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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Corinthians 13

Verse 1

2 Corinthians 13:1 . Τρίτον ) The decisive number, the third time . So the LXX. τρίτον τοῦτο , Numbers 22:28 . ἔρχομαι , I am coming ) I am now in readiness to come. μαρτύρων , of witnesses ) Therefore in this matter the apostle thought of depending not on an immediate revelation, but on the testimony of men; and he does not command the culprits to be cast out of the Church before his arrival.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 13:2 . Προείρηκα καὶ προλἐγω , I told you before and I tell you beforehand ) Refer to the former the words, as if I were present the second time; to the latter, the words, being now absent . He seriously forewarns them. There is in the text, which excludes the word γράφω as an inferior reading, 1 [90] an uninterrupted chiasmus throughout theesdras three members of the sentence, in the following order:

[90] ABD ( Λ ) corrected later, G fg Vulg. reject γράφω . Rec. Text supports it without any of the oldest authorities for it. ED.

and I tell beforehand I told before , | | as if I were present the second time and (viz. no doubt when he had come to the neighbourhood towards Corinth, and had already determined to go thither himself also, although he afterwards forbore), and being absent now | | to those who have heretofore sinned , namely before this second visit, and to all others , who afterwards sinned, after my second coming, and yet before my third. οὐ φείσομαι , I will not spare ) He had formerly spared, 2 Corinthians 1:23 .

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 13:3 . Δοχιμὴν ζητεῖτε , ye seek a proof ) A metonymy for, you provoke me; you tempt me; you desire to find out what I am; see 2 Corinthians 13:5 [ ἑαυτοὺς δοκιμάζετε , prove your own selves]. δοκιμὴ has its conjugates in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 [ ἀδοκιμοι ]. τοῦ Χριστοῦ ) i.e. , whether Christ is speaking in me. The Corinthians had doubts; he presently proves that they ought not to doubt. εἰς ὑμᾶς , ἐν ὑμῖν , to you-ward, in you ) The particles differ; see ch. 2Co 10:1 οὐκ ἀσθενεῖ , is not weak ) by me and this very epistle. [91] δυνατεῖ ) The ardour of his mind produced this new word by a paraphrase in respect to ἀσθενεῖ .

[91] [Christ, who] is not weak towards you, as far as I and this very epistle can effect. ED.

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 13:4 . Εἰ , if [though]) a concessive particle. ἐσταυρώθη , was crucified ) The cross , the utmost weakness; it includes death, for life , is put in antithesis to it. ἐξ ἀσθενείας , owing to [ through ] weakness ) It is the part of weakness to be crucified. This is the force of the particle. ἀσθενοῦμεν ἐν αὐτῳ , we are weak in Him ) Presently after, the particle is varied, σύν , with Him, being employed instead of the ἐν here; we are weak , we do not exercise δύναμιν , power , and therefore we ourselves are less sensible of it, inasmuch as the sense of tribulation prevails.

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 13:5 . ‘ Εαυτοὺς , your own selves ) not Paul. If you examine yourselves, you will perceive what we are. Where there are true teachers and true learners, we may judge from the feeling of the one party concerning the other, what is the character of that other. ἐν τῇ πίστει , in the faith ) and therefore in Christ. δοκιμάζετε , prove ) The milder admonition [ δοκιμάζετε , prove ] is subjoined to the severer word [ πειράζετε , lit. tempt, make trial of ] test [Engl. Vers., examine yourselves]: if you are in the faith, prove yourselves to be so; [92] εἰ , if , is used as presently after in εἰ μὴτι . ἢ ) an , the second part of a disjunctive interrogation; i.e. , you can truly prove yourselves: for Jesus Christ is in you, and you know Him to be in you. [ In fact, any one may test himself , whether he be in the faith or not; no man can prove himself, and search out his own true character unless he be a believer . V. g.] ἐπιγινώσκετε , do you perceive? ) an emphatic compound. ὅτι , how that ) the grounds upon which. Ἰησοῦς , Jesus ) not only a sense [perception] of Christ, but Jesus Christ Himself, [ as is evident from the addition of the proper name , Jesus; comp. 2 Timothy 4:22 . V. g.] εἰ μήτι , unless somewhat ) So εἰ μὴ , ch. 2 Corinthians 3:1 ; τί , somewhat , softens the language. ἀδόκιμοι , reprobate ) in a passive and active sense; for the conjugate δοκιμάζετε is considered to be in a reciprocal sense.

[92] Engl. V. and Tischend. and Lachm. connect εἰ ἐστὲ ἐν τῇ πίστει with πειοάζετε , “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.” ED.

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 13:6 . Γνώσεσθε , you shall know ) by the proving of yourselves, without any experimental proof of my power, 2 Corinthians 13:10 .

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 13:7 . Εὔχομαι ) The same verb occurs with the accusative and infinitive, Acts 26:29 . μὴ ποιῆσαι ὑμᾶς κακὸν μηδὲν , that ye do no evil ) The Vulgate has thus correctly translated it. For there follows, that you may do good . Grotius interprets it, that I may not be forced to inflict evil , punishment, on any one . But in this way the antithesis just noticed is lost. ποιεῖν has the accusative of the person, but Paul says, ποιεῖν πρός τινα , εἰς τινα . οὐχ ἵνα , not that ) δόκιμοι , approved ) by restraining you when you do evil. ὡς ἀδόκιμοι , as reprobate ) no cause being given to us for exercising authority: ὡς , as if , softens the expression.

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 13:8 . Δυνάμεθα , we are able ) comp. the power which he claims, 2 Corinthians 13:10 . ἀληθείας , truth ) Truth here denotes the exact authority to be exercised over the Corinthians.

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 13:9 . Ἀσθενῶμεν , we are weak ) in body and with our authority unemployed. δυνατοὶ , strong ) in faith. καὶ εὐχόμεθα , we also wish ) Weakness is welcome, not wished for; κατάρτισις , is even ( καὶ ) wished for. κατάρτισιν ) perfect union, perfection , 2 Corinthians 13:11 ; 1 Corinthians 1:10 [“perfectly joined together”]: that there may be no need to use severity in cutting off [93] any one from the body.

[93] ἀποτόμως 2 Corinthians 13:10 , Th. ἀποτέμνειν , to cut off . ED.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 13:10 . Μοι , to me ) Paul, in treating of his peculiar apostolic power, returns from the plural to the singular.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 13:11 . Λοιπὸν , finally ) The conclusion. Paul had written somewhat severely in discussing this matter; now more gently, without however dismissing the subject itself; comp. ch. 2 Corinthians 13:11 . χαίρετε ) rejoice . He returns to that with which he first set out, 2 Corinthians 1:24 ; but the word χαίρετε here is appropriately used, as by it men are accustomed to bid farewell . παρακαλεῖσθε , be of good comfort , ch. 2 Corinthians 1:6 .

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 13:13 . Ἡ ) This prayer corresponds in both epistles. The first epistle, indeed, has also its own conclusion and prayer; but yet because the first epistle is taken up and renewed in many important particulars by the second, this prayer is also suitable to it, and in the very universality of the prayer, the apostle seems also to have had reference to the first epistle. χάρις , grace ) This is mentioned in the first place, for by the grace of Christ we come to the love of the Father. [ An admirable testimony to the Holy Trinity . V. g.] ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ , the love of God ) 2 Corinthians 13:11 . ἡ κοινωνία , the communion ) which has also come to you Gentiles, and which produces harmony. [94]

[94] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 3 : Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bryce, Trans.) (434 437). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.