17711770X5, K. T, X. Now these words must be rendered either 'I have written to you in this epis tle,' or 'I wrote to you in that epistle;' and our choice between these two renderings will depend partly on grammatical and partly on historical grounds. As the aorist f-ypcupa may mean either '1 wrote' or have written,' nothing can be con cluded from it in either way. 1 t may be doubted, however, whether, had the Apostle intended to refer to a former epistle, he would have used the article T5 simply, without adding _former.
In support of this conclusion it may be added, ( t ) that the Apostle had really in this epistle given the prohibition to which he refers; (2) that it is not a little strange that the Apostle should, only in this cursory and incidental manncr, refer to a circumstance so important in its bearing upon the case of the Corinthians as his having already addressed them on their sinful practices; and (3) that had such an epistle ever existed it may be supposed that some hint of its existence would have been found in the records of the primitive Church. which is not the case.
(5) Paul's Visits to Corinth. From 2 Cor. xii :14 and compared with 2 Cor. :1, and xiii :2, it appears that before the writing of that epistle Paul had twice visited Corinth, and that one of these visits had been after the Church there had fallen into an evil state; for otherwise his visit could not have been described as one lv Virv, and one dur ing which God had humbled him before them.
Interpreters have differed widely as to the meaning of the references to these visits. Some have understood the Apostle to say in them not that he had actually conic to Corinth, but that he had planned to come. This was the view of Baur, Hilgenfeld, and others. But against this view, Meyer and Godet have argued from the plain and obvious sense of the language used, that the visits were actual and not simply projected. But if actual, did the second visit precede the writing of the first epistle, or did it fall between the two epistles? In favor of the first alternative, Reuss reasons from xvi :7, "I will not see you in passing." But this is certainly not conclusive. We must accordingly, accept the view of those who place the second visit between the two letters. This view explains how it was possible for the Corinthians to say as they did (iv:18) that Paul was always postponing his visit. This they could not have said if the visit in question had just pre ceded the first Epistle. In favor of this view, fur
ther is the fact of the Apostle's silence as to a sec ond visit. In the first epistle, he repeatedly alludes to incidents that occurred in the first visit (i :8, 9; i :23 ; ii:1, t2, 13; xii :14. 21.), but to none that occurred in the second, although this was by the very supposition, fresher in his mind.
(6) Date and Place of Composition. The question when and where the Epistle was written, must be answered in the light of what the Apostle says in xvi :8, 19. taken together with v. 7, 8. From these passages, it appears that he was at Ephesus and was to stay there sonic time longer "until Pentecost." But from the general chronology of the life and ministry of Paul, we learn that he so journed at Ephesus from 55 to 58 A. D. It has therefore been inferred with reason, that the letter was written about Easter in the year 57.
The subscription intimates that this epistle was conveyed to Corinth by Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus. and Timothy. As respects the last named there is evidently a mistake, for from chap ter xvi it appears that Timothy's visiting Cor inth was a thing not certain when this letter was finished, and from 2 Cor. viii :i7, 18, it appears that Timothy did not visit Corinth till afterwards. Comp. also Acts xix 22 As respects the others, this tradition is probably correct.
2. Second Epistle. (1) The Interval Be tween the Two Epistles. Not long after theTrans mission of the first epistle, the Apostle made a spe cial visit to Corinth, not recorded in Acts, return ing, however. immediately to Ephesus. Here he continued his work until his success roused the op position of Demetrius and the guild of the silver smiths. In consequence of the riotous uproa. which followed (Acts xix :93 sq.), he left for Troas. where he expected to meet Titus wit). news from Corinth. But in this he was dis appointed. Accordingly, he proceeded to Mace donia and there at length his desire for in formation on the state of affairs in the Corinthian church was gratified by the arrival of Titus (ii :13 ; vii :15 sq.) Meanwhile, some claim (Godet among them) that Paul wrote to this church another letter which has not been preserved to us. The reasons, how ever, adduced for the existence of such an intermediate letter, have never appeared strong enough to convince the majority of expert schol ars, and the preponderance of opinion is against be hypothesis. It appears to be, upon the whole, a gratuitous and unnecessary supposition.