1 This will be my third visit to you. [Deut. 19:15 says], "Every matter should be settled by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 2 I told you the last time I was there, and now before returning, I [again] warn those who have sinned in the past as well as the rest, that if I come again I will not spare you [i.e., I will rebuke and discipline you], 3 since you are looking for proof that Christ is speaking through me. Christ is not weak in His dealing with you, but is powerful among you. [Note: Paul probably refers to the positive effects of his ministry there in Corinth]. 4 For He was weak when He was crucified [i.e., by assuming a human body capable of suffering and death], but [now] He lives by God's power. For we too are weak, [along] with Him [i.e., each of us experiences the frailties of a human body], but by [this same] power from God, we will live with Him to serve you. [Note: The various translations differ widely on how to properly translate this difficult verse].
5 Put yourselves to a test; see if you are [really] in the faith [i.e., see if you are genuine Christians]; examine yourselves! Or, do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in your hearts, unless [of course] you fail the test [i.e., unless you are counterfeit Christians]. 6 But I hope that you people will realize that we [apostles] are not counterfeit. 7 Now we pray to God that you people will not do anything wrong. That is not so that we will appear approved [by God], but so that you will do what is right, even though we may appear to be counterfeits. 8 For we [apostles] have no power [to act] against the truth, but [only] for the truth. [Note: Paul here alludes to his gifts and ministry being intended only to promote what was right according to God's truth]. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are powerful. And we are also praying for your complete restoration [i.e., to spiritual maturity]. 10 This is the reason I am writing these things while away from you, so that I will not have to deal severely with you when I am there. For the Lord gave me authority to build people up [spiritually] and not to tear them down.
11 Finally, brothers, good-bye [or, "be glad"]. Be fully restored [spiritually]. Be comforted [or, "exhort one another"]. Think alike on things. Be at peace among yourselves. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss [i.e., to signify affection, yet without sensuality].