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In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
Note 8 at 2Co 6:5: Many of God's servants were imprisoned for their faith. Some that are mentioned in Scripture are Joseph (Ge 39:20), Micaiah (1Ki 22:27 and 2Ch 18:26), Jeremiah (Jer 32:2-3, 33:1, and 37:15), John the Baptist (Mt 4:12, 14:3; Mr 1:14, 6:17; and Lu 3:20), Peter and John (Ac 4:3 and 12:3-4), Paul and Silas (Ac 16:23), the apostles (Ac 5:18), and various unnamed believers (Mt 25:36; Ac 8:3, 22:4, 19, 26:10; Heb 11:36; and Re 2:10).
Paul said of his imprisonment that he was an ambassador in bonds (Eph 6:20), that his bonds were in Christ (Php 1:13), that it was for the defense of the Gospel (Php 1:17), that it was for speaking the mystery of Christ (Col 4:3), and that people should remember his bonds (Col 4:18).
In Paul's day, having a prison record for the cause of Christ was a sure sign of a minister of the Gospel. Those who wanted to be ministers had to love the prison ministry.
Note 9 at 2Co 6:5: A tumult is "1. The din and commotion of a great crowd. 2. Agitation of the mind or emotions" (American Heritage Dictionary). "Tumults," in this verse, is rendered in various translations by the phrases "disturbances" (The Twentieth Century New Testament), "faced angry mobs" (New Living Translation), "in the midst of tumult" (Knox's translation), etc.
Examples of tumults that Paul was involved in can be found in the following verses: "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas" (Ac 13:50). "And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead" (Ac 14:19). "And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers" (Ac 16:19). "And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre" (Ac 19:29). "And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut" (Ac 21:30).
Some other tumults described in Scripture are when Moses saw the people running wild (Ex 32:25, New International Version), when Ahimaaz said that he had seen a great tumult (2Sa 18:29), the tumult in the Philistine camp (1Sa 14:19), a tumult at a funeral (Mt 9:23), a possible uproar over Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 26:5), and a tumult in the Corinthian church (2Co 12:20).
Note 10 at 2Co 6:5: The Greek word that Paul used here for "labours" is "KOPOS," and it literally means a "'beating' or the 'weariness' caused by it," as well as "the 'exertion' (e.g., of manual work) that brings on physical tiredness" (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). Paul often used this word to describe the labor of his own ministry (1Co 3:8, 15:58; this verse, 2Co 11:23, 27; 1Th 2:9, and 3:5), the work and labor of his own hands (2Th 3:8), as well as the scars he received from beatings, which he referred to as the marks of the Lord Jesus (Ga 6:17).
Note 11 at 2Co 6:5: The Greek word that Paul used here for "watchings" is "AGRUPNIA," and it carries the idea of "sleeplessness" (Strong's Concordance); i.e., not being able to sleep regularly because of various circumstances. Paul gave one such example in 2Th 3:8 when he stated, "Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you."
Note 12 at 2Co 6:5: Several Hebrew and Greek words for "fast" and "fasting" are used in Scripture. The literal meanings of these words carry the idea of covering one's mouth and abstaining from food (see note 1 at Mt 4:2). A common expression for fasting in the Old Testament was the humbling or afflicting of one's soul (Le 16:29-31 and 1Ki 21:29).
"The Hebrews...were in the habit of fasting whenever they were in hard and trying circumstances (1Sa 1:7), misfortune, and bereavement (1Sa 20:34, 31:13; and 2Sa 1:12), in the prospect of threatened judgments of God (2Sa 12:16 and 1Ki 21:27), on occasions of falling into grievous sin (Ezr 10:6), or to avert heavy calamity (Es 4:1, 3, and 16)" (Unger's Bible Dictionary).
The fasting that Paul was speaking about in this verse may be a deliberate fast for spiritual purposes, or it may be referring to hunger experienced under trying circumstances (Php 4:12-13).
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