The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

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The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

  • Who Wrote: The Apostle Paul
  • Where Written: Macedonia
  • When Written: c. 55 C.E.



Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the congregation of God that is at Corinth, with all the holy ones who are at the whole of Achaia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction

Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings for the Christ abound in us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort that is at work in the patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope for you is unshakeable, knowing as we do that just as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.

For we would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning our affliction which came on us in Asia, that we were extremely weighed down, beyond our strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also can help us by your prayers for us, in order that many may give thanks in our behalf for the favor we receive in answer to the prayers of many.

The Postponement of Paul’s Visit

12 For our glorying is this, the testimony of our boasting, with holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even understand, and I hope you will understand to the end, 14 as you also did understand us in part, that we are your reason for boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

15 And with this confidence, I was intending to come first to you, so that you might have twice the joy, 16 and through you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea. 17 Well, when I was wanting this, did I show indecisiveness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yes, yes and no, no at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not “yes” and “no.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us, by me and Silvanus and Timothy, did not become “yes” and “no,” but has become “yes” in him. 20 For no matter how many the promises of God are, they have become “yes” by means of him. Therefore, also through him is the “Amen” said to God, which brings him glory through us. 21 Now the one who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed[1] us is God, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

23 But I call God as a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, because by faith you are standing firm.


Paul’s Intention to Bring Joy

For I have made up my mind not to come to you again in sadness. For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one being pained by me? And I wrote this very thing in order that when I came, I might not be saddened from those who ought to make me rejoice, having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to sadden you but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

Now if anyone has caused sorrow, he has caused it not to me, but in some degree, in order not to say too much, to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment, which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to confirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul’s Anxiety and Relief

12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, 13 I had no relief for my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went forth on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers[2] of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.


Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, inscribed on our hearts and known and being read by all mankind. Being made manifest that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also makes us adequate as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, which was being brought to an end, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be even more with glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, by much more will the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had been glorified has not been glorified in this case, on account of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, by much more that which remains is in glory.

12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is taken away only by means of Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts; 16 but whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.


Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy that was shown us, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the shameful, underhanded things, not walking with cunning or adulterating the word of God; but by making the truth manifest, we recommend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the one who has shined in our hearts for the enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,[3] so that the surpassing power may be of God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 But because we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,”[4] we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

Living by Faith

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our affliction is momentary and light, it is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are eternal.


Our Heavenly Dwelling

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be torn down, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, so that, having put it on, we will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very thing is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment of what is to come.

Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. So also, we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be acceptable to him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has done in the body, whether good or bad.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you, but speak as giving you occasion of boasting on our behalf, in order that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For whether we are beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we are of sound mind, it is to you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one died for all; as a result all died; 15 and he died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;[5] the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 And all these things are from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses[6] against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.


And working together with him, we also appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At an acceptable time I listened to you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[7]

Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation. 3 In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, so that no fault may be found with our ministry; 4 but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by times of need, by difficulties, 5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by hard work, by sleepless nights, by times without food; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by Holy Spirit, by love free from hypocrisy, 7 by truthful speech, by God’s power; through the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report, regarded as deceivers and yet truthful; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.

11 We have opened our mouth to speak to you, Corinthians, and we have opened wide our heart. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 So in response, I speak as to my children, you too open your hearts wide.

The Temple of the Living God

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and I will walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.[8]
17 Therefore come out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and do not touch unclean thing;[9]
    then I will welcome you,[10]
18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”[11]


Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Paul’s Joy at the Congregation’s Repentance

Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my freeness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf: I am filled with comfort, I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.

For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side, there were fights on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more. For though I grieved you by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.[12] I now rejoice, not that you were grieved, but that you were grieved to repentance. For you were grieved according to the will of God, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For grief in a godly way produces repentance leading to salvation, leaving no regret; leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this sorrow according to God, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 For this reason we have been comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus was found to be truth. 15 And his affection is greater toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you.


Giving Generously

Now, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God that has been given in the congregations of Macedonia, that with a great trial under affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound. For according to their ability, I bear witness, yes even beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of sharing in the ministry to the holy ones, and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God. So we encouraged Titus that, just as he had started this work, so he would also complete in you this act of grace also. But just as you abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all earnestness, and in your love for us, see that you abound in this act of grace also.

I am not saying this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this I give my judgment, for this is to your benefit, who were the first to begin a year ago, not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now complete the doing of it also; so that as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be the completion of it also by your ability. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not to make it easy for others and affliction for you, but as a matter of equality, 14 at the present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who had much did not have too much, and he who had little had no lack.”[13]

Titus and His Companions

16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he is coming to you of his own accord. 18 We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the congregations. 19 And not only so, but who was also appointed by the congregations to travel with us in the matter of this grace that is administered by us to the glory of the Lord, and to show our readiness. 20 We are avoiding this, so that no man should blame us in the matter of this bounty that is administered by us, 21 for we are giving careful thought for things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times tested and found to be diligent in many things, but now much more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my sharer[14] and fellow worker for you; as for our brothers, they are apostles[15] of the congregations, the glory to Christ. 24 Therefore, show the proof of your love to them, and show the congregations our reason for boasting about you.


The Offering for the Holy Ones

Now concerning the ministry to the holy ones, it is unnecessary for me to write to you, or I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I have sent the brothers, that our boasting on your behalf may not be made empty in this case, that, even as I said, you may be prepared, lest somehow if Macedonians should come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you) would be put to shame by this confidence. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers, that they would go ahead to you, and arrange beforehand your promised bountiful gift, so that it will be ready as a bountiful gift and not as an extortion.

The Cheerful Giver

Now as to this, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness remains forever.”[16]

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, long for you by reason of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!


Paul Defends His Ministry

10 Now I, Paul, entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I am lowly when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I beg of you that when I am present that I will not have to show boldness with such confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh[17] but powerful to God for destroying strongholds.[18] We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

You look at the things that are before your face. If any man trusts in himself that he belongs to Christ, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he belongs to Christ, so also are we. For though I boast a little too much about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be put to shame. For I do not want to appear as though I was terrifying you by my letters. 10 For they say, “his letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, we will also be in actions when we are present. 12 For we do not dare to classify ourselves or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves, but when they themselves measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but according to the measure of the boundaries which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not glorying beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope that, as your faith grows, we will be magnified in you according to our territory to further abound, 16 so that we may proclaim the gospel in the regions that lie beyond you, and not boast in the things accomplished in someone else’s territory. 17 But “he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.


Paul and the False Apostles

11 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from a sincerity and pure devotion to Christ. For if the one who comes proclaims another Jesus whom we have not proclaimed, or you receive a different spirit which you did not receive, or a different gospel which you did not accept, you easily put up with him. For I consider myself in no way to be inferior to the super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed we made it clear to you in every way and in everything.

Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I proclaimed the gospel of God to you without cost? I deprived other congregations by taking wages from them to serve you. And when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden on any man; for when the brothers came from Macedonia, they supplied the measure of my want; and in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop this boasting of mine in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle

16 Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little. 17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Since many boasts according to the flesh, I will also boast. 19 For you gladly bear with the foolish, being wise yourselves! 20 For you put up with a man, if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you in the face. 21 I say this to our shame, since we have acted in weakness.

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of, I am speaking in foolishness, I also dare to boast. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I reply like a madman, I am more outstandingly one: I have done more work, been imprisoned more often, with countless beatings, and often near deaths. 24 Five times I received 40 strokes less one from the Jews, 25 three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I experienced shipwreck, a night and a day I have spent in the open sea; 26 in journeys often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own people, in dangers from the nations, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers, 27 in labor and toil, in sleepless nights often, in hunger and thirst, frequently without food, in cold and lacking clothing.[19] 28 Besides those things of an external kind, there is what rushes in on me from day to day: the anxiety for all the congregations. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not incensed?[20]

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the One who is to be blessed forever, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the ethnarch[21] under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes to seize me, 33 but I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall, and I escaped his hands.


Paul’s Visions and Revelations

12 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows, such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man, whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows; was caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. For even if I want to boast, I will not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I am refraining, in order that no one should give me more credit than what he sees in me or hears from me. Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from exalting myself! Three times I implored the Lord about this, that it would depart from me. And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I take delight in weaknesses, in insults, in times of need, in persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthian Congregation

11 I have become a fool! You yourselves compelled me, for I should have been commended by you, for in no way was I inferior to the super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and powerful works. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the congregations, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you, for I do not seek what is yours, but you. For children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I am afraid that somehow when I arrive, I may not find you as I wish and I may not be as you wish, but instead, there may be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21 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 previously and not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and sensuality that they have practiced.


Final Warnings

13 This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or of three every matter must be established. 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 them, since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but powerful among you. For indeed, he was crucified because of weakness, but he lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live together with him because of the power of God toward you.

Keep testing yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Keep examining yourselves! Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail to meet the test? And I hope you will recognize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 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.[22] 10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

Final Greetings

11 Finally, brothers, rejoice, be made complete,[23] be comforted, be of the same 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 the holy ones 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.

[1] Anoint: (Heb. masach Gr. chrio) In the Hebrew OT, the word meant to anoint, smear, rub an object or person (a prophet, priest, or king) with a liquid, which symbolized a dedication or installation for a special service. In the Greek NT, the word meant to anoint with oil, to assign one to a duty, role, or office. It is also used of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on those who are anointed in Christ.–Ex 28:41; 1 Sam 16:13; 2 Cor. 1:21.

[2] A deceptive greedy businessperson, a tavern keeper, or a wine merchant, a petty retailer, a huckster, a peddler.

[3] Or in jars of clay

[4] A quotation from Ps 116:10

[5] Or creature; Gr ktisis

[6] Trespass: (Gr. paraptōma) This is a sin that can come in the way of some desire (lusting), some thinking (entertaining a wrongdoing) or some action (carrying out one’s desires or thoughts that he or she has been entertaining) that is beyond or overstepping God’s righteous standards, as set out in the Scriptures. It is falling or making a false step as opposed to standing or walking upright in harmony with the righteous requirements of God.–Matt. 6:14; Mark 11:25; Rom. 4:25; 5:15-20; 11:11; 2 Cor. 5:19; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 1:7; 2:1, 5; Col 2:13.

[7] A quotation from Isa 49:8

[8] A quotation from Lev 26:12 (Compare also Jer 32:38, Ezek 37:27)

[9] A quotation from Isa 52:11

[10] A paraphrased from Ezek 20:41

[11] A paraphrased from 2 Sam 7:14; Isa 43:6; 49:22; 60:4; Hos 1:10

[12] Lit for an hour

[13] A quotation from Exod 16:18

[14] That is, Titus is Paul’s companion or partner in the spreading of the gospel and the building up of the congregations.

[15] Or messengers

[16] Lit into the age; a quotation from Ps 112:9

[17] That is merely human

[18] That is tearing down false arguments

[19] Lit and in nakedness

[20] Lit I am not on fire

[21] Generally, a political leadership over a common ethnic group

[22] That is, to restore or readjust one’s thinking, to make them adequate or fully qualified for something.

[23] That is, to restore or readjust one’s thinking, to make them adequate or fully qualified for something.

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