Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 34

page 1324
In chapters 8 and 9, Paul discusses the offering that was being organized for the poor
Christians in Judea. Because of a famine, the Jerusalem church was in distress, and Paul
wanted his churches to have the privilege of contributing to their needs. The Corinthians’
generosity was to reflect the generosity of God himself.
A discontented minority had still been complaining about Paul, saying that he was bold
in his letters but weak in person (10:1). So Paul defends his authority, which is God-given,
given to “build up” and not to “tear down” (10:8; see also 13:10). He reminds them of all
the hardships he had suffered while preaching the gospel. These sufferings, rather than
eloquence or good looks, were his true credentials.
What does it mean for us?
The Corinthians had been deceived by the eloquent teachers who had arrived after Paul had
left. In the bustling metropolis of Corinth, appearance was everything; and in spite of their
Christian beliefs, the Corinthians brought the world’s values to church with them. And they
were impressed by what they saw in these self-styled “super apostles.”
Paul reminds us that we need to be impressed only by what impresses God. Faithfulness
in serving him, especially when that involves weakness, suffering, and tears, is far more
worthy of our attention than eloquence or appearance. Outward impressions alone are not
an indicator of who is or isn’t a follower of Christ. If we keep this in mind, we will not be so
easily deceived, as the Corinthians were.
Paul had not enjoyed disciplining this church he had founded, but discipline is sometimes
necessary and is really an expression of love. If we are to mature spiritually and emotionally,
then we too need to accept correction from those we trust.
Greetings from Paul
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will
of God to be an apostle of Christ ­Jesus,
and from our brother Tim­o­thy.
I am writing to God’s church in Co­rinth and
to all of his holy people throughout Greece.*
May God our Father and the Lord ­Jesus
Christ give you grace and peace.
God Offers Comfort to All
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord
­Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and
the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us
in all our troubles so that we can comfort
others. When they are troubled, we will be
able to give them the same comfort God has
given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ,
the more God will shower us with his comfort
through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed
down with troubles, it is for your comfort and
salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then
you can patiently endure the same things we
suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share
in our sufferings, you will also share in the
comfort God gives us.
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,* about the trouble we went
through in the province of Asia. We were
crushed and overwhelmed beyond our
ability to endure, and we thought we would
never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected
to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on
ourselves and learned to rely only on God,
who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue
us from mortal danger, and he will rescue
us again. We have placed our confidence in
him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And
you are helping us by praying for us. Then
many people will give thanks because God
has graciously answered so many prayers for
our safety.
Paul’s Change of Plans
We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given
holiness* and sincerity in all our dealings.
We have depended on God’s grace, not on
our own human wisdom. That is how we
have conducted ourselves before the world,
and especially toward you. 13 Our letters have
been straightforward, and there is nothing
written between the lines and nothing you
can’t understand. I hope someday you will
fully understand us, 14 even if you don’t
understand us now. Then on the day when

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