|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-6 Though it is God's gracious method to bear long with sinners, yet he will not bear always; at length he will come, and will not spare those who remain obstinate and impenitent. Christ at his crucifixion, appeared as only a weak and helpless man, but his resurrection and life showed his Divine power. So the apostles, how mean and contemptible soever they appeared to the world, yet, as instruments, they manifested the power of God. Let them prove their tempers, conduct, and experience, as gold is assayed or proved by the touchstone. If they could prove themselves not to be reprobates, not to be rejected of Christ, he trusted they would know that he was not a reprobate, not disowned by Christ. They ought to know if Christ Jesus was in them, by the influences, graces, and indwelling of his Spirit, by his kingdom set up in their hearts. Let us question our own souls; either we are true Christians, or we are deceivers. Unless Christ be in us by his Spirit, and power of his love, our faith is dead, and we are yet disapproved by our Judge.
Verse 1. - This is the third time I am coming to you. I have thrice formed the intention, though the second time I had to forego my plan (2 Corinthians 1:15-17). In the mouth of two or three witnesses. The quotation is from Deuteronomy 19:15. It has been explained as a reference to examinations which he intended to hold on his arrival at Corinth. It is much more probable that St. Paul is representing his separate visits as separate attestations to the truths which he preaches.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is the third time I am coming to you,.... Or "am ready to come to you", as the Alexandrian copy reads, as in 2 Corinthians 12:14. Though he had been as yet but once at Corinth, and is to be reckoned and accounted for, either after this manner; he had been "once" with them when he first preached the Gospel to them, and was the means of their conversion, and laid, the foundation of their church state, of which there is some account in Acts 18:1 he came to them a "second" time, by writing his first epistle, when he desired to be considered by them, as though he was present with them, 1 Corinthians 5:3 and now a "third" time by this second epistle, in which he also speaks as if he was among them, see the following verse; or else in this way, he had been actually in person with them one time, and had been about to come in purpose and preparation a "second" time, but was prevented, and now was just ready a "third" time to set forward in his journey to them; see 2 Corinthians 12:14 and so the Syriac version reads it here, "this is the third time that I am ready to come to you", and which our version also favours. The Alexandrian copy and some others, the Complutension edition, the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, "behold, this third time", &c. in order to raise and fix their attention to what he was saying, or about to say:
in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established; referring to Deuteronomy 19:15 which he applies much in the same manner Christ does in Matthew 18:16 and which it is probable he had in view; signifying hereby, that he proceeded in a judicial way, according to due form of law, and in such a manner as Christ had directed; and that they were to look upon his several comings in the sense now explained, to be as so many witnesses, whereby the several charges exhibited against them were fully attested and confirmed, so that things were now ripe for judgment, and for a final sentence to pass upon them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Co 13:1-14. He Threatens a Severe Proof of His Apostolic Authority, but Prefers They Would Spare Him the Necessity for It.
1. This is the third time I am coming to you—not merely preparing to come to you. This proves an intermediate visit between the two recorded in Ac 18:1; 20:2.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established—Quoted from De 19:15, Septuagint. "I will judge not without examination, nor will I abstain from punishing upon due evidence" [Conybeare and Howson]. I will no longer be among you "in all patience" towards offenders (2Co 12:12). The apostle in this case, where ordinary testimony was to be had, does not look for an immediate revelation, nor does he order the culprits to be cast out of the church before his arrival. Others understand the "two or three witnesses" to mean his two or three visits as establishing either (1) the truth of the facts alleged against the offenders, or (2) the reality of his threats. I prefer the first explanation to either of the two latter.
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