2 CORINTHIANS 13 – COMMENTARY
vv.1-2 “According to Acts 18:1-17, Paul had an extended mission in Corinth when he founded the church. The second visit was painful and short. It was unplanned and undertaken to quell rebellion in Corinth. Paul’s grievous confrontation with an individual in the church caused him to cut the visit short. Though he sounds annoyed and disturbed in this section of the letter and paints an alarming picture of a church infested with strife and immorality, he has been successful enough through the severe letter and the personal intervention of Titus, and, he trusts, through this letter, to reestablish his authority over the church. He therefore warns them that he comes ready to punish every disobedience and to purge all pockets of resistance.”
v.5 “‘To see whether you are in the faith’ may also be translated ‘to see whether you are holding the faith’ (RSV). ‘Faith’ here does not refer simply to trust in Christ, which is its primary meaning in Paul’s usage, but to the whole Christian way and truth (Titus 1:13; 2:2). It is not a matter of examining their doctrines, however, but of bringing their conduct and thinking into conformity with their belief in Christ.”
“The test to see if Christ is in the Corinthians will be their response to Paul and his call to repent, since God’s message and the messenger are one (5:18–6:2).”
v.9 “The noun translated ‘perfection’ appears only here in the New Testament. The verb form is more common and is used for restoring something to its original condition or to make it fit for its purpose. […] The verb form also appears in the New Testament with the sense of restoring something that is damaged, such as fishing nets (Matt 4:21; Mark 1:19), supplying what is lacking in a church’s faith (1 Thess 3:10) […] and restoring a church member who is caught in a sin (Gal 6:1). This last usage best fits the context of Corinthians. Paul is not talking about their ‘perfection’ but their ‘reclamation.’ […] The Corinthians need reconditioning, restoring. They need to reknit their relationship with Paul, their relationship with one another, and their relationship with the crucified and resurrected Christ. […] The goal of the Corinthians’ restoration is that they will do what is pleasing to God (5:9).”
 David Garland, “2 Corinthians,” The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999) 539-40.
 David Garland, “2 Corinthians,” The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999) 546.
 ESV Study Bible, Notes for 2 Corinthians (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008) 2240.
 David Garland, “2 Corinthians,” The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999) 549-50.
Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 13:1-6 (ESV)
1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— 3 since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
Reflection & Application
2 Corinthians 13:1-6
- The Corinthians were seeking “proof that Christ [was] speaking in” Apostle Paul, even while there was flagrant sin in their lives, including “impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality” (2 Corinthians 12:21). What aspect of human nature does this show?
- The call to ”[e]xamine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” seems to indicate that some in the church were probably not Christian at all. Think of the irony of non-Christians having voice enough to critique Apostle Paul. What does this show about the ethos of the Corinthian church?