Read the Passage (NRSV)    Find more resources related to this passage  Print

2 Corinthians 1:12-22 – God Is Faithful


Paul uses questions about his own faithfulness to his word with the Corinthians as a springboard to proclaim the faithfulness of God and the fulfillment of all of God's promises in Christ.


Paul's sincerity about a plan to visit the Corinthians has been questioned. Did he really mean to come to visit them or was he merely feigning interest in them? Can his word be trusted? Paul addresses this concern in two ways. First, he says his conscience is clear. He knows that he, Silvanus, and Timothy have spoken and acted faithfully. Secondly, he says that he is sure the apostles still have the understanding and respect of the Corinthians, and he assures the Corinthians that they are themselves a cause for him to feel pride.

The rest of the chapter makes it clear that Paul's second point-about the Corinthians finding in Paul a cause to boast-may be more hope than certainty. The fact that Paul had canceled a trip to see them has provided evidence for those who are arguing that Paul has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth, as it were, saying "yes" and "no" at the same time. Paul denies this adamantly, perhaps because he fears that the trustworthiness of his message of the gospel is at stake. If the Corinthians have reason to doubt that Paul is honest as he speaks of a visit to them, will they not also doubt God's faithfulness as Paul has described it to them? In the face of such a question, Paul proclaims, "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not 'Yes and No'; but in him it is always 'Yes.' For in him every one of God's promises is a 'Yes.'" (2 Corinthians 1:19-20a).

2 Corinthians 1:12-22

The Postponement of Paul’s Visit

12 Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness* and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more towards you. 13For we write to you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— 14as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.

15 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favour;* 16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. 17Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards,* ready to say ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’ at the same time? 18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been ‘Yes and No.’ 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’ 20For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God. 21But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, 22by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first instalment.

Related Passages