Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 33

page 1323
2 Corinthians
Weakness and strength
When Paul left Corinth, he left behind a thriving church. But it wasn’t
long before some opponents arrived, questioning Paul’s integrity and
authority as an apostle and presenting themselves as “super apostles.”
How could Paul be a real apostle, they asked, when he suffered so
much? But they failed to understand that suffering and weakness were
what God used to reveal his glory, as the cross itself demonstrates. To
reject this was to preach “a different kind of gospel” (11:4). A visit to
resolve the problems had proved painful (2:1-11), and Paul had left. He
later sent Titus with a severe letter, and Titus returned with news that
the church had had a change of heart (7:5-13), which gave Paul much
joy. He then wrote this letter to prepare the way for a personal visit,
revealing much of what he had gone through as an apostle.
What’s it all about?
Paul opens his letter with a series of references
Greetings and introduction
to comfort. He knew from personal experience
that God comforts us in all our difficulties, for
God had been with him throughout the painful
The history of the dispute
disagreement between him and the Corinthian
church. Paul then invites the church to forgive
The new covenant and its servants
someone—perhaps the man referred to in
1 Corinthians 5, whose sexual sin had created
Reasons for courage and confidence
so many problems for the church and for
Paul—and to receive him back into fellowship
(chapter 2).
Paul defends himself and his
In chapters 3 and 4, Paul reminds them
coworkers ⋅ 6:3-13
that he needs no letter of recommendation,
Relationships with nonbelievers
for they themselves are that letter; and both
they and he are servants of the new covenant.
He compares the glory of this covenant with
Paul’s joy over the repentant
Corinthians ⋅ 7:5-16
that of the old covenant, concluding that
Christians experience far more glory than the
Encouragements about money and
Israelites ever did. Every day Christians are
giving ⋅ 8:1–9:15
being changed by the Spirit to reflect more
Paul’s vindication of his ministry
and more of God’s glory. But they still live in
the world and have to endure problems and
hardships. Their bodies are like “fragile clay
Final greetings and encouragements
jars” (4:7). They contain a great treasure, but
they will only be completely transformed at the
final resurrection (chapter 5). Until then, they
must press on, live by the Spirit, and live each day to please God.
In chapter 6, Paul warns the Corinthians not to associate in unhelpful ways
with non-Christians. They must remember that God lives in and among them
and that he has set them apart to be his own people. He then commends them
for taking his previous reprimands to heart (chapter 7).

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