2 Corinthians 13 The Voice (VOICE)
13 This is my third trip to your city and community. As the Scripture says, “Every charge must be confirmed by two or three witnesses.”[a] 2 As I said before on my second visit, I say now again while absent. Consider this an advance warning, if you wish, to those of you still caught up in your old sins and to all the rest as well: when I come the next time, I will not spare anyone who is out of order. 3 You asked to see evidence that the power of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, is at work in me. Well, you will see it because He won’t be weak in dealing with you. Instead, He will do great things in you. 4 Now it’s true that He was crucified in weakness, but it’s also true that He lives by God’s power. For we who belong to Him are weak in Him, but we will live with Him by God’s power for you.
Weakness looks like failure in the eyes of the world, but for Paul weakness is an avenue to share in Jesus’ death and, therefore, in His life as well. The challenge is to remain faithful even in the difficult times, even when there is no one left to provide support. It is in these times that God’s power and comfort are most evident. This call to embrace weakness and suffering is difficult. It is normal to run from pain. But the examples of Jesus in the Gospels, of Paul in his letters, and of David in the psalms are of finding God’s strength in times of weakness.
5 Examine yourselves. Check your faith! Are you really in the faith? Do you still not know that Jesus the Anointed is in you?—unless, of course, you have failed the test. 6 Surely you will realize we have not failed the test, 7 but we pray to God that you will stay away from evil. What’s important is not whether we appear to have passed the test, but that you do what is right and act honorably, even if it appears that we have failed. 8 For there’s nothing we can do to oppose the truth; all we can do is align ourselves with it. 9 You see, we celebrate when we are weak but you are strong. Our prayer is simple: that you may be whole and complete. 10 How I hope I am saving you by writing this to you in advance; this letter will spare me from using the Lord’s authority to come down on you when I arrive. His intention in giving me this authority is to build you up, not tear you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. 12 Greet each other with a holy kiss, as brothers and sisters. 13 All the saints here with me send you their greeting.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. [Amen.][b]
Paul ends his letters as he begins them, praying that grace be with those who read this letter. From first to last, the life of faith is framed by grace.
2 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)
13 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”[a] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one 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 God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.