on 2-corinthians 13 :14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ - All the favor and beneficence that come from and through the Redeemer of the world; as the Lord, the ruler and governor of all things; as Jesus, the Savior of all men by his passion and death; as Christ, the distributer of all that Divine unction which enlightens, comforts, harmonizes, and purifies the mind. May this most exalted, glorious, and all-sufficient Savior, be ever with you!
And the love of God - God, your Maker, in that infinite love which induced him to create the world, and form man in his own image and in his own likeness, that he might be capable of knowing, loving, and enjoying him for ever; and God in the fullest manifestations of that love which caused him to give his only begotten Son, to the end that they who believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. May this God of love, and this love of God, be ever with you!
And the communion of the Holy Ghost - May that Holy Spirit, that Divine and eternal energy which proceeds from the Father and the Son; that heavenly fire that gives light and life, that purifies and refines, sublimes and exalts, comforts and invigorates, make you all partakers with himself!
Κοινωνια, which we translate fellowship and communion, signifies properly participation; having things in common; partaking with each other. This points out the astonishing privileges of true believers: they have communion with God's Spirit; share in all its gifts and graces; walk in its light; through him they have the fullest confidence that they are of God, that he is their father and friend, and has blotted out all their iniquities: this they know by the Spirit which he has given them. And is it possible that a man shall be a partaker with the Holy Ghost, and not know it! that he shall be full of light and love, and not know it! that he shall have the spirit of adoption, by which he can cry, Abba! Father! and yet know nothing of his relationship to God, but by inference from indirect proofs! In a word, that he shall have the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost with him, and all the while know nothing certain of the grace, as to his portion in it; feel nothing warming from the love, as to its part in him; and nothing energetic from the communion, as to his participation in the gifts and graces of this Divine energy! This is all as absurd as it is impossible. Every genuine Christian, who maintains a close walk with God, may have as full an evidence of his acceptance with God as he has of his own existence. And the doctrine that explains away this privilege, or softens it down to nothing, by making the most gracious and safe state consistent with innumerable doubts and fears and general uncertainty, is not of God. It is a spurious gospel, which, under the show of a voluntary humility, not only lowers, but almost annihilates, the standard of Christianity.
This text, as well as that, Matthew 3:16, Matthew 3:17, and that other, Matthew 28:19, strongly marks the doctrine of the holy Trinity. See the note on Matthew 28:19. And had not the apostle been convinced that there was a personality in this ever-blessed and undivided Trinity, he could not have expressed himself thus. And had not our Lord intended to be understood in this way, he would not have given such a commission to his apostles, to baptize the nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The doctrine is the teaching of God, let men make of it what they please. And the genuine Church of God have ever received and understood it in this way.
Amen - This word is wanting, as usual, in almost every MS. of authority. Amen seems to have been anciently added at the conclusion of books, exactly as we add the word, finis, both merely signifying the end.
As to the inscription, it is wanting, either in whole or in part, in almost all the ancient MSS. The principal forms in which it exists are the following:
- To the Corinthians, the second.
- The second to the Corinthians is completed.
- The second to the Corinthians is finished.
- To the Corinthians, the second, written from Philippi.
- Written from Philippi by Titus.
- Written from Philippi by Titus and Luke.
- By Titus, Barnabas, and Luke.
on 2-corinthians 13 :14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ - see the note, Romans 16:20. This verse contains what is usually called the apostolic benediction - the form which has been so long, and which is almost so universally used, in dismissing religious assemblies. It is properly a prayer, and it is evident that the optative εἴῃ eiē, "May the grace," etc., is to be supplied. It is the expression of a desire that the favors here referred to may descend on all for whom they are thus invoked.
And the love of God - May the love of God toward you be manifest. This must refer especially to the Father, as the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned in the other members of the sentence. The "love of God" here referred to is the manifestation of his goodness and favor in the pardon of sin, in the communication of his grace, in the comforts and consolations which he imparts to his people, in all that constitutes an expression of love. The love of God brings salvation; imparts comfort; pardons sin; sanctifies the soul; fills the heart with joy and peace; and Paul here prays that all the blessings which are the fruit of that love may be with them.
And the communion of the Holy Ghost - compare note, 1 Corinthians 10:16. The word "communion" (κοινωνία koinōnia) means properly participation, fellowship, or having anything in common; Acts 2:42; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:9; 1 John 1:3. This is also a wish or prayer of the apostle Paul; and the desire is either that they might partake of the views and feelings of the Holy Spirit; that is, that they might have fellowship with him; or that they might all in common partake of the gifts and graces which the Spirit of God imparts. He gives love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith Galatians 5:22, as well as miraculous endowments; and Paul prays that these things might be imparted freely to all the church in common, that all might participate in them; all might share them.
Amen - This word is missing, says Clarke, in almost every ms. of any authority. It was however early affixed to the Epistle.
In regard to this closing verse of the Epistle, we may make the following remarks:
(1) It is a prayer; and if it is a prayer addressed to God, it is no less so to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. If so, it is right to offer worship to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit.
(2) there is a distinction in the divine nature; or there is the existence of what is usually termed three persons in the Godhead. If not. why are they mentioned in this manner? If the Lord Jesus is not divine and equal with the Father, why is he mentioned in this connection? How strange it would be for Paul, an inspired man, to pray in the same breath, "the grace of a man or an angel" and "the love of God" be with you! And if the "Holy Spirit" be merely an influence of God or an attribute of God, how strange to pray that the "love of God" and the participation or fellowship of an "influence of God," or an "attribute of God" might be with them!
(3) the Holy Spirit is a person, or has a distinct personality. He is not an attribute of God, nor a mere divine influence. How could prayer be addressed to an attribute, or an influence? But here, nothing can be plainer than that there were favors which the Holy Spirit, as an intelligent and conscious agent, was expected to bestow. And nothing can be plainer than that they were favors in some sense distinct from those which were conferred by the Lord Jesus, and by the Father. Here is a distinction of some kind as real as that between the Lord Jesus and the Father; here are favors expected from him distinct from those conferred by the Father and the Son; and there is, therefore, here all the proof that there can be, that there is in some respects a distinction between the persons here referred to and that the Holy Spirit is an intelligent, conscious agent.
(4) the Lord Jesus is not inferior to the Father, that is, he has an equality with God. If he were not equal, how could he be mentioned, as he here is, as bestowing favors like God, and especially why is he mentioned first? Would Paul, in invoking blessings, mention the name of a mere man or an angel before that of the eternal God?
(5) the passage, therefore, furnishes a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity that has not yet been answered, and, it is believed, cannot be. On the supposition that there are three persons in the adorable Trinity, united in essence and yet distinct in some respects, all is plain and clear. But on the supposition that, the Lord Jesus is a mere man, an angel, or an archangel, and that the Holy Spirit is an attribute, or an influence from God, how unintelligible, confused, strange does all become! That Paul, in the solemn close of the Epistle, should at the same time invoke blessings from a mere creature, and from God, and from an attribute, surpasses belief. But that he should invoke blessings from him who was the equal with the Father, and from the Father himself, and from the Sacred Spirit sustaining the same rank, and in like manner imparting important blessings, is in accordance with all that we should expect, and makes all harmonious and appropriate.
(6) nothing could be a more proper close of the Epistle; nothing is a more appropriate close of public worship, than such an invocation. It is a prayer to the ever-blessed God, that all the rich influences which he gives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may be imparted; that all the benefits which God confers in the interesting relations in which he makes himself known to us may descend and bless us. What more appropriate prayer can be offered at the close of public worship? How seriously should it be pronounced, as a congregration is about to separate, perhaps to come together no more! With what solemnity should all join in it, and how devoutly should all pray, as they thus separate, that these rich and inestimable blessings may rest upon them! With hearts uplifted to God it should be pronounced and heard; and every worshiper should leave the sanctuary deeply feeling that what he most needs as he leaves the place of public worship; as he travels on the journey of life; as he engages in its duties or meets its trials; as he looks at the grave and eternity, is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the blessings which the Holy Spirit imparts in renewing, and sanctifying, and comforting His people. What more appropriate prayer than this for the writer and reader of these notes! May that blessing rest alike upon us, though we may be strangers in the flesh, and may those divine and heavenly influences guide us alike to the same everlasting kingdom of glory.
In regard to the subscription at the end of this Epistle, it may be observed, that it is missing in a great part of the most ancient mss., and is of no authority whatever; see the notes at the end of the Epistle to the Romans, and 1 Corinthians. this case, however, this subscription is in the main correct, since there is evidence that it was written from Macedonia, and not improbably from Philippi. See the introduction to this Epistle.
on 2-corinthians 13 :14