Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 13

Paul was ready to deal with the wrong behaviour of Christians

2 Corinthians 13:2

Paul repeats what he has said before. On his return to Corinth he will deal firmly with those people who are causing trouble in the church.

Many Bible translations say that Paul warned them about this during his second visit. However, that does not match the records that we have about Paulís visits to Corinth. The Bible only describes Paulís original visit there, in Acts 18:1-18. In 2 Corinthians 1:23, Paul seems to say that he has not yet returned to Corinth.

Perhaps, therefore, Paulís reference to the Ďsecond timeí* has a different meaning. Perhaps Paul warned them as if he was present on a second occasion. That is a possible translation of Paulís words, and it matches the facts.

We can see how and when Paul did that, in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. There, Paul told the church to deal with a member who was guilty of wrong sex acts. He urged the church to join with him in prayer against that man and his evil behaviour. Paul was absent from them at that time. However, in spirit he was present with them because he was agreeing with them in prayer. So, Paul and the church had dealt with the matter together, as if he had been present with them.

Paul wanted to deal with that man at once, because his wrong behaviour had been so severe. However, many other church members needed to change their attitudes and actions too*. Paul wanted them to learn from what happened to that man. Paul hoped that they would turn back to God themselves; then Paul would not have to use his authority against them*. However, if they did not do that, Paul was ready to act against them. He would deal with them in prayer, and perhaps he would have to send them away from the church. Paul hoped and prayed that these actions would cause these people to return to God in the end.

Next part: When leaders must be firm and powerful (13:3)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.