In a short time the Apostle expects to visit Corinth, and hence only a few words are required to terminate this letter. Following the severity that has preceded in the last four chapters some brief expression of kindness now will dispose the faithful to proper dispositions.
11. For the rest, brethren, rejoice, be perfect, take exhortation, be of one mind, have peace; and the God of peace and of love shall be with you.
Rejoice (χαιρετε), i.e., have a holy joy in your belonging to Christ (1 Thess 5:16).
Be perfect, i.e., correct your faults. The Greek word καταρτιζεσθε suggests a complete and thorough repair or adjustment.
Take exhortation. Rather, “Be comforted,” in spite of the troubles in your Church.
Be of one mind, etc., i.e., keep aloof from parties and divisions.
And the God of peace, etc. The inverse order is found in the best Greek: “And the God of love and peace,” etc. The connection with the two preceding exhortations is very close: “Be of one mind, and the God of love shall be with you; have peace, and the God of peace shall be with you” (Plum.).
12. Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you.
Salute one another, etc. See on Rom 16:16; 1 Cor16:20.
All the saints, i.e., all the Christians in the place from which St. Paul was writing this letter. The place is Macedonia, perhaps at Philippi, for all who hold the integrity of 2 Cor.; but Ephesus, for those who believe this verse to be a part of the severe letter written between 1 and 2 Cor.
13. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the
communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.
This verse contains the fullest and most instructive of the benedictions found in St. Paul’s letters. The blessing here given is extended to all the Corinthians and embraces everything necessary for them, namely, “the grace of Christ, by which we are justified and saved; the charity of God the Father, by which we are united to Him; and the communication of the Holy Spirit, distributing to us His divine gifts” (St. Thomas). The only blessing which rivals this one in St. Paul is that found at the close of Ephesians. Perhaps the Apostle felt that the Corinthian Church, by reason of its dissensions and strifes, was in particular need of a more complete benediction.
The Greek Fathers frequently appealed to this verse against the various Anti-Trinitarian heretics. The familiarity with which St. Paul here refers to the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity shows that even at so early a date the faithful, who were far removed from the older centres of Christian thought and teaching, were well acquainted with the doctrine of three Persons in one divine nature. Of course, it was expressed in the baptismal formula (Matt 28:19), and was therefore one of the first doctrines to be taught.
The Amen is wanting in the best MSS.