The Second to the Corinthians 13:1-14

13  This is the third time I am coming to you. “On the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter must be established.”+  Although I am absent now, it is as if I were present for the second time, and I give my warning in advance to those who sinned previously and to all the rest, that if ever I come again* I will not spare them,+  since you are seeking proof that Christ, who is not weak toward you but strong among you, is really speaking through me.  For, indeed, he was executed on the stake because of weakness, but he is alive because of God’s power.+ True, we also are weak with him, but we will live together with him+ because of God’s power toward you.+  Keep testing whether you are in the faith; keep proving what you yourselves are.+ Or do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with you? Unless you are disapproved.  I truly hope you will recognize that we are not disapproved.  Now we pray to God that you may do nothing wrong, not that we may appear approved, but that you may do what is fine, even if we may appear disapproved.  For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.  We certainly rejoice whenever we are weak but you are powerful. And this is what we are praying for, your being readjusted.+ 10  That is why I write these things while absent, so that when I am present, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord gave me,+ to build up and not to tear down. 11  Finally, brothers, continue to rejoice, to be readjusted, to be comforted,+ to think in agreement,+ to live peaceably;+ and the God of love and of peace+ will be with you. 12  Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13  All the holy ones send you their greetings. 14  The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of you.

Footnotes

Or “come back.”

Study Notes

the third time: Paul here cites, not three actual visits to Corinth, but three occasions on which he was ready to visit. He was willing to visit but needed the right circumstances. His first visit took place when he founded the congregation at Corinth and stayed for a year and a half. (Ac 18:9-11) In the second instance, Paul intended to visit them but that visit never happened. (2Co 1:15, 16, 23) Evidence suggests that there was little time between the writing of the two inspired letters to the Corinthians, not enough for such a visit to have taken place. Also, only one visit is mentioned in the book of Acts. (Ac 18:1) However, the third intended visit, which Paul mentions here and at 2Co 13:1, 2, did happen; Paul visited Corinth about 56 C.E., writing the book of Romans from there.​—Ac 20:2, 3; Ro 16:1, 23; 1Co 1:14.

the third time: See study note on 2Co 12:14.

On the testimony of two or three witnesses: Under the Mosaic Law, the rule governing evidence in a case was that “on the testimony” (lit., “at the mouth”) of two witnesses, or even three, a matter was established before the judges. (De 17:6; 19:15) Jesus agreed with that standard. (Mt 18:16; Joh 8:17, 18) The word “mouth” was used as a figure of speech (a metonymy) for what the witnesses said, or their testimony. When discussing his visits to Corinth, Paul quoted De 19:15 and indicated that this principle was followed in the Christian congregation.​—1Ti 5:19.

executed on a stake: Or “to be fastened on a stake (pole).” This is the first of over 40 occurrences of the Greek verb stau·roʹo in the Christian Greek Scriptures. This is the verb for the Greek noun stau·rosʹ, rendered “torture stake.” (See study notes on Mt 10:38; 16:24; 27:32 and Glossary, “Stake”; “Torture stake.”) The verb form is used in the Septuagint at Es 7:9, where the order was given to hang Haman on a stake that was over 20 m (65 ft) tall. In classical Greek, it meant “to fence with pales, to form a stockade, or palisade.”

was executed on the stake: Or “was fastened on a stake (pole).”​—See study note on Mt 20:19 and Glossary, “Stake”; “Torture stake.”

Keep testing: Some in Corinth had been challenging Paul, seeking proof that he really represented Christ. (2Co 13:3) Paul points out that they needed to “keep testing” themselves. One lexicon states that the word Paul here uses for “testing” means “to endeavor to discover the nature or character of someth[ing].” They could discover the nature of their own spiritual standing by comparing their daily conduct, attitudes, and decisions with the sacred truths they were taught. Doing such testing would help them to keep proving that they were true Christians. For “proving,” Paul uses a word that could refer to testing whether something is genuine, as one might test metals.

in the faith: As Paul uses it here, the expression “the faith” refers to the body of Christian teachings and beliefs. (Ac 6:7; Ga 6:10; Eph 4:5; Jude 3) It is synonymous with “the truth,” as used at Ga 5:7, 2Pe 2:2, and 2Jo 1. Paul here stresses that it is not enough to know the truths and principles that Jesus taught; a Christian needs to be “in the faith,” that is, to live by those truths.​—2Co 12:20, 21.

being readjusted: Or “brought into proper alignment.” The Greek term ka·tarʹti·sis, rendered “being readjusted,” appears only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. This and related terms are used to describe the restoring of something to a proper condition. For instance, at Mt 4:21, the verb ka·tar·tiʹzo is used to describe “mending” nets. At Ga 6:1, the same verb is used of the need to readjust spiritually a fellow believer who has taken a false step. The related noun ka·tar·ti·smosʹ, rendered “readjustment” at Eph 4:12, is a term sometimes used in medical texts to describe the setting of a bone, a limb, or a joint.

being readjusted: Or “brought into proper alignment.” The Greek term ka·tarʹti·sis, rendered “being readjusted,” appears only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. This and related terms are used to describe the restoring of something to a proper condition. For instance, at Mt 4:21, the verb ka·tar·tiʹzo is used to describe “mending” nets. At Ga 6:1, the same verb is used of the need to readjust spiritually a fellow believer who has taken a false step. The related noun ka·tar·ti·smosʹ, rendered “readjustment” at Eph 4:12, is a term sometimes used in medical texts to describe the setting of a bone, a limb, or a joint.

continue . . . to be readjusted: See study note on 2Co 13:9.

with a holy kiss: In four of his letters (here and at 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26), Paul encourages his fellow Christians to greet one another “with a holy kiss.” The apostle Peter used a similar expression: “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (1Pe 5:14) In Bible times, people would give a kiss as a token of affection, respect, or peace. It was also common to kiss when greeting someone or saying goodbye. (Ru 1:14; Lu 7:45) This practice was customary between male and female relatives (Ge 29:11; 31:28), between male relatives, and between close friends (Ge 27:26, 27; 45:15; Ex 18:7; 1Sa 20:41, 42; 2Sa 14:33; 19:39; see study note on Ac 20:37). Among Christians, such expressions of affection reflected the brotherhood and spiritual oneness of those united by true worship. They were not given as a mere formalism or ritual nor with any romantic or erotic overtones.​—Joh 13:34, 35.

with a holy kiss: See study note on Ro 16:16.

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