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2Co 13:1-14. HE THREATENS A SEVERE PROOF OF HIS APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY, BUT PREFERS THEY WOULD SPARE HIM THE NECESSITY FOR IT.
1. This is the third time I am coming to you--not merely preparing to come to you. This proves an intermediate visit between the two
Ac 18:1; 20:2.
2. Rather, "I have already said (at my second visit), and tell you
(now) beforehand, AS (I did)
WHEN I WAS PRESENT THE SECOND TIME, SO also
NOW in my absence (the oldest manuscripts omit the 'I write,' which here
wrongly follows in English Version Greek text) to them which
heretofore have sinned (namely, before my second visit,
and to all others (who have sinned since my second visit, or are in
danger of sinning)." The English Version, "as if I were
present the second time," namely, this next time, is quite
"this is the third time I am coming to you," as Paul could not
have called the same journey at once "the second" and "the third time"
of his coming. The antithesis between "the second time" and "now" is
3. Since--The reason why he will not spare: Since ye challenge
me to give a "proof" that Christ speaks in me. It would be better if ye
would "prove your own selves"
This disproves the assertion of some that Scripture nowhere asserts the
infallibility of its writers when writing it.
4. though--omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts; then translate,
"For He was even crucified," &c.
5. Examine--Greek, "Try (make trial of) yourselves."
6. we . . . not reprobates--not unable to abide the proof to which ye put us (2Co 13:6). "I trust that" your own Christianity will be recognized by you (observe, "ye shall know," answers to "know your own selves," 2Co 13:5) as sufficient "proof" that ye are not reprobates, but that "Christ speaks in me," without needing a proof from me more trying to yourselves. If ye doubt my apostleship, ye must doubt your own Christianity, for ye are the fruits of my apostleship.
7. I pray--The oldest manuscripts read, "we pray."
8. Our apostolic power is given us that we may use it not against, but for the furtherance of, the truth. Where you are free from fault, there is no scope for its exercise: and this I desire. Far be it from me to use it against the innocent, merely in order to increase my own power (2Co 13:10).
9. are glad--Greek, "rejoice."
10. Therefore--because I wish the "sharpness" to be in my
letters rather than in deeds [CHRYSOSTOM].
11. farewell--meaning in Greek also "rejoice"; thus in bidding
farewell he returns to the point with which he set out, "we are helpers
of your joy"
14. The benediction which proves the doctrine of the Divine Trinity
in unity. "The grace of Christ" comes first, for it is only by it we
come to "the love of God" the Father
The variety in the order of Persons proves that "in this Trinity none
is afore or after other" [Athanasian Creed].
THE internal and external evidence for Paul's authorship is conclusive. The style is characteristically Pauline. The superscription, and allusions to the apostle of the Gentiles in the first person, throughout the Epistle, establish the same truth (Ga 1:1, 13-24; 2:1-14). His authorship is also upheld by the unanimous testimony of the ancient Church: compare IRENÆUS [Against Heresies, 3,7,2] (Ga 3:19); POLYCARP [Epistle to the Philippians, 3] quotes Ga 4:26; 6:7; JUSTIN MARTYR, or whoever wrote the Discourse to the Greeks, alludes to Ga 4:12; 5:20.
The Epistle was written "TO THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA" (Ga 1:2), a district of Asia Minor, bordering on Phrygia, Pontus, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Paphlagonia. The inhabitants (Gallo-græci, contracted into Galati, another form of the name Celts) were Gauls in origin, the latter having overrun Asia Minor after they had pillaged Delphi, about 280 B.C. and at last permanently settled in the central parts, thence called Gallo-græcia or Galatia. Their character, as shown in this Epistle, is in entire consonance with that ascribed to the Gallic race by all writers. Cæsar [Commentaries on the Gallic War, 4,5], "The infirmity of the Gauls is that they are fickle in their resolves and fond of change, and not to be trusted." So Thierry (quoted by ALFORD), "Frank, impetuous, impressible, eminently intelligent, but at the same time extremely changeable, inconstant, fond of show, perpetually quarrelling, the fruit of excessive vanity." They received Paul at first with all joy and kindness; but soon wavered in their allegiance to the Gospel and to him, and hearkened as eagerly now to Judaizing teachers as they had before to him (Ga 4:14-16). The apostle himself had been the first preacher among them (Ac 16:6; Ga 1:8; 4:13; see on Ga 4:13; "on account of infirmity of flesh I preached unto you at the first": implying that sickness detained him among them); and had then probably founded churches, which at his subsequent visit he "strengthened" in the faith (Ac 18:23). His first visit was about A.D. 51, during his second missionary journey. JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 16.62] testifies that many Jews resided in Ancyra in Galatia. Among these and their brethren, doubtless, as elsewhere, he began his preaching. And though subsequently the majority in the Galatian churches were Gentiles (Ga 4:8, 9), yet these were soon infected by Judaizing teachers, and almost suffered themselves to be persuaded to undergo circumcision (Ga 1:6; 3:1, 3; 5:2, 3; 6:12, 13). Accustomed as the Galatians had been, when heathen, to the mystic worship of Cybele (prevalent in the neighboring region of Phrygia), and the theosophistic