Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


2 Corinthians 13:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For though he was crucified through weakness - It is true Christ was crucified, and his crucifixion appeared to be the effect of his weakness; yet even this was not so; he gave up his life, none could take it away from him; and in his last struggle, had he even been deficient in power, he could have had more than twelve legions of angels to support him against the high priest's mob, Matthew 26:53; but how then could the Scripture be fulfilled? And had he not died, how could the human race have been saved?

Yet he liveth by the power of God - Though he appeared to be crucified through his own weakness, yet he now liveth by the power of God; exerting an almighty energy by which all things are subject to him.

We also are weak in him - Because we are on Christ's side we appear to you as weak as he did to the Jews; but it is not so, for we live with him - under the same influence, and partaking of the same life; manifesting by our preaching and miracles the power of God towards you. While I do not use the rod, I appear to you weak; I will use it, and then you shall find me to be strong.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For though he was crucified through weakness - Various modes have been adopted of explaining the phrase “through weakness.” The most probable explanation is that which refers it to the human nature which he had assumed Philemon 2:7-8; 1 Peter 3:18, and to the appearance of weakness which he manifested. He did not choose to exert his power. He appeared to his enemies to be weak and feeble. This idea would be an exact illustration of the point before the apostle. He is illustrating his own conduct, and especially in the fact that he had not exerted his miraculous powers among them in the punishment of offenders; and he does it by the example of Christ, who though abundantly able to have exerted his power and to have rescued himself from his enemies, yet was willing to appear weak, and to be crucified. It is very clear:

(1) That the Lord Jesus seemed to his enemies to be weak and incapable of resistance.

(2) that he did not put forth his power to protect his life. He in fact offered no resistance, as if he had no power.

(3) he had a human nature that was especially sensitive, and sensible to suffering; and that was borne down and crushed under the weight of mighty woes; see my notes on Isaiah 53:2-3. From all these causes he seemed to be weak and feeble; and these appear to me to be the principal ideas in this expression.

Yet he liveth - He is not now dead. Though he was crucified, yet he now lives again, and is now capable of exerting his great power He furnishes proof of his being alive, in the success which attends the gospel, and in the miracles which are performed in his name and by his power. There is a living Redeemer in heaven; a Redeemer who is able to exert all the power which he ever exerted when on earth; a Redeemer, therefore, who is able to save the soul; to raise the dead; to punish all his foes.

By the power of God - In raising him from the dead and placing him at his own right hand; see Ephesians 1:19-21. Through the power of God he was brought from the tomb, and has a place assigned him at the head of the universe.

For we also are weak in him - Margin, “with him.” We his apostles, also, are weak in virtue of our connection with him. We are subject to infirmities and trials; we seem to have no power; we are exposed to contempt; and we appear to our enemies to be destitute of strength. Our enemies regard us as feeble; and they despise us.

But we shall live with him … - That is, we shall show to you that we are alive. By the aid of the power of God we shall show that we are not as weak as our foes pretend; that we are invested with power; and that we are able to inflict the punishment which we threaten. This is one of the numerous instances in which Paul illustrated the case before him by a reference to the example and character of Christ. The idea is, that Christ did not exert his power, and appeared to be weak, and was put to death. So Paul says that he had not exerted his power, and seemed to be weak. But, says he, Christ lives, and is clothed with strength; and so we, though we appear to be weak, shall exert among you, or toward you, the power with which he has invested us, in inflicting punishment on our foes.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Though it is God's gracious method to bear long with sinners, yet he will not bear always; at length he will come, and will not spare those who remain obstinate and impenitent. Christ at his crucifixion, appeared as only a weak and helpless man, but his resurrection and life showed his Divine power. So the apostles, how mean and contemptible soever they appeared to the world, yet, as instruments, they manifested the power of God. Let them prove their tempers, conduct, and experience, as gold is assayed or proved by the touchstone. If they could prove themselves not to be reprobates, not to be rejected of Christ, he trusted they would know that he was not a reprobate, not disowned by Christ. They ought to know if Christ Jesus was in them, by the influences, graces, and indwelling of his Spirit, by his kingdom set up in their hearts. Let us question our own souls; either we are true Christians, or we are deceivers. Unless Christ be in us by his Spirit, and power of his love, our faith is dead, and we are yet disapproved by our Judge.