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2 Corinthians 13

New International Version

1 This will be my third visit to you. 'Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 2 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, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him in our dealing with you. 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong--not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God's people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
English Standard Version

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 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— 3 since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. 11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
King James Version

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 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: 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 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? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. 11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Greet one another with an holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
New American Standard Bible

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES. 2 I have previously said when 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, 3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 4 For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. 5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. 10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. 11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
New Living Translation

1 This is the third time I am coming to visit you (and as the Scriptures say, 'The facts of every case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses'). 2 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. 3 I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. 4 Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God's power. 5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 6 As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority. 7 We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won't need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come--even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. 8 For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. 9 We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature. 10 I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won't need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down. 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet each other with Christian love. 13 All of God's people here send you their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Christian Standard Bible

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 2 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, 3 since you seek proof of Christ speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by God's power. 5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless you fail the test. 6 And I hope you will recognize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 But we pray to God that you do nothing wrong--not that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear to fail. 8 For we can't do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray that you become fully mature. 10 This is why I am writing these things while absent, so that when I am there I may not have to deal harshly with you, in keeping with the authority the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings. 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 14

What does 2 Corinthians 13 mean?

The final chapter of 2 Corinthians opens with an ominous warning from Paul. His third visit to them may be marked by the judgment of Christ for sin. He warned them on his previous visit, and warns the Corinthians once more, that he will not be lenient on those found to be in unrepentant sin. Two categories of sin were named at the end of chapter 12: division and immorality. The congregation's desire for proof that Christ is speaking through Paul will be fully satisfied if he must exercise Christ's judgment on any of them for sin. They will see that, though Paul may be weak, Christ will be powerful among them through him (2 Corinthians 13:1–4).

In keeping with that challenge, Paul urges self-examination. The believers ought to scrutinize themselves to see if they are living according to their professed faith in Christ. They must test themselves and realize whether Jesus Christ is truly in them. Paul seems to assume they will pass this test and find they still believe in Christ as they did when he first introduced Jesus to them. If the Corinthians do agree that Christ is in them, Paul and his associates will also pass the test of being true representatives of Christ. After all, Christ cannot be real in the Corinthians and false in the one who introduced them to Him (2 Corinthians 13:5–7).

Since Christ is in them, Paul prays that the Corinthians will not do wrong, that they will stop sinning. He is quick to add that this is not superficial appearances. He would rather everyone thought he had failed the test of being a true apostle, if the Corinthians would do what is right and prove Christ was true in them. Paul knows he cannot control the opinions of others, anyway. He and his fellow ministers work for the truth. Period. Christ is the truth. They cannot do anything against the truth, even if that would somehow help them to be more impressive to others. In fact, they are glad to be weak because it makes Christ powerful in them. They are glad for the Corinthians to be strong in that same way. They are praying for the Corinthians to be restored by fully repenting from sin and returning to their full devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 13:8–9).

Paul's sincere plea expresses hope that the believers in Corinth will repent before he arrives, and he will not have to use his God-given authority as Christ's representative to be severe with them because of their sin (2 Corinthians 13:10).

The letter concludes by urging the Corinthians to rejoice, to strive for restoration, to encourage each other, and to live in peace. They are assured the God of love and peace will be with them. Paul also offers greetings from other believers. His final prayer for them is for specific blessing from each of the three members of the Trinity (2 Corinthians 13:11–14).