Scripture Notes.

p. 138.


2 Corinthians 13:3-4.

As often pointed out, the part of verse 3 commencing with the words, "Which to you-ward is not weak," and the whole of verse 4, is a parenthesis. The connection therefore is as follows: "Since ye seek a proof of Christ in me, examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith," etc. They had been tempted to deny the apostolic claims of Paul; and, inasmuch as he had been the means of their conversion, he says, in effect: The proof of my apostleship is found in you, if you are Christians. If you deny that I am an apostle, you must surrender your title to belong to Christ. For this, however, they were not prepared; and thus their folly in turning away from Paul is at once exposed. But the question is as to the meaning of the parenthetical sentences. They present, in part, the man-ward aspect, and the divine side of ministry, illustrated by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The apostle says, after the words, "Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me," "who (that is, Christ) to you-ward is not weak," however it may so appear in the person of His servants, who are only made, spiritually strong, in proportion as they are weak; "but is mighty in (or, among) you," as shown by the effects of the ministry of Paul and his fellow-labourers. He then proceeds, "For though he was crucified through (better, in) weakness," as He was to all appearances, and as to fact, if His bodily condition, as described in Psalm 22, alone is considered, "yet He liveth by the power of God"; for, indeed, it was "according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 1:19-20), that He now lives at God's right hand. These two aspects were seen in the apostle in his service (compare 2 Cor. 4:5-12); and hence he adds, "For we also are weak," as seen by man, since death wrought in the apostle in that he ever bore about in the body the dying of Jesus; "but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you." For it was Christ, who lives by the power of God, that wrought in and through Paul, so that "the life also of Jesus" was made manifest by that power of God, in His service. As He says in another place, "We have this treasure (the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ) in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."


John 5:31; John 8:12-18.

So far from there being any contradiction between these scriptures, they serve together to bring out the whole truth of the person of the eternal Son. The Pharisees doubtless thought that, in referring to what the Lord had formerly said (v. 31), they had detected an inconsistency; but the, Lord's reply explains the real import of His words. In chapter 5 He had said, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true"; and He then proceeded to show that He had not been alone in His testimony to Himself, that John, His own works, the Father Himself, and Moses, concurred in His testimony. The meaning is thus evident, that had there been no "witness of Himself" except His own, an impossible thing being what He was, His witness would not have been true. When, therefore, His enemies sought to arrest the force of His announcement, "I am the light of the world," etc., by reminding Him of what He had before declared, He answered, "Though I bear record of myself, [yet] my record is true." And He explained, in His patient grace, the grounds of this apparent contradiction. First, He knew whence He came, and whither He went - which, had He been only man, could not have been the case; secondly, the Pharisees judged after the flesh in a human way according to appearances, thinking that Christ was like themselves, whereas He, while on earth, judged no man; thirdly, He goes to the root of the matter, and says, "If I judge, My judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me"; and, lastly, He makes the application, on the basis of the Scriptures, "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true." This condition He tells them is fulfilled in His case, thus confuting their objection, for, "I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." When the Lord spoke, it was not therefore His own individual testimony; the words that He spake, He spake not "from" Himself, but the Father that dwelt in Him, He did the works. (John 14:10.) He was the Eternal Son, and the Revealer of the Father; and had the Pharisees but known this blessed truth, their foolish objection would have died away upon their lips. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."