2 Corinthians 13:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 13:2, NIV: I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others,

2 Corinthians 13:2, ESV: I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them—

2 Corinthians 13:2, KJV: I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

2 Corinthians 13:2, NASB: I have previously said when I was present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone,

2 Corinthians 13:2, NLT: I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that next time I will not spare them.

2 Corinthians 13:2, CSB: I gave a warning when I was present the second time, and now I give a warning while I am absent to those who sinned before and to all the rest: If I come again, I will not be lenient,

What does 2 Corinthians 13:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul's tone has become deadly serious in the final chapter of his letter to the Corinthians. When he was with them previously, he warned he would return to judge those living in ongoing sin. Now he cautions them all again: If he finds anyone living in the sins he listed in the previous verses, he will not spare them. Problems Paul recently mentioned included sins of those of division: quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder" (2 Corinthians 12:20). He also mentioned sins of immorality: impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality" (2 Corinthians 12:21).

The stakes, in this case, are the rebuke and shame brought by Paul's authority as an apostle of Christ. However, it might mean something even more dire when Paul says he "will not spare them." God had acted decisively when holding people to account in the early church. Ananias and Sapphira died (Acts 5:1–11). Elymas the magician was blinded (Acts 13:8–11). And Paul wrote in a previous letter to the Corinthians that they should turn a man in an immoral sexual relationship over to the devil (1 Corinthians 5:4–5).

Paul makes no overt threats here. However, the Corinthians would have understood he was not speaking lightly when promising to judge those still engaged in sinful behaviors.