2 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 1
1. From: Sha’ul, by God’s will an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua, and brother Timothy
To: God’s Messianic community in Corinth, along with all God’s people throughout Achaia:
2. Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
This letter is written with much looser organization than I Corinthians (see vv. 15-17N, 13:1N). Nevertheless its contents can be outlined as follows:
1:1-11 Introductory greeting and thanksgiving.
1:12-7:16 I Review of Sha'ul's relationship with the Corinthians.
1:12-2:17 A. He defends his conduct.
3:1-6:10 B. The glory of the office of emissary. Sha'ul's boldness, sufferings and manner of life as an emissary.
6:11-7:16 C. Restoration of confidence and reconciliation with the Corinthians.

8:1-9:15 II The charitable collection for the Jerusalem poor.

10:1-13:10 III Vindication of Sha'ul's authority as an emissary as over against the false emissaries.
13:11-14 Concluding exhortation, greeting, blessing.

Sha'ul, that is, Paul (Ac 13:9&N). Emissary, usually rendered "apostle" (Mt 10:2^N). Messiah Yeshua. usually rendered "Christ Jesus" (Mt 1:1N). Timothy, Sha'ul's companion and child in the faith (Ac 16:1-3&NN). Messianic community, usually rendered "church" (Mt 16:18N). God's people, often rendered "the saints." Achaia is the southern part of Greece; it includes Athens, Corinth and Cenchrea (all mentioned in Acts 17-18). Shalom, a greeting meaning more than just "peace" (Mt 10:12&N). Lord, see Mt:20&N, 7:21&N. 

3. Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort;
4. who encourages us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others in whatever trials they may be undergoing with the encouragement we ourselves have received from God.
5. For just as the Messiah’s sufferings overflow into us, so through the Messiah our encouragement also overflows.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but Adonai delivers him from them all" (Psalm 34:20( 19)). "When my cares within me were many, your comforts would cheer my soul" (Psalm 94:19). 

6. So if we undergo trials, it is for your encouragement and deliverance; and if we are encouraged, that should encourage you when you have to endure sufferings like those we are experiencing.
7. Moreover, our hope for you remains staunch, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, you will also share in the encouragement.
Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshaa the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort, who... This follows the liturgical formula for a Jewish b'rakhah (blessing); see Ep 1:3-14&N, 1 Ke l:3^t&N. Notice that the praise is directed to God the Father, not to Yeshua the Messiah; Messianic faith does not "substitute Jesus for God." For more on b 'rakhot see Mt 9:8N, 14:19N, 26:27-29N; Lk 5:26&N; 2 Ti 4:6-8N.

Encouragement and comfort. Both words are used in v. 3 to translate one Greek word, "paraklesis"; in w. 4-7 only one is used, as shorthand (see Yn 14:16&N, Ac 4:36&N). God encourages and comforts those who suffer. The Messiah called his followers to share in his sufferings (Lk 9:23, Ro 8:17-18, Co 1:24&N). New Testament believers, both Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians, are promised persecution and suffering (Mk 10:30, Yn 16:33&N); Westerners often find this hard to appreciate. Jews, both non-Messianic and Messianic, will suffer too, for Jeremiah 30:7 speaks of "the time of Jacob's trouble"; Gentile Christians must stand with them in their suffering, encouraging and comforting them. Messianic Jews share with Gentile Christians God's encouragement and comfort; it gives them supernatural strength to encourage others (w. 4-7). 

8. For, brothers, we want you to know about the trials we have undergone in the province of Asia. The burden laid on us was so far beyond what we could bear that we even despaired of living through it.
Trials... in Asia, modern Turkey, possibly in Ephesus (Ac 19:23-41, 1С 15:32). 

9. In our hearts we felt we were under sentence of death. However, this was to get us to rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead!
10. He rescued us from such deadly peril, and he will rescue us again! The one in whom we have placed our hope will indeed continue to rescue us.
11. And you must add your help by praying for us; for the more people there are praying, the more people there will be to give thanks when their prayer for us is answered.
A key verse on the effectiveness of prayer. 

12. For we take pride in this: that our conscience assures us that in our dealings with the world, and especially with you, we have conducted ourselves with frankness and godly pureness of motive — not by worldly wisdom but by God-given grace.
13. There are no hidden meanings in our letters other than what you can read and understand; and my hope is that you will understand fully,
14. as indeed you have already understood us in part; so that on the Day of our Lord Yeshua you can be as proud of us as we are of you.
Those who wished to undermine Sha'ul's authority as an emissary of the Messiah apparently charged him with being insincere, deceptive, exploitative, unreliable, boastful and weak. He is forced (12:11) to defend himself against these charges throughout this letter — always, as he is at pains to stress, for the twin purposes of benefitting the Corinthians and upholding God's name, never in order to puff up himself. 

15. So sure was I of this that I had planned to come and see you, so that you might have the benefit of a second visit.
16. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, visit you again on my way back from Macedonia, and then have you send me on my way to Y’hudah.
17. Did I make these plans lightly? Or do I make plans the way a worldly man does, ready to say, “Yes, yes,” and “No, no,” in the same breath?
Ready to say "Yes, yes," and "No, No," in the same breath. Compare Mt 5:37.

More specifically, they charged that he had failed to keep his promise to visit them. This subject of visits is taken up intermittently — here, 2:1-3,12-13; 7:5-7; 8:16-24; 12:14; 13:1. In this letter, more than in any of his others, he does not progress linearly from one subject to the next (see Ro 3:31N) but constantly moves back and forth in his writing between distance and presence, past and future, advice and praise, comfort and warning, abstraction and detail, theology and practice, reverence and irony, a firm hand and kid gloves. The effect is to create a many-layered texture of humanness. Secl:l-2N, 13:1N. 

18. As surely as God is trustworthy, we don’t say “Yes” when we mean “No.”
19. For the Son of God, the Messiah Yeshua, who was proclaimed among you through us — that is, through me and Sila and Timothy — was not a yes-and-no man; on the contrary, with him it is always “Yes!”
Sila (Silas, Silvanus). See Ac 15:22&N. 

20. For however many promises God has made, they all find their “Yes” in connection with him; that is why it is through him that we say the “Amen” when we give glory to God.
All God's promises find their "Yes" in connection with Yeshua. Sometimes he fulfills them in his own person — "He has become wisdom for us" (1С 1:30); he is the last Adam, so that his resurrection guarantees ours (1 Corinthians 15, Ro 5:12-21). More than that, God fulfills all his other promises through him, because God does everything through him (Yn 1:1-5, Co 1:16-18. MJ 1:1-3).

Replacement theologians, who teach the traditional but mistaken Christian doctrine that the Church has replaced the Jews as God's people, misuse this verse in the following way: since God's promises find their "yes" in connection with Yeshua, and Yeshua came two thousand years ago,

"all the Old Testament promises have in some mystical sense been fulfilled in the Messiah already, so that none remain for the Jews. But the verse does not say or mean that all the promises have been fulfilled already, but that whenever God's promises are fulfilled, they are fulfilled in, through or by Yeshua. He is the instrument through whom God the Father has fulfilled, is fulfilling and will fulfill every promise he has ever made to the Jewish people — including the promise that they will return from Exile to possess and live in the Land of Israel and the promise that the Kingdom will be restored, with the Son of David on the throne. A text which assures that God will fulfill every one of his promises to the Jews must not be turned intoa pretext for cancelling them!" (from my Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pp. 111-112)

Because, in the view of Replacement theologians, all the promises God made in the Tanakh to the Jews have already found their "yes" in Yeshua, they must necessarily regard as a fluke the existence of the State of Israel and the fact that a third of the world's Jews now live here. For them this is a mere coincidence that has no connection with prophecy fulfillment.

However, this verse, rightly understood, has exactly the opposite meaning. Because all God's promises find their "yes" in Yeshua we can be confident that every one of God's as yet unfulfilled prophecies will be fulfilled, including the national salvation of Israel and the return of the Jewish people to the Land. Yeshua the Messiah, who embodies "the fullness of all that God is" (Co 2:9), guarantees the fulfillment of every one of God's promises. This is seen clearly in the relationship between Ro 8:28-39 and Romans 9-11 (see Ro 9:1-11:36N).

For another instance of Replacement theology's misconstruing Scripture see Mt 5:17&N; for additional references see Mt 5:5N. The "Amen," in effect, our "Yes" (in terms of vv. 17-19). On the word "Amen" see Mt5:l8&N;Rol:25&N,9:5&N. 

21. Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; he has anointed us,
22. put his seal on us, and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future.
23. I call God to witness — he knows what my life is like — that the reason I held back from coming to Corinth was out of consideration for you!
24. We are not trying to dictate how you must live out your trust in the Messiah, for in your trust you are standing firm. Rather, we are working with you for your own happiness.

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