2 Corinthians 12:11-13:14
M. Paul's Defense of his Apostolic Authority - 10:1-13:14
1. Obedience and Discipline - 10:1-6
2. Personal Obedience and Apostolic Commission - 10:7-18
3. An Appeal for Acceptance - 11:1-6
4. Paul's Critics: their charge and their character - 11:7-15
5. Triumphing over the Triumphalists - 11:16-33
6. Boasting in Weakness - 12:1-10
7. Conclusion to Paul's Foolish "Boasting" - 12:11-13
Up till now, Paul has been relatively kind and gentle in his dealings with the Corinthians. He has rebuked them, to be sure, but with irony and sarcasm. It isn't till now, however, that he launches what might be called "an open assault" (Carson) on their contribution to the troubling state of affairs in Corinth. He will continue to use sarcasm, but he also speaks more pointedly and directly here than at any previous time.
a. the assertion - v. 11
Paul puts the blame where it belongs: on the Corinthians themselves. "I didn't want to boast," says Paul. "You have driven me to indulge in what I find detestable. The fact is, I should never have been forced to speak up for myself. You have all the evidence you need to speak commendably on my behalf. I established the church in Corinth. I trained you in spiritual truths. I set an example for you of Christ-like humility and sacrifice. Where have I failed you? Notwithstanding all this, when the interlopers came strutting into Corinth, maligning my character and undermining my authority, you not only kept your mouths shut, you actually agreed with them!"
As Carson notes,
"preferring the worldly standards of leadership paraded by the interlopers, the Corinthians began to feel ashamed that their father in Christ was meek (10:1), short on rhetorical flourishes (10:10; 11:6), not very secure financially (11:7-11; 12:13), and reticent about his spiritual experiences (12:1-10)" (156).
Once again, this brief word of "boasting" is an embarrassment to Paul, so he quickly adds: "even though I am a nobody" (v. 11b). Apart from divine grace, says Paul, I am nothing. Whatever accomplishments you compel me to mention, make no mistake about their source: God.
b. the evidence - vv. 12-13
Here Paul explains why "in no respect" was he "inferior to the most eminent apostles." Everything that could possibly be demanded of a true apostle characterized his ministry in Corinth. He was "in nothing inferior" because, as he now reminds them, the "signs of an apostle" were done among them. But he is also "a nobody" because they were done in the context of extreme suffering and endurance.
1) the signs of an apostle - v. 12
In keeping with their triumphalism, the Corinthians evidently wanted miracles without suffering and triumphs without trials. But Paul makes clear that all the true signs of apostolicity, as well as the miracles that accompanied his ministry in Corinth, were wrought in the context of endurance of extreme suffering. The "endurance" in Paul's case would most likely refer to those things mentioned in 2 Cor. 11:23-33, as well as 2 Cor. 4 and 6.
Does 2 Corinthians 12:12 teach that signs and wonders are a "sign" of a true apostle, thus ruling out the possibility that other, non-apostolic, Christians might perform miracles (as the cessationist contends)? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is No. The NIV contributes to the confusion by translating as follows: “The things that mark an apostle --- signs, wonders and miracles --- were done among you with great perseverance.” This rendering leads one to believe that Paul is identifying the “signs/marks” of an apostle with the miraculous phenomena performed among the Corinthians. But the “signs/marks” of an apostle is in the nominative case whereas “signs, wonders and miracles” are in the dative. Contrary to what many have thought, Paul does not say the insignia of an apostle are signs, wonders and miracles. Rather, as the NASB more accurately translates, he asserts that “the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by [or better still, accompanied by] signs and wonders and miracles.”
Paul’s point is that miraculous phenomena accompanied his ministry in Corinth. Signs, wonders and miracles were attendant elements in his apostolic work. But they were not themselves the “signs of an apostle” (on this, see below). Whereas it is true that one characteristic of apostolic ministry is the miraculous, one may perform miracles without being an apostle.
Let us also remember that Paul does not refer to the “signs” of an apostle nor to the miraculous phenomena that accompanied his ministry as a way of differentiating himself from other, non-apostolic Christians, but from the false apostles who were leading the Corinthians astray (2 Cor. 11:14-15,33). “In short,” writes Wayne Grudem, “the contrast is not between apostles who could work miracles and ordinary Christians who could not, but between genuine Christian apostles through whom the Holy Spirit worked and non-Christian pretenders to the apostolic office, through whom the Holy Spirit did not work at all" ("Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible," in The Kingdom and the Power, ed. Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer [Ventura: Regal, 1993], 67).
Nowhere does Paul suggest that signs and wonders were exclusively or uniquely apostolic. My daughter took dance lessons and especially enjoyed ballet. She had incredibly strong and well-developed calf muscles. Indeed, it might even be said that the “sign” of a ballet dancer is strong calf muscles. But I would never argue that only ballet dancers display this physical characteristic. I simply mean to say that when taken in conjunction with other factors, her lower leg development helps you identify her as one who dances on her toes. Likewise, Paul is not saying that signs, wonders and miracles are performed only through apostles, but that such phenomena, together with other evidences, should help the Corinthians know that he is a true apostle of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the fact that miraculous phenomena and certain of the charismata served to attest and authenticate the apostles and the message of the gospel in no way proves that such activities are invalid for the church subsequent to the death of the apostolic company.
Note: Acts 18, the account of Paul's ministry in Corinth, contains no record of miracles done there. This again reminds us of the selective nature of Luke's narrative. It also is a warning not to draw conclusions on the frequency of the miraculous based on the silence of the NT.
on Apostleship in the New Testament
"We have become as the scum of the world,
the dregs of all things, even until now" (1 Cor. 4:13)
A. Levels of Apostleship
1) Jesus - In one sense, Jesus is the one true apostle, the "sent one" from God the Father (Heb. 3:1).
2) The Twelve - The original twelve apostles (the eleven plus Matthias [Acts 1:26]) constitute a unique and closed company. They will have the distinct role of judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28) and their names will be inscribed on the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14).
Note the qualifications that were required of the one who took the place of Judas (Acts 1:21-22).
3) Paul and others - Another group of apostles, equal in authority to the twelve, includes Paul (1 Cor. 15:9), Barnabas (Acts 14:4,14), James, the brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 15:7), and perhaps Silas (1 Thess. 2:7), Andronicus (Rom. 16:7) and Junias (Rom. 16:7). 1 Cor. 15:7 may be referring to yet more apostles.
· Although he was not included among the twelve, some would prefer to place Paul at Level 2 (or in a category unto himself), insofar as his authority was certainly equal to theirs (Gal. 1:11-17; 2 Cor. 12:11-12).
· Although men such as Timothy and Apollos were significant in the life of the early church, they are never called apostles. See especially the discussion concerning Timothy in Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and for Today (Crossway Books), pp. 272-75.
· Is Junias (Rom. 16:7) masculine or feminine? If feminine, then they are husband and wife. Recent examination of extensive Greek literature outside the Bible gives little help. The word Junias turned up only twice as a woman's name and only once as a man's name. If Junias is a woman, do we have reference here to a female apostle? It is possible (though not probable) to translate: "well known by the apostles," rather than "outstanding among the apostles." The point has been made that "since Andronicus and Junias were Christians before Paul was, it may be that their longstanding ministry (reaching back before Paul's) is precisely what Paul might have in mind when he says 'of note among the apostles.' They may well have been known among the apostles before Paul was even converted" (Piper/Grudem, 80). But we can't be certain. Most believe that, if Junias was a female apostle, she should be classified at level 4 below.
4) Messengers and Church Representatives - Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25) and the unnamed brethren of 2 Cor. 8:23 (possibly including Titus) fall into this category in which the term "apostle" (35x in Paul, 80x in the NT) is used in a non-technical, broad sense.
No one denies that there may be level 4 apostles today, people who function as church planters, ambassadors and/or representatives of a local church. Few, if any, want to argue that there are level 1 or 2 apostles today. But are there level 3 apostles today?
In his Cato Lectures of 1969, entitled "The Signs of an Apostle", C. K. Barrett argued for "eight persons, or groups of persons, all denoted, with varying degrees of propriety, by the term 'apostle'" (72). However, he appears to me to have unnecessarily made distinctions among those who belong to the same general category.
B. Criteria for Apostleship
What qualifications are essential for Level 3 apostleship?
1) Eye-Ear Witness to the Risen Christ - To be an apostle one must have both seen and heard the risen Christ. This is implied by Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor.. 9:1, and 15:6-9. But simply seeing the risen Christ did not make someone an apostle, for many saw and heard Him (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:6) who were not apostles.
2) A Personal Call and Commission from Jesus - This is evident from the statements of Paul himself (Gal. 1:1; Rom. 1:1,5; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; etc.).
C. Characteristics of Apostleship
There are other features or characteristics of apostolic ministry that must be noted. Whereas the presence of these factors does not make one an apostle, their absence may well call into question the authenticity of one's claim to that office. One would be hard-pressed to find an apostle in the NT whose life was not characterized by these features.
(1) Success in ministry (1 Cor.9:2; cf. 2 Cor. 3:1-3; [Paul appealed to the reality of their conversion as evidence of the authenticity of his apostolic calling]; but non-apostles also have great evangelistic success; see Philip in Acts 8).
(2) Signs and Wonders (Acts 5:12; Romans 15:19; 2 Cor. 12:12; but non-apostles also performed signs and wonders; see Stephen in Acts 6 and Philip in Acts 8).
(3) Extreme suffering (Col. 1:24; 2 Cor. 4:7-15; 11:23-33; etc.; certainly countless others also suffer).
(4) Christ-like life and humility (2 Cor. 1:12; 2:17; 3:4-6; 4:2; 5:11; 6:3-13; 7:2; 10:13-18; 11:6,23-28; but there is no reason why a non-apostolic believer might not live at this same level of maturity).
(5) Special insight into divine mysteries (Eph. 3:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 11:25-32; 2 Cor. 12:1-4,7).
(6) Authority and the power to enforce it (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 4:18-21; 5:5; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; 1 Tim. 1:20).
(7) God-orchestrated stigma (1 Cor. 4:9-13; 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 12:1-10).
D. The Writing of Scripture
It is widely assumed that an essential part of apostleship is the authority to write inspired Scripture. There are three problems with this view:
1) Scripture nowhere asserts that all apostles could write Scripture simply because they were apostles.
2) Several of the apostles did not, in fact, write Scripture. Does this disqualify them from being apostles?
3) People other than apostles did, in fact, write Scripture (Mark, Luke, the author of Hebrews, Jude).
There is no explicit or conclusive evidence that apostleship, per se, entailed the authority to write Scripture or required that one do so. Therefore, it is conceivable that God could raise up Level 3 apostles subsequent to the closing of the biblical canon without theatening the latter's finality and sufficiency. The canon is closed, not because God has stopped speaking, nor because there are no more apostles, but because God sovereignly closed it. God simply ceased inspiring and preserving canonical revelation. Basing the finality of the canon on the cessation of apostleship is disastrous. How can the absence of apostles guarantee the closing of the canon when non-apostles wrote Scripture? Such a view would require us to assert, absurdly, that as long as there are non-apostolic Christians the canon is open!
E. Apostles and the Foundation of the Church
Some have argued from Ephesians 2:20 that apostles belonged exclusively to the foundational period of the church and not to its subsequent history when the superstructure is being built. However:
1) This ignores vv. 21-22 where Paul refers to the superstructure as under construction, so to speak, as he speaks/writes (note the consistent use of the present tense in vv. 21-22). In other words, the apostles of v. 20, among whom was Paul, were also contributing to the superstructure, of which the Ephesians were a contemporary part, simultaneous with their laying the foundation on which it was being built.
2) To use an analogy, once a man establishes a company, writes its by-laws, articulates its vision, hires employees, and does all the work essential in laying the foundation for its future work and productivity, he does not necessarily cease to exist or to serve the company in other capacities. As Deere points out, "the founding director of a company or corporation will always be unique in the sense that he or she was the founder, but that does not mean the company would not have future directors or presidents" (Surprised, 248).
3) The argument is that once apostles ceased to function foundationally, they ceased to function altogether, as if the only purpose for apostles was to lay the foundation of the church. But nowhere does the NT say this, least of all in Eph. 2:20. This text need say no more than that apostles and prophets laid the foundation once and for all and then ceased to function in that capacity. But nothing suggests that they ceased to function in other capacities, much less that they ceased to exist altogether. Certainly it is true that only apostles and prophets lay the foundation of the church, but it is anything but certain that such is the only thing they do.
The only text that might suggest apostleship was limited to the first century is 1 Cor. 15:8 where Paul says that Jesus appeared to him "last of all". Paul Barnett argues from this that "Paul himself sought to establish the limited extent of the numbers of apostles. His careful words that Christ 'appeared to me last of all' . . . serve to show that while there were apostles before him, there were no apostles after him. According to Paul he is both 'the least' and 'the last' of the apostles" ("Apostle," in Dictionary of Paul and his Letters [IVP 1993], 50).
But this verse may be understood differently. Paul is listing those to whom Jesus appeared in order to prove His bodily resurrection. He appeared to Peter, then the twelve, after that to more than five hundred brethren, then to James, then to other apostles, and last of all, i.e., last among all those mentioned here to whom he appeared following his resurrection, to Paul. Certainly Paul was the last to whom Jesus had appeared to that point in time, but nothing in the text suggests that Jesus could not or would not appear to someone subsequent to Paul. Finally, Paul is not describing Jesus' post-resurrection appearances in order to prove his or anyone else's apostleship, but to prove that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. After all, he mentions His appearing to more than five hundred people, none of whom were apostles.]
F. Apostolic Authority
One reason people balk at the mention of modern apostles is based on their erroneous belief that NT apostleship entailed an absolute authority that required unquestioning obedience. But see Galatians 2:11-21 for a clear counter-example. Whereas no apostle ever made a mistake when writing Scripture, they did not live continuously under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in such a way that all their opinions and/or actions were infallible.
Furthermore, if God should truly call and commission apostles today, we should no more fear their authority than we do that of pastors and elders who likewise have been specifically raised up by the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, and oversee the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 20:28; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Heb. 13:17).
G. Apostles: First in Authority, Last in Privilege
(1) First in authority (1 Cor. 12:28; 14:37; 5:3-5; see also Acts 4:32-37; 8:14ff.; 2 Cor. 10:8)
(2) Last in privilege (1 Cor. 4:9-12; 9:22-23)
Does Scripture teach that apostleship was restricted to the first century church? No. Are there apostles today? I certainly believe that it is the agenda of the Holy Spirit to bring them forth before the coming of the Lord. However, there is considerable debate as to whether those with an "apostolic anointing" today, i.e., in 1998, are in the office of an apostle. I am open to the possibility that they are. But if so, they must meet the criteria set forth above and display the characteristics portrayed in the NT.
Ephesians 4:11-16 strongly suggests that apostles are essential "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ". This statement pertains not only to the apostolic but also to the ministries of prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher (or pastor-teacher), all of which I expect to see functioning fully before the coming of the Lord.
2) the sacrifice of an apostle - v. 13
The only so-called "mark" that was missing in Corinth was Paul's acceptance of their money! Paul can't resist the lure of sarcasm! "Evidently, my refusal to take your money, my determination to work hard for your sakes, is interpreted by you as proof that I regard you as less important and less valuable than other churches. Incredible! This can only be due to your warped triumphalistic view of leadership. Forgive me!"
[One can't help but think of the sarcastic apology of comedian Steve Martin: "Well, excuuuuse me!"]
8. Preparation for Paul's Third Visit - 12:14-13:10
a. reminder - vv. 14-18
1) Paul refused to take their money directly - vv. 14-15
Paul, unlike the false apostles, doesn't want their possessions. That ought to be obvious to them by now. Rather, he wants them, i.e., their continued allegiance and love, first to Christ and then to himself. The word translated "burden" means to grow numb under a heavy weight. "While the Corinthians looked on Paul's refusal of support as a personal injustice, he saw it as an opportunity to relieve his children of the undue weight of his daily needs" (Belleville, 316).
The illustration Paul uses in v. 14 should not be absolutized or universalized. See 1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Cor. 9:13-14. Paul's point is simply that his motive toward the Corinthians is like that of a parent concerned to edify his children, not to exploit them.
Here again we see Paul's heart: his compassion and caring for his people. Paul is glad, indeed, delighted to pour out himself, both body and soul, for their welfare. There is absolutely no resentment on his part for the amount of time and effort he has put into the their lives, even though they have responded so ungratefully and unfairly. Whatever time, energy, resources, money, as well as emotional, physical and spiritual effort might be required, he will "most gladly" do it. Far from expecting others to serve and honor him, far from expecting personal convenience and comfort, true apostolic ministry is the glad giving of oneself to others. "I'll spend until I'm spent for you," says Paul.
2) Paul refused to take their money indirectly - vv. 16-18
Amazingly, the Corinthians had come to believe that the reason Paul declined their up-front financial offer was because he was receiving money through his associates, through the "back door," so to speak. Some may even have suggested that he was skimming off the top of the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. [For the words translated "crafty" ("unscrupulous" or "cunning") and "deceit" in v. 16, see 4:2.] Barnett explains:
"On this view, Paul had stood on the high moral ground of self-support by manual labor, while having money slipped into his back pocket by Titus and others that they had received from the Corinthians. By appearing to be self-supporting he has 'taken' them, that is, gained a moral advantage over them" (587).
b. warning (1) - vv. 19-21
The Corinthians may well have thought that Paul's purpose in this letter was to defend himself to them. But he assures them that to whatever degree he has spoken of himself it was ultimately for their welfare. Indeed, the omniscient God, who sees into every motive and method, is witness to the truth of his words. The apostles' only judge is God.
These closing verses of chp. 12 are dominated by Paul's "fear" at the presence of unresolved moral problems in Corinth which he must address upon his arrival. There are, apparently, long-standing and unrepented sexual sins in the church there. He is concerned that his disciplinary response to this situation will involve him in "strife, jealousy, angry tempers," etc.
Not only does Paul fear conflict with the unrepentant (v. 20), he also fears the "humiliation" that God might impose as he deals with such an emotionally volatile situation. What does he mean by this? It may be that Paul anticipates the formal exclusion (excommunication) of people from the church, perhaps via some congregational procedure of discipline (cf. 1 Cor. 5:4; 2 Cor. 2:10). This would result, no doubt, in accusations, recriminations, and increased opposition by the obstinate, all of which would be a "humbling" experience for Paul, as it was on his earlier "painful" visit. On the other hand, "the most likely possibility is that Paul will be humiliated by the Corinthians' lack of moral discipline. After all, like any good parent he took pride in his Gentile churches, and anything that disgraced them also disgraced him" (Belleville, 325).
The extent of sexual sin in Corinth is well-documented. The so-called "lost letter" to the Corinthians was occasioned by "sexually immoral" people in the church (1 Cor. 5:9-11). In 1 Corinthians, Paul had challenged their indifference to the incestuous man (5:1), and had rebuked them for their use of prostitutes (6:15) and their involvement in adultery and homosexuality (6:9). In v. 21, "impurity" (akatharsia = general term for uncleanness of any kind), "immorality" (porneia = sexual sins of every sort), and "sensuality" (aselgeia = debauchery or wanton defiance of public decency) are mentioned. But note well: Paul takes no delight in dealing harshly with such people. Indeed, he anticipates "mourning" over their sins. Discipline grieved Paul. He took no sordid joy in it. Says Carson: "Not for him the haughty sternness of egocentric leaders who can with dry eyes and a high hand discipline members ensnared by sin. Paul is too much aware of the intertwining of responsibilities in the body of Christ. He cannot even distance himself entirely from their sin. He himself feels humbled in the face of it, just as a father feels humbled by his son's rebellion" (168).
c. warning (2) - vv. 1-4
Paul's "first" visit to Corinth resulted in the planting of the church there (Acts 18:1-8). His "second" visit was painful and humiliating and led him to resolve not to visit them again for a while (2 Cor. 1:23; 2:1). Now he contemplates his "third" visit.
The reference in v. 1 to the "testimony of two or three witnesses" in Deut. 19:15 may imply Paul's anticipation of a public hearing substantiated by multiple testimony. On the other hand, this may simply be an allusion to his previous two trips to Corinth and the impending third trip. Paul would thus be using biblical phraseology to issue his warning: "My third trip to you will serve as if another witness against your behavior, thereby substantiating and endorsing the disciplinary measures you force me to take."
The Corinthians' triumphalism is nowhere better seen than in v. 3a. "They were so sub-Christian in their thinking that Christlike gentleness and meekness meant little to them. They preferred manifestations of power, however exploitative and arbitrary they might be (11:20). Paul's gentleness they therefore misjudged as weakness, preferring the triumphalistic pushiness of the false apostles. Paul responds by saying that if it is power they want to see as the absolute criterion of genuine apostolicity, they may get more than they bargained for: he may be forced to display the power of the resurrected Christ, speaking through him in the thunderous tones of punishment, another version perhaps of the judgment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira" (Carson, 174).
"Whatever you think of me," says Paul in v. 3b, "remember that your quarrel is ultimately with Christ himself. Call me weak if you must, but know this: behind me stands the omnipotent Christ who will by no means permit your sins to continue unchecked!"
In v. 4 Paul demonstrates that Jesus is the supreme embodiment and example of both weakness (in his crucifixion) and strength (in his resurrection and exaltation). The crucifixion revealed "Christ's essential mortality.Weak and frail human being that he was, when he was subjected to physical trauma, he died just as we do. Unlike us, however, Christ did not remain in weakness" (Belleville, 329). The latter part of the verse is not a reference to the eschatological resurrection. Rather, it is Paul's stern warning of the manifestation of Christ's resurrection life through the apostle when he comes to them. "Paul's imminent coming to Corinth, as he preaches and embodies the crucifixion, will demonstrate that Christ 'lives by the power of God'" (Barnett, 605).
d. warning (3) - vv. 5-10
1) proving - vv. 5-6
Here Paul moves from responding to their demands that he "prove" that Christ is in him to his encouragement that they "prove" that Christ is in fact in them.
a) taking the exam - v. 5
In 1 Cor. 16:13 Paul urged them "to stand firm in the faith." Now he urges them to examine themselves to see if they are "in the faith." In both cases, "faith" means the Christian faith, i.e., those truths which constitute the Christian religion.
To "fail" the test is to discover, after self-examination, that Jesus is not, in point of fact, in them. Paul is not talking about the possibility of someone having Jesus in him, only then to apostatize and discover that Jesus is no longer there. His point is this: if the Corinthians are truly Christians, they will realize that Jesus is in them. And if Jesus is in them, they should be led to acknowledge that He is also in Paul, for it was through him that they came to saving faith. Surely there must be some merit to the claims of one who led so many to faith in Christ! In other words, "he will show them that their verdict about themselves will likewise be their verdict about him. That is, however they fare in their self-examination is how he also fares, because they owe their existence in Christ to him" (Barnett, 607).
Although Paul is confident that they will "pass the test," the possibility exists that some may discover that they have "failed." I.e., the reality of self-delusion and false assurance must be faced.
b) grading the exam - v. 6
2) praying - vv. 7-9
a) the object - v. 7a
b) the motive - v. 7b
c) the assurance - v. 8
d) the aim - v. 9
9. Summary of Paul's purpose in writing - 13:10
Although Paul's authority exists to build up and not to tear down, he is fully prepared to "tear down", i.e., discipline those who are in unrepentant moral rebellion. That Paul can "tear down" or "demolish" when called for (cf. 10:2-6) is certain. Sometimes it is a necessary prelude to rebuilding. But it is not his preference.
10. Final Greetings - 13:11-13
a. the commands - v. 11a
1) Rejoice! (cf. Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16)
2) Be made complete! (or be restored)
3) Be comforted!
4) Be like-minded!
5) Live in peace!
b. the consequences - v. 11b
c. the kiss - v. 12
There is no parallel for this action in the religious life of the synagogue of that day. The "holy kiss," therefore, was a Christian innovation. See also 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Cor. 16:20; Rom. 16:16; 1 Peter 5:14a. It was a "holy" kiss among believers and thus non-erotic
11. Trinitarian Salutation - 13:14