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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

2 Corinthians 13

Verse 1

1) "This is the third time I am coming to you " (triton touto erchomai pros humas) "This is the third time I am coming to you, of my own accord," or choice, 2 Corinthians 12:14. This indicates Paul’s consideration of a thorough investigation (inquiry) into the church’s condition if it were not corrected by the time of his coming.

2) "In the mouth of two or three witnesses," (epi stomatos duo marturon kai triton) "at the mouth of two and/or three witnesses;" acceptable evidence to establish testimony at law, Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28.

3) "Shall every word be established," (stathesetai pan hrema) "Every word shall be established," or attested or shall every testimony be confirmed in connection with allegations of serious moral or ethical wrong. Paul was perhaps considering leading the church in a formal inquiry, in a legal sense, when he arrived, so that factual truths might be determined regarding problems, without evasion or equivocation on the party of any person involved in wrong or complaint.

Verse 2

1) “I told you before, and foretell you," (proeireka kai prolegon) "I have previously said, and I say (it) beforehand, again," to afford a fair warning against any claim that any member might offer that they were not advised of their wrong and given time to correct it, 2 Corinthians 10:2.

2) "As if I were present, the second time," (hos paron to deuteron) "As if I were present the second time," or "as when" I was present the second time, 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 12:14. He was not with them "in heaviness" the first time.

3) "And being absent now," (kai apon nun) "and being away now," or "so now being absent," yet with care, compassion, and concern for their spiritual welfare.

4) "I write to them which heretofore have sinned," (tois proemartekosin) "to those having previously sinned, I write)" to those who had sinned before his second visit, 2 Corinthians 12:21.

5) "And to all other," (kai tois loipois, pasin) "And to all those remaining," (loitering), and any others who may more recently have offended, stumbled, or gone wrong.

6) "That, if I come again, I will not spare," (hoti ean eltho eis to palin ou pheisomai) "That if I come unto such again, I will not spare," as he had for a time since his second visit, 2 Corinthians 1:23. He then proceeds to relate why he will not spare them from sharper reproof and open rebuke - because they had reflected on his ministry and the name of Christ and His church, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verse 3

1) "Since ye seek a proof," (epi dokimen zeteite) "Since ye seek a proof or an evidence;" that Paul was sincere, earnest, doing the work of Christ, evidenced by his testimony and deeds, 1 Corinthians 5:4; Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 9:22-27.

2) "Of Christ speaking in me," (tou en emoi lalountos Christou) "of Christ speaking in me;" concerning the church and her obligation to do the work of Christ according to the testimony of Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:2; 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:7-10; Ephesians 3:21.

3) "Which to you-ward is not weak," (hos eis humas ouk asthenei) "who is not weak toward you all," or on behalf of you all, the Corinth church. Twice he had visited them, twice now he is completing an extended Divine advisory letter the them, no weakness in this.

4) "But is mighty in you," (alla dunatei en humin) "but is dynamic in you all," the Corinth church, 1 Corinthians 1:5-7; 2 Corinthians 10:10; Christ was powerful in their midst, in spite of the carnality that existed 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Christ was powerful in this church because of his resurrection victory over death that empowers every believer to overcoming life and service, and because of his sustaining the apostle in his writing and labors on behalf of the Corinth church and other churches that were to benefit from his victorious writings, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; 2 Timothy 4:7-9.

Verse 4

1) "For though he was crucified through weakness," (kai gar estaurothe eks astheneias) "For indeed he was crucified out of weakness, spiritual sickness of men, the hatred of wicked men toward the holiness of God; Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:3; Romans 8:7; His flesh weakness was voluntary, Philippians 2:7-8; 1 Peter 3:18; John 10:18.

2) "Yet he liveth by the power of God," (alla zeek dunameos theou) "But he lives by the dynamic power of God;" Romans 8:11. By his exceeding power, the power of His life giving and sustaining Spirit he raised him up, who will also raise up every believer, Ephesians 1:19-20.

3) "For we also are weak in him," (kai gar hemeis asthenoumen en auto) "For we are also weak in him" or "with Him," 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Truly in our flesh we often realize "the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," Romans 7:18-25.

4) "But we shall live with him," (alla zesomen sun auto) "But we shall live with (in close association with) him," in church fellowship, concord with Him, both here and hereafter, Matthew 28:20; Matthew 18:20; Revelation 1:10-20; Ephesians 3:21.

5) "By the power of God toward you," (ek dunameos theou eis humas) "out of the power of God toward you all," Romans 8:11; 1 John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; The overcoming, victorious power of faith in Christian living and the resurrection from among the dead, at the coming of our Lord are both by the power of God! Grace! Grace! Amazing Grace! 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 3:2; Ephesians 2:7; Romans 11:33.

Verse 5

1) "Examine yourselves," (heautous periazete) "Test or examine yourselves," Self-examination, in the light of or in harmony with the Word of God, is the best examination possible, 1 Corinthians 11:28; Galatians 6:3-4.

2) "Whether ye be in the faith," (ei este en te pistei) "whether (or not) you all are in the faith," in harmony with the system of faith of Christ, 1 Corinthians 16:13; Judges 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:7; in accord with the body of Christian and church truth, rightly viewed and followed, 2 Timothy 2:15.

3) "Prove your own selves," (heautous dokimazete) "prove or test yourselves," as to what you believe and what you practice, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; Romans 8:19; Galatians 4:19; Matthew 5:15-16; Matthew 7:17; Matthew 7:20; 1 John 2:15-17; John 13:34-35. "Your being in the faith is evidence that I am," Paul affirms.

4) "Know ye not your own selves," (e ouk epiginoskete heautous) "or do you not know your own selves," recognize or realize, 1 John 3:24; Galatians 2:20; John 15:4-5; John 15:23; Philippians 3:10-14.

5) "How that Jesus Christ is in you," (hoti lesous Christos en humin) "that Jesus Christ exists (resides in you all)," as individuals, and as a church, 1 Corinthians 4:15; Colossians 1:27; John 17:23-24.

6) "Except ye be reprobates?" (ei meti adokimoi este) "If you are not counterfeits," or reprobates, outcasts, have not been rejected of the Lord for blessings, Revelation 2:5; had your candlestick removed, as a church, Revelation 3:16; Revelation 3:19.

Verse 6

1) "But I trust that ye shall know," (elpizo de hoti gnosthesthe) "But I hope that you all will know;" or recognize, Matthew 7:17; Matthew 7:20; Matthew 5:15-16; No man lives to himself alone; each must recognize this and forbear one another in love and helplessness, Ephesians 4:1-3; Galatians 6:1.

2) "That we are not reprobates," (hoti hemeis ouk esmen adokimoi) "counterfeits, fakes, reprobates, or rejects," of the Gospel, not following the resurrected and living Saviour. When put on trial by skeptics, Paul hoped, desired, that the Corinth brethren would not join the disapproving, fault-finding cynical crowd, but be persuaded to the contrary, that they were genuine servants and worthy ministers of Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 John 1:8; Acts 20:20; Acts 20:22; Acts 20:27-38.

PROVE YOUR OWN SELVES

That means more than self-examination. A man is about to buy a horse; he thinks that possibly he may find out some fault, and therefore he examines it; but after he has examined it, he says, "Let me have it for a week, that I may prove the animal before I invest in him." A ship, both before and when launched, is carefully looked at; and yet before she is allowed to go to sea, she takes a trial trip; and then when proved she goes out on her long voyages. Now, many a man’s religion will stand examination that will not stand proof. It is like some cotton prints that are warranted fast colors, and so they seem when you look at them, but they are not washable when you get them home. It is good enough to look at, and it has got the "warranted" - stamped upon it; but when it comes out into actual daily life, the colors soon begin to run, and the man discovers that the thing was not what he took it to be.

-Spurgeon

Verse 7

1) "Now I pray to God," (euchometha de pros ton theon) "Now we pray to God," On behalf of you all, as Moses did for Israel, Numbers 11:2.

2) "That ye do no evil," (mes poiesai humas) "that you all do," (Gk. kakon meden) "no evil," or mischief, 2 Corinthians 11:2; Matthew 5:48.

3) "Not that we should appear approved," (ouch hina hemeis dokimoi phanomen) "not (just) in order that we may appear approved;" the motive of his prayer was not simply that his ministry be credited, Acts 2:22.

4) "But that ye should do that which is honest," (alla hina humeis to kalon poiete) "but in order that you all may do that which is good, honorable, proper, or correct morally and ethically," that which is honorable, Romans 12:17.

5) "Though we be as reprobates," (hemeis de hos adokimoi omen) "Though we may be as counterfeits," reprobates, or outcasts, 2 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 9:27, as alleged by false accusers.

Verse 8

1) "For we can do nothing " (ou gar dunametha ti) "For we are not able to do anything," hold no power to do anything.

2) "Against the truth," (kata tes aletheias) "against or to tread down the truth," against the facts of the case, John 5:33; John 8:32; Romans 1:18; Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:10.

3) "But for the truth " (alla huper tes aletheias) "but on behalf of the truth," we labor, Galatians 4:16; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Timothy 3:15; 3 John 1:3 "thou walkest in truth."

Verse 9

1) "But we are glad, when we are weak," (chairomen gar hotan hemeis asthenomen) "For we rejoice (even) whenever we are weak," Not as sharp in exercising reproof as we might be, 2 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

2) "And ye are strong" (humeis de dunatoi hete) "and you all are powerful, dynamic," in Christian graces. He was ever content that in weakness, as accused, he could yet minister to their edification, fruitfully, 1 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 4:12.

3) "And this also we wish," (touto kai euchometha) "this also we pray," and not only rejoice in, that you may grow in strength and grace, Ephesians 6:10; 2 Peter 3:18.

4) "Even your perfection," (ten humon katartisin) "for your restoration," 2 Corinthians 13:11 ; Matthew 5:48.

Verse 10

1) "Therefore I write these things being absent," (dia touto tauto apon grapho) "Therefore, being absent, I write these things," 2 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 10:2; 2 Corinthians 12:20-21.

2) "Lest being present I should use sharpness," (hina paron me aptomos) "in order that being present (When I am present) I might not use sharpness," Titus 1:13. Sharp reproof, severe reproof, even as from the Lord, 2 Timothy 4:2; Revelation 3:19.

3) "According to the power which the Lord hath given me," (chersomai kata ten eksousian hen ho kurios edoken mou) "In order that I may deal according to the authority that the Lord gave me," 2 Corinthians 10:8; this power was for edification, 1 Corinthians 14:3-5.

4) "For edification," (eis oikodomen) "with reference to edification," or "for the purpose of edification, building up, enlarging or enhancing you all and the church," 1 Corinthians 14:26; Revelation 14:19.

5) "And not to destruction," (kai ouk eis kathairesin) "and not for otherthrow," or tearing you down, destroying your influence and usefulness, 2 Corinthians 10:8; 1 Timothy 3:15.

Verse 11

FINAL EXHORTATIONS

1) "Finally, brethren, farewell," (Loipon) "For the rest," (adelphoi) "brethren,"

a) "be perfect," (chairete) "you all rejoice;" in the Lord, and amend yourselves, be restored, by repentance.

b) "be of good comfort," (katartizesthe) "be you all of good cheer or comfort," 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 2 Corinthians 7:7.

c) "be of one mind," (parakaleisthe) "admonish yourselves," one another, (to auto phroneite) "think the same thing," Romans 12:16; Romans 15:5; Ephesians 4:3; 1 Peter 3:8.

d) "live in peace," (eireneuete) "be at peace," among yourselves, with God and each other, Ephesians 4:1-4; John 14:27; John 16:33.

2) "And the God of love and peace," (kai ho theos tes agapes kai eirenes) "and the God of love and peace," from whom these divine attributes originate, Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23;. The God manifested and felt, Romans 5:5; Judges 1:20-21.

3) "Shall be with you," (estai meth’ humon) "He shall be with (dwell or camp with) you all," when you live in this manner, and not otherwise, to bless you, 1 John 4:7-12; Hebrews 13:20.

Verse 12

1) "Greet one another," (aspasasthe) "Salute or greet ye one another," on behalf of me and us.

2) "With a holy kiss," (en hagio philemati) "with an holy kiss," or "in a holy kiss manner," affectionately, with holy, not carnal affections, a custom of expressed affectionate greeting widely practices in the Middle East, even today, Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14.

Verse 13

1) "All the saints," (hoi hagioi pantes) 11 all the holy ones (saints)," sanctified ones, from where Paul was writing in Macedonia, probably from the church at Thessalonica, Philippians 4:22.

2) "Salute you," (aspozontai humas) "salute or greet all of you," as Christian friends of mutual concerns, Proverbs 18:24.

Verse 14

1) “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ," (he charis tou kuriou lesou Christou) "The grace of (emanating out of) the Lord Jesus Christ," Romans 16:24; Paul always ended his letters with a prayer that the grace of the God that called, saved, and used him might be on all his correspondents.

2) "And the love of God," (kai he agape tou theou) "and the high holy love of (emanating out of) God," through Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; John 3:14-16.

3) "And the communion of the Holy Ghost," (kai he koinonia tou hagiou pneumatos) "and the fellowship of (emanating out of) the Holy Spirit," the third person of the Godhead, completes a triple benediction similar to Numbers 6:23-26; Philippians 2:11; 1 John 4:11, active communication, Romans 8:26.

4) "Be with you all, Amen," (meta panton humon) "be with you all," or all of you.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-corinthians-13.html. 1985.