2 Corinthians 2:13-17
2 Cor 2:13 (KJB)
I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
Here Paul is showing tremendous concern for the church at Corinth by stating he had no rest in his spirit. He was hoping that Titus would join him and give him an update as to the conditions in the Corinth church. This was so important to Paul that he had left Troas and went into Macedonia to look for Titus. Knowing Paul’s concern for sending forth the Gospel, it is no doubt that Paul had left men in charge in Troas to continue the work which he had come to start.
2 Cor 2:14 (KJB)
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
To triumph - Lead in a triumph
The savour - Fragrance, odor, or scent
From the change in tone from verse 13 to verse 14, it seems that Paul had met up with Titus and received a good report that the church in Corinth was using the principles which Paul had given them. Since this verse also states “in every place” it is probably speaking of the gospel success that Paul had in Troas as well as in Macedonia where he met up with Titus. Paul speaks about the savour of his knowledge which would be akin to a sweet fragrance and that would be no matter where the Christian ministers, they are always going to triumph in Christ because God is the one who causes it. There is never a time when a Christian brings the Gospel that there is ever failure, that is because we are obedient to the call of sending out the Gospel but the results of those efforts are one hundred percent of the Lord. Our responsibility is to get the Gospel out there and God’s responsibility is to apply to whomever He will.
2 Cor 2:15 (KJB)
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
Savour - Aroma
Just as a fragrance permeates the entire area according to its strength, the Christian is of the same situation. The Gospel does not only affect those whom God applies it to but it has an effect upon everybody it comes in contact with. In the unbeliever, it may cause a moral repentance or it may cause some to have mercy on others. In other words, some aspect of the gospel will always be left behind on those who still remain unsaved. The knowledge of the gospel and of God may cause anger in some but it may also create an appeasing spirit in others. There is a tradition stating that when Polycarp was burned at the stake, a fragrance was noted. Those who are saved through the ministry of a Christian will see the preacher as one who is a fragrance of Christ but those who remain unsaved…
2 Cor 2:16 (KJB)
To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Sufficient - Adequate, able or competent
To the group who remains unsaved, they see the evangelists as a fragrance of death unto eternal death. If they are not the Elect of God, they will not become saved and therefore the gospel is a gospel of death instead of life. When a person becomes saved, the evangelists are a fragrance of life unto life. The life they receive is eternal life. The Christian life which also causes us to triumph over sin and death. When bringing the two-fold message of the Gospel, who is adequate for this task asks the Scripture. It is hard thing to bring the gospel and watch somebody reject it or mock it, knowing that if they do not get saved, their doom is sure in the lake of fire. It is this kind of knowledge the Christian must deal with as we see our friends and loved ones reject the gospel. If God did not make us sufficient for the task, I am sure many would withdraw from the ministry because of knowing what an unsaved person must face. God gives us the strength to continue to go on and only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are we made adequate for the mission.
2 Cor 2:17 (KJB)
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Which corrupt - Peddle or make a trade
Sincerity - Purity of motive
In regard to the false teachers in Corinth, Paul is stating that he is not of the mindset which peddles the word of God thus corrupting the meaning of it. The word behind “which corrupt” is only used here in the New Testament and carries with it the meaning of “suggesting trickery or avarice” and comes from the world of merchandising. These false teachers were corrupting the meaning of the word of God and were leading people astray. Paul contrasts his motives with those of the false teachers by stating that he comes with the purity of motive in wanting to see the best for the Corinthians. His ministry comes from God and he states that his ministry is done in the sight of God which means he must teach truth because God is watching him and his motives. The message he brings is not his own or one of false teachings but he brings the message of Christ to Corinth and wherever he preaches. This is how the believer must view their ministries as being done in the sight of God, because that is how it is being done. Today we have the publishers corrupting the word of God for financial gain and that is why they come out with a new translation every few months and those translations are the corrupted word of God. They were corrupted as far back as the second century by the Gnostics and they are still around today and the majority of churches embrace them and defend them. A sorry commentary on the modern church.