The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 50 of 181
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We now come to the final exhortation, greetings and benediction in 13: 11-14:
"Finally, brethren, farewell.  Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one
another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another
with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (13: 11-14, R.S.V.).
"Be comforted" (verse 11 R.V.).  Parakaleo can mean `be exhorted' or `be
comforted', but in view of the context `exhort' is better. It could be taken as the middle
voice rather than the passive and then it could be rendered `exhort one another'. The title
the `God of love and peace' is not found elsewhere in the N.T. It is possible that, in view
of the fact that the Corinthian failure was due to lack of practical love to the Lord and to
one another, that love is linked with peace here.
As in I Cor. 16: 20, they are advised to greet one another with a holy kiss. This was
the recognized form of salutation in those days, very much like shaking hands is today.
We are not sure who the saints were who joined with Paul in salutation, as we cannot say
with certainty where the Apostle was when he dispatched this letter. In all probability
they belonged to one of the Macedonian churches.
Paul, as his custom was, now writes the benediction with its reference to grace, that
wonderful gift that was at the heart of all his faithful ministry and witness. He uses a
Trinitarian formula, a threefold expression of the Godhead. While the word `trinity' is
not used in the holy Scriptures, yet the fact of it certainly is, whatever those who deny the
Lord's deity may say.
And so we come to the end of one of the most personal of Paul's letters, revealing his
personality possibly more than any other.
What was the effect of this epistle on the Corinthian church? The answer is we do not
know, for Scripture does not give us any indication as to the result. However, forty years
later, we have information about the church at Corinth in the letter addressed to it from
the Roman church, traditionally known as the first epistle of Clement (of Rome). In it
we find that division and anarchy are still in evidence and there is little indication that
this church had made much progress towards spiritual maturity. This reminds us of the
fact that the apostolic age was not ideal in unity and purity of doctrine and practice as is
sometimes asserted. In our booklet, The Early Centuries and the Truth we have sought to
show that few really gripped the truth given through the Apostle in his day and the
succeeding generations.
If we today are rejoicing in any knowledge of the `unsearchable riches of Christ' made
known through Paul, how thankful we should be and how diligently we should be
seeking to make this known to others while the day of grace lasts!