When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
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Paul dismisses the charge that he cannot be trusted by telling the Corinthians that he did not change his mind lightly. He had good reasons for not doing what he had originally planned. When a spiritually minded person does not do what he intends to, it is because he has in mind something more providential for the salvation of someone’s soul. The apostle did not carry out his original plan in order that the Corinthians might become better men and women. He delayed his coming specifically because there were some among them who had not purified themselves, and he was waiting for that to happen first. This is spiritual thinking. Carnal thinking, by contrast, makes changes of plan in order to suit personal desires, not in order to do what is beneficial. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? That Isaiah , when I proposed to come to you and did not. The Greek word for lightness is derived from the word for a stag. In a like way we speak of the wisdom of the serpent, the innocence of the dove, the stubbornness of the ass, the headiness of the elephant.
Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh? S. Paul did not form his determinations relying on human prudence and lightness, which readily change men"s designs, through worldly advantage or convenience, or the influence of superiors, nay, through the mere fickleness and changeability of natural inclination. So Ambrose.
That with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay. I was not so unstable and purposeless as at one time to promise to come and at another to refuse, as boys often do. So Anselm.
When, therefore, I had a mind, and purposed to come to you, did I use levity? was it an effect of levity, of a fickle mind, and of a want of sincerity? or do I purpose and promise things according to the flesh, to human motives and interest, which make me say, and unsay again, so that in me is yes and no? (Witham)
The carnal man, who is riveted to the present world and completely caught up in it, is outside the sphere of the Spirit’s influence and has the power to go everywhere, doing whatever he likes. But the servant of the Spirit is led by the Spirit. He cannot just do what he likes. He is dependent on the Spirit’s authority. Paul was not able to come to Corinth because it was not the Spirit’s will for him to go there.