Reading through the Bible together
Paul wraps up this letter (which is at least the third in a series of letters) with a promise to come and visit a third time (vs. 1). He promises that when he comes “I won’t spare anyone” (vs. 2). Since the Corinthians demanded proof that Christ was speaking through Paul, they should be prepared for Christ to show his power (vs. 3). Although Christ was crucified (referring to the analogy of weakness), now “he lives by the power of God” (vs. 4).
As an apostle Paul counsels the believers in Corinth to “examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (vs. 5). His prayer was that they might pass the test.
The Corinthian church reminds us that there is no such thing as a perfect church, not even among the early believers. While the New Testament ideal is often upheld as a model, what is even more important is to learn from the mistakes of the early church. Conflict and problems were just as rampant in the church back then as they are today. Yet even when we see problems we can remember the promise: “We can’t do anything against the truth but only to help the truth” (vs. 8). Thus as believers we have a responsibility to use whatever influence we have to build up the church. Paul states that he uses his Apostolic authority “so that I could build you up, not tear you down” (vs. 10).
He parts with them (vs. 11-13) with words that demonstrate his personal affection for them. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” This clear Trinitarian statement, in the context of equality, is a reminder of how these believers, and all Christian believers, should act toward one another.