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1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
Ver. 1. Of two or three witnesses ] So he calleth his threefold admonition. God’s word neglected will one day be a swift witness against the contemners. Moses shall accuse men, John 5:46 . God’s word lay hold on them, Zechariah 1:6 , and stick in their hearts and flesh, as fire, throughout all eternity, Jeremiah 5:14 .
2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:
Ver. 2. I told you before ] Sed surdo fabulam, no telling would serve turn. Many are so wedded and wedged to their sins, that nothing will sunder them but an extraordinary touch from the hand of heaven.
3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
Ver. 3. A proof of Christ speaking in me ] The Church is Christi docentis auditorium, saith Bernard, the place wherein he ordinarily teacheth, who hath his school on earth, though his chair in heaven. Scholam habet in terris, Cathedram in caelis.
4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
Ver. 4. Crucified through weakness ] i.e. Ex afflicto eius statu, as Galatians 4:14 ; (Aug.), as having voluntarily subjected himself to all sorts of sufferings for our sakes.
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Ver. 5. Examine yourselves ] The final trial of our eternal estate doth immediately and solely appertain to the court of heaven. Indeed the disquisitive part belongs to us, the decisive to God.
Prove your own selves ] Redouble your diligence in this most needful but much neglected duty of self-examination; an error here is easy and dangerous; hence the precept is doubled; so Zephaniah 2:1 . Excutite vos, iterumque excutite, as Tremellius renders it, Fan yourselves, yea, fan yourselves. He doubleth his phrase, as it were his files. Men are as loth to review their actions, and read the blurred writing of their hearts, as school boys are to parse their lessons and false Latins they have made; the eyes also of their minds are as ill set as those of their bodies, so that they see nothing inwards, though these windows of the soul should be like the windows of Solomon’s temple, broad inward, 1 Kings 6:4 : and men should try themselves thoroughly, for God will; as, though scholars will not scan their verses, their master will. "Let every man therefore prove his own work,"Galatians 6:4; Galatians 6:4 ; so shall he save God a labour, and put the devil out of office. Whereas, sparing a little pains at first doubleth it in the end, as he that will not cast up his books, his books will cast up him at length.
Know ye not your own selves? ] Nosce teipsum, Know thyself, say the heathens, came down from heaven; sure it is none can ascend to heaven unless he know himself.
Except ye be reprobates? ] Gr. counterfeits, adulterine. Every soul is either the spouse of Christ, or the devil’s strumpet.
6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
Ver. 6. But I trust that ye shall know ] Whereas they were ready to retort that they were no reprobates, he should well know, let him see that himself were not one. I trust ye shall know, saith he, that we are no reprobates, counterfeits, or inapprovable, opposed to approved, 2 Corinthians 13:7 .
7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
Ver. 7. Though we be as reprobates ] viz. In your esteem. The good heart is content to vilify, yea, nullify itself, so God may be glorified and his people edified; let him be a footstool, or what ye will, to help Christ into his throne. Prorsus Satan est Lutherus, sed Christus vivit, et regnat. Amen, saith Luther. Let me be called a devil, or anything, so Christ may be exalted. (Epist. ad Spalat.)
8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
Ver. 8. For we can do nothing ] A temporary may so fall away, as to persecute the truth that he once professed, and the ministry that he once admired. Never falls a saint so far in his greatest relapses. Bishop Latimer tells of one, who fell away from the known truth, to mocking and scorning it; yet was afterwards touched in conscience for it. Beware of this sin, saith he; for I have known no more than this that repented. It is a very dangerous precipice. (Lat. Serm. before K. Edw.)
9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
Ver. 9. Even your perfection ] Or, your restoration, or joining again, καταρτισιν . His meaning is, saith Beza, that whereas the members of this Church were all, as it were, dislocated and out of joint, they should now again be joined together in love, and they should endearour to amend what was amiss among them, either in faith or manners.
10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
Ver. 10. And not to destruction ] Unless by accident; or, if to the destruction of the flesh, it is that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Corinthians 5:5 . See Trapp on " 1Co 5:5 " See Trapp on " 2Co 10:8 "
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Ver. 11. Finally ] Gr. λοιπον , that which yet remains to say more, and then an end.
Be perfect ] Or, piece again.
Be of one mind ] For matter of opinion.
Live in peace ] For matter of affection.
The God of love ] The author and fautor.
12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
Ver. 12. With a holy kiss ] A custom proper to those times. See Trapp on " Rom 16:16 " See Trapp on " 1Co 16:20 "
13 All the saints salute you.
Ver. 13. All the saints salute you ] Sanctity is no enemy to courtesy; it doth not remove but rectify it.
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. << The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.>>
Ver. 14. The grace of our Lord ] A friendly valediction or fatherly benediction.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30