2 Corinthians 13:11
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.
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(11) Finally, brethren, farewell.—The word (literally, rejoice) was the natural close of a Greek letter, and is therefore adequately represented by the English “farewell,” if only we remember that it was used in all the fulness of its meaning. “Rejoice—let that be our last word to you.”

Be perfect.—Better, as before, restore yourselves to completeness; amend yourselves. In the words “be of good comfort” (better, perhaps, be comforted, with the implied thought that the comfort comes through accepting his word of counsel—see Note on Acts 4:36) we trace an echo of what he had said in the opening of the Epistle, as to the “comfort” which had been given to him (2Corinthians 1:4; 2Corinthians 1:7). Paraclesis in its two-fold aspect is, in fact, the key-note of the whole Epistle. Taking the verb and the noun together, the word occurs twenty-eight times in it.

Be of one mind.—The phrase was one specially characteristic of St. Paul’s teaching (Romans 15:6; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 3:16; Philippians 4:2). His thoughts are apparently travelling back to the schisms over which he had grieved in 1 Corinthians 1-3, and to which he had referred in 2Corinthians 12:20. What he seeks is the restoration of unity of purpose, and with that of inward and outward peace. If these conditions were fulfilled, the “God of love and peace would assuredly be with them,” for peace rests ever upon the son of peace (Luke 10:6).

2 Corinthians 13:11-14. Finally, brethren, farewell Χαιπετε, rejoice; be happy; be perfect — Aspire to the highest degrees of Christian wisdom and grace, of knowledge, holiness, and usefulness. Be of good comfort — Filled with joy and peace through believing, and abounding in hope of the glory of God, through the power of the Holy Ghost, Romans 15:13. Be of one mind — Desire, labour, pray for it, to the utmost degree that is possible. Or, as το αυτο φρονειτε may be rendered, mind, or pursue the same thing; or set your affections on the same great objects, namely, the glory of God, the success of his gospel, your own salvation, and the salvation of your fellow-creatures. Live in peace — One with another, and, as far as possible, with all men; and the God of love and peace shall be with you — Will graciously own you for his children, and fix his residence among you. And in token of this concord, harmony, and mutual affection, greet one another with a holy kiss — See on Romans 16:16. All the saints salute you — That is, the Christians in the place from whence I now write, or those who are now with me. The grace — Or favour; of the Lord Jesus Christ — By which alone we can come to the Father; and the love of God — Manifested to you, and abiding in you; and the communion — Or fellowship; of the Holy Ghost — In all his gifts and graces; be with you all — Continually, henceforth, and for ever. Amen — So may it be. It is with great reason that this comprehensive and instructive blessing is pronounced at the close of our solemn assemblies. And it is a very indecent thing to see so many quitting them, and getting into postures of remove, before this short sentence can be ended. How often have we heard this awful benediction pronounced! Let us study it more and more, that we may value it proportionably; that we may either deliver or receive it with becoming reverence, with eyes and hearts lifted up to God, who giveth the blessing out of Sion, and life for evermore.

13:11-14 Here are several good exhortations. God is the Author of peace and Lover of concord; he hath loved us, and is willing to be at peace with us. And let it be our constant aim so to walk, that separation from our friends may be only for a time, and that we may meet in that happy world where parting will be unknown. He wishes that they may partake all the benefits which Christ of his free grace and favour has purchased; the Father out of his free love has purposed; and the Holy Ghost applies and bestows.Finally, brethren - (λοιπὸν loipon). The remainder; all that remains is for me to bid you an affectionate farewell. The word here rendered "farewell" (χαίρετε chairete), means usually to joy and rejoice, or to be glad; Luke 1:14; John 16:20, John 16:22; and it is often used in the sense of "joy to you," "hail!" as a salutation; Matthew 26:49; Matthew 27:29. It is also used as a salutation at the beginning of an epistle, in the sense of greeting; Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26; James 1:1. It is generally agreed, however, that it is here to be understood in the sense of farewell, as a parting salutation, though it may be admitted that there is included in the word an expression of a wish for their happiness. This was among the last words which Cyrus, when dying, addressed to his friends.

Be perfect - See this word explained in the notes on 2 Corinthians 13:9, and Romans 9:22. It was a wish that every disorder might be removed; that all that was out of joint might be restored; that everything might be in its proper place; and that they might be just what they ought to be: A command to be perfect, however, does not prove that it has ever in fact been obeyed: and an earnest wish on the part of an apostle that others might be perfect, does not demonstrate that they were; and this passage should not be adduced to prove that any have been free from sin. It may be adduced, however, to prove that an obligation rests on Christians to be perfect, and that there is no natural obstacle to their becoming such, since God never can command us to do an impossibility. Whether anyone, but the Lord Jesus, has been perfect, however, is a question on which different denominations of Christians have been greatly divided. It is incumbent on the advocates of the doctrine of sinless perfection to produce some one instance of a perfectly sinless character. This has not yet been done.

Be of good comfort - Be consoled by the promises and supports of the gospel. Take comfort from the hopes which the gospel imparts. Or the word may possibly have a reciprocal sense, and mean, comfort one another; see Schleusner. Rosenmuller renders it, "receive admonition from all with a grateful mind, that you may come to greater perfection." It is, at any rate, the expression of an earnest wish on the part of the apostle, that they might be happy.

Be of one mind - They had been greatly distracted, and divided into different parties and factions. At the close of the Epistle he exhorts them as he had repeatedly done before, to lay aside these strifes, and to be united, and manifest the same spirit; see the notes on Romans 12:16; Romans 15:5, note; see the note also on 1 Corinthians 1:10, note. The sense is, that Paul desired that dissensions should cease, and that they should be united in opinion and feeling as Christian brethren.

Live in peace - With each other. Let contentions and strifes cease. To promote the restoration of peace had been the main design of these epistles.

And the God of love and peace - The God who is all love, and who is the Author of all peace. What a glorious appellation is this! There can be no more beautiful expression, and it is as true as it is beautiful, that God is a God of love and of peace. He is infinitely benevolent; He delights in exhibiting His love; and He delights in the love which His people evince for each other. At the same time, He is the Author of peace, and He delights in peace among people. When Christians love each other they have reason to expect that the God of love will be with them; when they live in peace, they may expect the God of peace will take up His abode with them. In contention and strife we have no reason to expect His presence; and it is only when we are willing to lay aside all animosity that we may expect the God of peace will fix his abode with us.

11. farewell—meaning in Greek also "rejoice"; thus in bidding farewell he returns to the point with which he set out, "we are helpers of your joy" (2Co 1:24; Php 4:4).

Be perfect—Become perfect by filling up what is lacking in your Christian character (Eph 4:13).

be of good comfort—(2Co 1:6; 7:8-13; 1Th 4:18).

Finally, brethren, farewell: the apostle shutteth up his Epistle according to the ordinary form of conclusions of letters, wishing all happiness to them: but he addeth something as a Christian, and a minister of the gospel.

Be perfect: the word katartizesye signifies to be compact, or united, as members of the same body, or parts of the same house; the perfection of a society lying much in the union of it. The perfection the apostle presseth here, seemeth to be the perfection of the body of the church, by the restoring of such as were separated from its communion, or had, through a spirit of contention, withdrawn themselves, rather than the perfection of the particular members of it, in the habits and exercises of grace. The Greek word seemeth that way to carry the sense; it properly signifies, the putting of members loosed from their joints into their proper place again, and such a perfection as followeth upon such an action, or any action proportionable to it.

Be of good comfort; the word imports exhorted, comforted, confirmed: be exhorted to yield obedience to my precepts, or counsels; be comforted in all the trials or afflictions you do meet with, or may further meet with, for your profession of the gospel; be confirmed in the truths and holy ways of God.

Be of one mind; if possible, of one and the same judgment in the truths of God; however, as pursuing the same scope and end; be one in affection.

Live in peace, free from those contentions and divisions, those debates, and strifes, and wraths, and envyings, which I have before told you of as faults among you. This is the way for to have the presence of God with you, for he is not the God of hatred and strife, but

the God of love and peace; who hath commanded love and peace amongst those that are brethren, and will be present among them only who live in obedience to his royal law of love.

Finally, brethren, farewell,.... Or "rejoice", with spiritual joy in Christ, their Saviour and Redeemer; in his person, in whom they were accepted; in his righteousness, by which they were justified; in his blood, by which they were washed and cleansed; and in his fulness, from which they were supplied; and particularly, that they had such a faithful monitor, such an hearty well wisher of their souls' welfare, and who was so naturally and affectionately concerned for their good:

be perfect; seek after perfection in knowledge, grace, and holiness, and in the performance of good works: or "be restored"; or jointed and knit together, as before; see 2 Corinthians 13:9 let every difference subside, all breaches be made up, every member take and fill up his place, and all things be done decently and in order:

be of good comfort; or "exhort" one another to the diligent discharge of duty, to love and good works; or comfort one another in all distresses, inward and outward, both by words and deeds, according to the ability God has given; or take comfort, be of good heart, do not refuse to be comforted either by God or men.

Be of one mind; in religious sentiments, in the doctrines and principles of grace, and ordinances of the Gospel; for as there is but "one Lord" to be believed in, so there is, and ought to be, but "one" system of "faith" to be received, and "one baptism" to be administered in one and the same way, to one and the same sort of persons; which sameness of judgment, in faith and worship, is very necessary to church communion, and the comfort of it; for how can two, and much less more, walk comfortably together, unless they are agreed in these things?

Live in peace both with them that are without, and them that are within, with all men, and with the members of the church; which to do, is to the credit of religion, the comfort of church members, and the joy of Christ's ministers:

and the God of love and peace shall be with you; he who is love itself, and has loved his people with an everlasting love, and who is the author and donor of spiritual and eternal peace, and who has called his people to peace, and expects and requires it among themselves, and all men, will grant to such his gracious presence; than which nothing can be more grateful and desirable.

{4} 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.

(4) A brief exhortation, but yet such a one as comprehends all the parts of a Christian man's life.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Closing exhortation. Bengel aptly observes: “Severius scripserat Paulus in tractatione, nunc benignius, re tamen ipsa non dimissa.”

λοιπόν] See on Ephesians 6:10. What I otherwise have still to impress on you is, etc.: “Verbum est properantis sermonem absolvere,” Grotiu.

χαίρετε] not: valete (for the apostolic valete follows only at 2 Corinthians 13:13), as Valla, Erasmus, and Beza have it, but gaudete (Vulgate). Encouragement to Christian joy of soul, Php 3:1; Php 4:4. And the salvation in Christ is great enough to call upon even a church so much injured and reproached to rejoice. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:24.

καταρτίζεσθε] let yourselves be brought right, put into the right Christian frame; τέλειοι γίνεσθε, ἀναπληροῦτε τὰ λειπόμενα, Chrysostom. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:10; and see Suicer, Thes. II. p. 60.

παρακαλεῖσθε] is by most, including Billroth, Schrader, Osiander, correctly understood of consolation; become comforted over everything that assails and makes you to need comfort, consolationem admittite! ἐπεὶ γὰρ πολλοὶ ἦσαν οἱ πειρασμοὶ καὶ μεγάλοι οἱ κίνδυνοι, Chrysostom. Rückert no doubt thinks that there was nothing to be comforted; but the summons has, just like what was said at 2 Corinthians 1:7, its good warrant, since at that time every church was placed in circumstances needing comfort. Rückert’s own explanation: care for your spiritual elevation, is an arbitrary extension of the definite sense of the word to an indefinite domain. Others, following the Vulgate (exhortamini), such as Rosenmüller, Flatt, Ewald, Hofmann, render: accept exhortations to what is good, which, however, in the connection is too vague and insipid; while de Wette, following Pelagius, Cornelius a Lapide, and others (exhort ye one another), imports an essential element, which Paul would have expressed by παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11) or ἑαυτούς (Hebrews 3:13).

τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖτε] demands the being harmonious as identity of sentiment. See on Php 2:2.

εἰρηνεύετε] have peace (one with another), Romans 12:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; Mark 9:50; Plat. Theaet. p. 180 A; Polyb. v. 8. 7; Sir 28:9; Sir 28:13. It is the happy consequence of the τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν; with the δίχα φρονεῖν it could not take plac.

καὶ ὁ θεὸς κ.τ.λ.] This encouraging promise refers, as is clear from τῆς ἀγάπης καὶ εἰρήνης, merely to the two last points especially needful in Corinth—to the harmony and the keeping of peace; hence a colon is to be put after παρακαλεῖσθε. And then, if ye do that (καί, with future after imperatives, see Winer, p. 293 [E. T. 392]), will God, who works the love and the peace (Romans 15:13; Romans 16:20; Php 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20), help you with His presence of grace. The characteristic genitival definition of God is argumentative, exhibiting the certainty of the promise as based on the moral nature of God.


11–14. Conclusion

11. farewell] Or perhaps rejoice (ioie ye, Wiclif; gaudete, Vulgate). Cf. Php 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Joy (Galatians 5:22) was one of the foremost fruits of the Spirit, and ought to be the natural result of the sense of our favour with God through Christ See John 15:11; Acts 13:52; Romans 14:17; Hebrews 13:17; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 John 1:4, &c. Our translation follows Tyndale here.

Be perfect] See note on perfection in 2 Corinthians 13:9, where the Greek word is a derivative of the word used here.

be of good comfort] The word is the same as in ch. 2 Corinthians 1:4. Our translation here follows Tyndale. Wiclif, following the Vulgate, renders excite ye.

be of one mind] Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10, and observe the close connection of ideas there between unity of spirit and the word translated be perfect above. The literal rendering is think the same thing. See also Romans 12:16.

the God of love] It would have been impossible even in the 16th century to render here ‘the God of charity.’ The Vulgate here has dilectionis, not caritatis. Caritas and charity seem to have been used for the human reflection of God’s love, to the grievous obscuration of the great Christian fact that all love is His love, whether manifested by Him or in man. It may be asked whether in order to think the same thing and be at peace, we do not first need the God of love and peace to be with us. Undoubtedly, but if we do not follow His promptings while with us, we drive Him away. Therefore if we wish Him to abide continually with us, we must walk according to the Spirit which He hath given us.

2 Corinthians 13:11. Λοιπὸν, finally) The conclusion. Paul had written somewhat severely in discussing this matter; now more gently, without however dismissing the subject itself; comp. ch. 2 Corinthians 13:11.—χαίρετε) rejoice. He returns to that with which he first set out, 2 Corinthians 1:24; but the word χαίρετε here is appropriately used, as by it men are accustomed to bid farewell.—παρακαλεῖσθε, be of good comfort, ch. 2 Corinthians 1:6.

Verse 11. - Finally, brethren, farewell. His concluding words are marked by great gentleness, as though to heal the effects of the sharp rebuke and irony to which he has been compelled to have recourse. The word may also moan "rejoice" (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:4). Be perfect (see note on "perfection" in ver. 9). Be of one mind; literally, think the same thing (Philippians 2:2; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 12:16, 18). Be at peace (Ephesians 4:3). 2 Corinthians 13:11Finally (λοιπόν)

Lit., as for the rest. Sometimes rendered now, as Matthew 26:45. "Sleep on now," for the time that remains. Besides, as 1 Corinthians 1:16. It remaineth, 1 Corinthians 7:29. Henceforth, 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 10:13. Often as here, finally. In every case the idea of something left over is at the bottom of the translation.

Farewell (χαίρετε)

In the classics used both at meeting and at parting. Lit., hail! See on James 1:1. Rev., in margin, has rejoice. It is somewhat doubtful whether it ever has the meaning farewell in the New Testament. Edersheim says that, on Sabbaths, when the outgoing course of priests left the temple, they parted from each other with a farewell, reminding us of this to the Corinthians: "He that has caused His name to dwell in this house cause love, brotherhood, peace, and friendship to dwell among you" ("The Temple," p. 117).

Be perfect (καταρτίζεσθε)

Rev., be perfected. See on Luke 6:40; see on 1 Peter 5:10. Paul speaks both of individual perfection and of the perfection of the Church through the right adjustment of all its members in Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:10. The verb is kindred with perfecting, 2 Corinthians 13:9.

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