Skip to main content

Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians

Ruins of ancient Corinth. Public Domain.
Ruins of ancient Corinth. Public Domain.

Download this PDF to read the volume from your computer, smart phone or tablet. Pages are sized 8.5"x11" for easy printing.

Introduction to Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians

When the Corinthian Christians received Paul’s Epistle (which we now know as First Corinthians), it might be supposed that they forthwith amended their erroneous ways, and conformed to Paul’s instructions. But this was not the case. News soon reached Paul (who was still in Ephesus) that conditions in Corinth were rapidly deteriorating, and that the converts were conducting themselves in ways unbecoming to Christians. Paul hurriedly departed from Ephesus and sailed to Corinth, determined to set things right.

Paul’s first meeting with the Corinthians brought a rude shock to the apostle. It must be remembered that several years had passed since Paul had established the church, and during the intervening period Apollos and other teachers had been active among the converts, with the Judaizersalso making inroads into the congregation. Consequently Paul’s authority at Corinth was questioned, and his leadership repudiated. Indeed, the Corinthians refused to listen to the apostle—much less obey his commands! Paul was therefore compelled to withdraw from the meeting without accomplishing his purpose, and indications are that he retired heartbroken to a suburb of Corinth.

But Paul was by no means vanquished. He immediately wrote a very strongly-worded letter, and instructed his young helper Titus to carry it to the rebellious converts. This letter, with its present-day designation, forms the first of two parts in Second Corinthians, known as “The Letter of Sharp Remonstrance.” Unfortunately, several parts of this letter are now lost. However, two fragments still remain, and through these we are able to trace something of Paul’s turmoil of mind, together with his continuing love for the erring converts. These fragments are embedded in chapters 6 and 10 of Second Corinthians.

When Titus arrived at Corinth with Paul’s “letter of sharp remonstrance,” as mentioned above, a miracle happened. Whether this miracle was brought about by Paul’s letter, or whether Titus’ persuasive abilities produced the result, must remain a matter of conjecture. (Possibly Paul’s prayers and the activity of the Holy Spirit should also be taken into consideration.) Certain it is that the Corinthians completely repented, both of their evil ways and of their shameful behavior toward Paul. Furthermore, they immediately disciplined the wrongdoers, and then asked Titus to return to Paul and entreat his forgiveness for their hostile attitudes and actions. Paul, on his part, was overjoyed when he received the good news, but for some reason he was unable to return to Corinth at that time. However, he immediately wrote a loving and appreciative letter, which was carried to the repentant Corinthians by Titus. Fortunately we now have this letter in its entirety, incorporated in Second Corinthians; and, giving it the present-day designation, it forms Section Two: “The Letter of Loving Reconciliation.”

Introduction to Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.

Purpose of the letter. Historically, the apostle Paul likely wrote this letter near the end of AD 56, possibly in the city of Philippi, in order to turn the Corinthian church away from false teachers who were spreading heresy, challenging Paul’s authority and fomenting many divisions and quarrels in the church.

Paul defends his ministry by sharing details about the many persecutions he himself had endured for the sake of Christ, including the thorn in the flesh that kept him dependent upon God. He then says that as he has forgiven those who have been critical of him so should the congregation forgive those who have brought suffering in their church. He encourages them to forgive one another when offenses arise, and to give generously to the cause of Christ; this is how unity is preserved – unity among each other and personal unity with Christ.

Corinth and the message of 2 Corinthians, in consciousness. Metaphysically, Corinth means ornament or beauty. It is the love center in consciousness where Truth seeks to do a work. Paul is typically interpreted as the Will, our capacity to manage the eleven other spiritual powers. Paul’s state of consciousness in 2 Corinthians is elevated enough so that it no longer imposes its own human will, but rather serves the Will of God, as revealed by the Word of God (Christ).

Closely associated with the Will is our faculty of Spiritual Understanding–our capacity to comprehend the revelation of the Word, the truth lying back of physical events. This is what makes Paul an evangelist: a quickened Will that is now listening to the Word and is now strong enough to carry the Word of God throughout our consciousness (throughout Europe and Asia).

Which brings us to the relation of people and places in metaphysical interpretation. Metaphysically interpreting the epistles is often about “what happens when Paul goes to ...?” The places, like Athens or Corinth, are states of consciousness. Paul is Will that is listening to the Word. All these stories are about what happens when an enlightened Will “goes to” a particular state of consciousness.

Metaphysical structure of the letter. Metaphysically interpreted, the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians is a letter about overcoming the difficulties of ministry and overcoming the difficulties of living the Christian life. We can see Paul overcoming these difficulties with three prominent themes. In chapters one through seven, Paul overcomes his challenges by forgiveness with spiritual understanding: he lets go and releases error thoughts, pride, and resistance to sufferings because “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

In chapters eight and nine, Paul urges the Corinthians to overcome their difficulties by generous giving: sending an offering to the believers in Judea because if they gave generously they would also “reap generously” (9:6) in Truth and in their inner life. In the final four chapters, ten through thirteen, Paul describes reaping a better life by having a new awareness of and connection to the inner Christ and the Presence and Power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Introduction to Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

Salutations from the Regenerated Will!

1:1 Paul,1 an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy2 our brother, to the assembly of God which is at Corinth,3 with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 1:2 Grace to you and peace4 from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God. Our minds have 13 characters: 12 powers and 1 Christ. Paul is the will. The regenerated Paul is a will that serves Christ. The will is the executive that manages the 11 other powers. Thus, as Paul evangelized the world for Christ, so does our regenerated will evangelize our inner world and consciousness, disseminating the Word through our consciousness. Cultivating a firebrand will that listens to the Word is essential to the process of our transmutation.
  2. Timothy Timothy was "the son of a Jewess that believed; but his father was a Greek." A Greek symbolizes intellectual reasoning. "A Jewess that believed" symbolizes our faith in God and our love for Him. Timothy therefore represents an idea in us that has its inception in a union between our intellectual reasoning and our inner spiritual qualities of faith and love. So we understand Timothy to symbolize inspired reason united with faith and zeal. (MBD/Timothy)
  3. Corinth Corinth is “ornament; ornamentation; beauty.” Corinth was home to the Greek temple of Venus so we discern that Corinth is the love center in consciousness, and it is where the Word of Truth working through the regenerated will (Paul) now seeks to do a work. Paul wrote his matchless poem on love to the Corinthians. (MBD/Corinth)
  4. Grace and peace ... from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The regenerated will acknowledges and affirms to our consciousness that grace and peace come to us from God alone (our Father, Source), through the activity of Truth within (Lord Jesus Christ).

The God of all Comfort

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. 1:6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.1 If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. 1:7 Our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort.2 1:8 For we don't desire to have you uninformed, brothers,[1] concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much that we despaired even of life. 1:9 Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, 1:10 who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; 1:11 you also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed on us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf.

  1. comfort and salvation. The belief that Jesus in an outer way atoned for our sins is not salvation. Salvation is based solely on an inner overcoming, a change in consciousness. It is a cleansing of the mind, through Christ, from thoughts of evil. (RW/Salvation)
  2. partakers of the sufferings, so also ... of the comfort. [To suffer is to allow, to permit, to “let it be so for now.” To the degree we are willing to “suffer” change, we will in likewise experience transformations in consciousness and receive the cleansing that produces in us great strength and comfort, with which we can then turn around and comfort/strengthen others.]

A Regenerated Will Opens Our Way

1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience,1 that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you. 1:13 For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even acknowledge, and I hope you will acknowledge to the end; 1:14 as also you acknowledged us in part, that we are your boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.2

1:15 In this confidence, I was determined to come first to you, that you might have a second benefit; 1:16 and by you to pass into Macedonia,3 and again from Macedonia to come to you, and to be sent forward by you on my journey to Judea.4 1:17 When I therefore was thus determined, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the "Yes, yes" and the "No, no?" 1:18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not "Yes and no." 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not "Yes and no," but in him is "Yes." 1:20 For however many are the promises of God, in him is the "Yes."5 Therefore also through him is the "Amen," to the glory of God through us.

1:21 Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; 1:22 who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. 1:23 But I call God for a witness to my soul, that I didn't come to Corinth to spare you. 1:24 Not that we have lordship over your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your joy. For you stand firm in faith.

  1. our conscience. Whoever has sat at the feet of his own inner convictions has been aware of God's presence (RW/conscience). A sensitive and responsive conscience is a valuable tool for one who desires to grow and learn by receiving the protective foresight of Spirit; the path of least suffering.
  2. in the day of our Lord Jesus. Days and nights, in Scripture, are symbols describing degrees of unfoldment: night being ignorance, and day understanding. As the Word of Truth (the Lord Jesus) moves through us, new degrees of understanding (days) are unfolded. The "last day" is the last degree of understanding, and though many stifle the voice of conscience for years, maybe for ages, eventually understanding (its day) comes.
  3. into Macedonia. The enthusiasm and the energy of Spirit, which are required in order to carry the great and beautiful message of Truth over seeming hindrances to our different centers and states of consciousness. (MBD/Macedonia)
  4. to Judea. The southern division of Palestine; from the Scriptural name Judah, meaning "the praise of Jehovah." Judea is a key to the mental attitude in which the Christ consciousness will be opened to us--while we are praising the Lord [and illustrating the progression of our regenerated will].
  5. in Him is the “Yes.” When we are led by the Spirit of God, we can be confident that we are always being guided in the direction of highest good, the “yes”.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [1] v1:8. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."

Second Corinthians 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

A Regenerated Will Opens Our Way (continued)

2:1 But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow.1 2:2 For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me? 2:3 And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I wouldn't have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy2 would be shared by all of you. 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you.

  1. sorrow. [Paul's travel is blocked by] distressed states of mind; mental attitudes that keep us from God's good (RW/anxiety). See note on Troas below.
  2. joy. On the other hand, when God is expressing through us His perfect Ideals, we experience this spiritual flow as happy states of mind; joy and gladness are strength-giving. (RW/joy)

Giving Up the False for the True

2:5 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all. 2:6 Sufficient to such a one is this punishment1 which was inflicted by the many; 2:7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow.2 2:8 Therefore I beg you to confirm your love3 toward him. 2:9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things.4 2:10 Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes5 in the presence of Christ, 2:11 that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

  1. this punishment. We do not receive punishment from an outside force. We punish ourselves by holding false thoughts. We escape from punishment as soon as we align our thought with that of God. (RW/punishment)
  2. excessive sorrow. [Sorrow, as a state of consciousness, is a problem only when it is excessive. See note 4 below.]
  3. your love. In reality there is only one love; when we express divine love in limited ways we make a separation in consciousness and our expression of love is personal instead of universal. (MBD/love)
  4. obedient in all things. [Obedient in all states of consciousness.] Things are thoughts lowered in vibration to the level of sense perception. The things that appear are the formulations of our ideas of ourself and God. Back of everything is a thought. If we still the senses we will perceive the thought behind the things. (RW/things)
  5. forgiven that one for your sakes. A process of giving up the false for the true; erasing sin and error from the mind and body. It is through forgiveness that true spiritual healing is accomplished. (RW/forgiveness)

From Anxiety to Triumph in Christ

2:12 Now when I came to Troas1 for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, 2:13 I had no relief for my spirit, because I didn't find Titus, my brother,2 but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia.3 2:14 Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved,4 and in those who perish;5 2:16 to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 2:17 For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.

  1. Troas. Troas is a phase of thought by which Spirit can find its way into consciousness more easily than by other ways. It was while in this city, after having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach in some other places, that Paul received his vision of the man of Macedonia. (MBD/Troas)
  2. Titus, my brother. A pleasing, agreeable, and honorable attitude of mind (pleasant, honorable, titled, renowned) that accompanies the word of Truth in its restoring work throughout the human organism and consciousness. (MBD/Titus)
  3. Macedonia When our thoughts turn adoringly toward God, spiritual zeal and enthusiasm are awakened and these set our whole consciousness into constructive activity. (MBD/Macedonia)
  4. those who are saved. Those who are restored to their spiritual birthright; regaining conscious possession of their God-given attributes. (RW/salvation)
  5. those who perish. Through believing in error and dissipating the life substance, the mind loses hold of its consciousness of life and enters into negation, and dissolution takes place. The result is death of the body temple. (RW/death)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

Ministers of a New Perspective

3:1 Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3:3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ,1 served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.

3:4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God; 3:5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;2 3:6 who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.3

3:7 But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses4 for the glory of his face; which was passing away: 3:8 won't service of the Spirit be with much more glory?5 3:9 For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 3:10 For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. 3:11 For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

3:12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, 3:13 and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face,6 that the children of Israel wouldn't look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. 3:14 But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. 3:15 But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 3:16 But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed7 into the same image from glory to glory,8 even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

  1. you are a letter of Christ. letters of commendation bring death, but living letters bring life.
  2. Our sufficiency is of God. The Spirit of the living God within us, fed ever from the Fountainhead, is not only the giver of all good gifts, the supplier of all supply, but is the gift itself. We must come right up to this point. The giver and the gift are one. Emilie Cady, All Sufficiency In All Things.
  3. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. See Rom 7.6–11; Rom 8.2
  4. Moses. Moses symbolizes this progressive or drawing-out process, which works from within outward; as applied to the universe, the progression is the upward trend of all things, the evolutionary law; as applied to the individual, the progression is the development in consciousness of the law of our being, (MBD/Moses)
  5. glory. Realization of divine unity; the blending and merging of man's mind with God-Mind. (RW/glory)
  6. who put a veil on his face. The full Truth is too powerful to behold and so Its totality remains “veiled” from us, but It is revealed to us by the Spirit in stages, ever urging us forward to greater expressions of inherent abilities. (RW/Moses)
  7. are transformed. Same as transfiguration, is a supernatural change of appearance that takes place as we experience the full flow of Divine power through our being. (RW/transfiguration)
  8. from glory to glory. Our destiny is to go from glory to glory. We are destined to bring forth God's perfect pattern and we must eventually reach this supreme goal. (RW/destiny)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

Living in Christ Consciousness

4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don't faint. 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 4:3 Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; 4:4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. 4:5 For we don't preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake;1 4:6 seeing it is God who said, "Light will shine out of darkness,"2[2] who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4:7 But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. 4:8 We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; 4:9 pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 4:10 always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 4:11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. 4:12 So then death works in us, but life in you.

4:13 But having the same spirit of faith,3 according to that which is written, "I believed, and therefore I spoke."[3] We also believe, and therefore also we speak; 4:14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

  1. ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. Living the life of the Christ means first of all a life of service.
  2. Light will shine out of darkness. We study consciousness because it is one of the unseen things in which life itself is involved and through which it is expressed.
  3. But having the same spirit of faith. To live the life of the Christ we must have unity of mind; we must be one with the Christ, one with God, and one with others who have the same aspiration. Unity involves the Christ consciousness of God and the brotherhood of man.

Living a Life of Overcoming1

4:16 Therefore we don't faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.2 4:17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment,3 works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 4:18 while we don't look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.4 For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.5

  1. Overcoming. Overcoming is dealing with the problems of life with spiritual understanding and demonstrating over error through the keeping of spiritual laws (RW/overcoming).
  2. our inward man is renewed day by day. By communing consciously with the indwelling Spirit of power and by renewing the mind in the Word of Truth, we renew the inward person.
  3. our light affliction, which is for the moment. Affliction “works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” by training us to look beyond the apparent to the real, beyond the external to the reality of the inner life, and also by teaching us to recognize cause in effects.
  4. things which are not seen. We can do this with our mental gifting and capacity to develop powers of perception and reflection, to correlate ideas, and to enter into the universal Mind or Spirit.
  5. eternal. Without beginning or end; timeless; everlasting in duration (RW/eternal). "The eternal God is thy dwelling-place" (Deut. 33:27).

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Second Corinthians 5

(Online: ASV WEB)

Assurance of a New Body-Mind

5:1 For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands,1 eternal, in the heavens. 5:2 For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; 5:3 if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. 5:4 For indeed we who are in this tent do groan,2 being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5:5 Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.

5:6 Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 5:8 We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. 5:9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent,3 to be well pleasing to him. 5:10 For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

  1. we have a building from God, a house not made with hands. Those who understand the subconscious become aware of an invisible thought body that is the pattern upon which the visible body is based. This is the spiritual body, which endures after the material body is dissolved. See I Corinthians 15:44, spiritual body.
  2. we who are in this tent do groan. This Scripture passage brings out the thought that the ideal body will clothe itself again in the process known as reincarnation. However, it is possible for man to cooperate with divine law and re-create out of the heavens of the mind a heavenly or Christ body! Paul teaches that our souls are groaning for this new body consciousness, groaning for the when that which is mortal shall be swallowed up of life.
  3. whether at home or absent. If we abide in the consciousness of flesh alone we are absent from or unconscious of Spirit. We should be conscious of the Lord and at the same time abide in the body.

In Christ, We Are a New Creation

5:11 Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God; and I hope that we are revealed also in your consciences. 5:12 For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but speak as giving you occasion of boasting on our behalf, that you may have something to answer those who boast in appearance, and not in heart. 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God. Or if we are of sober mind, it is for you. 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. 5:15 He died for all,1 that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again.

5:16 Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.2 The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. 5:18 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;3 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. 5:20 We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ,4 as though God were entreating by us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 5:21 For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.5

  1. He died for all. Paul is interpreting the metaphysical meaning of the death of Jesus. The real man did not die on the cross; only the personal man died. In order to reap the reward of Jesus' sacrifice of personality for us we must cease to worship or look to the personal man Jesus for salvation.
  2. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. By giving up His personality, Jesus made it possible for all who enter into his consciousness to give up their personalities and to live with him in spiritual consciousness. In all our ways we must seek to realize the spiritual nature of Christ; to put on Christ in thought and in act.
  3. ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the atonement between God and man through Christ; the uniting of our consciousness with the higher consciousness. (RW/atonement)
  4. ambassadors on behalf of Christ. We are ambassadors in the sense that we represent the Christ to others, and as we daily grow in our understanding of the Christ Spirit and the knowledge of what we can accomplish by our faithful expression of it, others will increasingly see that Spirit in us.
  5. the righteousness of God. We become “righteous” by developing perfection harmoniously and consistently in all our faculties.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 6

(Online: ASV WEB)

Our Inner Ministry of Reconciliation

6:1 Working together, we entreat also that you not receive the grace of God in vain, 6:2 for he says,

"At an acceptable time I listened to you,

in a day of salvation I helped you."[4]

Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.1 6:3 We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our service may not be blamed, 6:4 but in everything commending ourselves, as servants of God, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 6:5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; 6:6 in pureness,2 in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, 6:7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 6:8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 6:9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

6:11 Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is enlarged. 6:12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.3 6:13 Now in return, I speak as to my children, you also be open wide.

  1. the day of salvation. Every day is “a day of salvation” because every day we can set about immediately to accomplish the real work that needs to be done. An actual beginning of the task before us is better than visionary daydreaming or criticizing existing conditions without making an effort to improve them.
  2. in pureness. Purity of thought and life, knowledge, long-suffering, kindness, the Holy Spirit, unfeigned love, the word of Truth, and the power of God ensure our success in developing the Christ consciousness under adverse conditions.
  3. restricted by your own affections. Nothing can limit us but our own lack of will or devotion to our task. If we hold ourselves in the consciousness of Divine love (be open wide), we cannot be separated from it.

The Temple of the Living God

6:14 Don't be unequally yoked1 with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?2 6:15 What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever?

6:16 What agreement has a temple of God with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[5] 6:17 Therefore,

"'Come out from among them,

and be separate,'3 says the Lord.

'Touch no unclean thing.

I will receive you.[6]

6:18 I will be to you a Father.

You will be to me sons and daughters,'

says the Lord Almighty."[7]

  1. Don’t be unequally yoked. Love must be separated from sense and self and be made selfless before its spiritual quality becomes evident.
  2. what fellowship has light with darkness? The key to true fellowship is the sharing of thought in harmony and accord. Those whose beliefs are in harmony with one another's know fellowship and peace of mind.
  3. “Come out from among them, and be separate.” Our transmutation to higher states of consciousness requires that we undergo processes of separation, but we should not to fear the loss of any zest for life. In fact, we find that the opposite is true. Whether in work or play, thoughts or musings, we find that love enters into all of life, gives it meaning, and finds expression through all.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Second Corinthians 7

(Online: ASV WEB)

Our Regenerate Will Rejoices When Our Soul Repents

7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness1 in the fear of God.

7:2 Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one. 7:3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together. 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction.

7:5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside. 7:6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7:7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more.

7:8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. 7:9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance2 to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death. 7:11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter. 7:12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God. 7:13 Therefore we have been comforted.3

In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth. 7:15 His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. 7:16 I rejoice4 that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.

  1. perfecting holiness. We “perfect holiness” by steadfastly fixing our thoughts to what is true, pure, just, lovely, and of good report; denying all that would defile either flesh or spirit; and calling to our aid “the fear of God” (the eager and reverent keeping of the Divine law).
  2. Godly sorrow works repentance. Repentance is a turning from a belief in sin and error to a belief in God and righteousness; a reversal of mind and heart in the direction of the All-Good. When we repent, we break with mortal thought and ascend into a spiritual thought realm, the kingdom of God. (RW/repentance)
  3. Therefore we have been comforted. The Holy Spirit is He who gives comfort and cheer and reveals the Truth of God to us (RW/comforter), [therefore, comfort (a state of inner rest) becomes to us a proof of the presence and activity of the Spirit of God within us.]
  4. I rejoice [Joy, comfort, confidence, and courage, are also among the fruit of repentance. Such a positive inner state is essential for the laying hold of and flourishing of a new state of consciousness.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 8

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Importance of Generosity

8:1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God1 which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 8:2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.2 8:3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 8:4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. 8:5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.3 8:6 So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. 8:7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace.

  1. the grace of God The power of God manifesting through man, in love instead of in personal dominance. Macedonia represents zeal and enthusiasm, both of which are necessary before one can give according to the Divine law of increase. Zeal and enthusiasm move us to give of ourselves to a cause that enlists our love and interest. When this is done, the law of increase operates to empower us to give of our own substance, even the giving of our creative effort.
  2. deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. Paul is endeavoring to impress upon his listeners that there is a definite spiritual law back of giving to the Lord's work. Through the operation of this law, the Macedonians perceived with joy that their poverty had turned into riches.
  3. but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. This Scripture passage reveals that the first step in giving or tithing to the Lord is to dedicate oneself to Spirit [and to the] ministry of the Gospel, and to resolve to carry forward the good work; not only to give a tithe of one's time to prayer and meditation and the reading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but to make a complete consecration of oneself to the Lord’s work.

We are Designed to Give!

8:8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,1 that you through his poverty might become rich. 8:10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you,2 who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. 8:11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. 8:12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don't have. 8:13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, 8:14 but for equality. Your abundance3 at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. 8:15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."[8]4

  1. He became poor. Jesus rested on the law of self-sacrifice. By giving up the claims of the personal self and becoming “poor”, Jesus realized the greater Self of the Christ and became rich in spiritual power. As we follow Him and put aside personality, we also will realize the same power that He commanded and share the same riches.
  2. this is expedient for you. We benefit much from eagerly seeking and following our inner impulse to help others. Seeking ways to serve others is not only effective at applying our minds to constructive thinking, which could lead to our own spiritual progress, but it can also heal the conditions and causes that underlie poverty, strife, materiality and other negative influences that retard the human race as a whole.
  3. abundance. In this lesson, Paul writes much of abundance and riches. These words have a special import in metaphysical unfoldment in the sense that if one desires prosperity, the words, “riches,” “opulence,” and “abundance,” are good words to hold in one's mind. When we keep our minds charged with the thoughts that opulence and abundance are flowing to us from Divine Mind, we will never lack any good thing, and our [spiritual] gifts will carry increase wherever we go.
  4. See Ex 16.18.

Serving Others Supports the Race and Our Own Regeneration!

8:16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 8:17 For he indeed accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord.1 8:18 We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies. 8:19 Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with us in this grace, which is served by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our readiness. 8:20 We are avoiding this, that any man should blame us concerning this abundance which is administered by us. 8:21 Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 8:22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you. 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for our brothers, they are the apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ. 8:24 Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf.

  1. he went out to you of his own accord. The best gift we can give is our good will, because it is most potent to bring the kingdom of heaven into manifestation here and now. Also our faith, which we give to the world by putting it into our daily thought and work, and making all that we do expressive of our deepest convictions.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Second Corinthians 9

(Online: ASV WEB)

Administering Your Gifts

9:1 It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints,1 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for a year past. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them. 9:3 But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared, 9:4 so that I won't by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting. 9:5 I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness.2

  1. service to the saints. “The saints” here refers to the Grecian Jews, who represent new converts to the faith. Until selfishness is overcome, a sense of injustice arises in mind at every indication that the purely spiritual interests of life are receiving more attention and more sustaining power than our other “worth-while” interests of the individual. In individual consciousness, we should meet situations of this kind by always being nonresistant toward new states of consciousness that are forming and declare perfect freedom for them. The Spirit of truth, which is in each soul ever working to harmonize and to uplift, calls into executive authority the most enlightened of these thought forces and they are given the right to share in the management and distribution of the inflowing spiritual substance. Thus peace is established.
  2. as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness. It has taken human beings centuries to learn the lesson of unselfish generosity. It is not yet learned; it is still a lesson. Paul found it imperative to urge the early Christians to make generous donations to the support of workers. We must learn to give in the spirit of unselfish love and enthusiasm before we can hope to receive in like manner or degree from the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift.”

The Cheerful Giver

9:6 Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.1 9:7 Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.2 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. 9:9 As it is written,

"He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor.

His righteousness remains forever."[9]

9:10 Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; 9:11 you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which works through us thanksgiving to God. 9:12 For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God; 9:13 seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all; 9:14 while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. 9:15 Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!3

  1. will also reap bountifully. When one is right with God, all one's acts will be right. When such an individual receives bountifully, naturally he will give forth bountifully. Every gift will be full of love and free from all grudging feelings. “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
  2. God loves a cheerful giver. He who has a generous heart is in harmony with Divine law. In this state of harmony we are receptive to Divine love and the other blessings that free will, rightly exercised, obtains for us.
  3. His unspeakable gift! If a person knows the law, he knows that he must first give himself to the Lord. Then by giving of his substance with abounding faith in God's abundance, he is conscious of receiving a blessing. The blessing is magnified and increased in the thought atmosphere of his mind, and he receives not only spiritually, but also in seemingly material ways.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Second Corinthians 10

(Online: ASV WEB)

Our Inner Battle

10:1 Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you. 10:2 Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh.1 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we don't wage war according to the flesh; 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds,2 10:5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience3 of Christ; 10:6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full.

10:7 Do you look at things only as they appear in front of your face? If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ's, so also we are Christ's. 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat abundantly concerning our authority,4 (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down) I will not be disappointed, 10:9 that I may not seem as if I desire to terrify you by my letters. 10:10 For, "His letters," they say, "are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised." 10:11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present.

10:12 For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. 10:13 But we will not boast5 beyond proper limits, but within the boundaries with which God appointed to us, which reach even to you. 10:14 For we don't stretch ourselves too much, as though we didn't reach to you. For we came even as far as to you with the Good News of Christ, 10:15 not boasting beyond proper limits in other men's labors, but having hope that as your faith grows, we will be abundantly enlarged by you in our sphere of influence,6 10:16 so as to preach the Good News even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done. 10:17 But "he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."[10] 10:18 For it isn't he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

  1. flesh. Mortal consciousness expressing itself through appetite. It is overcome by denying that appetite is physical and by affirming it to be spiritual. (RW/flesh)
  2. strongholds. A strongly fortified aggregation of rebellious, oppressing, thieving, destroying thoughts in man's consciousness. (MBD/Ashdod)
  3. obedience. Spiritual obedience comes through understanding our relation to God. When we show forth wisdom and purity and the perfect Principle that is God, we are obedient to Him. (RW/obedience)
  4. concerning our authority. Authority is power; mastery; or dominion. It is inspired by Spirit within (the Lord). The Spirit of truth is the one and only authority in the study of Truth. [Right use of our authority is to submit it to Spirit, in doing so, this power then aids our Spirit-led will (Paul) to build us up along our process of regeneration.] (RW/authority)
  5. But we will not boast. Boasting is never in good taste. A statement of fact is allowable when some misrepresentation is distorting the truth and destroying the possibility of our future usefulness by challenging our qualifications or impugning our motives or intentions. Such a state of fact is not boasting; it enables others to arrive at a better understanding of the matter. Our deeds are always more convincing than our words. Deeds are the ultimate proof of our faiths and intentions.
  6. but having hope that as your faith grows, we will be abundantly enlarged by you in our sphere of influence. [Knowing that our journey in Christ Consciousness takes time to unfold, our regenerated will holds an inner light for us as our faith grows, our will for God accordingly gains more influence within us.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Second Corinthians 11

(Online: ASV WEB)

Our Will and False Thoughts

11:1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.1 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different "good news", which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. 11:5 For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles. 11:6 But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things.

11:7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God's Good News2 free of charge? 11:8 I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. 11:9 When I was present with you and was in need, I wasn't a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11:11 Why? Because I don't love you? God knows.

11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we. 11:13 For such men are false apostles,3 deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ's apostles. 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. 11:15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

  1. the simplicity that is in Christ. Simplicity (purity, ASV) of the Christ Mind—The deep purity and mighty strength of the Christ Mind are made manifest in us as we develop spiritually. Instead of consciously and unconsciously tempting one another in sense ways, these qualities in each will incite in the other holy aspirations to fulfill the law of righteousness. (RW/purity)
  2. God's Good News. The gospel of Jesus is that every man can become God incarnate. It is not alone a gospel of right living, but also shows the way into dominion and power equal to and surpassing that of Jesus of Nazareth. (RW/Gospel)
  3. false apostles. Deceptive thoughts that have been built up by error, selfish desires. Outwardly they present the appearance of being candid and open; inwardly they are ravenous for personal sensation and worldly gain. In order to attain their end they deceive even “the elect.” (MBD/false-prophets)

The Value of Inner Trials

11:16 I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. 11:17 That which I speak, I don't speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 11:18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast.1 11:19 For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. 11:20 For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face. 11:21 I speak by way of disparagement,2 as though we had been weak.

Yet however any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also. 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly,3 in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. 11:24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. 11:26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; 11:27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.

11:28 Besides those things that are outside,4 there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies. 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak?5 Who is caused to stumble, and I don't burn with indignation? 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forevermore, knows that I don't lie. 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes desiring to arrest me. 11:33 Through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.

  1. I will also boast. See commentary for 2 Cor 10:13.
  2. I speak by way of disparagement. Communicating to us through our own inner voice and regenerated will, the Word of Truth (which Paul here represents) endures, and is neither strengthened nor weakened by the opposition of our sense consciousness.
  3. in labors more abundantly. Paul’s summing up of his many troubles and years of service in the cause of Christ is valuable for us because it brings home to us a realization of what the indomitable Spirit can accomplish, and it inspires us to emulate Paul's example of endurance, perseverance, and faithfulness.
  4. Besides those things that are outside. The giving of material things unaccompanied by a helpful thought or word is futile. We should always accompany our gifts with some substantial thought or word. Whether toward others or toward ourselves, to give with the idea that it is almsgiving and that the one receiving the gift is in great need, increases the lack and sows broadcast the need of additional charity. Giving without wisdom is nonproductive of good.
  5. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Inner trials can become a source of weakness, but only when we yield to them. When pressed by inner trials, the best thing for us to do is to develop a constructive viewpoint and affirm that what we see in Spirit is now manifest and is done.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 12

(Online: ASV WEB)

Receiving Divine Visions & Revelations

12:1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations1 of the Lord. 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I don't know, or whether out of the body, I don't know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven.2 12:3 I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don't know; God knows), 12:4 how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

  1. visions and revelations of the Lord. Ministers of the orthodox churches in this day preach often of Paul's conversion, and lay special stress upon his obedience to the heavenly vision, yet if a member of any of these congregations should arise in prayer meeting and relate such an experience, he would be sung down or ejected from the church. But Paul did have visions, and he was not timid in relating them. When Jesus stood by him in the dreams of the night and told him not to be afraid but to go on to Rome, Paul boldly told about it. When he was “caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words,” he did not hesitate to relate the experience, regardless of the ridicule that was sure to follow.
  2. the third heaven … Paradise. There is a kingdom, interpenetrating the world in which we live, inhabited by Christ and the “saints in glory.” This is the “heaven” of Jesus and “Paradise” of Paul. When the superconscious or spiritual part of our mind is lighted by the higher understanding, we find our head and heart in heaven, although our body may still be here on earth.

Our “Thorn”: a Window for God’s Grace

12:5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. 12:6 For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me. 12:7 By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. 12:8 Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 12:9 He has said to me, "My grace1 is sufficient for you,2 for my power is made perfect in weakness."3 Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.4

  1. My grace. The word grace is only mentioned in the Gospels seven times: once in Luke and six times in John. Jesus never spoke the word grace in the Gospels except for this once, when He spoke it to Paul when He appeared to him in this vision. (Debbie Tyson, Grace Awakening, Grace in the Bible)
  2. is sufficient for you. Agnes Sanford tells of a woman who was not able to be healed from an incurable disease. Rather, she was told that her strength was made perfect in weakness and that His strength was sufficient for her. Sanford writes, "She interpreted 'My strength is made perfect in weakness' to mean that in her weakness His strength would be made perfect. She does her own work, teaches classes, starts prayer groups, attends conferences heals the sick and comforts the sorrowing by renewing her strength through His Strength every day." The Healing Light, pp49-50.
  3. made perfect in weakness. The power that is “made perfect in weakness” has the capacity to renew our inner forces and faculties, enabling us to endure calmly for the time what we are unable to remove immediately. [By holding fast to the Truth we know during our challenges, we can tap into] the Divine power of the Christ, which touches the problem and dissolves it, or brings peace to replace stress and tension.
  4. For when I am weak, then am I strong. “There is an allness in every illness”—Eric Butterworth.

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthian Church

12:11 I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best apostles,1 though I am nothing. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works. 12:13 For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.

12:14 Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less? 12:16 But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being crafty, I caught you with deception. 12:17 Did I take advantage of you by anyone of them whom I have sent to you? 12:18 I exhorted Titus,2 and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Didn't we walk in the same spirit? Didn't we walk in the same steps?

12:19 Again, do you think that we are excusing ourselves to you? In the sight of God we speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying. 12:20 For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you don't desire; that by any means there would be strife, jealousy,3 outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots; 12:21 that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.

  1. the very best apostles. In consciousness, our apostles are our active spiritual thoughts. Jesus conferred this title on the twelve whom He sent forth to teach and to heal, they were: Peter (faith); Andrew (strength); James son of Zebedee (wisdom or judgment); John (love); Philip (power); Bartholomew (imagination); Thomas (understanding); Matthew (will); James (order); Simon the Cananaean (zeal); Thaddaeus (renunciation or elimination); and Judas (life conserver). (RW/apostles)
  2. I exhorted Titus. In consciousness, Titus is a pleasing, agreeable, and honorable attitude of mind. This attitude is sent forth by the Spirit to support our will (Paul) in accomplishing the work of regeneration within us. (RW/Titus)
  3. jealousy. A form of mental bias that blinds the judgment and causes one to act without weighing the consequences. The remedy is a dismissal of the negative thoughts that cause one to be jealous, followed by a fuller trust in the great all-adjusting power of God. (RW/jealousy)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

Second Corinthians 13

(Online: ASV WEB)

Affirming our Power & Victory

13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."1[11] 13:2 I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; 13:3 seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you. 13:4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you.

13:5 Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith.2 Test your own selves. Or don't you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified. 13:6 But I hope that you will know that we aren't disqualified.

13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate. 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 13:9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting.3 13:10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.

  1. At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. While we believe that there is an outer interpretation to all prophecy, we know that there is also an inner interpretation, and since this is the more necessary in our overcoming we always seek to give the Scriptures an individual meaning or explanation. (MBD/witnesses)
  2. Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. To demonstrate Truth is to effect a change of consciousness. This includes the elimination of error and the establishment of Truth. (RW/demonstrate)
  3. for the truth, your perfecting. The basic principle of Truth is that the mind of each individual may be consciously unified with Divine Mind through the indwelling Christ. By affirming at-one-ment with God-Mind, we eventually realize that perfect mind which was in Christ Jesus. (RW/truth)

Absolute Encouragement and Blessing!

13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13:13 All the saints greet you. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,1 the love of God,2 and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,3 be with you all.4 Amen.

  1. grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Aid from God in the process of regeneration. (RW/grace)
  2. love of God. The power that joins and binds in divine harmony the universe and everything in it; the great harmonizing principle known to humanity. (RW/love)
  3. fellowship of the Holy Spirit. (Communion, ASV) Sharing the deep aspirations of our heart with the indwelling Father and hearing His "still small voice" (RW/communion)
  4. “grace, love, fellowship” be with you all. Order is to be restored to our confused thoughts by consecutive stages of realization, not all at once.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.

World English Bible Footnotes:

© 2022. Fillmore Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License image The Fillmore Study Bible is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, except where otherwise noted. You are free to download the work and share it with others as long as you follow the license terms:

Contact Fillmore Bible Society for permission to adapt and/or republish.