Testing Our Faith

International Sunday School Lesson March 10, 2024 Spring Quarter #2

2 Corinthians 13:5-11


Adam Clark sets the time for the second epistle to the Corinthians about a year after first one. He states, “It is a general opinion among learned men that this epistle was written about a year after the former: and this seems to be supported by the words, 2 Cor 9:2 ‘Achaia was ready a year ago; for the apostle having given instructions for that collection, to which he refers in these words at the close of the preceding epistle, they would not have had the forwardness there mentioned till a year had elapsed.’ “1

Paul gives the believers some parting thoughts in the closing section of the book. It encourages the believers to test themselves and strive for victory in themselves and others.

Test Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 ESV Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (6) I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.

  • Galatians 6:3-5 ESV For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (4) But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. (5) For each will have to bear his own load.
  • Albert Barnes stated, “But I trust … – The sense of this verse is,” Whatever may be the result of your examination of yourselves, I trust (Greek I hope) you will not find us false and to be rejected; that is, I trust you will find in me evidence that I am commissioned by the Lord Jesus to be his apostle.” The idea is, that they would find when he was among them, that he was endowed with all the qualifications needful to confer a claim to the apostolic office.”2

Pray for Others

2 Corinthians 13:7 ESV But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.

  • James 5:16 (ESV) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  • John Gill states, “not that we should appear approved. This was a clear case that he sought their good, and not his own credit, and the exercise of power; if they committed evil, his faithfulness would be seen in reproving, rebuking, and exhorting them; and if they continued impenitent, his apostolical authority would be manifest in their punishment, so that he would appear approved, or with a proof of the power of Christ in him; but this he did not desire, but most earnestly wished there might be no occasion for any such evidence.”3

Benefit of Others

2 Corinthians 13:8-9 ESV For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. (9) For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.

Vincent’s Word Studies states regarding “For we can do nothing against the truth” that, “Your well doing is what we truly aim at. For, if we had any other aim, with a view to approving ourselves, we should fail, because we should be going in the face of the truth – the Gospel; and against that we are powerless. In that case we should be unapproved before God.”4

Authority Is for Building Up

2 Corinthians 13:10 ESV For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

  • Authority is not to make ministers and leaders look big. It is for ministering to those in need.
  • Titus 1:13-14 ESV This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (14) not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

Live in Peace

2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

We need to break verse eleven down into each part and apply it to our lives.

Concluding Thoughts

  • Live in peace as much as possible
  • Pray and minister to those in need
  • Seek God and righteousness in our lives
  1. Adam Clark. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (Published in 1810-1826; public domain) cited in “2 Corinthians” e-Sword 13.0.0. ↩︎
  2. Albert Barnes. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (Published in 1847-85; public domain.) cited in “2 Corinthians” e-Sword 13.0.0. ↩︎
  3. John Gill. John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (Published in 1746-1766, 1816; public domain) cited in “2 Corinthians” e-Sword 13.0.0. ↩︎
  4. Marvin R. Vincent. Word Studies in the New Testament (Published New York, October 30, 1886) cited e-Sword 13.0.0. ↩︎


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