2Corinthians 13:1-4 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
‘In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.’ This states the law of interpreting Scripture. Every doctrine must be proved by at least two or three scriptures to be accepted as truth and binding upon Christians (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16).
‘As if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other.’ This indicates that he had been to Corinth a second time. The sense here is, “I foretell to you as I did when I was present with you the second time. Being absent now I write what I said on my second visit.” This is why he speaks of being ready to come to them a third time (12:14). The theory that his first visit was when he founded the congregation and his second and third visits were his two epistles to them is not reasonable. He could not call his letters visits to them. Because there is no record of his second visit is no proof that he did not make it, any more than no mention in the history of all his sufferings of 2Corinthians 11:23-28 is proof he did not go through them. Since he repeatedly mentions coming to them a third time that should be sufficient to prove there was a second visit.
“If I come again, I will not spare’ – this is further proof that his letters were not real visits to Corinth.
‘Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.’ Since you seek proof of Christ speaking in me, your very conversion and the gifts you have are sufficient proofs (1Cor. 12:1-31). ‘Weakness’ [Greek: astheneia] same word translated “infirmities” in 2Corinthians 12:10. It does not mean disease, but weakness. To people, the crucifixion appears to be Christ’s weakness and defeat. To them, He seemed powerless to help it, but this apparent defeat only demonstrated His power (Col. 2:14-17; 1Pet. 2:24; 1Cor. 1:18-24). We are also weak in Him and that very weakness brings us life and power (12:9-10). Because we are on Christ’s side, we may appear to be weak and on the losing side, but as His seeming weakness was His strength, so it is with us (12:9-10).