Scripture Notes


2 Corinthians 1:9-10.

When the context is considered there cannot be much doubt, we judge, that the apostle in this scripture refers to actual bodily death. The trouble (or rather, tribulation) that came upon him in Asia, whether through the disturbances at Ephesus or elsewhere, had, humanly speaking, endangered his life; as he says, "insomuch that we despaired even of life." And he accepted this "sentence of death" in himself; as far as human probabilities were concerned there was no prospect of his recovery. But God had His object in this discipline of His beloved servant; and this is unfolded to us by the apostle, when he says, looking back upon his trial, "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." Through despairing even of life, Paul was led away from all fears and probabilities to put his confidence in the God of resurrection; and reaching that immovable foundation, God responded to His servant's faith, and delivered him from so great a death, and continued to deliver him, and, thus encouraged, he was enabled to add, "in whom we trust that He Will yet deliver." It was deliverance all along the line, past, present, and future, now that he had learned the mighty power of a God of resurrection. The lesson is obvious; and it is that a believer, when God so purposes, is entirely outside the action of natural law. God holds him in His own hand; and his continuance in this life therefore depends entirely upon the divine will. It may be observed, in conclusion, that no one ever realized the unity of the saints, or more completely identified himself with them, than the apostle. Even in this personal experience he assured himself of the interest of the saints in what he was passing through; and he thus expressed his conviction that they had been helping together by prayer for him, and that they would also unite in thanksgivings on his behalf. This was the outcome of his intense affections for the saints.


2 Thessalonians 1:8.

It is as plain as possible in the original that two classes are here indicated who will suffer the vengeance spoken of; that is, those who know not God form one class, and those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ the other. This makes the judgment of the living all the more solemn, because so widely comprehensive; only it must be remembered, speaking generally, that Christendom will be the sphere of its exercise. Those who know not God may mark out those who were too indifferent to heed the gospel; while they that obey not the gospel will be those who were more positively the rejecters of Christ. But a common doom will be their portion. (Compare Zeph. 1:6.) A similar obscurity in the translation may be found in Revelation 20:4. As it stands, we read, "The souls of them which were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast," etc. The last "which" should read "those who had not worshipped," etc., introducing a second class, in addition to those who had been martyred, who will be added to the first resurrection. In other words, of the faithful remnant on the earth, between the rapture of the saints and the appearing of Christ, there will be two classes - those who will have been martyred, and those who at all cost will have maintained fidelity to Christ - who will live and reign with Christ a thousand years.


1 John 2:24.

It has often been pointed out that the three words, "abide," "remain," and "continue," are really the translation of the same word in the Greek. And sometimes even a fourth is employed as the equivalent - "dwell." The translators evidently sought after variety of expression rather than fidelity to the original. Still there is not much difference in the meaning, although, in our judgment, "abide" best conveys the mind of the Spirit. So reading it, we are introduced in this scripture into a marvellous circle of blessing. If what the children (babes) had heard from the beginning should abide in them, they would, John says, abide in the Son and in the Father. And this, he adds, is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. That is, the enjoyment of eternal life is bound up with abiding in the Son and in the Father.