2 Corinthians 7

2 Cor. 7:4 I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation

Alexander B. Morrison

"Pleasure 'pulls no handcarts.' Joy, on the other hand, is of the Spirit. It may co-exist with suffering and sacrifice. It transcends the body. One can be 'joyful in all our tribulation.' (2 Corinthians 7:4.)

"Joy is more profound than is pleasure...Christ's redeeming sacrifice provides for us the ultimate joy, that of coming to a world of spiritual testing and moral agency, with the promise that if we are true and faithful, enduring to the end, we may return to dwell evermore in the presence of the Father and Son." (Visions of Zion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 27.)

2 Cor. 7:5-6 we were troubled on every side...Nevertheless God...comforted us

Neal A. Maxwell

"On his arrival in Macedonia, Paul was physically weary and had to endure being 'troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears'; understandably he felt 'cast down.' (2 Corinthians 7:5-6.) Nevertheless he described the divine consolation and comfort he received. From intensive and varied experiences, Paul knew what it was like to be troubled, distressed, and perplexed. Yet he wrote reassuringly that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, perils, or the sword (see Romans 8:35). He knew to whom to look for consolation and perspective." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 57.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Paul's experience when he came to Macedonia reflects some of the hard realities which are not unique to his time...Like Paul we can be filled with comfort and be joyful in the midst of tribulation by something as simple as the arrival of a friend. We all need such friends, and even more, to be such a friend!" (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 52.)

2 Cor. 7:7 when he told us your earnest desire...I rejoiced the more

"Paul's anxiety about the affairs at Corinth were finally relieved when Titus arrived and informed him that the Corinthians had mourned and repented of their past behavior. (2 Cor. 7:6-7.) Probably sometime in the fall of A.D. 57, the same year in which he had previously written 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote the epistle preserved in 2 Corinthians (actually his third or fourth letter to the Corinthians) to express his love and concern for the saints at Corinth and his relief and joy that they had responded to his rebuke, and to further encourage those who had remained rebellious to repent." (David R. Seely, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 72 - 73.)

2 Cor. 7:8 I made you sorry with a letter

"Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, giving further detailed instructions...Another purpose for writing was to heal his relationship with them before he arrived. At the beginning, he worried that the Corinthians had misread his motives, mentioning there and later, 'I made you sorry with a letter' (2 Cor. 7:8). This could be a lost letter, although 1 Corinthians is harsh enough in places to qualify. That detail does not matter as much as seeing the unbending determination of Paul to speak the truth but to keep a good relationship with the Corinthians. He did not attempt to smooth over difficulties with superficial politeness. This second letter is a genuine second communication of gratitude that the first letter found its mark and that lives were changed. This combination of firmness and profound love for the Corinthians throws some commentators off guard. Since they cannot understand how the same letter can combine reproof and healing outreach, the Corinthian correspondence is often sliced into a number of letters. But this is purely artificial, for Jesus and Paul stood for love based on reality. Thus both criticism and concern can be given in the same communication. This is the case with 2 Corinthians, with an added factor. There were now two main groups in the branch, one of which had achieved the unity that Paul commanded, but the other stood defiant against him. So Paul's mood swings in the letter to match the two different groups addressed." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 131 - 132.)

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance

Ezra Taft Benson

"Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having 'a broken heart and a contrite spirit.' (See 3 Ne. 9:20; Moro. 6:2; D&C 20:37, 59:8; Ps. 34:18; Ps. 51:17; Isa. 57:15.) Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance." ("A Mighty Change of Heart," Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4)

Spencer W. Kimball

"Often people indicate that they have repented when all they have done is to express regret for a wrong act. But true repentance is marked by that godly sorrow that changes, transforms, and saves. To be sorry is not enough. Perhaps the felon in the penitentiary, coming to realize the high price he must pay for his folly, may wish he had not committed the crime. That is not repentance. The vicious man who is serving a stiff sentence for rape may be very sorry he did the deed, but he is not repentant if his heavy sentence is the only reason for his sorrow. That is the sorrow of the world.

"The truly repentant man is sorry before he is apprehended. He is sorry even if his secret is never known. He desires to make voluntary amends. The culprit has not 'godly sorrow' who must be found out by being reported or by chains of circumstances which finally bring the offense to light. The thief is not repentant who continues in grave offenses until he is caught. Repentance of the godly type means that one comes to recognize the sin and voluntarily and without pressure from outside sources begins his transformation. Paul put it this way to the Corinthian saints:

'Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
'For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.'
(2 Cor. 7:9-10.)" (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], chap. 11)

Neal A. Maxwell

"After recognition, real remorse floods the soul. This is a 'godly sorrow,' not merely the 'sorrow of the world' nor the 'sorrowing of the damned,' when we can no longer 'take happiness in sin.' (2 Cor. 7:10; Morm. 2:13.) False remorse instead is like 'fondling our failings.' In ritual regret, we mourn our mistakes but without mending them.

"There can be no real repentance without personal suffering and the passage of sufficient time for the needed cleansing and turning. This is much more than merely waiting until feelings of remorse subside. Misery, like adversity, can have its special uses. No wonder chastening is often needed until the turning is really under way! (See D&C 1:27; Hel. 12:3.)

"Real remorse quickly brings forth positive indicators, 'fruits meet for repentance.' (Matt. 3:8; see also Acts 26:20; Alma 5:54.) 'In process of time,' these fruits bud, blossom, and ripen." ("Repentance," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31)

Orson Pratt

"It would be of no use for the sinner to confess his sins to God unless he were determined to forsake them; it would be of no benefit to him to feel sorry that he had done wrong unless he intended to do wrong no more; it would be folly for him to confess before God that he injured his fellow man unless he were determined to do all in his power to make restitution. Repentance, then, is not only confession of sins, with a sorrowful, contrite heart, but a fixed, settled purpose to refrain from every evil way." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 51 - 52.)

F. Burton Howard

"...in order to be forgiven, a transgressor must experience godly sorrow. (See 2 Cor. 7:10.) He must have anguish of soul and genuine regret. This sorrow must be strong enough and long enough to motivate the additional processes of repentance, or it is not deep enough. Regret must be great enough so as to bring forth a changed person. That person must demonstrate that he is different than before by doing different and better things. Have you been sorry enough?" ("Repentance," Ensign, May 1983, 59)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"Repentance...is more than a word. It is an act that means sorrow, godly sorrow, and remorse and restitution and resolution. It involves pleading prayers for forgiveness, and promises, sincere and honest, to do better." ("News of the Church," Ensign, Sept. 1994, 76)

2 Cor. 7:11 Paul Paraphrased

Bruce R. McConkie

"'What carefulness it wrought in you' (now they were watchful and conforming); 'yea, what clearing of yourselves' (now the burdens of sin had been lifted); 'yea, what indignation' (now they had a horror of sin); 'yea, what fear' (now they feared the consequences of sin); 'yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal' (now they were consumed with desires for righteousness and a zeal for Christ); 'yea, what revenge' (now they had slain their sins and taken revenge upon the adversary)." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 234.)

2 Cor. 7:15 his inward affection is more abundant toward you

"Titus obviously had done his work with courage and capacity, but Paul goes further to show another critical ingredient in his success-his love for the people that he sought to help. 'And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, and the fear and trembling with which you received him' (2 Cor. 7:15, RSV). Paul says literally that Titus was not covetous toward the Corinthians-that he sincerely worked for their interests and not his own (2 Cor. 12:18)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 342.)