2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.—The position of “yourselves” in the Greek (before the verb in both clauses) shows that that is the word on which stress is emphatically laid, and the thought grows out of what had been said in 2Corinthians 13:3 : “You seek a test of my power. Apply a test to yourselves. Try yourselves whether you are living and moving in that faith in Christ which you profess” (the objective and subjective senses of faith melting into one without any formal distinction). “Subject yourselves to the scrutiny of your own conscience.” The latter word had been used in a like sense in 1Corinthians 11:28. So far as we can distinguish between it and the Greek for “examine,” the one suggests the idea of a special test, the other a general scrutiny.

How that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?—On the last word see Notes on Romans 1:28; 1Corinthians 9:27. Here its exact meaning is defined by the context as that of failing to pass the scrutiny to which he calls them: “Christ is in you” (the central thought of the Apostle’s teaching; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 2:22; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27), “unless the sentence, after an impartial scrutiny by yourselves, or by a judge gifted with spiritual discernment, is that there are no tokens of His presence.” The ideas which Calvinistic theology has attached to the word “reprobate” are, it need hardly be said, foreign to the true meaning of the word, both here and elsewhere.

2 Corinthians 13:5-6. Examine yourselves, &c. — You examine and try me, but let me admonish you to turn the search into your own hearts, that ye may know, with certainty, whether ye be in the faith — Whether ye possess true and saving faith in Christ and his gospel, and are therefore true Christians. For if, on a strict inquiry, you find that you are, you will therein find a proof of my being a true apostle, as it is by means of my ministry that you are become such. Prove your own selves — Whether ye be such as can, or such as cannot, bear the test, as the word δοκιμαζετε implies. Know ye not your own selves — By your own sense and feeling; that Jesus Christ is in you — By the enlightening, quickening, and sanctifying influences of the Spirit of truth and grace; is in you the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27; dwelleth in your hearts by faith, Ephesians 3:17; so that you are vitally united to him, have in you the mind that was in him, and walk as he walked. All true Christian believers know this by the witness and fruits of Christ’s Spirit, see John 14:20; Romans 8:9-16. Some translate the words, Jesus Christ is among you; that is, in the church of Corinth; and understand them of the miraculous gifts, and the power of Christ which attended the censures of the apostle. Except ye be reprobates Αδοκιμοι, persons disapproved, or mere nominal Christians; and such as, whatever your gifts may be, will be finally rejected, as reprobate silver, that will not stand the touchstone. The reader will easily observe that this word, here rendered reprobates, and which, as has been observed, properly means persons disapproved, has no relation here, or anywhere else in Scripture, to any decree of God absolutely and unconditionally excluding a part of mankind from a capacity of salvation; but only denotes those who, through the rejection or abuse of divine grace, continue to render themselves unfit to be approved of God as his people, either now or at the day of judgment. “Thus they who, when they knew God, did not glorify him as God, but changed his truth into a lie, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator, are said (Romans 1:21-28) to be given up by God, εις νουν αδοκιμον, to a reprobate mind, which prompted them to do those things which God could not approve of, but abhor; and they who resisted the truth, through the corruption of their minds, are styled αδοκιμοι περι την πιστιν, that is, reprobates concerning the faith, 2 Timothy 3:8; that is, men whose faith cannot be owned or approved of by God. They also are in Scripture, as to their manners, styled reprobates, whose minds and consciences are defiled; so that though in words they profess to know God, yet in works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and to every good work αδοκιμοι, reprobates, that is, void, not of judgment only to discern, but of affection to approve of it, Titus 1:16. Thus that earth is styled αδοκιμος, reprobate, or rejected, which, after all the showers which fall upon it, brings forth only thorns and briers, Hebrews 6:8; and that silver, αργυριον αδοκιμον, reprobate silver, which, being falsely stamped or coined, will not be received, but rejected, Proverbs 25:4; Isaiah 1:22. And in this sense St. Paul saith, he kept under his body, lest while he preached to others, he himself should be αδοκιμος, disowned and rejected by God, 1 Corinthians 9:27.” — Whitby. But I trust, &c. — But whatever be the case of any of you, I hope ye shall soon know that we are not reprobates — Are not disapproved of God, have not lost our evidence of the divine presence and favour.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.Examine yourselves - see the note on 1 Corinthians 11:28. The particular reason why Paul calls on them to examine themselves was, that there was occasion to fear that many of them had been deceived. Such had been the irregularities and disorders in the church at Corinth; so ignorant had many of them shown themselves of the nature of the Christian religion, that it was important, in the highest degree, for them to institute a strict and impartial examination to ascertain whether they had not been altogether deceived. This examination, however, is never unimportant or useless for Christians; and an exhortation to do it is always in place. So important are the interests at stake, and so liable are the best to deceive themselves, that all Christians should be often induced to examine the foundation of their hope of eternal salvation.

Whether ye be in the faith - Whether you are true Christians. Whether you have any true faith in the gospel. Faith in Jesus Christ, and in the promises of God through him, is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a true Christian; and to ascertain whether we have any true faith, therefore, is to ascertain whether we are sincere Christians. For some reasons for such an examination, and some remarks on the mode of doing it; see the note on 1 Corinthians 11:28.

Prove your own selves - The word used here (δοκιμάζετε dokimazete) is stronger than that before used, and rendered "examine" (πειράζετε peirazete). This word, prove, refers to assaying or trying metals by the powerful action of heat; and the idea here is, that they should make the most thorough trial of their religion, to see whether it would stand the test; see the note on 1 Corinthians 3:13. The proof of their piety was to be arrived at by a faithful examination of their own hearts and lives; by a diligent comparison of their views and feelings with the word of God; and especially by making trial of it in life. The best way to prove our piety is to subject it to actual trial in the various duties and responsibilites of life. A man who wishes to prove an axe to see whether it is good or not, does not sit down and look at it, or read all the treatises which he can find on axe-making, and on the properties of iron and steel, valuable as such information would be; but he shoulders his axe and goes into the woods, and puts it to the trial there.

If it cuts well; if it does not break; if it is not soon made dull, he understands the quality of his axe better than he could in any other way. So if a man wishes to know what his religion is worth, let him try it in the places where religion is of any value. Let him go into the world with it. Let him go and try to do good; to endure affliction in a proper manner; to combat the errors and follies of life; to admonish sinners of the error of their ways; and to urge forward the great work of the conversion of the world, and he will soon see there what his religion is worth - as easily as a man can test the qualities of an axe. Let him not merely sit down and think, and compare himself with the Bible and look at his own heart - valuable as this may be in many respects - but let him treat his religion as he would anything else - let him subject it to actual experiment. That religion which will enable a man to imitate the example of Paul or Howard, or the great Master himself, in doing good, is genuine.

That religion which will enable a man to endure persecution for the name of Jesus; to bear calamity without complaining; to submit to a long series of disappointments and distresses for Christ's sake, is genuine. That religion which will prompt a man unceasingly to a life of prayer and self-denial; which will make him ever conscientious, industrious, and honest; which will enable him to warn sinners of the errors of their ways, and which will dispose him to seek the friendship of Christians, and the salvation of the world, is pure and genuine. That will answer the purpose. It is like the good axe with which a man can chop all day long, in which there is no flaw, and which does not get dull, and which answers all the purposes of an axe. Any other religion than this is worthless.

Know ye not your own selves - That is, "Do you not know yourselves?" This does not mean, as some may suppose, that they might know of themselves, without the aid of others, what their character was; or that they might themselves ascertain it; but it means that they might know themselves, that is, their character, principles, conduct. This proves that Christians may know their true character. If they are Christians, they may know it with as undoubted certainty as they may know their character on any other subject. Why should not a man be as able to determine whether he loves God as whether he loves a child, a parent, or a friend? What greater difficulty need there be in understanding the character on the subject of religion than on any other subject; and why should there be anymore reason for doubt on this than on any other point of character? And yet it is remarkable, that while a child has no doubt that he loves a parent, or a husband a wife, or a friend a friend, almost all Christians are in very great doubt about their attachment to the Redeemer and to the great principles of religion.

Such was not the case with the apostles and early Christians. "I know," says Paul," whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him," etc.; 2 Timothy 1:12. "We know.' says John, speaking in the name of the body of Christians, "that we have passed from death unto life;" 1 John 3:14. "We know that we are of the truth;" 1 John 3:19. "We know that he abideth in us;" 1 John 3:24. "We know that we dwell in him;" 1 John 4:13; see also John 5:2, John 5:19-20. So Job said, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth," etc.; Job 19:25. Such is the current language of scripture. Where, in the Bible, do the sacred speakers and writers express doubts about their attachment to God and the Redeemer? Where is such language to be found as we hear from almost all professing Christians, expressing entire uncertainty about their condition; absolute doubt whether they love God or hate him; whether they are going to heaven or hell; whether they are influenced by good motives or bad; and even making it a matter of merit to be in such doubt, and thinking it wrong not to doubt?

What would be thought of a husband that should make it a matter of merit to doubt whether he loved his wife; or of a child that should think it wrong not to doubt whether he loved his father or mother? Such attachments ought to be doubted - but they do not occur in the common relations of life. On the subject of religion, people often act as they do on no other subject; and if it is right for one to be satisfied of the sincerity of his attachments to his best earthly friends, and to speak of such attachment without wavering or misgiving, it cannot be wrong to be satisfied with regard to our attachment to God, and to speak of that attachment, as the apostles did, in language of undoubted confidence.

How that Jesus Christ is in you - To be in Christ, or for Christ to be in us, is a common mode in the Scriptures of expressing the idea that we are Christians. It is language derived from the close union which subsists between the Redeemer and his people: see the phrase explained in the note on Romans 8:10.

Except ye be reprobates - see the note on Romans 1:28. The word rendered "reprobates" (ἀδόκιμοι adokimoi) means properly not approved, rejected: that which will not stand the trial. It is properly applicable to metals, as denoting that they will not bear the tests to which they are subjected, but are found to be base or adulterated. The sense here is, that they might know that they were Christians, unless their religion was base, false, adulterated; or such as would not bear the test. There is no allusion here to the sense which is sometimes given to the word "reprobate," of being cast off or abandoned by God, or doomed by him to eternal ruin in accordance with an eternal purpose. Whatever may be the truth on that subject, nothing is taught in regard to it here. The simple idea is, that they might know that they were Christians, unless their religion was such as would not stand the test, or was worthless.

5. Examine—Greek, "Try (make trial of) yourselves."

prove your own selves—This should be your first aim, rather than "seeking a proof of Christ speaking in me" (2Co 13:3).

your own selves—I need not speak much in proof of Christ being in me, your minister (2Co 13:3), for if ye try your own selves ye will see that Christ is also in you [Chrysostom], (Ro 8:10). Finding Christ dwelling in yourselves by faith, ye may well believe that He speaks in me, by whose ministry ye have received this faith [Estius]. To doubt it would be the sin of Israel, who, after so many miracles and experimental proofs of God's presence, still cried (Ex 17:7), "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Compare Mr 8:11).

except ye be reprobates—The Greek softens the expression, "somewhat reprobates," that is, not abiding the "proof" (alluding to the same word in the context); failing when tested. Image from metals (Jer 6:30; Da 5:27; Ro 1:28).

Examine yourselves: it is most commonly seen, that those who are most busy to desire or inquire after a proof of Christ in others, are tardiest in making an inquiry after Christ’s being in themselves. The apostle therefore calleth the censorious part of this church, who desired a proof of Christ in him, to examine themselves.

Whether ye be in the faith; whether they had any true faith; such as works by love, and purifies the heart. For he knew that they were baptized, and Christians in outward profession; nor is he blaming them for any apostacy from the doctrine of faith, only for an ill life, which evidenceth their faith not to be the faith of God’s elect, a faith of the operation of God, & c.

Prove your own selves: he doubleth the exhortation upon them, possibly for this end, to let them know, that if they found themselves in the faith, they could not reasonably doubt whether he himself was in the faith, or not, whom God had made the instrument to convert them.

Know ye not your own selves: he commends to them the knowledge of themselves, as being a far more desirable piece of knowledge than the knowledge of other men; as to what they are, or what their state is towards God.

How that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? In the inquiry after this, he bids them to inquire, whether Christ was in them, yea or no? The name of Christ was named upon them in their baptism, Christ had been preached to them; this the apostle knew; but all this might be, and yet Christ not dwell in their hearts by faith. This is the great point the apostle directs them to examine and prove themselves about, whether Christ was in them by a lively faith? Apprehended and applied as their Saviour, ruling and governing them as their Lord and King? He lets them know the importance of this inquiry, telling them that Jesus Christ must be in them, if they were not reprobates. But (some might say) how could the apostle conclude this? Though at present Christ was not in them, and they as yet were no more than formal professors, yet might not God open their eyes, and work in them afterwards a more full and effectual change?

Answer.

1. The apostle might be allowed to know more than ordinary ministers can know. He had before said: If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.

2. When the gospel and the means of grace have been for some considerable time in a place, it is much to be feared, that those who have not in that time felt the saving power and effect of it upon their hearts, never shall. It is ordinarily observed, that where God blesseth the ministry of any to convert souls, their greatest harvest is in the first years of their ministry.

3. Some think, that the word adokimoi should not be translated reprobates, but rather, not approved by God. If Christ be not in the soul by faith, it cannot be approved of God, because without faith it is impossible to please God. But we generally translate the word by reprobate, rejected, castaway, 1 Corinthians 9:27 2 Timothy 3:8 Titus 1:16 Hebrews 6:8. It seemeth to signify persons given over by God to a stupidity of mind, &c. So as the apostle here useth a very close argument, to put them upon a search into their own hearts and states, to see if they could find Christ dwelling in them; for otherwise, (considering their long profession, and the revelation of Christ to them), it would be a ground of fear, that they were such as God had cast off for ever. However, as to their present state, they had no ground to conclude better, whatever mercy God might afterwards show them. Men’s sitting and continuing long under the means of grace, and an outward profession, without a saving knowledge of Christ, and true savour of the truth, and a reformation of their lives according to the rules and directions of the gospel, is not indeed an infallible sign that he who formed them will never show them any favour; but it is a very great presumption that it will be so with such. Which should therefore strongly engage them to be very often and very seriously proving themselves, as to this thing, whether they be in Christ, and whether they have a true, saving faith? Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith,.... These words are to be considered in connection with 2 Corinthians 13:3 for seeing they sought and demanded a proof the voice and power of Christ in the apostle, he directs them to self examination, to look within themselves, to try, prove, and recognise their own souls; where if things were right, they would find a proof of Christ's speaking in him, to them: he advises them to examine the state of their own souls, and see whether they were in the faith; either in the doctrine of faith, having a spiritual and experimental knowledge of it, true love and affection for it, an hearty belief of it, having felt the power of it upon their souls, and abode in it; whether, as the Syriac version reads it, , "ye stand in the faith", firm and stable; or in the grace of faith, either of miracles, or that which is connected with salvation; and which if they were in it, and had it, is attended with good works; operates by love to Christ and to his people; by which souls go out of themselves to Christ, live upon him, receive from him, and give him all the glory of salvation: and if this was their case, he desires to know how they came by their faith; and suggests, that their light in the doctrine of the Gospel, and their faith in Christ Jesus, as well as the miraculous gifts many of them were possessed of, were through his ministry as the means; and this was a full proof of Christ's speaking in him:

prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you; by which he means, that if they took a survey of things in their own souls, it would appear that Christ was in them; not as he is in all the world, filling heaven and earth with his presence; or as he is in every rational creature, as the Creator and author of the light of nature; but in a special and spiritual manner, by his Spirit and grace; the Father reveals him in his people, as the foundation of their hope of glory; he himself enters and takes possession of their hearts in conversion, communicates his grace, and manifests himself, and is formed there by his Spirit; his graces are implanted, his image is stamped, his Spirit is put within them, and he himself dwells by faith: and this upon inquiry would be found to be the case of the Corinthians,

except, says the apostle,

ye are reprobates; meaning not that they were so, as such may stand opposed to the elect of God; for persons may as yet neither be in the faith, nor Christ in them, and yet both be hereafter, and so not be left of God, or consigned to destruction; but that if they were not in the doctrine of, faith, then they were reprobate concerning it, or void of judgment in it; and if they had not the grace of faith, and Christ was not in them, then they were not genuine, but nominal professors, like "reprobate silver", counterfeit coin; which when detected, would be "disapproved", not only by God, but man, as this word also signifies, and so stands opposed to them that are "approved", 2 Corinthians 13:7 or if they did not make such an examination, probation, and recognition of themselves, they would be without probation: or as the Arabic version, without experiment. The apostle hereby brings them into this dilemma, either that if upon examination they were found to be in the faith, and Christ in them, which blessings they enjoyed through his ministry, then they did not want a proof of Christ speaking in him; but if these things did not appear in them, then they were persons of no judgment in spiritual things, were not real Christians, but insignificant and useless persons.

{2} 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?

(2) He confirms that which he spoke about the power of God appearing in his ministry, and he gathers by the mutual relation between the people's faith and the minister's preaching, that they must either reverence his apostleship, upon whose doctrine their faith is grounded, or they must condemn themselves of infidelity, and must confess themselves not to be of Christ's body.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 13:5. Now he brings the readers to themselves. Instead of wishing to put to the proof Christ (in Paul), they should try themselves (πειράζειν, to put to the test, and that by comparison of their Christian state with what they ought to be), prove themselves (δοκιμάζειν). Oecumenius and Theophylact correctly estimate the force of the twice emphatically prefixed ἑαυτούς; δοκιμάζειν, however, is not, any more than in 1 Corinthians 11:8, equivalent to δόκιμον ποιεῖν (Rückert); but what Paul had previously said by πειράζετε, εἰ ἐστὲ ἐν τ. π., he once more sums up, and that with a glance back to 2 Corinthians 13:3, emphatically by the one word δοκιμάζετε.

εἰ ἐστὲ ἐν τῇ πίστει] dependent on πειράζετε, not on δοκιμάζετε: whether ye are in the faith, whether ye find yourselves in the fides salvifica (not to be taken of faith in miracles, as Chrysostom would have it), which is the fundamental condition of all Christian character and life. The εἶναι ἐν τῇ πίστει stands opposed to mere nominal Christianit.

ἤ οὐκ ἐπιγινώσκετε κ.τ.λ.] not ground of the obligation to prove themselves the more strictly (“si id sentitis, bene tractate tantum hospitem,” Grotius, comp. Osiander, Maier, and others); for the ἐπιγινώσκειν already presupposes the self-trial, not the converse (Hofmann). On the contrary, Paul lays hold of the readers by their Christian sense of honour, that they should not be afraid of this trial of themselves. Or does not this proving of yourselves lead you to the knowledge of yourselves, that Christ is in you? Are you then so totally devoid of the Christian character, that that self-trial has not the holy result of your discerning in yourselves what is withal the necessary consequence[399] of the εἶναι ἐν τῇ πίστει: that Christ is in you (by means of the Holy Spirit) present and active? Comp. Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17. The construction ἙΑΥΤΟῪς ὍΤΙ Ἰ. Χ. ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ ἘΣΤΙΝ is not a case of attraction, since in ὍΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ., is not the subject (see on Galatians 4:11), but ὍΤΙ defines more precisely (that, namely). And the full name Ἰησοῦς Χριστός has solemn emphasi.

ΕἸ ΜΉΤΙ ἈΔΌΚΙΜΟΊ ἘΣΤΕ] After this a mark of interrogation is not to be repeated, but a period to be placed. That Christ is in you, you will perceive, if you are not perchance (ΕἸ ΜΉΤΙ, comp. 1 Corinthians 7:5) spurious Christians. In such, no doubt, Christ is not! Romans 8:9 f. To attach it merely to the predicated clause itself (. Χ. ἘΝ ὙΜ. .) as a limitation (Hofmann), is at variance with the very ΓΝΏΣΕΣΘΕ, ὍΤΙ that follows in 2 Corinthians 13:6, in keeping with which that exception ΕἸ ΜΉΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. is to be included under the ὍΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. attached to ἘΠΙΓΙΝΏΣΚ. ἙΑΥΤΟΎς. In ΕἸ ΜΉΤΙ the ΤΙ serves (like forte) “incertius pronuntiandae rei,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 496. According to Ewald, εἰ μήτι ἀδ. ἐστε depends on ΔΟΚΙΜΆΖΕΤΕ, and Ἢ Οὐ ἘΠΙΓΙΝΏΣΚ.… ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ ἘΣΤΙΝ is to be a parenthesis—a construction which is harsh and the less necessary, seeing that, according to the usual connection, the thoughtful glance in the ἈΔΌΚΙΜΟΊ ἘΣΤΕ back to ἙΑΥΤΟῪς ΔΟΚΙΜΆΖΕΤΕ is retained.

[399] The εἶναι ἐν τ. πίστει and the Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν are not equivalent, but are related to each other as cause and effect. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 348.2 Corinthians 13:5. ἑαυτοὺς πειράζετε κ.τ.λ.: try your own selves (πειράζειν generally has a sinister sense in the N.T. = “to tempt,” as at 1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Corinthians 10:9, Galatians 6:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:5; but see reff.) whether ye be in the Faith, sc., the objective Christian Creed (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:13); prove your own selves (δοκιμάζειν goes back to δοκιμή of 2 Corinthians 13:3; cf. also ἀδόκιμοι at the end of this verse). Or know ye not as to your own selves that Jesus Christ is in you? (cf. Romans 8:10, Galatians 4:19) unless indeed, sc., which is certainly not the case (for εἰ μή τι cf. Luke 9:13, 1 Corinthians 7:5) ye are reprobate. ἀδόκιμος is that which will not satisfy a test, and so = reprobus. Their own consciousness of the power of Christ’s grace is the best proof that his preaching to them was Divinely authorised; he “begat them in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 4:15).5. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves] The words rendered (1) examine and (2) prove have the sense (1) of testing (the word is often translated tempt) and (2) subjecting to a process the result of which is satisfactory. See for (2) 1 Corinthians 11:28. The words yourselves are in each case emphatic. The connection with what has gone before would seem to be as follows. The Apostle had been among the Corinthians in weakness (1 Corinthians 2:3; cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10). He had boasted of nothing but his infirmity (ch. 2 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9). So that many of them had come to regard him with contempt. But the Gospel, he says, is a power. He appeals to the testimony of their own Christian experience on the point, as in ch. 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 5:11, 2 Corinthians 6:4. ‘Is it not a power?’ he says. ‘Look at yourselves. Do you not feel it to be so in your own hearts? Does not Jesus Christ dwell in you, at least in all who are not finally cast off by Him, and does He not make manifest His power in the subjugation of the natural man within you? Could this have taken place unless the Gospel were a real power of God? And then to whom, humanly speaking, do you owe this power? Is it not to him of whom you are ready to believe that he is no true Apostle of Christ?’

whether ye be in the faith] i.e. whether “Christ be present and actively working within you, the certain result of all true faith.” Meyer. Cf. John 15:1-7; John 17:21-23; Romans 6:23 (in the Greek), 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16-19; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:1-4, &c.

except ye be reprobates] Rather, unless indeed ye be rejected. The word translated reprobates (see note on ch. 2 Corinthians 2:9, and 2 Corinthians 13:3) signifies those who have been tried and found wanting. See also Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:16; and Hebrews 6:8, where the word again occurs.2 Corinthians 13:5. ‘Εαυτοὺς, your own selves) not Paul. If you examine yourselves, you will perceive what we are. Where there are true teachers and true learners, we may judge from the feeling of the one party concerning the other, what is the character of that other.—ἐν τῇ πίστει, in the faith) and therefore in Christ.—δοκιμάζετε, prove) The milder admonition [δοκιμάζετε, prove] is subjoined to the severer word [πειράζετε, lit. tempt, make trial of] test [Engl. Vers., examine yourselves]: if you are in the faith, prove yourselves to be so;[92] εἰ, if, is used as presently after in εἰ μὴτι.—) an, the second part of a disjunctive interrogation; i.e., you can truly prove yourselves: for Jesus Christ is in you, and you know Him to be in you. [In fact, any one may test himself, whether he be in the faith or not; no man can prove himself, and search out his own true character unless he be a believer.—V. g.]—ἐπιγινώσκετε, do you perceive?) an emphatic compound.—ὅτι, how that) the grounds upon which.—Ἰησοῦς, Jesus) not only a sense [perception] of Christ, but Jesus Christ Himself, [as is evident from the addition of the proper name, Jesus; comp. 2 Timothy 4:22.—V. g.]—εἰ μήτι, unless somewhat) So εἰ μὴ, ch. 2 Corinthians 3:1; τί, somewhat, softens the language.—ἀδόκιμοι, reprobate) in a passive and active sense; for the conjugate δοκιμάζετε is considered to be in a reciprocal sense.

[92] Engl. V. and Tischend. and Lachm. connect εἰ ἐστὲ ἐν τῇ πίστει with πειοάζετε, “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.”—ED.Verse 5. - Prove year ownselves. In other words, "test your own sincerity." Jesus Christ is in you. To this truth - that the body of every Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit of Christ - St. Paul returns again and again (Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27). We find the same truth frequently in St. John (John 15:4, 5; 1 John 3:24, etc.). Except ye be reprobates. The Greek word adokimoi - from the same root as the verb "to test" - means tried and found to be worthless. "Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them" (Jeremiah 6:30). The word is found almost exclusively in St Paul (2 Corinthians 13:5, 6, 7; Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:16). The only other passage of the New Testament where it occurs is Hebrews 6:8; and the reader must not read Calvinistic horrors into an expression which gives no sanction to them. Examine yourselves (ἑαυτοὺς πειράζετε)

Yourselves is emphatic. Instead of putting Christ to the test, test yourselves. Rev., try, is better than examine. Examination does not necessarily imply a practical test. It may be merely from curiosity. Trial implies a definite intent to ascertain their spiritual condition.

The faith

See on Acts 6:7. In a believing attitude toward Christ.

Prove (δοκιμάζετε)

As the result of trying.

Or know ye not, etc.

Assuming that you thus prove yourselves, does not this test show you that Christ is in you as the result of your faith in him?

Reprobates (ἀδόκιμοι)

An unfortunate translation. A reprobate is one abandoned to perdition. The word is kindred to the verb prove (δοκιμάζετε), and means disapproved on trial. See on Romans 1:28.

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