“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
The final verse of this letter to the Corinthian church ends with a benediction from the Apostle Paul. The word “benediction” finds its origin in two Latin words: bene (or “well”) and dicere (“to speak”). Much like its appearance at the end of this epistle, a benediction is comprised of a short invocation that typically ends a worship service or public ceremony and seeks God’s blessing upon a church fellowship, a newly married couple, or a general assembly of people.
Perhaps the most famous Old Testament benediction can be found in the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (KJV). The New Testament parallel to that Old Testament benediction is found here in 2 Corinthians 13:14.
This final verse represents the only portion of Scripture where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are mentioned together in such a manner. Thus, we are reminded of the unmerited favor demonstrated through Jesus’ sacrificial offering, the love displayed by the Father through Christ, and the fellowship we now enjoy with God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
One source offers the following observation that captures the all-encompassing nature of this great blessing…
“This is the only one of Paul’s epistles which he closes with such a full Trinitarian benediction. Nevertheless, it fully reveals his faith in the tri-unity of the Godhead, a doctrine absolutely unique to Christianity among all the varied religions and philosophies of the world. It is also a doctrine vital to the true Christian life, for each Person is vitally involved in the creation, redemption, guidance and ultimate glorification of each believer.” (1)
So this brings us to the end of our look at the Corinthian epistles. While the church at Corinth was a deeply troubled church in many respects. we should be thankful that God saw fit to address the issues that existed within that congregation through the pen of Paul the Apostle. This record of the challenges faced by the Corinthian church has helped untold numbers of people and for that, we are deeply indebted.
Nevertheless, there is one final question to address regarding this letter to the Corinthian church and we’ll do so in the epilogue that follows.
(1) Institute for Creation Research, New Defender’s Study Bible Notes [2 Corinthians 13:14] http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/7606