13:7-10 The most desirable thing we can ask of God, for ourselves and our friends, is to be kept from sin, that we and they may not do evil. We have far more need to pray that we may not do evil, than that we may not suffer evil. The apostle not only desired that they might be kept from sin, but also that they might grow in grace, and increase in holiness. We are earnestly to pray to God for those we caution, that they may cease to do evil, and learn to do well; and we should be glad for others to be strong in the grace of Christ, though it may be the means of showing our own weakness. let us also pray that we may be enabled to make a proper use of all our talents.
7. I pray—The oldest manuscripts read, "we pray."
not that we should appear approved—not to gain credit for ourselves, your ministers, by your Christian conduct; but for your good [Alford]. The antithesis to "reprobates" leads me to prefer explaining with Bengel, "We do not pray that we may appear approved," by restraining you when ye do evil; "but that ye should do what is right" (English Version, "honest").
though we be as reprobates—though we be thereby deprived of the occasion for exercising our apostolic power (namely, in punishing), and so may appear "as reprobates" (incapable of affording proof of Christ speaking in us).