2 Corinthians 13:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 13:9, NIV: We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.

2 Corinthians 13:9, ESV: For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.

2 Corinthians 13:9, KJV: For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

2 Corinthians 13:9, NASB: For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak, but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you become mature.

2 Corinthians 13:9, NLT: We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature.

2 Corinthians 13:9, CSB: We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray that you become fully mature.

What does 2 Corinthians 13:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

False teachers in Corinth have attacked Paul's character and authority as an apostle of Jesus. He has been maligned by false teachers who are leading the Corinthians away from their devotion to Christ. Paul has also been derided for what these deceptive ones consider weaknesses. Among their sniping is the charge that Paul does not speak impressively or command respect with his personal appearance (2 Corinthians 10:10).

Paul has corrected facts about his character, but he has not defended himself against accusations of physical or verbal weakness. In fact, he has embraced the description; he has sarcastically bragged about his weakness and his suffering for Christ and his losses. He has been clear that Christ is strongest in him in the areas where he is weakest (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). So, Paul is glad to be weak, in this sense, as the apostle serving the Corinthians.

Paul and his associates would be glad to be perceived as weak while the Corinthians are considered strong. Earlier in this letter, he sarcastically described the believers in Corinth as wise and honorable compared to him and other ministers for Christ (2 Corinthians 11:19). In this use, however, Paul means something very different by the word "strong." He is glad for these fellow believers to become strong in the sense that Paul himself is strong. Specifically, that means by repenting of sin and trusting more deeply in Christ to be the real source of power in their lives.

That's why Paul and his friends are praying for the Corinthians' restoration. Some translations use the word "perfection," but many commentators say "restoration" is the better choice here. The Greek term is katartisin, which in that form implies adequacy or improvement. By that, Paul means they are praying the Corinthians will all repent of ongoing sin, turning back to full devotion to Christ and His will for them.