2 Corinthians 12:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 12:21, NIV: I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

2 Corinthians 12:21, ESV: I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

2 Corinthians 12:21, KJV: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

2 Corinthians 12:21, NASB: I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and indecent behavior which they have practiced.

2 Corinthians 12:21, NLT: Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

2 Corinthians 12:21, CSB: I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the moral impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality they practiced.

What does 2 Corinthians 12:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Recent verses have turned the tables on the Corinthians. After answering one false accusation against him after another, Paul makes clear that they are not his judge and jury. He speaks in Christ and before God. The reason for his prior defense was not to beg the Corinthians for approval. It was to warn them against following liars instead of the truth. Despite brave claims by his critics (2 Corinthians 10:10–12), Paul will come to them with the authority of Christ to respond to any sinfulness he finds among them.

Once again, Paul seems incapable of speaking without a dose of humility. Some of the sting of the implied threat fades when he states he—Paul—will be humiliated if he finds them still engaged in unrepentant immorality. Apparently, this is something that had been going on for some time and should have been turned away from by now (1 Corinthians 5:1–2). Paul would be embarrassed to find his children in the Lord still engaged in such sinful practices.

In essence, Paul is begging them to confess and repent of any sin among them. In that way, everyone can avoid the humiliation of correction and discipline.