The word is a general word, significative of any pains that men take.

In watchings; religious watching, 2 Corinthians 11:27.

In fastings, as acts of discipline, by which he kept under his body, and brought it into subjection, as he told us, 1 Corinthians 9:27. In stripes,.... As the Apostle Paul particularly was, who was thrice beaten with rods, and five times scourged by the Jews with the scourge of forty stripes save one.

In imprisonments; under which are included bonds, in which they often were for the Gospel of Christ:

in tumults; and uproars of the people, when their lives were frequently in imminent danger: or "in tossings to and fro"; being drove from place to place through the fury of their enemies;

in labours; in a laborious ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances; or by labouring with their own hands to supply their necessities:

in watchings; being obliged to work night and day at their hand labour, and in preaching, praying, and singing psalms; which exercises they were often employed in at midnight:

in fastings; by which are meant not voluntary, but involuntary ones, through want of food to eat.

In stripes, in imprisonments, in {c} tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

(c) In tossing to and fro, finding no place of rest and quietness.

2 Corinthians 6:5. (b) These outward hardships are next more definitely exemplified from the opposition and persecution which St. Paul encountered from opponents during his missionary experiences. ἐν πληγαῖς, ἐν φυλακαῖς, ἐν ἀκαταστασίαις: in stripes (see reff. and cf. Acts 22:24), in imprisonments (see on 2 Corinthians 11:23), in tumults (cf. Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:22; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:29; Acts 21:30). ἀκαταστασία might mean inward disorder, rather than external tumult (see reff., LXX, and cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11), but the latter meaning best suits the context here. (c) Next the Apostle enumerates the bodily hardships, voluntarily undertaken, which his work made it necessary to endure.—ἐν κόποις, ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις, ἐν νηστείαις: in labours, sc., probably his labours in preaching the Gospel (see reff., but cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:8, where κόπος is used of the manual labour he underwent in working for a livelihood; see also 1 Corinthians 4:11 ἀστατοῦμεν καὶ κοπιῶμεν), in watchings, sc., in nights rendered wakeful by anxiety or press of work (Acts 20:31) or urgency of prayer (Acts 16:25 and cf. Ephesians 6:18 ἀγρυπνοῦντες), in fastings. Some expositors explain these νηστεῖαι as the voluntary fastings of religion (so Hooker, Eccl. Pol., v., lxxii., 8; and cf. Acts 13:2-3). And it is true that νηστεία (see reff.) and νηστεύω are always (outside this Epistle) used of fasting as a devotional observance. But in the parallel passage 2 Corinthians 11:27 νηστεῖαι is clearly used of involuntary abstinences from food; and this meaning seems better to suit the context here also (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11, Php 4:12) (§ 23). The triplet (c), then, means “in toil, in sleeplessness, in hunger”.5. in stripes] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 11:23-24; Acts 16:23.

in imprisonments] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 11:23. The Acts of the Apostles, up to this date, records only one such, namely that at Philippi, Acts 16:23-40. But the Acts is far from recording all the events of St Paul’s life. See notes on ch. 11:and on ch. 2 Corinthians 1:8.

in tumults] The word in the original signifies primarily unsettlement. Cf. margin of A. V., tossings to and fro. St Chrysostom would interpret it of the uncertain dwelling-place of the Apostle. But the word came to mean disorder or tumult. See Luke 21:9; 1 Corinthians 14:33; James 3:16, as well as ch 2 Corinthians 12:20, where the word occurs. In these passages moral disorder, not local unsettlement, is clearly implied. For the tumults which the Apostle went through see Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:22; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:23-41.

in labours] i.e. (1) the toils by which he supported himself (cf. Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8); and (2) his labours for the cause of Christ (cf Romans 16:12; 1 Timothy 4:10).

in watchings] Literally, sleeplessnesses, caused by “manual labour, teaching, travelling, meditating, praying, cares and the like.” Meyer.

in fastings] Since St Paul himself distinguished these fastings from ordinary hunger and thirst (ch. 2 Corinthians 11:27) we must do so also. “Not fasting from want, but a voluntary exercise of abstinence.” Calvin. Fasting, we know, was practised under the new Covenant as well as the old. See Acts 13:2-3; Acts 14:23.2 Corinthians 6:5. Ἀκαταστασίαις, in tumults) either for, or against us.Verse 5. - In stripes (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). The stripes were of two kinds - from Jewish whips and Roman rods. But of the five scourgings with Jewish whips not one is mentioned in the Acts, and only one of the three scourgings with Roman rods (Acts 16:23). Nothing, therefore, is more clear than that the Acts only furnishes us with a fragmentary and incomplete record, in which, as we gather from the Epistles, either the agonies of St. Paul's lifelong martyrdom are for some reason intentionally minimized, or else (which is, perhaps, mere probable) St. Paul was, as his rule and habit, so reticent about his own sufferings in the cause of Christ that St. Luke was only vaguely, if at all, aware of many scenes of trial through which he had passed. In imprisonments. St. Paul was frequently in prison, but St. Luke only tells us of one of these occasions (Acts 16:24) - at Philippi; the Roman imprisonment and that at Caesarea were subsequent to this Epistle. In tumults. These were a normal incident of St. Paul's life, both up to this time and for years afterwards (Acts 13:50; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:22; Acts 17:4, 5; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:28, 29; Acts 21:27-39; Acts 22:22, 23; Acts 23:9, 10; Acts 27:42, etc.) The word akatastasiai might also mean "insecurities," i.e. homelessness, wanderings, uncertainties (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:11); but New Testament usage seems decisive in favour of the frowner meaning (2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Corinthians 14:33; James 3:15). In labours (2 Corinthians 11:28; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). In watchings. "Spells of sleeplessness" were a necessary incident of such a life; and an eminently nervous nature like that of St. Paul is rarely capable of the habitual relief of sound steep. Hence he again refers to this in 2 Corinthians 11:27. His "sleeplessness" was sometimes the necessary result of labours "night and day" (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:9, etc.). In fastings. St. Paul never inculcates the practice of voluntary fasting as a duty (for the reading in 1 Corinthians 7:5 is more than dubious); but it is probable that he found it personally useful at times (Acts 13:2, 3; Acts 14:23; Acts 9:9). The nine forms of suffering hitherto mentioned - three general, three specific, and three voluntary - are all physical sufferings borne with "much endurance." Imprisonments (φυλακαῖς)

See on Acts 5:21.

Tumults (ἀκαταστασίαις)

See on Luke 21:9, and compare ἀκατάστατος unstable, James 1:8. This is one of the words which show the influence of political changes. From the original meaning of unsettledness, it developed, through the complications in Greece and in the East after the death of Alexander, into the sense which it has in Luke - political instability. One of the Greek translators of the Old Testament uses it in the sense of dread or anxious care.

Watchings (ἀγρυπνίαις)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 11:27. See on the kindred verb, Mark 13:33. For the historical facts, see Acts 16:25; Acts 20:7-11, Acts 20:31; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.

Fastings (νηστείαις)

Mostly of voluntary fasting, as Matthew 17:21; Acts 14:23; but voluntary fasting would be out of place in an enumeration of hardships.

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