2 Corinthians 13
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
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:
3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
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.
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?
6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
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.
8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
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.
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.
12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
13 All the saints salute you.
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 Corinthian church reminds us that there is no such thing as a perfect church, not even among the early believers. While the New Testament ideal is often upheld as a model, what is even more important is to learn from the mistakes of the early church. Conflict and problems were just as rampant in the church back then as they are today. Yet even when we see problems we can remember the promise: “We can’t do anything against the truth but only to help the truth” (vs. 8). Thus as believers we have a responsibility to use whatever influence we have to build up the church. Paul states that he uses his Apostolic authority “so that I could build you up, not tear you down” (vs. 10).
He parts with them (vs. 11-13) with words that demonstrate his personal affection for them. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” This clear Trinitarian statement, in the context of equality, is a reminder of how these believers, and all Christian believers, should act toward one another.
Associate Professor of Religion
Southwestern Adventist University
Keene, Texas USA