Main point summary
The Corinthians should pray for Paul's deliverance (1:11) because Paul acted with sincerity towards them by the grace of God in Christ, who binds them together even though Paul was not able to come to them as he wished. Paul was not being fickle by not coming to them, for he represents Christ, who purchases all the promises of God.
2 Corinthians 1:12-22
Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν , τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν,
For our boast is this, u the testimony of our conscience,
ὅτι ἐν ἁπλότητι καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ,
that we behaved in the world with simplicity 1 and v godly sincerity,
[καὶ] οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ
w not by earthly wisdom
ἀλλ ʼ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ,
but by the grace of God,
ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
and supremely so toward you.
οὐ γὰρ ἄλλα γράφομεν ὑμῖν
For we are not writing to you anything other
ἀλλʼ ἢ ἃ ἀναγινώσκετε
than what you read
ἢ καὶ ἐπιγινώσκετε •
and I hope
ὅτι ἕως τέλους ἐπιγνώσεσθε,
you will fully understand—
καθὼς καὶ ἐπέγνωτε ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ μέρους,
just as you did x partially understand us—
ὅτι καύχημα ὑμῶν ἐσμεν καθάπερ
that y on the day of our Lord Jesus
καὶ ὑμεῖς ἡμῶν
z you will boast of us as
ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ.
a we will boast of you.
Καὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πεποιθήσει ἐβουλόμην πρότερον πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν ,
Because I was sure of this, b I wanted to come to you first,
ἵνα δευτέραν χάριν σχῆτε ,
so that you might have c a second d experience of grace.
καὶ διʼ ὑμῶν διελθεῖν εἰς Μακεδονίαν
I wanted to visit you e on my way to Macedonia,
καὶ πάλιν ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς
and to come back to you from Macedonia
καὶ ὑφʼ ὑμῶν προπεμφθῆναι εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν.
and have you send me on my way to Judea.
τοῦτο οὖν βουλόμενος μήτι ἄρα τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ ἐχρησάμην ;
Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this?
ἢ ἃ βουλεύομαι κατὰ σάρκα βουλεύομαι ,
Do I make my plans f according to the flesh,
ἵνα ᾖ παρʼ ἐμοὶ τὸ ναὶ ναὶ καὶ τὸ οὒ οὔ;
ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time?
πιστὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς
As surely as g God is faithful,
ὅτι ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν ὁ πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἔστιν ναὶ καὶ οὔ.
h our word to you has not been Yes and No.
ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ γὰρ υἱὸς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν διʼ ἡμῶν κηρυχθείς ,
For i the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you,
διʼ ἐμοῦ καὶ Σιλουανοῦ καὶ Τιμοθέου, οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ καὶ οὒ
j Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No,
ἀλλὰ ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν.
but k in him it is always Yes.
ὅσαι γὰρ ἐπαγγελίαι θεοῦ, ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ ναί•
For l all the promises of God find their Yes in him.
διὸ καὶ διʼ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἀμὴν τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν διʼ ἡμῶν.
That is why it is through him that we utter our m Amen to God for his glory.
ὁ δὲ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστὸν
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ,
καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς θεός,
and n has anointed us,
ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς
and who has also o put his seal on us and
καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν.
p given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 1
A lot of similar language in Hebrews 13:18. 1. The similarity of asking for prayer (see 1:11) 2. The use of the word ανεστραφημεν 3. The use of the word συνειδησεως It seems like the request for prayer is grounded in the nobleness, and godliness of the task prayed for.
I'm arcing based off of the Greek order, not the ESV.
"Pray for me, for i have acted in this way towards you."
See: 2 Cor 4:2 2 Cor 5:11
εἰλικρινειᾳ See: 2 Cor 2:17
7:14 8:24 11:10 11:17
απλοτητι και ειλικρίνειᾳ: Maybe best translated sincerety and transparency.
Paul gives this ground in verses 13 and 14 since his statement in verse 12 (the claim to sincerety and transparency) is challenged by the church saying that what Paul writes is not what Paul means.
Paul's defense in not coming to them is that God is faithful, and his ministry is so tied to God, that if God is faithful, then Paul's desires and wishes are also so.
This is the first reason Paul gives for defending himself for not coming to them in Corinth, mainly that they serve in relation to the leading of Christ who is always faithful and not exercising fickleness.
Everything following seems to be defending verse 12.
The idea is: We are writing sincerely to you in the hopes that you understand and thus find your boast in us, and this is why we wanted to come to you. Transition: but they never came The explanation is: We defend ourselves first, by saying that we represent Christ, who is not fickle, thus we are not fickle in our not coming to you.
See: Acts 4:27 Acts 10:38
Ephesians 1:13 Ephesians 4:30
See 2 Corinthians 5:5
Oddly enough, this word is only used twice in 2 Corinthians. The other place is in 2 Cor 7:1
This is the key to this part of the argument. God established them together despite his not coming.
1:12 - Paul grounds his request for prayer in verse 11 in the way that he conducted himself towards them, mainly in sincerity and purity/transparency. It seems like the request for is grounded in the sincerity of the task prayed for. It also must be noted that this boast is grounded as a gift of God, and is not a boast in Paul himself. It’s not earthly wisdom, but in the grace of God. 1:13 - The Corinthians had accused Paul of writing one thing, and doing another. One example could be that in a previous letter Paul had said that he would come to them, but never did. Paul’s expression here is that they fully understand what he writes. There is no double meaning. 1:14 - As Paul boasts in the testimony of his conscience in verse 12, now he gives a sort of call for the Corinthians to boast in him as he will boast of them. 1:15-16 - Paul wanted to come to the Corinthians as he passed through Macedonia, and even on his way back, for they are his boast. 1:17 - But Paul never came, therefore, he’s responding to the idea, maybe the accusation that he is fickle, saying one thing and doing another. It’s like he’s saying yes and no at the same time. 1:18-19 - Paul defends himself by associating himself with Christ, the one he proclaims and of whom he is an apostle (1:1). Because all the promises of God are yes in Christ due to God’s faithfulness, and because this is the Christ Paul proclaims, he is not being fickle. 1:20-22 - Its inferred then that this is why God gets the glory. Furthermore, it is this God who establishes Paul and the Corinthians, who anointed them, and who sealed them with their Spirit. This concludes Paul’s first defense of his apostleship, and is thus a reason they should pray for him (1:11).