Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 13

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2 Corinthians 13

Supplemental Commentary:

III.  THE APOSTLE DEFENDS HIS APOSTOLATE  10, 1 -- 13, 10 (continued)

13, 1-10:  Warnings.  Returning to the thought of v.20 of the preceding chapter, St. Paul again warns, and this time more explicitly, that he will be ready to exercise his authority, if necessary, when he arrives at Corinth.  He hopes there will be no need for severity.  It is the spiritual good of the faithful, not a display of his power, that he seeks.

1.  The third time: this surely implies that he had visited Corinth twice before.  On the word, etc.: he means to say that he will take action in a strictly legal manner, such as that spoken of in Deut. 19, 15.    2.  According to the Greek reading of this verse, the words, "the second time," should be inserted after when present.  The sense is: I have warned before, when present the second time, and now, being absent, I warn again those who sinned before, and all similar sinners, that if I come again, etc.    3.  Do you seek, etc.: the best Greek here is not interrogative, but begins with a conjunction meaning "because" or "seeing that."  The sense is elliptical.    4.  We also are weak: i.e., we share in the sufferings of Christ.  In Christ weakness and death were followed by life and strength, and so it is with His Apostle.

5.  Christ dwells in the intellect by faith, in the heart and affections by charity.  St. Paul asks the Corinthians to test their own standing in the faith.  This they can do since Christ is among them.    7.  St. Paul hopes there will be no reason at Corinth which will deserve the exercise of his divine authority.  He is not eager to draw attention to his God-given powers.    8.  The Apostle can work only according to the demands of truth, and he implies that what truth now demands of the Corinthians is good conduct and obedience.    10.  St. Paul is conscious of the authority which he has from the Lord, but its purpose is primarily constructive, and not destructive.

Conclusion  13, 11-13

These verses form the conclusion of the Epistle, and they fittingly close 10 -- 13, 10, whether or not we regard those chapters as written before 1-9.  These final verses contain a kindly appeal for the practice of the good conduct of which the Apostle has been speaking just above.

13.  Of the three genitives of this verse, the first two are subjective, and perhaps the third also, meaning the source and cause of the grace, charity, fellowship, spoken of.  It is probable, however, that the third genitive is objective, signifying participation of the Holy Spirit.

Charles J. Callan, O.P.


Confraternity Bible:

Warnings  1* Behold, this is the third time that I am coming to you: "On the word of two or three witnesses every word shall be confirmed."  2 I have already warned, when present, and now in my absence I warn again those who sinned before, and all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare.  3 Do you seek a proof of the Christ who speaks in me, who is not weak in your regard, nay, is powerful in you?  4* For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God.  Yes, we also are weak in him, yet we shall live with him through the power of God in your regard.

5* Put your own selves to test, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves that Christ Jesus is in you? unless perhaps you are reprobate!  6 But I hope that you will come to know that we are not reprobate.  7* But we pray God that you may do no evil at all, not wishing ourselves to appear approved, but that you may do what is good, and we ourselves pass as reprobate.  8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.  9* And so we rejoice when we are weak but you are strong.  This we also pray for, your perfecting.

10 Wherefore I write these things while absent, that when present I may not act more severely, according to the power that the Lord has given me for upbuilding, and not for destruction.

Farewell  11 In conclusion, brethren, rejoice, be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, be at peace; and the God of peace and love will be with you.  12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints send you greetings.

13 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.
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*

1: On the word, etc.: he means to say that he will take action in a strictly legal way, as required by Deut. 19, 15.

4: We also are weak: i.e., we share in the sufferings of Christ.

5: Christ dwells in the intellect by faith,  in the heart and affections by charity, in the soul by grace.

7: St. Paul hopes there will be no reason at Corinth that will deserve the exercise of his divine authority.  He is not eager to draw attention to his God-given powers.

9: Your perfecting: perhaps in the sense of "your correction."