This is the third time I am coming to you
Or "am ready to come to you", as the Alexandrian copy reads, as in ( 2 Corinthians 12:14 ) . Though he had been as yet but once at Corinth, and is to be reckoned and accounted for, either after this manner; he had been "once" with them when he first preached the Gospel to them, and was the means of their conversion, and laid, the foundation of their church state, of which there is some account in ( Acts 18:1 Acts 18:17 ) he came to them a "second" time, by writing his first epistle, when he desired to be considered by them, as though he was present with them, ( 1 Corinthians 5:3 ) and now a "third" time by this second epistle, in which he also speaks as if he was among them, see the following verse; or else in this way, he had been actually in person with them one time, and had been about to come in purpose and preparation a "second" time, but was prevented, and now was just ready a "third" time to set forward in his journey to them; see ( 2 Corinthians 12:14 ) and so the Syriac version reads it here, "this is the third time that I am ready to come to you", and which our version also favours. The Alexandrian copy and some others, the Complutension edition, the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, "behold, this third time" in order to raise and fix their attention to what he was saying, or about to say:
in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word
referring to ( Deuteronomy 19:15 ) which he applies much in the same manner Christ does in ( Matthew 18:16 ) and which it is probable he had in view; signifying hereby, that he proceeded in a judicial way, according to due form of law, and in such a manner as Christ had directed; and that they were to look upon his several comings in the sense now explained, to be as so many witnesses, whereby the several charges exhibited against them were fully attested and confirmed, so that things were now ripe for judgment, and for a final sentence to pass upon them.