2 Cor 13:5 “Put yourselves to the test~~ to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!~~ Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you– unless, indeed, you fail the test!”
Paul had chosen to adopt Jesus’s example of leadership: “He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4).
This power-in-weakness model required patience, exalting righteousness and obedience while prioritizing others without harshness or a demanding superiority.
The Corinthian church needed Paul’s discipline. It grieved him such he canceled a third visit (1:23–2:4), hoping that they would respond to this letter as they had his earlier letter (7:8–13) so he could rejoice with them and not deal with divisive issues.
False teachers had introduced legalism, fostering a false sense of righteousness while hiding a bitter, critical, dissenting spirit that would set believers against believers and sought to discredit Paul’s apostleship, which he had been defending for several chapters.
Paul said, “For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, back biting, whispering, conceit, tumult” (2 Cor 12:20).
Self-righteous legalism can covers unrepentant, contentious attitudes. Paul was concerned that he would “mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness” (1 Cor 12:21). He waited to let them respond.
In 2 Corinthians 13:15, Paul challenges them to turn their critical attitudes inward, to “put [them]selves to the test to see if [they were] in the faith.” They needed to take the beam out of their own eyes before criticizing the splinter in another’s (Matt 7:1–5).
The two commands for believers are “to test,” or “to prove, assess” and “to examine,” or “to approve, or prove a thing whether it is worthy or not” or “to learn the genuineness of something by examination and testing” (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 45). They were to test themselves to see whether they were “in the faith,” the evidence being their response to Paul’s exhortation.
Before sharing in the Lord’s Supper, “a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup…But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged” (1 Cor 11:28, 31). Practice examining yourself. Is there any area of disobedience in your life you must deal with today?
“I am appalled at my unworthiness, and I am desperate for Your mercy and gracious gift of righteousness. Thank You for granting eternal life with You for those who trust You with all their hearts.”