7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.
Verses 7-10 was an appeal to the Corinthians to repent, because Paul’s visit would not be contentious if they did.
7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil,
Paul prayed that the Corinthians would not take a confrontational approach when he came.
not that we should appear approved,
The issue was not whether Paul’s team passed or failed the test. That was not paramount in their minds. Their reputation was not the point. He did not care whether he was proved right as long as they resolved the situation.
but that you should do what is honorable,
The apostle hoped that a clear-headed evaluation of the situation by the church would result in his vindication and the resolve to correct their problems.
though we may seem disqualified.
Even though some in the church might have thought that Paul was not a genuine apostle (“disqualified”), he still prayed for a positive outcome. His team was not concerned about their reputation. Their interest was the wellbeing of the Corinthians, even if they would appear “disqualified.” Whatever the opinion of the team that the church had of them, their concern was for the development and maturity of the assembly.
A major duty of the pastor is to pray for his people.
There are several great prayers in the New Testament. Three that pray for congregations are Ephesians 1:18-19, Philippians 1:9-11, and 1 Thessalonians 3:10-12. It is a selfless act to pray for others.