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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
2 Corinthians 13

 

 

Verse 1

The third time

The great mass of modern expositors hold that Paul made three visits to Corinth, of the second of which there is no record.

I am coming

The third visit which I am about to pay. Alford observes that had not chronological theories intervened, no one would ever have thought of any other rendering. Those who deny the second visit explain: this is the third time that I have been intending to come.


Verse 2

I told you before and foretell you ( προείρηκα καὶ προλέγω )

Rev., I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand. The renderings of the A.V. and Rev. should be carefully compared. The difference turns mainly on the denial or assumption of the second visit; the A.V. representing the former, and the Rev. the latter. I have said beforehand thus refers to the second visit; I do say beforehand, to his present condition of absence.

As if I were present, the second time ( ὡς παρὼν τὸ δεύτερον )

Rev., as when I was present the second time; thus making a distinct historical reference to the second visit. Note the comma after present in A.V. According to this, the second time is connected with προλέγω , I say beforehand the second time. Another explanation, however, on the assumption of only two visits is, as if I were present this next time.

And being absent now I write to them which heretofore, etc. ( καὶ ἀπὼν νῦν γράφω )

I write must be omitted; now connected with being absent; and to them which connected with I say beforehand. Render, so now being absent (I say beforehand) to them which, etc.


Verse 3

A proof of Christ speaking in me ( δοκιμὴν τοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ λαλοῦντος Χριστοῦ )

Lit., of the Christ that speaks in me. An experimental proof of what kind of a being the Christ who speaks in me is.

In you ( ἐν ὑμῖν )

Better, among you. He is speaking, not of Christ as He dwells in them, but as He works with reference to them ( εἰς ) and among their number, inflicting punishment for their sin.

Through ( ἐξ )

Lit., out of, marking the source of both death and life.

Are weak in Him

The parallel with 2 Corinthians 13:3must be carefully noted. Christ will prove Himself not weak, but mighty among you. He was crucified out of weakness, but He is mighty out of the power of God. A similar weakness and power will appear in our case. We are weak in Him, in virtue of our fellowship with Him. Like Him we endure the contradiction of sinners, and suffer from the violence of men: in fellowship with His risen life we shall be partakers of the power of God which raised Him from the dead, and shall exhibit this life of power toward you in judging and punishing you.

Toward you

Construe with we shall live.


Verse 5

Examine yourselves ( ἑαυτοὺς πειράζετε )

Yourselves is emphatic. Instead of putting Christ to the test, test yourselves. Rev., try, is better than examine. Examination does not necessarily imply a practical test. It may be merely from curiosity. Trial implies a definite intent to ascertain their spiritual condition.

The faith

See on Acts 6:7. In a believing attitude toward Christ.

Prove ( δοκιμάζετε )

As the result of trying.

Or know ye not, etc.

Assuming that you thus prove yourselves, does not this test show you that Christ is in you as the result of your faith in him?

Reprobates ( ἀδόκιμοι )

An unfortunate translation. A reprobate is one abandoned to perdition. The word is kindred to the verb prove ( δοκιμάζετε ), and means disapproved on trial. See on Romans 1:28.


Verse 7

Not that we should appear approved, etc.

The sense of the verse is this: We pray God that you do no evil, not in order that your good conduct may attest the excellence of our teaching and example, so that we shall be approved; but in order that you may do what is good, thus rendering it impossible for us to prove our apostolic authority by administering discipline. In that case we shall be as men unapproved. Stanley remarks that, in the light of this verse, Paul might have added to 2 Corinthians 6:9, as without proof and yet as aprroved.


Verse 8

For we can do nothing against the truth

Your well doing is what we truly aim at. For, if we had any other aim, with a view to approving ourselves, we should fail, because we should be going in the face of the truth - the Gospel; and against that we are powerless. In that case we should be unapproved before God.


Verse 9

We are weak

Practically the same as unapproved. When your good conduct deprives us of the power of administering discipline, we are weak.

Perfection ( κατάρτισιν )

Only here in the New Testament. See on be perfect, 2 Corinthians 13:11. Rev., perfecting.


Verse 10

Use sharpness ( ἀποτόμως χρήσωμαι )

Rev., more literally and correctly, deal sharply, thus giving the force of the adverb. For sharply see on the kindred ἀποτομία severity Romans 11:22.


Verse 11

Finally ( λοιπόν )

Lit., as for the rest. Sometimes rendered now, as Matthew 26:45. “Sleep on now,” for the time that remains. Besides, as 1 Corinthians 1:16. It remaineth, 1 Corinthians 7:29. Henceforth, 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 10:13. Often as here, finally. In every case the idea of something left over is at the bottom of the translation.

Farewell ( χαίρετε )

In the classics used both at meeting and at parting. Lit., hail! See on James 1:1. Rev., in margin, has rejoice. It is somewhat doubtful whether it ever has the meaning farewell in the New Testament. Edersheim says that, on Sabbaths, when the outgoing course of priests left the temple, they parted from each other with a farewell, reminding us of this to the Corinthians: “He that has caused His name to dwell in this house cause love, brotherhood, peace, and friendship to dwell among you” (“The Temple,” p. 117).

Be perfect ( καταρτίζεσθε )

Rev., be perfected. See on Luke 6:40; see on 1 Peter 5:10. Paul speaks both of individual perfection and of the perfection of the Church through the right adjustment of all its members in Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:10. The verb is kindred with perfecting, 2 Corinthians 13:9.


Verse 12

Kiss

In 1 Peter 1:14, called the kiss of charity. The practice was maintained chiefly at the celebration of the Eucharist. In the “Apostolic Constitutions” it is enjoined that, before the communion, the clergy kiss the bishop, the laymen amongst each other, and so the women. This latter injunction grew out of the reproach of looseness of manners circulated by the heathen against the Christians. On Good Friday it was omitted in commemoration of Judas' kiss. In the West the practice survives among the Glassites or Sandemanians. In the Latin Church, after the end of the thirteenth century, there was substituted for it a piece of the altar furniture called a Pax (peace ), which was given to the deacon with the words Peace to thee and to the Church. In the East it is continued in the Coptic and Russian Churches.


Verse 14

The grace, etc.

The most complete benediction of the Pauline epistles. In most of the epistles the introductory benedictions are confined to grace and peace. In the pastoral epistles mercy is added. In the closing benedictions uniformly grace.

sa40

 


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Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/2-corinthians-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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