2 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. This will be the third time that I have come to visit you. Any charge must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).
Any charge must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Sha'ul applies the biblical, Jewish evidential standard of Deuteronomy 19:15 in a non-Jewish legal context. Therefore it cannot be said, as some Christians do, that the Torah's "civil law" was abolished by the New Testament.
2. To those who sinned in the past and to the rest I say beforehand while absent the same thing I said when I was with you the second time: if I come again I will not spare you —
3. since you are looking for proof of the Messiah speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but he is powerful among you.
4. For although he was executed on a stake in weakness, now he lives by God’s power. And we too are weak in union with him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by God’s power.
5. Examine yourselves to see whether you are living the life of trust. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? — unless you fail to pass the test.
6. But I hope you will realize that we are not failures.
7. And we pray to God that you will do nothing wrong. We are not concerned with our appearing successful, but with your doing what is right, even if we appear to be failures.
8. For we cannot act against the truth, only for it.
9. So we rejoice whenever we are weak and you are strong; indeed, what we pray for is that you become perfect.
10. I write these things while away from you, so that when I am with you I will not have to use my authority to deal sharply with you, for the Lord gave it to me for building up and not for tearing down.
11. And now, brothers, shalom! Put yourselves in order, pay attention to my advice, be of one mind, live in shalom — and the God of love and shalom will be with you.
Sha'ul sums up the whole letter, which, as now becomes evident, has been written to the Corinthians with great care so as not to put them off, for he regards them as spiritual babies (1С 3:1-3) resembling skittish, squirrelly children or adolescents unable to concentrate. For this reason the letter's structure suits today's people, who are accustomed to message overload and multimedia presentations, rather than those of earlier eras, with their "linear," one-message-at-a-time communications.
Sha'ul has a number of loosely related "points" in his "sermon" (compare 1:1-2N):
(1) I am not a failure.
(2) I consider my weaknesses to be strengths.
(3) I do not operate in the flesh.
(4) I operate by God's power.
(5) Everything I do is for your sakes.
(6) As the Messiah's emissary I carry God's authority.
(7) I am straightforward and honest.
(8) My letters are to benefit you.
(9) You are worthwhile people with great strengths.
(10) Do not be misled by pseudo-emissaries.
(11) Our suffering and weakness are for your benefit and are part of my power.
(12) I will not hesitate to make use of my power when I am with you.
He never concentrates on any one of these points or themes for very long but keeps returning to them, placing each alongside others, in various sequences and contexts hoping that as the Corinthians listen to the letter read aloud, some of his points, through sheer repetition, will sink in and motivate change. Only here, at the end of the letter, does he state its purpose concisely, in vv. 5-10, and especially in vv. 9-10: Sha'ul wants the Corinthians to become perfect without his having to use his authority to deal sharply with them, because the Lord gave him this authority for building up and not for tearing down.
12. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
No one is sure exactly what a holy kiss was. Surely it was some sort of physical expression of warmth and love involving a hug, an embrace, a kiss, touching, closeness — but entirely free of improper and unseemly overtones. In Israel, Arab men and Jewish men from Middle Eastern backgrounds often greet each other by kissing on both cheeks. See Ro 16:16N.
13. All God’s people send greetings to you.
14. The grace of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the love of God and the fellowship of the Ruach HaKodesh be with you all.
The wording of this benediction implies equality between the sources of grace, love and fellowship (Greek koinonia, which can also be rendered "communality," "commonness," "communion") — that is, between the Father (God), the Son (the Lord Yeshua the Messiah) and the Holy Spirit (the Ruach HaKodesh). But this equality remains an implication and is not stated as a proposition. As pointed out elsewhere, Adonai is never called a 'Trinity" in the New Testament. However, the three terms which appear here, along with equivalent terms, are used in various ways in both the New Testament and the Tanakh when speaking of God.
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6
- chapter 7
- chapter 8
- chapter 9
- chapter 10
- chapter 11
- chapter 12
- chapter 13