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13:1 The third time I am coming [triton erchomai]. Either the third that he had planned to come or that he had been twice. The warning is made by quoting De 19:15.
13:2 As when I was present the second time [hōs parōn to deuteron]. This translation assumes the second visit as already made. It is a natural way to take the Greek [hōs parōn]. But [hōs] with [parōn] can also mean “as if present” the second time (Authorized Version). Probably “as when” is the more natural rendering, but the other cannot be ruled entirely out in view of 1:15-23. If I come again [ean elthō eis to palin]. Condition of third class. The use of [palin] of itself suits the idea that Paul had not yet made the second visit as it means simply “again” or “back,” but in Mt 26:44 we find [palin ek tritou] (again a third time) and so it is not decisive.
13:3 A proof of Christ [dokimēn tou Christou]. He will give it to them. “I will not spare.” He will show that Christ speaks “in me” [en emoi].
13:4 But we shall live with him through the power of God [alla zēsomen sun autōi ek dunameōs theou]. So real is Paul’s sense of his union with Christ.
13:5 Unless indeed ye be reprobate [ei mēti adokimoi este]. Paul challenged his opposers in Corinth to try [peirazete] themselves, to test [dokimazete] themselves, whether they were “in the faith” [en tēi pistei], a much more vital matter for them than trying to prove Paul a heretic. Such tests can be made, unless, alas, they are “reprobate” [adokimoi], the very adjective that Paul held up before himself as a dreadful outcome to be avoided, 1Co 9:27).
13:6 That ye shall know [hoti epignōsesthe]. Such a testing of themselves will give them full knowledge that Paul is not reprobate [adokimos]. The best way for vacillating Christians to stop it is to draw close to Christ.
13:7 Though we be as reprobate [hēmeis de hōs adokimoi ōmen]. Literally, “And that” [hina de]. Paul wishes them to do no wrong [kakon mēden]. He has no desire to exercise his apostolic authority and “appear approved” [dokimoi phanōmen], second aorist passive subjunctive of [phainō]. He had far rather see them do “the noble thing” [to kalon] even if it should make him appear disapproved after all that he has said.
13:8 Against the truth [kata tēs alētheias]. He means in the long run. We can hinder and hold down the truth by evil deeds (Ro 1:18), but in the end the truth wins.
13:9 For we rejoice [chairomen gar]. Paul had far rather be weak in the sense of failing to exercise his apostolic power because they did the noble thing. He is no Jonah who lamented when Ninevah repented. Your perfecting [humōn katartisin]. Late word from [katartizō], to fit, to equip (see verb in verse 11). In Plutarch, only here in N.T.
13:10 That I may not when present deal sharply [hina parōn apotomōs chrēsōmai]. Late adverb from [apotomos], curt, cut off. In N.T. only here and Tit 1:13.
13:12 With a holy kiss [en hagiōi philēmati]. In the Jewish synagogues where the sexes were separated, men kissed men, the women, women. This apparently was the Christian custom also. It is still observed in the Coptic and the Russian churches. It was dropped because of charges made against the Christians by the pagans. In England in 1250 Archbishop Walter of York introduced a “pax-board” which was first kissed by the clergy and then passed around. Think of the germ theory of disease and that kissing tablet!
13:13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all [hē charis tou Kuriou Iēsou Christou kai hē agapē tou theou kai hē koinōnia tou hagiou pneumatos meta pantōn humōn]. This benediction is the most complete of them all. It presents the persons of the Trinity in full form. From 2Th 3:17 it appears that Paul wrote the greeting or benediction with his own hand. We know from Ro 15:19 that Paul went round about unto Illyricum before, apparently, he came on to Corinth. When he did arrive (Ac 20:1-3) the troubles from the Judaizers had disappeared. Probably the leaders left after the coming of Titus and the brethren with this Epistle. The reading of it in the church would make a stir of no small proportions. But it did the work.
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