2 Corinthians

by Ken Cayce

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2 Corinthians Explained

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Paul's so called second letter to the Corinthians is actually the fourth letter that he wrote to Corinth. A previous epistle was written prior to First and Second Corinthians. Several features distinguish the second canonical letter. The first epistle is both practical and instructional, but this one is intensely personal and autobiographical.

Second Corinthians is written to the assembly that was founded on Paul's first visit to that city. Since his departure and subsequent ministry in Ephesus, the apostle has learned a great deal about the serious problems fermenting in this assembly. Problems with worldliness, internal wrangling and doctrinal defections continue to fester in spite of Paul's efforts in the first epistle.

In this letter to the church at Corinth, we will see Paul trying to prove to these people his right of apostleship. There were some in this church at Corinth who believed Paul did not have this right. Paul says more about himself and his ministry in this letter, than he does in all of the others. Some people today would call this Paul's testimony.

The main lesson that we can find in this for ourselves, is that ministering carries with it a great deal of suffering. This suffering takes many forms, the greatest of which is not being believed by fellow ministers. Paul's intentions are questioned, and he answered them. In this book, we will see a list of many of the things that Paul suffered to be able to minister. His afflictions were many and not just from the world, but from within the church as well. In this book, we can see that there were times of joy with Paul, but there were also times of great sorrow. They were mingled together like seasoning on a food dish, some salt, some pepper.

Background: 2 Corinthians is written to the assembly that was founded on Paul's first visit to that city. Since his departure and subsequent ministry in Ephesus, the apostle has learned a great deal about the serious problems fermenting in this assembly. Problems with worldliness, internal wrangling's, and doctrinal defections continue to fester in spite of Paul's efforts in the first epistle.

Opposition to Paul's ministry continues to mount, especially coming from the party that associated itself with "Christ" (compare 10:7; 11:13). The leader of this group seems to have been especially hostile to the apostle (10:7-11). The charges leveled against the apostle by this group are indicated in a number of passages. For example, he was accused of fickleness (1:17), authoritarianism (1:24), ministering without proper credentials (3:1), cowardice (10:1, 10), failure to maintain proper clerical dignity (11:7), presumption (10:13-17), and fleshliness (10:2). Likewise, the apostle has a few things to say about his accusers. For example, they corrupted the Word (2:17); they were deceptive (3:1); they were Jews masquerading as ministers of Christ (11:23-27); they were domineering (11:20); they were bold (11:21); they lacked the spiritual courage to step out and start their own ministry (11:23-27). Thus it was no small wonder that the apostle was seriously concerned about the spiritual well-being of the church at Corinth.

Author and Date: That the Apostle Paul wrote 2 Corinthians is uncontested; the lack of any motive for a forger to write this highly personal, biographical epistle has led even the most critical scholars to affirm Paul as its author.

Several considerations establish a feasible date for the writing of this letter. Extrabiblical sources indicated that July, A.D. 51 is the most likely date for the beginning of Gallio's proconsulship (compare Acts 18:12). Paul's trial before him at Corinth (Acts 18:12-17), probably took place shortly after Gallio assumed office. Leaving Corinth (probably in A.D. 52), Paul sailed for Palestine (Acts 18:18), thus concluding his second missionary journey. Returning to Ephesus on his third missionary journey (probably in A.D. 52), Paul ministered there for about 2-1/2 years (Acts 19:8, 10). The apostle wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus toward the close of that period (1 Cor. 16:8), most likely (in A.D. 55). Since Paul planned to stay in Ephesus until the following spring (compare the reference to Pentecost in 1 Cor. 16:8), and 2 Corinthians was written after he left Ephesus, the most likely date for 2 Corinthians is late A.D. 55 or very early A.D. 56.


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2 Corinthians 1 2 Corinthians 6 2 Corinthians 11
2 Corinthians 2 2 Corinthians 7 2 Corinthians 12
2 Corinthians 3 2 Corinthians 8 2 Corinthians 13
2 Corinthians 4 2 Corinthians 9  
2 Corinthians 5 2 Corinthians 10  

2 Corinthians 1

2 Corinthians Chapter 1

Second Corinthians is written to the assembly that was founded on Paul's first visit to that city. Since his departure and subsequent ministry in Ephesus, the apostle has learned a great deal about the serious problems fermenting in this assembly. Problems with worldliness, internal wrangling and doctrinal defections continue to fester despite Paul's efforts in the first epistle.

In this letter to the church at Corinth, we will see Paul trying to prove to these people his right of apostleship. There were some in this church at Corinth who believed Paul did not have this right. Paul says more about himself and his ministry in this letter, than he does in all of the others. Some people today would call this Paul's testimony.

2 Corinthians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:"

Even in this very first verse of the letter, Paul says it was "the will of God", for him to be an apostle. Paul in a real sense, is saying, I did not choose to be an apostle, God chose me. The Christians at this time, were called saints, or brothers.

It is not clear whether this letter was written from Cenchrea or not, but it was in Achaia. An ancient province and a present prefecture of Greece, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. In Ancient Roman times the name of the province of Achaea was given to the whole of Greece. This would be somewhere in the southern part of Greece.

Paul immediately states that he is an apostle. He does not say; I think I am an apostle. He boldly states that he is. The word "apostle" means delegate, or ambassador of the gospel. In the official sense, it means commissioner of Christ, this meaning includes (with miraculous powers). It can also mean messenger, or he that is sent. Paul was all of these things.

We must notice in this that Paul always has someone to minister with him. In this particular instance, he has Timothy. He knows that Timothy is loyal to him. Timothy is Paul's student and would not differ with Paul at all. There are times when this type of loyalty is very important. Timothy is not the only one with Paul, but is the closest to Paul in this instance. One of the reasons it is important to have the second minister that agrees with you, is for the prayer of agreement. Paul wants this church to know that his ministry is actually a revelation of Jesus Christ through Paul.

2 Corinthians 1:2 "Grace [be] to you and peace from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ."

This is a greeting that Paul used many times and is more evidence that this letter was Paul's. It is a prayer of Paul's for them. He wished that God would give them this grace (unmerited favor). He is explaining also, that this is not just from Jesus as Savior, but from the Father as well.

2 Corinthians 1:3 "Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;"

Paul never once, stopped speaking of the blessedness of God. "Father of mercies", just means that God is full of mercy for everyone who believes.

There is no other comfort compared to the peace that God brings. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to comfort. He is even spoken of as the Comforter.

2 Corinthians 1:4 "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

Tribulation comes to the Christian, as well as to those of the world. This "comfort in tribulation", speaks of us having a peace in the midst of the tribulation. There is a rest for the Christian in Christ. The world may be falling apart around us, but we can have perfect peace within.

God's comfort is not an end in itself. Its purpose is that believers also might be comforters. Having humiliated and convicted the Corinthians, God used Paul to return to them with a strengthening message after he himself had received divine strengthening.

The only way to truly sympathize with someone else is to have had the same problem yourself.

2 Corinthians 1:5 "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."

When we receive Christ in us, we are partakers in His suffering as well.

Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."

Here is a favorite Scripture that explains this very well.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

God's comfort to believers extends to the boundaries of their suffering for Christ. The more they endure righteous suffering, the greater will be their comfort and reward.

2 Corinthians 1:6 "And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation."

Paul is saying to them, that his suffering and tribulations were endured by him without complaining, so that he could bring the gospel to them. Paul was willing to go through almost any hardship, if he thought in so doing, he could win some to Christ.

Here Paul is referring to the body of Christ's partnership of suffering, which mutually builds godly patience and endurance. All believers need to realize this process, avoid any sense of self-pity when suffering for Him. And share in each other's lives, the encouragement of divine comfort they receive from their experiences.

2 Corinthians 1:7 "And our hope of you [is] stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation."

Paul is saying that he will not give up on them. He also says to them, if they are to minister for Christ there will be sufferings that they will have to endure as well. Paul says if you allow yourself to die to this world in Christ, you will share in His resurrection.

Many in the church of Corinth were suffering for righteousness as Paul was. Although that church had caused him much pain and concern, Paul saw its members as partners to be helped because of their faithfulness in mutual suffering.

2 Corinthians 1:8 "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:"

The persecution that Paul endured was so great, that he would have welcomed death. We are not told just exactly which act of violence came to Paul while he was in Asia. We are told that it was almost more than he could bear.

Paul faced something that was beyond human survival and was extremely discouraging because he believed it threatened to end his ministry prematurely. The Corinthians' were aware of what had happened to Paul, but did not realize the utter severity of it, or what God was doing through those circumstances.

The one thing Paul wants them to learn from this is that they also might be called upon to suffer. The Lord Jesus Christ did not deceive Paul. He told Paul that He would show him what he must suffer.

Acts 9:16 "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

This is the Words of the Lord. They are printed in red in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 1:9 "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:"

Paul knew that his life was in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was not fearful of physical death. He knew that there were many Jews who would like him killed. He also knew, that he could do nothing about this. His trust was in the Lord. He also knew, if they killed his body, he would live on through Jesus Christ.

Paul was so absolutely sure he was going to die for the gospel that he had pronounced the sentence upon himself. This was God's ultimate purpose for Paul's horrible extremity. The Lord took him to the point at which he could not fall back on any intellectual, physical or emotional human resource.

Paul placed his trust in Jesus the same as we must do. We should all heed this Scripture in Hebrews.

Hebrews 13:6 states "So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

2 Corinthians 1:10 "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us];"

Before we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we are living unto death. We have no hope for the future. When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive everlasting life.

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Again, these are the Words of Jesus as shown by the red print.

2 Corinthians 1:11 "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift [bestowed] upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."

Paul was thanking them for praying for him. Every church that I know of, is as strong as the prayers that go up for it. Every minister needs the prayers of the congregation. Some people think that they cannot help the ministry, because they are not the minister. The job of intercessory prayer is just as important, and I would say more important than the actual ministry.

Intercessory prayer is crucial to the expression of God's power and sovereign purpose. In this regard, Paul wanted the faithful Corinthians to know he needed their prayers then and in the future.

Prayer's duty is not to change God's plans, but to glorify Him and give thanks for them. Paul was confident that God's sovereign purpose would be accomplished, balanced by the prayerful participation of believers.

The prayer then, causes the Spirit to call to the person. No one will come to the Lord, unless the Spirit woes him. You see, prayer is the number 1 reason for people being saved. Someone must care enough to pray for you.

2 Corinthians 1:12 "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."

Paul is just saying that he has a clear conscience.

The conscience is the soul's warning system which allows human beings to contemplate their motives and actions and the make a moral evaluation of what is right and wrong.

Paul has not tried to show how smart he is, but has tried to bring the good news of the gospel as simply as he could, so that all could understand. Paul has spoken the words that the Lord has given him for these people. He will not apologize for the message God has given him. The gospel is not complicated, but simple, so that all might receive it with joy in their heart. This is still the way the Lord expects His salvation message to go out. He wants it simple, so that all may understand.

Using big words, elevate the person that is using them, but do nothing for the uneducated person who is trying to understand. Ministers are to keep it simple for all to understand. Ministry is not to make the minister feel important, but to cause people to come to Christ. The more who understand, the more who believe and come to Christ.

Fleshly wisdom is the wisdom that is based on worldly, human insight (see James 3:15).

2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Questions

  1. Who wrote 2 Corinthians?
  2. Who was it written to?
  3. What was Paul trying to prove in this letter?
  4. Some people today would call this Paul's ____________.
  5. What is the main lesson that we can take from the letter?
  6. Who were most of Paul's afflictions from?
  7. What does the author compare the joy and sorrow of Paul to?
  8. Was it Paul's will to be an apostle? Explain.
  9. What were the Christians called at the time Paul wrote this letter?
  10. Where was Achaia?
  11. What does Paul proclaim himself as in verse 1?
  12. What does "apostle" mean?
  13. Why does Paul have another minister working with him?
  14. Why did Paul need Timothy at this time?
  15. What is the benediction on the people, spoken in verse 2?
  16. What is "grace"?
  17. What does "Father of mercies" mean?
  18. Who is the Comforter?
  19. What does the "comfort in tribulation" speak of?
  20. Did Paul complain about his suffering?
  21. Who did Paul's suffering benefit?
  22. How badly had Paul suffered in Asia?
  23. Why was Paul not fearful of death?
  24. What is a very important job in the church, besides being the minister?
  25. How had Paul ministered to them?

2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Continued

2 Corinthians 1:13 "For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;"

Many ministers, even now, find themselves in the awkward position of trying to defend their selves. Paul was no different. Rumors had arisen that he was not ministering correctly. This letter, as we said before, is to dispel some of those rumors.

This broadly answers the accusation that Paul had engaged in deceptive personal relationships. His continuing flow of information to the Corinthians was always clear, straightforward and understandable, consistent and genuine.

Paul is just saying in the verse above, that he has no ulterior motive at all for what he is doing. He said in the previous verse, that his conscience was clear. He had brought the simple message of salvation. Paul is saying here, if you will examine what I have said, you will know it to be truth. He also says, I believe the very things that you have heard and accepted.

Paul wanted them to know that he was not holding back anything, nor did he have any secret agenda.

2 Corinthians 1:14 "As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also [are] ours in the day of the Lord Jesus."

Paul is saying in this, that he will rejoice on judgment day, when many of those that he brought the gospel message to, will stand before the Lord and be saved.

Paul eagerly longed for the Lord's coming when they would rejoice over each other in glory.

He is also saying that in that day, they will rejoice that he brought them to the knowledge of the Lord. It is so strange, after they were saved under his ministry, that suddenly many find fault with his ministry.

2 Corinthians 1:15 "And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;"

Paul is feeling that it would have been good, if he could have come to them and ministered again.

Paul's original plan was to visit the Corinthians twice so that they might receive a double blessing. His travel plans were not the result of selfishness, but of the genuine relationship he enjoyed with the Corinthians and their mutual loyalty and godly pride in each other.

Sometimes there needs to be lessons taught on how to continue in the faith. The difference in an evangelist and a pastor tell us that. An evangelist brings the message of salvation and goes on to the next place. The job of a pastor is to teach his congregation to live in the salvation they have received. The pastor is a shepherd who leads the sheep. That is the very reason it is so important for the pastor to be living a good clean life himself.

2 Corinthians 1:16 "And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea."

Paul had planned to leave Ephesus, stop at Corinth on the way to Macedonia and return to Corinth again after his ministry in Macedonia. For some reason, Paul's plans changed and he was unable to stop in Corinth the first time. The false apostles who had invaded the church seized upon that honest change of schedule as evidence of his untrustworthiness and tried to use it to discredit him.

2 Corinthians 1:17 "When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay?"

It seems that in the flesh, Paul had wanted to come to Corinth, but Paul had not followed the wishes of the flesh. He had been led by the Holy Spirit to go to other places. Paul was not his own man. He went where God sent him. When the Lord sent Paul somewhere, Paul just said, Yea Lord.

The Greek words that introduce this question call for an indignant, negative answer. Paul declared that he was in no way operating as a vacillating, fickle, unstable person who could not be trusted.

There is no nay when speaking to the Lord. We just say nay to the flesh. Some of the people in Corinth highly criticized Paul for not coming by to see them and answer personally some of their complaints.

He affirmed that his "yes" and "no" words to them really meant what they said.

2 Corinthians 1:18 "But [as] God [is] true, our word toward you was not yea and nay."

Paul is saying, that he preached the same thing to them all the time. He was not preaching to itching ears, but to the best of his ability bringing them the true message of God. Paul was not wishy washy with his message. He gave the same message every time to them.

Paul said what he meant and did what he said, unless there was a compelling reason to change his plans.

The only time he appeared to be giving another message, was because he was trying to get them to listen to the gospel message. He did honor their customs as much as he could to get himself in to preach to them.

2 Corinthians 1:19 "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, [even] by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea."

The message of salvation is the same every time. It does not matter if Paul brings it, or Silvanus, or Timothy. The only thing that varies at all is the observance of their customs.

The firmness of Paul's statement and his use of Jesus' full title, indicates that the person and work of Christ were under attack from the false teachers at Corinth. The proof of his truthfulness with them was the truthful gospel which he faithfully preached.

2 Corinthians 1:20 "For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."

God is unchangeable. Whatever God has promised in His Word will definitely be.

All God's Old Testament and New Testament promises of peace, joy, love, goodness, forgiveness, salvation, sanctification, fellowship, hope, glorification and heaven are made possible and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

"Amen" means so be it. There are no promises of God that will be changed. Paul reminded them that they had said a collective "yes", to the truth of his preaching and teaching.

2 Corinthians 1:21 "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, [is] God;"

Paul is reminding them again, that it was God who called him. It was God who anointed Paul to preach. Notice that they, like Paul, had been established in the Lord Jesus. Christians are in Christ, and He in us.

Romans 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"

Jesus is our Redemption. He is our life. Christ's saving work of grace stabilizes believers and places them on a firm foundation in Him.

Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Paul says that his ministry is not in his own power, but in the anointing of God.

2 Corinthians 1:22 "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

Romans 8:23 "And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body."

2 Corinthians 5:5: "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

We Christians are citizens of heaven. We are waiting for that day, when we will go there to live. In the meantime, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit of God as an earnest on that promise to us. The Holy Spirit of God is the seal of promise to the believer in Christ. It just assures us of our adoption into the family of God.

1 John 4:13: "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

1 John 2:27: But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

For Paul's critics to attack his authenticity was equal to tearing down God's work as well as the church's unity.

2 Corinthians 1:23 "Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth."

Paul did not want to come to Corinth while they were doing so many things in the church that was displeasing to God. Paul perhaps, would have reprimanded them so harshly, had he been there in person, that it might have made it difficult for him to minister there and have the best results.

Paul did not come earlier because he wanted them to have time to repent of and correct their sinful behavior. He waited instead for a report from Titus before taking further action, hoping he would not have to come again, as he had earlier, to face their rebellion.

Paul in this entire letter, is trying to clear his own name of false accusations placed against him. Had Paul come and been terribly upset by what he saw, he might have caused some to leave the church. He did not want that to happen.

2 Corinthians 1:24 "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."

Paul is explaining in this, that it is not like it was in the Jewish temple where the high priest had so much power. Christianity is an individual thing. When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, it is very personal. The relationship is between the Lord and that person.

It is not for Paul, or any other minister, to decide whether you are in good standing with God, or not. That is between you and God. He can, however, instruct you on good sound principles of Christianity. You are saved or lost, by the amount of faith you, as an individual have. Paul will rejoice with you at your salvation, but it is your salvation and no one else's. There is only one Judge as to whether we are saved or not.

2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Continued Questions

1. What awkward position is Paul in, when he wrote this letter?

2. What is one of the main purposes of this letter?

3. What message had Paul brought to them?

4. What will cause Paul to rejoice on judgment day?

5. What is so strange about these complaints?

6. What was Paul speaking of about the second benefit?

7. What is the difference in the message of an evangelist and the message of a pastor?

8. What had Paul's flesh wanted to do?

9. What guide did Paul follow?

10. What did some of the people highly criticize Paul for?

11. When was the only time that Paul had seemed to vary his message?

12. What 3 had preached the same message to them?

13. God is ________________.

14. What does "Amen" mean?

15. Who anointed Paul to preach?

16. _________ is our Redemption.

17. What is the "earnest of the Spirit"?

18. We Christians are actually citizens of ________.

19. What does the seal of the Spirit assure us of?

20. What reason did Paul give in verse 23, why he had not come to them?

21. How did Christianity drastically differ from worship the Jews had done in the temple?

22. Paul did want to instruct them in what?

23. Christianity is a __________ relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Corinthians 2

2 Corinthians Chapter 2

We found in 1 Corinthians that Paul had received disturbing news of further difficulties at Corinth, including the arrival of self-styled false apostles. To create the platform to teach their false gospel, they began by assaulting the character of Paul. They had to convince the people to turn from Paul to them if they were to succeed in preaching demon doctrine.

Temporarily abandoning the work at Ephesus, Paul went immediately to Corinth. The visit (known as the painful visit), was not a successful one from Paul's perspective. Someone in the Corinthian church (possibly one of the false apostles), even openly insulted him. Saddened by the Corinthians' lack of loyalty to defend him, seeking to spare them further reproof, and perhaps hoping time would bring them to their senses, Paul returned to Ephesus.

From there Paul wrote what is known as the "severe letter" and sent it with Titus to Corinth. Leaving Ephesus after the riot sparked by Demetrius (Acts 19:20 - 23-20:1), Paul went to Troas to meet Titus. But Paul was so anxious for news of how the Corinthians had responded to the "severe letter," that he could not minister there though the Lord had opened the door.

So he left for Macedonia to look for Titus. To Paul's immense relief and joy, Titus met him with the news that much of the Corinthians had repented of their rebellion against Paul. Wise enough to know that some rebellious attitudes still smoldered under the surface, and could erupt again, Paul wrote (possibly from Philippi), the letter called 2 Corinthians.

In this letter, though the apostle expressed his relief and joy at their repentance (7:8-16), his main concern was to defend his apostleship, exhort the Corinthians to resume preparations for the collection for the poor at Jerusalem and confront the false apostles head on. He then went to Corinth, as he had written. The Corinthians' participation in the Jerusalem offering (Romans 15:26), implies that Paul's third visit to that church was successful.

2 Corinthians 2:1 "But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness."

Paul in this lesson, is continuing to explain why he did not come directly from Ephesus to them. We learned in the previous lesson, that he did not want to come to them while he was upset. He thought some of the members might quit the church, because of what he might say.

He already had a painful confrontation at Corinth after the writing of (1 Corinthians), where he had visited for the purpose of correcting abuses and dealing directly with those who were challenging his ministry and authority. After which Paul had vowed within himself that he would not allow this to happen again.

2 Corinthians 2:2 "For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?"

Paul had been gladdened at the fact that this church had begun in Corinth. It thrilled him in his heart that he had been somewhat responsible for the church's beginning. If he went to Corinth and said what he needed to say, they would probably be very sorrowful.

These people were not deliberately doing wrong. They had not been schooled long enough in the ways of God, and they had strayed to some extent in ignorance. Paul is just saying, that he would not hurt these baby Christians at Corinth for anything.

The one which is made sorry by me refers to one convicted by his sin. In particular, there was apparently on Paul's last visit, a man in the church who confronted him with the accusations taken from the false teachers.

The church had not dealt with that man in Paul's defense, and Paul was deeply grieved over that lack of loyalty. The only thing that would bring Paul joy would be repentance from such a one and any who agreed with him, and Paul had been waiting for it.

2 Corinthians 2:3 "And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is [the joy] of you all."

Paul is saying, in a sense that the letter would be better than a personal visit, to keep down hard feelings. Paul wants to be friends with the church people in Corinth. He feels like a parent who has had to scold the children, but still loves them, and wants them to love him. Paul's love for this church has not diminished at all. A letter is sometimes taken better than an open rebuke.

His reason for writing was that those in sin would repent, then there could be mutual joy when the apostle came.

2 Corinthians 2:4 "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you."

Paul is trying to explain, that he prayed and thought about what he had to write to them. It was painful for Paul to have to write anything negative to them at all. He wrote the letter with tears in his eyes. We see a bit of an apology in this chapter from Paul. He is saying, perhaps, I acted hastily in the punishment of the sinner. Paul's love for these people is very much like the parent for a child.

The letter had not been meant to be harsh but loving.

2 Corinthians 2:5 "But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all."

In this, we see that Paul is not angry with the whole church for what this one man, who had sinned, had done. Paul is also saying; you cannot let it affect the daily functions of the church. You must get past this moment of problem and go on. Paul's heart was broken about the man committing this sin, but he was not overwhelmed by grief with it.

Paul is acknowledging the reality of the offense and its ongoing effect, not on him, but on the church.

With this deflection of any personal vengeance, he sought to soften the charge against the penitent offender and allow the church to deal with the man and those who were with him objectively, apart from Paul's personal anguish or offense.

This is the only time in the New Testament that "overcharge" was used. It means to be heavy upon, to be expensive to, and to be severe towards. Paul is saying, in this, that he will not be hard on all of them for what one had done.

2 Corinthians 2:6 "Sufficient to such a man [is] this punishment, which [was inflicted] of many."

Paul now feels that the humiliation that the man had endured from him and the whole church had been sufficient punishment.

This indicates that the church had followed the biblical process in disciplining the sinning man. The process of discipline and punishment was enough; now it was time to show mercy because the man had repented.

2 Corinthians 2:7 "So that contrariwise ye [ought] rather to forgive [him], and comfort [him], lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."

Now Paul is saying, if he desires to be forgiven, forgive him. Take him back into the church, and treat him again as a brother. If they will not take him back, he might never get back in right standing with God. He has grieved enough.

It was time to grant forgiveness so the man's joy would be restored. Paul knew there was and is, no place in the church for man-made limits on God's grace, mercy and forgiveness toward repentant sinners. Such restrictions could only rob the fellowship of the joy of unity.

2 Corinthians 2:8 "Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm [your] love toward him."

Paul is saying in this, forgive him, and forget the incident. Restore him and love him as a brother.

2 Corinthians 2:9 "For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things."

Paul was a watchman over their souls He had given them instruction on how to handle the situation, and was anxious to know whether they would take his instruction and do it.

2 Corinthians 2:10 "To whom ye forgive any thing, I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave [it], for your sakes [forgave I it] in the person of Christ;"

This is actually instruction on how they can forgive the man. Paul is saying, in yourself you cannot. When you remember what Christ forgave you, then Christ within you can forgive the man. Paul is saying it is the power of Christ within him that gives him the power to forgive. If we have something in our life that is hard to forgive, we should remember this and allow Christ within us to forgive.

Paul was constantly aware that his entire life was lived in the sight of God, who knew everything he thought, did and said.

2 Corinthians 2:11 "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."

It would really please Satan for these Christians not to forgive. If you do not forgive, you cannot be forgiven. It would please Satan greatly, if we could not be forgiven.

Paul used a different word but with similar meaning for devices (wiles). It, along with the words for advantage and ignorant, strongly implies that Satan targets the believer's mind, but God has provided protection by unmasking Satan's schemes in Scripture, along with providing the counteracting truth.

2 Corinthians 2:12 "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to [preach] Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,"

Paul had been in Troas to minister, when he had the vision and the Lord sent him to Macedonia. If God does not send you and open the door for you to minister, you can forget being successful in your journey. Go where God sends you. Enter in at each door He opens. The success that really counts is the success in God's eyes.

One of the main reasons Paul went to Troas was to meet Titus, returning from Corinth after delivering "the severe letter" and to hear how the Corinthians had responded to that letter.

God sovereignly provided a great evangelistic opportunity for Paul, which may have led to the planting of the church in Troas. Because of the success of his preaching, Paul was assured that this opportunity was from God.

2 Corinthians 2:13 "I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia ."

Notice here, that Titus was more than just another brother in Christ. Paul calls him, my brother. This indicates that Titus and Paul were very close. Paul had wanted to wait until Titus brought information on how his letter to the Corinthians had been accepted, but he went on to Macedonia where God the Holy Spirit had opened a door of utterance for him.

Paul's concerns for the Corinthians problems and how its members were responding to both those problems and his instructions caused Paul debilitating restlessness and anxiety. These concerns became so heavy and distracting that he was unable to give full attention to his ministry.

2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place."

Jesus Christ won the victory on the cross. The victory is ours for the claiming. The best way to taste victory is to stay in the perfect will of God. This is just saying, that the knowledge that Paul, or any of us, has is in Christ. We are to take no thought for what we shall say.

If we are ministering in the fashion the Lord would have us to, the words that come from our mouth will not be from our accumulated learning (knowledge), but will be as an oracle of God. God will speak through us the message He wants given.

"Manifest the savor of his knowledge": The imagery comes from the strong, sweet smell of incense from censers in the Triumph parade, which along with the fragrance of crushed flowers strewn under horse's hooves, produced a powerful aroma that filled the city. By analogy, every believer is transformed and called by the Lord to be an influence for His gospel throughout the world.

2 Corinthians 2:15 "For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:"

Anything that made a sweet savor to God had been totally dedicated to God. If we are totally dedicated to God, it is not our responsibility whether the message is accepted or rejected. God appreciates us just as much for bringing His message to those who will not accept it, as He does to those who do accept it. Either way, we have pleased God.

2 Corinthians 2:16 "To the one [we are] the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?"

If they reject the message that God has spoken through us, they are lost. The great thing is, if we gave the message, we are not responsible for their souls. Had we not given the message to them, then we would have been responsible for their souls. If they are determined to die, and we have brought God's redemption message to them, God is pleased with us.

Those who receive the message that God has given through us, will receive life everlasting. Our reward is the same, because we obeyed God. It is the person's choice to receive life, or death. Our responsibility is to bring the message to the best of our ability in Him.

2 Corinthians 2:17 "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

There are even more ministers today who corrupt the Word of God, than when Paul wrote this. The Word of God is true. We must not change the Word of God. It is alright to explain what you believe the meaning of the Word to be. It is not alright to add to, or take away from the Word of God.

Paul is saying, that he was sincere in the message he brought. Paul is saying that his message is really God's message that was put in Paul's mouth. Paul spoke under the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. Paul is saying, Christ in me is bringing you this message. He also says, God is my witness; it is Christ speaking in me.

2 Corinthians Chapter 2 Questions

1. In verse 1, Paul had determined what?

2. Why had Paul not come directly to Corinth?

3. What gave Paul joy about Corinth?

4. They had strayed in ___________.

5. Why would the letter be better than a personal visit?

6. How had Paul written this letter to them?

7. Paul's love for these Corinthians was very much like a ______ for a ______.

8. The sinner had grieved Paul in _____.

9. What does "overcharge", in verse 5, mean?

10. Who had inflicted punishment on the man who sinned?

11. Should they continue to punish him?

12. Why is it so important to forgive?

13. They were to love him as a ________.

14. Paul was a watchman over their ______.

15. Paul's forgiveness was in ________.

16. If they did not forgive, whose advantage would it be to?

17. What was verse 12 saying about ministering?

18. Why had Paul had no rest in his spirit?

19. Where had Paul gone?

20. Who won the victory?

21. The victory is ours for the __________.

22. What is knowledge?

23. Anything that made a sweet savoir to God was totally _________ to God.

24. How can we be not responsible for the lost?

25. Paul was not as many who __________ the Word.

26. You must not add, or take away from, the Word of God, but is it alright to explain what you believe each Scripture to mean?

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2 Corinthians 3

2 Corinthians Chapter 3

Verses 1-6: The false teachers in Corinth constantly attacked Paul's competency as a minister of the gospel; these verses form his defense.

2 Corinthians 3:1 "Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some [others], epistles of commendation to you, or [letters] of commendation from you?"

Because Paul did not want to allow the false teachers to accuse him of being proud, he began his defense by posing two questions rather than making any overt claims.

Paul is almost shaming them, in this chapter, that it is necessary for him to prove himself to them. He says, do I have to brag on my own accomplishments, or have someone else who you respect recommend me? They had accepted the message that he brought to them originally, why have they begun to doubt?

Paul's point was that he did not need secondhand testimony when the Corinthians had firsthand proof of his sincere and godly character, as well as the truth of his message that regenerated them.

2 Corinthians 3:2 "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:"

He is saying to them, look around and see all the people who received Christ as their Savior under my ministering. Let the Christian converts there be my recommendation. All men can look and see the Christians in the church at Corinth. That should speak to all men who I am.

2 Corinthians 3:3 "[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

You yourselves, are the document that you ask for. Let the results speak for themselves. Paul is saying, that the Spirit of God had written the law of God on the fleshly part of their hearts.

Does not your heart washed in the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Spirit, not witness for me? Paul is saying that the place they are now in, with Christ, is the result of him ministering Christ to them. He says the Christ within you is because you listened to the message Christ had given Paul for them.

God was writing His law on the hearts of those people He transformed. The false teachers claimed external adherence to the Mosaic Law as the basis of salvation, but the transformed lives of the Corinthians proved that salvation was an internal change wrought by God in the heart.

2 Corinthians 3:4 "And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:"

Paul had placed his confidence in Christ. It had been Christ in Paul ministering to them. The outcome was to draw them God-ward.

Paul was confident in his ministry, and that confidence resulted in his ability to stay the course and continue moving toward the goal.

2 Corinthians 3:5 "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;"

Paul realized this more than all of them, because when he had depended on his head knowledge, he knew not Christ. Christ stopped Paul and called him to His service on the road to Damascus. Paul went into the desert and was taught of the Holy Spirit of God.

World training is not sufficient to serve God in the way pleasing unto Him. We must allow Christ to minister through us. We are to be a willing vessel. The Lord Jesus Christ will do the rest. Paul knew of his lack of sufficiency within himself. He knew that his sufficiency is of God.

Paul disdained his own ability to reason, judge or assess truth. Left to his own abilities, he was useless. He was dependent on divine revelation and the Holy Spirit's power.

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

The letter is speaking of the law.

Romans 7:6 " But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter."

Testament means contract or covenant. The New Testament means the new covenant that God has made with mankind. Paul is speaking to many who knew the law of Moses. He is explaining that in Jesus Christ, the Lord has provided a new agreement. This new covenant is not by the works of the law, but by the grace of God man is saved.

The new covenant was sealed with the shedding of the precious blood of the Lamb. All of them knew the impossibility of flawlessly keeping the law. The law brought death to those who did not keep it.

John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." To keep the law was an act of the flesh of man. Jesus Christ is the quickening Spirit which brings everlasting life.

1 Corinthians 15:45 "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit." The law brought death, the Spirit brought life.

2 Corinthians 3:7 "But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:"

This is speaking of the fact that Moses' face shone so brightly from being in the presence of God (The Light), that the people could not look upon him. This great Light was so bright that Moses had to cover his face with a veil to keep them from being blinded. Paul is saying, if that Light was so great in Moses, who brought the law; why do you not understand that the Light revealed in the New Testament is so much greater? The law brought death. The covenant sealed in Jesus blood brings everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 3:8 "How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?"

What a glorious awakening, when the Spirit ministers to man.

2 Corinthians 3:9 "For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."

By the law, all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are all condemned by the law. Being in right standing with God comes from being washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). The difference is, that where the law condemns man, the grace in Christ brings hope of everlasting life.

Ephesians 2:5 "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

Remember, that "justified' means just as if I had never sinned. The law was good, but grace is better.

Romans 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin."

Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:"

2 Corinthians 3:10 "For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth."

This glory spoken of here, is speaking of Moses' face was shining. The glory of the Lord far excelled the glory of Moses.

2 Corinthians 3:11 "For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious."

There is nothing wrong with Moses or the law. The weakness was in man keeping the law.

Galatians 3:21 "[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law."

John 1:17 "For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." The law of Moses was glorious, but man could not live up to that law and was lost. The grace of God, in Jesus Christ, brings life.

2 Corinthians 3:12 "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:"

The Old Testament, itself, was veiled and hard to understand, until the curtain was torn between the holy place and the holy of holies. When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Christians, He was their Teacher and Guide. The Holy Spirit opens up our understanding to all Scriptures (Old and New Testament). Jesus' teachings on the earth were all very simple. The gospel message is very simple. This plainness of speech was so that everyone could understand.

2 Corinthians 3:13 "And not as Moses, [which] put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:"

The children of Israel could not look beyond the veil in the temple, or at Moses either. The way to God was veiled to them.

2 Corinthians 3:14 "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [veil] is done away in Christ."

A person who reads just the Old Testament cannot truly understand, until you put it with the New Testament and realize the fulfillment in Jesus. The Old Testament cannot be understood by physically reading it. It is understood through the revealing by the Holy Spirit of God.

2 Corinthians 3:15 "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart."

This is speaking of the Old Testament being read in the temple, or synagogue. Without the Holy Spirit revealing the Word, it cannot be understood.

2 Corinthians 3:16 "Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away."

The main thing to understand in this, is the simple message of Salvation in the gospels. God is revealed to man in His Son Jesus Christ. We see so clearly, God being revealed in Jesus Christ, in the following Scripture.

John 14:9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?"

2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty."

John 4:24 "God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth." "Spirit" in verse 17 above, is the God Spirit.

1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

One, in this verse, is speaking of their Spirit nature.

Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

The Spirit of the Risen Christ within me brings me liberty. I have liberty, because I am living in the perfect will of God.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

There is liberty in Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord."

The more of Jesus in me, the less of me in me. When I become so full of Christ that others can see Christ in me, then the Scripture above becomes more true in my life. Christians are becoming more like Jesus every day, or they are going back into the world. We never stand still. True Christianity is becoming more Christ-like every day. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

2 Corinthians Chapter 3 Questions

1. What is Paul shaming them of in verse 1?

2. What was the best recommendation for Paul?

3. What was the document that they had asked for?

4. Where was the law of God written for these new converts to Christianity?

5. Paul had placed his confidence in _______.

6. When Paul had depended upon his own __________, he rejected Christ.

7. Who taught Paul the Christian way?

8. Paul's sufficiency was of ____.

9. If Paul was not to minister the letter, what was he to minister?

10. The ________ killeth, but the _________ giveth life.

11. What does "Testament" mean?

12. The new covenant was sealed with what?

13. Why had Moses' head shone?

14. What did Moses have to do to keep from blinding the people?

15. By the ____, all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

16. What brings righteousness to the Christian?

17. What does "justified" mean?

18. For by the law is the ____________ of sin.

19. If there is nothing wrong with Moses and the law, what was wrong?

20. Grace and truth came by _______ _______.

21. What was good about the plainness of speech of Paul?

22. The veil on the Old Testament was done away in _________.

23. Who must reveal the meaning of the Scriptures?

24. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is ________.

25. The Spirit of the ________ ________ within me brings me liberty.

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2 Corinthians 4

2 Corinthians Chapter 4

2 Corinthians 4:1 "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;"

I admire Paul greatly. In the face of all kinds of hardship, he still goes on with the ministry. Paul never stops being appreciative of the mercy the Lord Jesus showed him in stopping him on the road to Damascus and getting him on the right track. Paul is compelled from within himself to continue to minister.

When we see "faint not", we see all of the terrible obstacles that Paul faced. He faced stoning, shipwreck, imprisonment, and worst of all, rejection from his own people. This just meant that he worked even harder to bring this simple message of salvation to all who would listen.

The task of ministering the New Covenant was too noble to lose heart over. Since God had called him to proclaim it, Paul could not abandon his calling. Instead he trusted God to strengthen him.

2 Corinthians 4:2 "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

Paul is saying here, that he had totally turned his back on the world and the deceitfulness of riches. "Manifestation" means making real. We know that this was very real to him. His objective was to make people realize the simplicity and the necessity of receiving the Lord into their lives. Salvation is a daily walk with Jesus. We do not get forgiveness, and then go back into dishonesty.

The hidden things are referring to secret immoralities, hypocrisies, and the sins hidden deep in the darkness of one's life.

We must walk daily in the salvation we have received. Paul had learned to do just that. Paul is expressing here, the extreme importance of being honest with God, the people around you, and with yourself. The things of the world are laid aside.

This appears to be a reply by Paul to a direct and slanderous accusation against him, that he was a hypocrite, whose mask of piety hid a corrupt and shameful life.

2 Corinthians 4:3 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:"

Gospel means good news. No one wants to hide good news. Paul did not try to hide it from anyone. This is speaking of those who have eyes to see and do not see, and ears to hear and do not hear. The gospel was offered, but they just could not see it. They were lost.

The gospel is veiled to those who are perishing so the problem was not with the message or the messenger, but with the hearers headed for hell. The preacher cannot persuade people to believe; only God can do that.

2 Corinthians 4:4: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

The god of this world of course is Satan. This is speaking of the mind set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. It encompasses the world's philosophies, education and commerce.

Those who will not receive the gospel are those who are of this world. They do not want to let go of the world to receive this gospel. Satan blinds men to God's truth through the world system he has created.

You cannot walk in the darkness of this world, and walk in the Light of God at the same time. The Light does away with darkness. Each of us is a free will agent. We can accept the Light of Jesus, or we can remain in the darkness. God will not force us to follow Him. It is our choice.

Christ is the image of God. We know that He is the Light. If His glorious Light shines in our heart, it totally does away with darkness. Accepting Christ is not a mind process. We must give Him our heart.

2 Corinthians 4:5 "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."

Paul is explaining here, that he should not be their object of worship. Paul had made himself a servant to all mankind to win those he could to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is another word for Messiah. Christ also means the Anointed One. Jesus means Savior.

Notice that Paul did not stop with introducing them to Christ Jesus as their Savior, but included Jesus as Lord. When Paul says that he is the servant of Jesus, it means that Paul has made Jesus his Lord.

The false teachers accused Paul of preaching for his own benefit, yet they were the ones guilty of doing so.

2 Corinthians 4:6 "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

The word that God was translated from is Theos. The meaning of "Theos" is a Deity, Supreme Divinity, or Exceeding God. Everything that was applied to this earth, or created, all became as the Word was spoken. Creator God is also, the Spoken Word. The Light was eternal. It already existed. It was just commanded to shine its Light on the earth and give all things the power to be.

There was total darkness, and the Light shined, and did away with the darkness (Genesis chapter 1). This same Light that shined on the earth and gave all things the power to be, has taken up abode in the heart of the believer. This Light gives all believers in Christ the power to eternally be. He is Life. We know this Word, Creator, and Light, as Jesus Christ.

I can ask you one question, Christian. Are you filled with the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are, there is no darkness in you. Paul encountered this Light on the road to Damascus, and it changed Paul's life. From that moment on, Paul did not have to search for the Light. The Light lived in Paul.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

The same God who created physical light in the universe is the same God who must create supernatural light in the soul and usher believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Col. 1:13).

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

The "treasure" that the Christians have is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. The "earthen vessel" spoken of here, is the house of flesh. The flesh of man is from the dust of the earth. Our flesh is nothing.

The power of the Christian to minister is from Christ within him. The ministering of the Christian is Christ in him. We have been given power of attorney to use the name of Jesus. The real power in ministering is when we allow Christ to minister through us to the people.

2 Corinthians 4:8: "[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;"

The following Scriptures can say it much better than I possibly could.

Romans 8:35-37 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

We can be thankful with Paul in tribulation. Paul never once complained of the tribulations. He just stayed steadfast in the faith. That must be our lot, as well. We must not break under the pressures the world brings.

In (verses 8 and 9), Paul gave four contrasting metaphors to show that his weakness did not cripple him, but actually strengthened him.

We must be like the old oak tree, which is rooted deeply and is not easily blown over. We must not keep our eyes focused on the problems around us. We must focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, who will see us through, if we do not faint.

1 Peter 4:12-14 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:" "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

2 Corinthians 4:9 "Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;"

The great promise of God to His own is that He will never leave us, or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5 "[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

We see from the following Scripture, that we will not die until God is ready for us to come home.

Luke 21:18 "But there shall not a hair of your head perish." God has a set time for us to go to heaven. They may cast us down, but we will not give up the ghost, until God is ready for us to.

2 Corinthians 4:10: "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."

The flesh must die for the spirit to live. On this earth, we are in this body of flesh. There will come a time when we will remove this flesh as a man removes a garment, and our spirit body will live.

The word "Always" indicates that the suffering Paul experienced was endless. And the suffering was a result of attacks against the "Lord Jesus," not Paul and other believers. Those who hated Jesus took out their vengeance on those who represented Him.

Through Paul's weakness, Christ was put on display. His suffering, the false apostles said, was evidence the God was not with him and he was a fraud. On the contrary, Paul affirmed that his suffering was the badge of his loyalty to Christ and the source of his power.

2 Corinthians 4:11 "For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."

"Delivered unto death" refers to the transferring of a prisoner to the executioner. It was used to refer to Christ's being delivered to those who crucified Him but in this case, it refers to the potential physical death constantly faced by those who represented Christ.

"In our mortal flesh" is another term for Paul's humanness, his physical body.

2 Corinthians 4:12 "So then death worketh in us, but life in you."

Paul faced death every day, yet he was willing to pay that price if it meant salvation for those to whom he preached.

2 Corinthians 4:13 "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;"

Paul remained true to his convictions, no matter the cost. He was not a pragmatist who would alter his message to suit his listeners. He was convinced of the power of God to act through the message he preached.

"Spirit of faith" means the attitude of faith, not the Holy Spirit. Paul had the same conviction about the power of the message as did the psalmist in Psalm 116:10 who in the midst of his troubles, confidently asked God to deliver him out of his troubles. He could confidently do so because he believed God would answer his prayer.

2 Corinthians 4:14 "Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present [us] with you."

This is explained very well in the next two verses in Jesus' own Words.

John 11:25-26 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"

It is the spirit man that never dies. Jesus rose from death of the body. He had a new body. It was taken from the old body, because it still had the nail prints in his hands. It was different enough, however, that the disciples did not recognize Him, until their understanding was opened.

We are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. He will present us before His Father and the angels in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:15 "For all things [are] for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God."

Everything, in and on the earth, was made for the use of man. God prepared the earth and then brought the man. God has always had the well-being of mankind in mind. God sent His Son to redeem us. Grace is not for God's sake, but for our sake. God gave us a way out (Jesus Christ).

"To the glory of God" is the goal of all that the believer does.

2 Corinthians 4:16 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day."

Our physical body was not made for eternity. It is a fragile thing. It came from dust and unto dust it shall return. Our outward (flesh), man was made to die. The spirit, within the flesh, is the eternal being. The Spirit is made for eternity.

Our outward man, the physical body is in the process of decay and will eventually die. Paul was referring to the normal aging process.

Is renewed: The growth and maturing process of the believer is constantly occurring. While the physical body is decaying, the inner self of the believer continues to grow and mature into Christ likeness.

2 Corinthians 4:17 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;"

The few little problems we have while we are housed in a body of flesh, are nothing compared to the wonderful things God has in store for us. We will shed this body of flesh and live on with Jesus in our spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

From a human perspective, Paul's own testimony lists a seemingly unbearable litany of sufferings and persecutions he endured throughout his life, yet he viewed them as weightless and lasting for only a moment.

"Eternal weight of glory": For Paul, the future glory he would experience with the Lord far outweighed any suffering he experienced in this world. Paul understood that the greater the suffering, the greater would be his eternal glory.

2 Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal."

So many times, we are told not to look to the things of earth which pass away. The earth, and everything in it, will pass away. Even the earth itself, is of a temporary nature. This again, is speaking of the flesh and the spirit. The flesh represents all that you can see with the physical eye. The spirit is not seen with the physical eye. The spirit is the hope of mankind. Faith is spirit. We have faith that all that God promised, He will do.

Pursuing God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the souls of men should consume the believer.

2 Corinthians Chapter 4 Questions

1. Why does the author greatly admire Paul?

2. What is meant by "faint not" in verse 1?

3. What were some of the cruel things Paul endured?

4. What had Paul renounced in verse 2?

5. What does "manifestation" mean?

6. Salvation is a daily ______ with Jesus.

7. Who is the gospel hid to?

8. Gospel means ______ _______.

9. Who blinded their minds that they believed not?

10. Why does God not force Christianity upon us?

11. If God does not want our mind, what does He want?

12. Paul preached what?

13. What had Paul made himself, to cause people to come to Christ?

14. Christ is another word for __________.

15. Who commanded the Light to shine?

16. God in verse 6, was translated from what word?

17. What does it mean?

18. The Light that shined gave all things the _______ to be.

19. When did Paul come in contact with this great Light?

20. We have this treasure in _________ __________.

21. What is the treasure of the Christian?

22. The Christian has been given power of attorney to do what?

23. We are troubled on every side, yet not ____________.

24. Why did the author compare a Christian to an oak tree?

25. Who will quicken our mortal bodies?

26. We are delivered to death for _______ sake.

27. What is the death that is working?

28. Why was Paul compelled to speak?

29. Who is the Resurrection?

30. Who will Jesus present us before?

31. The inward man is _______ day by day.

32. The things which are seen are ___________.

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2 Corinthians 5

2 Corinthians Chapter 5

2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Christians should not fear death, because we have an eternal habitation with God in heaven. Death of our body on the earth is like stepping out of the door of this earth into the door of heaven. The tabernacle, spoken of here, is our body of flesh (our earthly house). We see in the next two verses in Jesus' own words that we have a home in heaven that Jesus has prepared for us.

John 14:2-3 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also."

2 Peter 1:14: "Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me."

"A building of God" is Paul's metaphor for the believer's resurrected, glorified body. A glorified body, by definition, is not of this earthly creation but one that has been made by God.

We see the tabernacle of God is with man in the following verse.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."

2 Corinthians 5:2 "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:"

We spoke earlier of how we shed this body of flesh as a man would shed his outer garment. In heaven, we Christians are dressed in a white linen garment washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). It is our robe of righteousness. It is in fact, Jesus' righteousness that we are clothed with. It could be said, that we are clothed with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:3 "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."

We would have been naked, but Jesus provided our garment acceptable to God. When God looks at us, He does not see the sin that we once had, but He sees His Son's shed blood. So that we won't be found naked and ashamed, we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

Paul had a passionate longing to be free from his earthly body and all the accompanying sins, frustrations, and weaknesses that were so relentless.

2 Corinthians 5:4 "For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

Our mortal body grows old, and full of pain, and suffering. Moses' snake, which represented life, swallowed up the snakes of the Pharaoh's magicians. The magician's snakes represented death, or Satan. Death must be swallowed up for life to come. This mortal must put on immortality. Death of the body has to come, for life of the spirit to begin.

Paul reiterated that he could hardly wait to get his glorified body. He wanted the fullness of all that God had planned for him in eternal life, when all that is earthly and human will cease to be.

2 Corinthians 5:5 "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

Romans 8:23 "And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body."

Jesus was the firstfruit, and we that follow are the first fruits of the harvest. Let us look at the following verses and find what this earnest of the spirit is.

Ephesians 1:13-14 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise," "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

Jesus sent the Spirit of the Risen Christ to dwell in the Christian. That is our earnest. We have eternal Life within us. We must shed our body of flesh for the Spirit of life to make itself real to us.

The sealing of which Paul speaks here refers to an official mark of identification that was placed on a letter, contract, or other important document. The seal usually was made from hot wax, which was placed on the document and then impressed with a signet ring. The document was thereby officially identified with and under the authority of the person to who the signet belonged.

That is the idea of our being sealed in Him (Christ), with the Holy Spirit of promise. The seal of God's Spirit in the believer signifies four primary things: security, authenticity, ownership and authority.

Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

2 Corinthians 5:6 "Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:"

This body of flesh gets in the way of total fellowship with the Lord. This world, or this body, should not be thought of as our permanent home. We are just traveling through this earth on our way to the Promised Land (heaven).

While we are still in our body, we are attached to this earth. We are in the earth. To live in heaven, we must leave this earthly dwelling place. Just as the children of Israel had to leave Egypt (type of the world), before they could go to their Promised Land, we must leave this world to get to our Promised Land. The Lord is inside of us, but to fully enjoy fellowship with no boundaries, we would have to be with Him at the throne of God in Heaven.

"Absent from the Lord": Paul was not saying he had absolutely no contact, because there is prayer, the indwelling Spirit, and fellowship through the Word. Paul was simply expressing a heavenly homesickness, a strong yearning to be at home with his Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)"

Faith is the opposite of fact. If you can see it with your physical eyes, it takes no faith to believe.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Abraham had faith, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. It is our faith that provides our righteousness in Jesus' blood, as well.

Christian's hope for a heaven they have not seen. They do so by believing what Scripture says about it and living by that belief.

2 Corinthians 5:8 "We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

When we leave this body of flesh, we are instantly in heaven with the Lord in our spiritual body. Jesus told the thief on the cross that today he would be with Him in Paradise. Jesus dismissed His Spirit from His body and commanded it to go to the Father. Both the Spirit of Jesus and the spirit of the thief instantly went to paradise/heaven, when they left their bodies of flesh.

Revelation 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

The Tree of Life (Jesus), is in heaven with God. Paradise is now in heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:9 "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

The cry of all Christians should be, we'll work till Jesus comes. The desire of every Christian that I know is that when they stand before the Lord Jesus as Judge of the entire world, that they'll hear Jesus say: Well done, thy good and faithful servant. He will recognize us as His own, if we have stayed faithful to Him.

Paul demonstrated that it is right and noble for the believer to strive for excellence, spiritual goals, and all that is honorable before God. Paul's highest goal, and should be so for every believer was to be well pleasing to God and to be accepted of him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad."

This is speaking of the Bema Seat, the judgment seat of Christ. "Judgment seat" metaphorically refers to the place where the Lord will sit to evaluate believers' lives for the purpose of giving them eternal rewards. It is translated from the Greek word bema, which was an elevated platform where victorious athletes (during the Olympic games), went to receive their crowns. The term is also used in the New Testament to refer to the place of judging, as when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, but here the reference is definitely from the athletic analogy.

"Done in his body" refers to the actions which happened during the believer's time of earthly ministry. This does not include sins, since their judgment took place at the cross. Paul was referring to all those activities believers do during their lifetimes, which relate to their eternal reward and praise from God.

What Christians do in their temporal bodies will, in His eyes, have an impact for eternity.

"Whether it be good or bad": Again, terms that do not refer to moral good and moral evil. Matters of sin have been completely dealt with by the death of the Savior. Rather, Paul was comparing worthwhile, eternally valuable activities with useless ones.

His point was not that believers should not enjoy certain wholesome, earthly things, but that they should glorify God in them and spend most of their energy and time with what has eternal value.

2 Corinthians Chapter 5 Questions

1. Why should Christians not fear death?

2. What is death of our body like?

3. What does John chapter 14 verses 2 and 3 promise us?

4. We shed this body of flesh, as a man sheds what?

5. What are the Christians clothed with in heaven?

6. When God looks at us, instead of seeing our past sin, what does He see?

7. Mortality might be swallowed up with ______.

8. What did the snake of Moses do to the snakes of Pharaoh's magicians?

9. Who were the firstfruits of the Spirit given to?

10. What is the earnest of the Spirit?

11. Whilst we are at home in the body, we are _______ from the _____.

12. Where is the Christian's Promised Land?

13. What was Egypt a type of?

14. To fully fellowship with the Lord with no boundaries, we would have to be where?

15. We walk by _______, not by ______.

16. Faith is the opposite of ____.

17. What is faith?

18. What was counted unto Abraham as righteousness?

19. If we are absent from the body, we are present ______ ____ ______.

20. Where did Jesus tell the thief on the cross that He would be with Him today?

21. Who will Jesus give permission to eat of the Tree of Life?

22. Where is Paradise?

23. What should be the cry of all Christians?

24. What do all believers want to hear Jesus say to them on judgment day?

25. We must all appear before the _________ seat of ________.

26. Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the ________ ___ _____.

2 Corinthians Chapter 5 Continued

2 Corinthians 5:11 "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."

"The terror of the Lord": This is not referring to being afraid, but to Paul's worshipful reverence for God as his essential motivation to live in such a way as to honor his Lord and maximize his reward for his Lord's glory (7:1; Prov. 7:1, Acts 9:31).

"We persuade men": The Greek word for "persuade" means to seek someone's favor, as in getting the other person to see you in a certain favorable or desired way (Gal. 1:10). This term can mean gospel preaching (Acts 18:4; 28:23), but here Paul was persuading others, not about salvation, but about his own integrity. The Corinthians' eternal reward would be affected if they defected to the false teachers and left the divine teaching of Paul.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We do know from the account of Moses bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, that the people greatly feared God. They heard the voice of God thundering the Ten Commandments to them, and it frightened them so badly, they asked Moses to speak to God for them.

The terror of the Lord is best understood in the general sense of "the fear of the Lord as it is found throughout the Scriptures (7:1; Acts 9:31; Rom. 3:18; Eph. 5:21). It denotes a deep reverence for God, here particularly in view of the judgment seat before which all must stand.

It is a healthy thing to have great reverence, or fear, of the Lord. Paul realizes that he too is accountable to God as all men. To those God gives much knowledge of Him, He requires more of them.

"Made manifest": Paul's true spiritual condition of sincerity and integrity was manifest to God (Acts 23:1; 24:16), and he also wanted the Corinthians to believe the truth about him.

Many ministers today, threaten people out of hell, rather than love them into heaven. We know that it is correct to fear God, but what God really wants from us is pure love. God wants us to follow Him and believe in Him, because we love Him, not because we fear Him. Paul says, I hope you finally understand why I am a minister for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:12 "For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in appearance, and not in heart."

"Glory in appearance": Those who have no integrity, such as Paul's opponents at Corinth, must take pride in externals, which can be any false doctrine accompanied by showy hypocrisy (Matt. 5:20; 6:1; Mark 7:6-70).

Paul is explaining that things are not always what they appear to be from the outside. The Lord is interested in the heart of man. Paul is explaining that the Lord wants their love. Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save those who were lost.

Paul refuses to brag about his ministry on his own behalf. Those who wear fine clothes belong in palaces. Do not let the outward appearance of man fool you.

2 Corinthians 5:13 "For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause."

"Beside ourselves": This Greek phrase usually means to be insane, or out of one's mind, but here Paul used the expression to describe himself as one dogmatically devoted to truth. In this way, he answered those critics who claimed he was nothing more than an insane fanatic (John 8:48; Acts 26:22-24).

"Whether we be sober": Meaning sober minded and in complete control. Paul also behaved this way among the Corinthians as he defended his integrity and communicated truth to them.

Undoubtedly someone had said that Paul was mad. I surely am disturbed about the carnal living of those in our country who proclaim Christianity. Paul, perhaps, seemed to be mad, by those who did not understand what he was preaching. Whatever state he was in, it was unto God.

He was very serious (sober), about giving the message that might save their souls. Stop looking with the physical eye. Things are not always what they seem to be at a glance.

2 Corinthians 5:14 "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:"

"The love of Christ": Christ's love for Paul and all believers at the cross (Rom. 5:6-8). Christ's loving, substitutionary death motivated Paul's service for Him (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:19).

The word "constraineth" means to hold together. This refers to pressure that causes action. Paul emphasized the strength of his desire to offer his life to the Lord. Death had been pronounced on the whole human race. We were all guilty of sin, punishable by death. Paul is saying, can't you understand that Christ loved us so much, that He gave His body on the cross that we might live?

"One died for all": This expresses the truth of Christ's substitutionary death. The preposition "for" indicates He died "in behalf of," or "in the place of" all (Isa. 53:4-12; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:11-14). This truth is at the heart of the doctrine of salvation.

God's wrath against sin required death; Jesus took that wrath and died in the sinner's place. Thus, He took away God's wrath and satisfied God's justice as a perfect sacrifice. (Rom. 5:6-11, 18-19; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Eph. 5:2; 1 Thess. 5:10; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24).

"Then were all dead": Everyone who died in Christ receives the benefits of His substitutionary death (Rom. 3:24-26; 6:8). With this short phrase, Paul defined the extent of the atonement and limited its application.

This statement logically completes the meaning of the preceding phrase, in effect saying "Christ died for all who died in Him," or "One died for all, therefore all died" (John 10:11-16; Acts 20:28). Paul was overwhelmed with gratitude that Christ loved him and was so gracious as to make him a part of the "all" who died in Him.

Christ loved us. We are His creation. We were all living under sentence of death, until Jesus Christ paid our penalty in full for us and brought us life.

Colossians 2:13 "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

2 Corinthians 5:15 "And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

As he defended his integrity to the Corinthians, Paul wanted them to know that his old, self-centered life was finished and that he had an all-out desire to live righteously. For all genuine believers, their death in Christ is not only a death to sin, but a resurrection to a new life of righteousness (Gal 2:19-20; Col. 3:3).

We see in the verse above, that the life of selfishness and pride should be no more, when we receive our new life in Christ.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

You see, we no longer are our own. We have been bought and paid for with the precious blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).

1 Timothy 4:10 "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe."

(Romans 10:9-10), tells you how you too can be saved. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

2 Corinthians 5:16 "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more."

Since Paul's conversion, his priority was to meet people's spiritual needs (Acts 17:16; Rom. 1:13-16; 9:1-3; 10:1). Paul no longer evaluated people according to external, human, worldly standards (10:3).

"Know we him no more": Paul as a Christian, also no longer had merely a fallible, human assessment of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:1-6; 26:9-23).

This was not just dangerous for Paul's time, but is still a problem today. Many people cannot see beyond the flesh of Jesus. They see Him as a good man who lived upon the earth. Paul had been included in that number, until Christ revealed Himself to Paul in the great Light.

Jesus was "Immanuel" (God with us). He was God in the beginning when He was known as the Word. He was God in the flesh of man when He was known as Jesus. He is God our King now. Read (John 1), to realize who He really was, and is. Paul's eyes were opened and he saw the Lord.

Have your eyes been opened so that you see Jesus as more than just man?

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature": What Paul particularizes (in verse 16), he generalizes (in verse 17). Paul could no longer think of Christ in purely carnal terms, because of the universal truth that has been applied to him personally. That is, when a man comes into vital union with the risen and glorified Lord, he is a "new creation" (John 3:3; 15:5; Rom. 8:1, 9; Gal. 6:14-15), and perceives Christ in a new way.

"In Christ": These two words comprise a brief but most profound statement of the inexhaustible significance of the believer's redemption, which includes the following:

  1. The believer's security in Christ, who bore in His body God's judgment against sin;
  2. The believer's acceptance in Him with whom God alone is well pleased;
  3. The believer's future assurance in Him who is the resurrection to eternal life and the sole guarantor of the believer's inheritance in heaven;
  4. The believer's participation in the divine nature of Christ, the everlasting Word (2 Peter 1:4).

"New creature": This describes something that is created at a qualitatively new level of excellence. It refers to regeneration or the new birth (John 3:3; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 5:4). This expression encompasses the Christian's forgiveness of sins paid for in Christ's substitutionary death (Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24).

"Old things are passed away": The aorist tense indicates a decisive break with the old life, at the moment of salvation. After a person is regenerate, old value systems, priorities, beliefs, loves, and plans are gone. Evil and sin are still present, but the believer sees them in a new perspective and they no longer control him.

"Behold, all things are become new": (Literally, "new things have come to be"): Paul changes to the perfect tense to stress the abiding results of the Christians union with Christ (Isa. 43:18-19; Isa. 66:17; Eph. 4:24; Rev. 21:4-5). The Greek grammar indicates that this newness is a continuing condition of fact.

The believer's new spiritual perception of everything is a constant reality for him, and he now lives for eternity, not temporal things. James identifies this transformation as the faith that produces works (Eph. 2:10; James 2:14-25).

God does not make new things. He takes the old and changes it. We know that before we are born of the water and the Spirit, we are flesh man. We are living to please the flesh. The new life we get in Jesus allows that flesh man to die and the new spirit man to live. We are born, again, unto God.

John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

When we are baptized, it symbolizes being buried in a watery grave. We leave that old person in the watery grave. The person, who comes up out of the water, is a new creature in Christ.

Romans 6:4 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

When we become that new creature in Christ, the slate is wiped clean. We start all over again. We are not condemned for the sin that Christ has forgiven. We are clean, washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Romans 8:1 "[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

We must however, walk in this salvation that the Lord purchased for us. We no longer live, but Christ liveth in us.

2 Corinthians 5:18 "And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"

"And all things are of God": All the aspects related to someone's conversion and newly transformed life in Christ are accomplished by a sovereign God. Sinners on their own cannot decide to participate in the new realities (Rom. 5:10; 1 Cor. 8:6; 11:12; Eph. 2:1).

"Reconciled us to himself": God initiates the change in the sinner's status in that He brings him from a position of alienation to a state of forgiveness and right relationship with Himself. This again is the essence of the gospel.

The word "world" should not be interpreted in any universalistic sense, which would say that everyone will be saved, or even potentially reconciled. "World refers rather to the entire sphere of mankind or humanity (Titus 2:11; 3:4). The category of beings to whom God offers reconciliation, people from every ethnic group, without distinction.

The intrinsic merit of Christ's reconciling death is infinite and the offer is unlimited. However, actual atonement was made only for those who believe (John 10:11, 15; 17:9; Acts 13:48; 20:28; Rom. 8:32-33; Eph. 5:25).

We did not reconcile our self to Him. He did it for us. Freely we have received, freely give.

Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

Galatians 4:6 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

Jesus reconciled us to the Father. We are adopted sons of God. Jesus is the natural Son; we are adopted sons.

2 Corinthians 5:19 "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

"God was in Christ': God by His own will and design used His Son, the only acceptable and perfect sacrifice, and the means to reconcile sinners to Himself (verse 18; Acts 2:23; Col. 1;19-20; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5-6).

"Reconciling the world": God initiates the change in the sinner's status in that He brings him from a position of alienation to a state of forgiveness and right relationship with Himself. This again is the essence of the gospel. The word "world" should not be interpreted in any universalistic sense, which would say that everyone will be saved, or even potentially reconciled.

"World" refers rather to the entire sphere of mankind or humanity (Titus 2:11; 3:4), the category of beings to whom God offers reconciliation, people from every ethnic group, without distinction.

The intrinsic merit of Christ's reconciling death is infinite and the offer is unlimited. However, actual atonement was made only for those who believe (John 10:11, 15; 17:9; Acts 13:48; 20:28; Rom. 8:32-33; Eph. 5:25). The rest of humanity will pay the price personally for their own sin in eternal hell.

Not to impute sin means to forgive (Rom. 4:5-8; Col. 2:13; 2 Tim. 4:16). The present tense here emphasizes a continuous action (1 John 1:9). This may also be translated "reckoning." This is the heart of the doctrine of justification whereby God declares the repentant sinner righteous and does not count his sins against him because He covers him with the righteousness of Christ the moment he places wholehearted faith in Christ and His sacrificial death.

"Word of reconciliation": Here Paul presents another aspect to the meaning of the gospel. He used the Greek word for "word" (Acts 13:26), which indicated a true and trustworthy message, as opposed to a false or unsure one. In a world filled with false messages, believers have the solid, truthful message of the gospel.

Jesus was actually our substitute for our sins. Where God is concerned, we have no sin. He does not count our past sins, because those sins died on the cross upon the body of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20 "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

An "ambassador for Christ" means that we will represent Christ here on the earth, to all who will hear. We will not carry our own message, but will carry Christ's message. A good ambassador does not bring his own message, but the message he was sent with. Mankind was alienated from God. The good news of the gospel that God has sent us to the world with, if accepted, will put those accepting it in right standing with God. In other words, it will reconcile those receiving it to God.

The word ambassador is related to the more familiar Greek word often translated "elder." It described an older, more experienced man who served as a representative of a king from one country to another. Paul thus described his role, and the role of all believers, as a messenger representing the King of heaven with the gospel. Who pleads with the people of the world to be reconciled to God, who is their rightful King (Rom. 10:13-18).

"As though God did beseech you": As believers present the gospel, God speaks (literally "call," or "begs"), through them and urges unbelieving sinners to come in an attitude of faith and accept the gospel, which means to repent of their sins and believe on Jesus (Acts 16:31; James 4:8).

Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

"In Christ's stead" means He would bring the message Himself, but since He has gone to heaven, we do it for Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Here Paul summarized the heart of the gospel, resolving the mystery and paradox of (verses 18-20), and explaining how sinners can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. These Greek words express the doctrines of imputation and substitution like no other singe verse.

"Sin for us": God the Father, using the principle of imputation, treated Christ as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die as a substitute to pay the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him. (Isa. 53:4-6; Gal. 3:10-13; 1 Peter 2:24).

On the cross, He did not become a sinner (as some suggest), but remained as holy as ever. He was treated as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, though He committed none. The wrath of God was exhausted on Him and the just requirement of God's law met for those for whom He died.

"Who knew no sin": Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God (Gal. 4:4-5; Luke 23:4, 14, 22, 47; John 8:46; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22-24; 3:18; Rev. 5:2-10).

"The righteousness of God": Another reference to justification and imputation. The righteousness that is credited to the believer's account is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God's Son (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-24; Phil. 3:9).

As Christ was not a sinner, but was treated as if He were, so believers who have not yet been made righteous (until glorification), are treated as if they were righteous. He bore their sins so that they could bear His righteousness. God treated Him as if He committed believers' sins, and treats believers as if they did only the righteous deeds of the sinless Son of God.

Three aspects of Paul's concept of imputation are seen in this passage. (In verse 19), God imputes not iniquity (Psalm 32:2). Then He imputes sin to Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19). Finally, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the sinner's account.

This truth may be viewed from the side of justification, whereby the sinner is declared righteous based on the merits of Jesus Christ (Rom 3:24-25), or it may be viewed from the side of sanctification, wherein the righteousness of Christ is daily applied. This latter sense is probably in view here (compare 3:18; see also 1 Cor. 1:2).

Jesus took our sin upon His body on the cross. Sin for the believer, died on the cross, which was the greatest trade that was ever made. He took our sin, and in return clothed us in His righteousness. We are in right standing with God, because Jesus washed us in His blood.

2 Corinthians Chapter 5 Continued Questions

  1. The _______ of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  2. What frightened the Israelites about God?
  3. Who did they ask to speak to God for them?
  4. Many ministers threaten people out of _____, instead of loving them into _________.
  5. Does God want us to fear Him, or love Him more?
  6. Things are not always what they _________ to be on the outside.
  7. The Lord is interested in the ________ of man.
  8. What had they accused Paul of being?
  9. Who thought him to be mad?
  10. What does "constraineth" mean?
  11. _______ had been pronounced on the whole human race.
  12. When was the penalty of death lifted?
  13. We have been bought and paid for with the ______ __ ___ _____.
  14. Where do you find the verses that tell how you can be saved?
  15. Many people can not see beyond the _____ of Jesus.
  16. What does "Immanuel" mean?
  17. In the beginning, Jesus name was what?
  18. What was different about Him, when He was known as Jesus?
  19. Who is He now?
  20. Have your eyes been opened, so you see Jesus as more than just man?
  21. If any man be in Christ, he is a new __________.
  22. Does God make new things? Explain.
  23. How are the Christians to walk?
  24. What were we reconciled to God by?
  25. What are the Christian ministers spoken of in verse 20?
  26. Jesus took our sin upon His ______ on the cross.
  27. What did we receive in exchange for our sin?

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2 Corinthians 6

2 Corinthians Chapter 6

2 Corinthians 6:1 "We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

Most Corinthians' were saved but were being hindered by legalistic teaching regarding sanctification. Some were not truly saved but deceived by a gospel of works being taught by false teachers.

This is a plea from Paul for the people of this church at Corinth to realize that he is a messenger (ambassador), for Christ. The message Paul brought, was Christ's message to them. Then he says, if you received it as I believe you did, tell others so that they may have this message of hope as well. Do not let the gospel message stop with you (be in vain). Paul is calling them to testify of the truth of the gospel to everyone they have opportunity to.

1 Peter 4:10 "As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

2 Corinthians 6:2 "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)"

Paul emphasized his point by quoting (Isaiah 49):

Isaiah 49:8 "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;"

He was passionately concerned that the Corinthians' adhere to the truth because it was God's time to save and they were messengers for helping to spread that message.

"Succored", in this Scripture, means aid or relieve. No one should ever put off salvation to a more convenient time. We are not promised tomorrow. We do not even know whether we will be alive or not tomorrow. The Spirit might even stop drawing you at another time. Today is the day of salvation. Even better, right this minute is the time for salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:3 "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:"

This is the same as saying, do not even give the appearance of evil. The only glimpse of what Christianity is all about is sometimes us Christians. The non-believer does not go to church, or read his Bible, or listen to sermons. He has no way of knowing anything about Christianity, except the life we live before him.

The faithful ambassador of Christ does nothing to discredit his ministry, but everything he can to protect its integrity, the gospel's integrity, and God's integrity.

Is your life a testimony for Jesus? If a Christian does something bad, and it makes the news, the unbelieving world thinks all Christians are like that. It drives them away from receiving Christ in their lives. Christianity gets a black eye for what a few fallen Christians do. We must behave (all the time), in a Christ-like manner.

2 Corinthians 6:4 "But in all [things] approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,"

Commend means "introduce," with the connotation of proving oneself. The most convincing proof is the patient endurance of character reflected in Paul's hardships and the nature of his ministry.

2 Corinthians 6:5 "In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;"

Here Paul commended himself to them by mentioning his faithfulness in enduring persecution and citing his diligence in ministry labors, to the point of anguished deprivations when necessary.

Are you a Christian just when everything is going alright, or are you like Job: a Christian in hard times, too? The world is looking on to see how you handle the difficult times in your life. The world has no answer to this type of problem. God will help you, if you stand fast and don't doubt.

2 Corinthians 6:6 "By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,"

Now we see the standard that we should endure these problems with. We should be honest with God, with our self and with others. Knowledge, you remember, is accumulated learning. The Bible teaches us how to withstand these onslaughts from Satan. We are to put on the whole armor of God. Read the 6th chapter of Ephesians beginning with the 11th verse to see the whole armor.

In time of troubles, we should allow the Spirit of God within us to take over. The Holy Spirit needs to guide us through. We should never stop loving, even the enemy. This too will pass. It is not how many problems you have that are important, but how you handle those problems.

Paul commended himself positively by listing the important elements for the righteousness God had granted to him. Paul lived and walked by the power of the Spirit. It was the central reason that all the other positive elements of his endurance were a reality.

2 Corinthians 6:7 "By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,"

We know that every temptation Satan brought to Jesus, He answered "It is written". This is a guide to us. We must face each problem, or temptation, with "It is written". The answers to all of life's problems are found in the Bible. We must use the Bible as our guide in every situation. The power of God working in us can overcome all obstacles.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Paul never operated beyond the boundaries of the direction and guidance of divine revelation. Nor did he rely on his own strength when he ministered. He did not fight Satan's kingdom with human resources, but with spiritual virtue such as the sword of the Spirit, and defensive tools, such as the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation.

Perhaps, the right and left side means that whether this is coming from the world (left side), or other Christians (right side), it can be overcome with righteousness.

2 Corinthians 6:8 "By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and [yet] true;"

Paul is just saying, that it does not matter where the accusations are coming from. It really does not matter whether they are even true or not. They are still overcome by the Word of God and righteousness.

Just stand in your righteousness and all of the deceivers will finally be embarrassed when they are found out for what they are. Paul's opponents at Corinth had accused him of being an impostor and a false apostle (John 7:12).

2 Corinthians 6:9 "As unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;"

Problems come from those you know, as well as from strangers. The intentions of those who are bringing the problems may be to cause your death, but they will not succeed.

This scripture has a twofold reference.

1. The fact that Christians did not know him before he began persecuting them;

2. His rejection by the community of leading Jews and Pharisees following his conversion.

He had become unknown to his former world, and well known and well loved by the Christian community.

2 Corinthians 6:10 "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things."

Circumstances around you may be sorrowful, yet unexplainable joy, in the face of these bad circumstances, can be had in Jesus.

Paul said that he had learned to be satisfied in times when he had plenty and in times of want. Whatever state he found himself in, he was content. The spiritual wealth Paul possessed and imparted did much to make his hearers spiritually wealthy.

2 Corinthians 6:11 "O [ye] Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged."

Paul is saying that he has opened his mouth and brought the message of salvation to these Corinthians. He loves them as a parent loves a child. His heart is with them.

To enlarge the heart is to increase its capacity for sympathy and understanding.

The evidence of Paul's genuine love for the Corinthians was that no matter how some of them had mistreated him, he still loved them and had room for them in his heart.

2 Corinthians 6:12 "Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels."

This is just another way of saying that Paul is not going to straighten them out, they will have to straighten themselves out. He can tell them what is wrong, but they will have to straighten themselves out.

From Wesley's Notes on the Bible: Our heart is wide enough to receive you all, your hearts are shut up and so not capable of the blessings ye might enjoy.

2 Corinthians 6:13 "Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto [my] children,) be ye also enlarged."

"Now for a recompence of the same": Of my parental tenderness. Recompense has numerous meanings such as: Avenge; Pay; Render; Reward; Vengeance.

"I speak as unto my children" I ask nothing hard or grievous.

"Be ye also enlarged": Open your hearts, first to God, and then to us, (2 Cor 8:5), so that God may dwell in you, (2 Cor 6:16; 7:1), and that ye may receive us (2 Cor 7:2).

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

This does not mean that you should not witness to those that are lost. It is saying; don't get involved in their way of life. There is sin by association. It is strange, but it seems bad rubs off on good more often than good rubs off on bad. This can mean for those who are believers not to intermarry with those of unbelief. It also means for the Christians not to get closely related in friendships with those people of the world.

Christians are not to be bound together with non-Christians in any spiritual enterprise or relationship that would be detrimental to the Christian's testimony within the body of Christ.

Darkness symbolizes evil.

But this command does not mean believers should end all associations with unbelievers; that would defy the purpose for which God saved believers and left them on earth. The implausibility of such religious alliances is made clear (in verses 14b-17).

2 Corinthians 6:15 "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"

"Belial" means worthlessness, as an epithet of Satan. That is exactly what Satan is, worthless. All the comparisons above are opposites. Christ and Satan are opposites. "Infidel" means disbelieving. The answer is that they have nothing in common.

2 Corinthians 6:16 "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

We have said so many times in these lessons that the Spirit of the Risen Christ dwells in the Christian. The Holy Spirit of God is in us to teach the truth of God, and to direct our lives pleasing unto God. This is the very reason it is so important that the Christian not get involved in any sin that involves the body. You would be including the Holy Spirit of God in your sin.

The temple of God (true Christianity), and idols (idolatrous, demonic false religions), and totally incompatible.

God is a Spirit. He can dwell in my heart and be in heaven all at the same time. He is omnipresent (everywhere all at the same time). We live in God and He lives in us. You can easily see why it is so important for the Christian to live a life pleasing unto God. We should not go anywhere we could not take God, or do anything that He would not be willing to do.

2 Corinthians 6:17 "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,"

Christians have to live in the world, until we go home to heaven, but we must not be entangled with the world or its people. We must spiritually separate ourselves unto holiness and righteousness.

When believers are saved, they are to disengage themselves from all forms of false religion and make a clean break form all sinful habits and old idolatrous patterns.

God said to the believers, "Be ye holy, for I am holy". We are like an island surrounded by water. We are the island, and the world is the water. We have a hedge of the blood of Jesus which protects us from the world coming too close. We are separated unto God. In other words, we have come over to God's side. We have left the evil of the world behind.

2 Corinthians 6:18 "And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

This is one of the few places that Christian women are spoken of as daughters. We are children of the Father. We have been adopted into the family of God. Jesus is our older brother.

Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

As a result of separating themselves from false doctrine and practice, believers will know the full richness of what it means to be children of God.

2 Corinthians Chapter 6 Questions

1. What is verse one a plea from Paul about?

2. Whose message had Paul brought them?

3. When is the day of salvation?

4. Why is it so important not to put off getting saved?

5. What does "succored" mean?

6. Verse 3 is the same thing as what statement?

7. Name several reasons why the Christian is the only glimpse of Christianity the non-believer has.

8. Is your life a testimony for Jesus?

9. What happens, if one Christian does something bad?

10. What are some of the things we might face proving ourselves?

11. Who, in the Old Testament, was a good example for us in handling problems?

12. What is the standard we should set?

13. Knowledge is ____________ ____________.

14. How can we withstand the onslaught of the devil?

15. Where do we find the instructions on this?

16. It is not important how many problems you have, but in how we _________ _______ problems.

17. How did Jesus answer every temptation Satan placed before Him?

18. Where can we find the answers to all of life's problems?

19. Accusations are overcome by the ________ of ____.

20. Who do problems come from?

21. When circumstances around you are sorrowful, what should be your attitude?

22. When was Paul content?

23. How does Paul love the Corinthians?

24. What is verse 12 saying, really?

25. What does "recompence", in verse 13, mean?

26. What is Paul telling them to do in verse 13?

27. What does "unequally yoked" mean?

28. Darkness symbolizes what?

29. What is "Belial" in verse 15?

30. What is the temple of God?

31. What are Christians to do, so they will not get involved in the world's sins?

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2 Corinthians 7

2 Corinthians Chapter 7

2 Corinthians 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

The promises spoken of here are that Christians are sons and daughters of God, and that the Spirit of God lives within them. Paul is saying here, taking all of that under consideration, we must clean ourselves up inside and out. Not many people want to talk to you about holiness. Perhaps it is because they do not understand the meaning.

"Filthiness" is a Greek word which appears only here in the New Testament and was used 3 times in the Greek Old Testament to refer to religious defilement or unholy alliances with idols, idol feasts, temple prostitutes, sacrifices and festivals of worship.

False religion panders to the human appetites, represented by both "flesh and spirit". While some believers for a time might avoid succumbing to fleshly sins associated with false religion, the Christian who exposes his mind to false teaching cannot avoid contamination by the devilish ideologies and blasphemies that assault the purity of divine truth and blaspheme God's name.

"Perfecting holiness": The Greek word for "perfecting" means "to finish" or "to complete". Holiness refers to separation from all that would defile both the body and the mind. Complete or perfect holiness was embodied only in Christ; thus, believers are to pursue him.

2 Corinthians 7:2 "Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man."

Paul is still answering accusations here. He is just saying that he had dealt with each person in the very same way the Lord would have. He had not harmed anyone. He is saying, there is no reason for you not to accept us.

Paul could never be accused of injuring or leading any Corinthian into sin nor could he be accused of encouraging any immoral conduct.

2 Corinthians 7:3 "I speak not [this] to condemn [you]: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with [you]."

Paul is just explaining that he is not angry with anyone there at Corinth, not even the ones who had been complaining. Whatever they were, Paul felt he was a part of, because he had started the church at Corinth. He loved them, and would always claim them as his own.

Paul had a forgiving heart and rather than condemning the Corinthians for believing the false teachers and rejecting him, Paul reminded them of his love for them and his readiness to forgive them.

2 Corinthians 7:4 "Great [is] my boldness of speech toward you, great [is] my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation."

Paul felt that this church at Corinth was to be an example to the evil religions around them. He had been bold with them, to get them to set a good example. He was proud of these Corinthians who had made a stand for God amid such evil in their city.

The few tribulations (problems), that had come, should make them stronger. If they could iron out the problems and go on, this would be an example of true Christianity. He is saying, they should rejoice that the Lord thought them strong enough to face this tribulation and come out of it victorious.

2 Corinthians 7:5 "For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without [were] fightings, within [were] fears."

On Paul's journeys, he had been facing problems all along. The Jews and the idolaters as well, had tried to do away with Paul.

Here Paul continues the narrative he left off (in 2:13). When he arrived in Macedonia after leaving Troas, he had no rest for external "conflicts." The Greek word is used of quarrels and disputes and probably refers to the ongoing persecution Paul faced. He was also burdened by internal "fears", the concern he had for the church and the anti-Paul faction prevalent there.

2 Corinthians 7:6 "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;"

This refers not to the spiritually humble, but to those who are humiliated. Such people are lowly in the economic, social or emotional sense.

This is almost a problem by problem recollection of Paul's. When Titus came to him, he was encouraged. God always sends someone to build us up, when we get really down.

2 Corinthians 7:7 "And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more."

The main good news that Titus had brought was, that the people at the church at Corinth loved Paul. He had been harsh with them, but they realized it was because he loved them. Paul had been concerned about how the church at Corinth had received his letter.

Titus brought good news.

The response from the Corinthians came in 3 ways:

1. "Earnest desire", they longed to see Paul again and resume their relationship with him;

2. "Mourning", they were sorrowful over their sin and the breach it created between themselves and Paul;

3. "Zeal", they loved Paul to such a degree that they were willing to defend him against those who sought to harm him, specifically the false teachers.

2 Corinthians 7:8 "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though [it were] but for a season."

Paul had felt badly about the letter of correction he had sent them. He realizes now, that even though it hurt temporarily, it was the right thing to do. They had repented and straightened out the problem.

2 Corinthians 7:9 "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing."

Paul did not regret sending them the letter, even though it caused them sorrow, because he knew that sorrow over their sin would affect in them repentance leading to obedience. Yet Paul did regret having sent it for a brief time while awaiting Titus' return, fearing that his letter was too harsh, and that he might have driven them further away from him.

In the end, he rejoiced because the letter accomplished what he had hoped.

2 Corinthians 7:10 " For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

The "Godly sorrow" refers to sorrow that is according to the will of God and produced by the Holy Spirit. True repentance cannot occur apart from such a genuine sorrow over one's sin.

"Repentance" is at the very heart of and proves one's salvation: unbelievers repent of their sin initially when they are saved, and then as believers, repent of their sins continually to keep the joy and blessing of their relationship to God.

"Sorrow of the world worketh death": Human sorrow is unsanctified remorse and has no redemptive capability. It is nothing more than the wounded pride of getting caught in a sin and having one's lusts go unfulfilled. That kind of sorrow leads only to guilt, shame, despair, depression, self-pity and hopelessness. People can die for such sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:11 "For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."

Paul is just saying, he is pleased that they have repented in all areas where they needed to, and are completely forgiven. There is nothing against their record. They are completely cleared.

This verse provides a look at how genuine repentance will manifest itself in one's own attitude.

"Carefulness": Better translated "earnestness or eagerness. It is the initial reaction of true repentance to eagerly and aggressively pursue righteousness. This is an attitude that ends indifference to sin and complacency about evil and deception.

Paul is just saying, he is pleased that they have repented in all areas where they needed to, and are completely forgiven. There is nothing against their record. They are completely cleared.

"What clearing of yourselves" is a desire to clear one's name of the stigma that accompanies sin. The repentant sinner restores the trust and confidence of others by making his genuine repentance know.

"Indignation" is often associated with righteous indignation and holy anger. Repentance leads to anger over one's sin and displeasure at the shame it has brought on the Lord's name and His people.

"Fear" is reverence toward God, who is the One most offended by sin. Repentance leads to a healthy fear of the One who chastens and judges sin.

"Vehement desire" could be translated "yearning", or a "longing for", and refers to the desire of the repentant sinner to restore the relationship with the one who was sinned against.

"Zeal" refers to loving someone or something so much that one hates anyone or anything that harms the object of this love.

"Revenge" or vindication could be translated "avenging of wrong", and refers to the desire to see justice done. The repentant sinner no longer tries to protect himself; he wants to see the sin avenged no matter what it might cost him.

And finally, "To be clear in this matter" is the essence of repentance is an aggressive pursuit of holiness, which was characteristic of the Corinthians. The Greek word for "clear" means "pure" or "holy". They demonstrated the integrity of their repentance by their purity.

2 Corinthians 7:12 "Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, [I did it] not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you."

God would have held Paul responsible, if he had known of this terrible sin in the church, and had not done anything about it. This was not just a misdemeanor. The sin was fornication, which had been specifically mentioned as one of the four things required of the Christians to abstain from.

Paul had written to help the whole church, not just specifically for the one man who was the "him" or the leader of the mutiny in the Corinthian church.

2 Corinthians 7:13 "Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all."

Titus had been well treated by the church in Corinth. Paul was very pleased with that, and with the good news that Titus had brought about the church.

2 Corinthians 7:14 "For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which [I made] before Titus, is found a truth."

Paul had given the truth to Titus. Paul had every confidence in the church at Corinth, and they did not let him down. Paul said that what he said was not to boast, but to state a fact.

2 Corinthians 7:15 "And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him."

Paul is still speaking of Titus here. Titus was overjoyed that the church there at Corinth had received Paul's message so well and had repented of their sin. They were in obedience to Paul. This obedience to Paul showed Titus that these people in Corinth had real character.

The "fear and trembling" is reverence toward God and a healthy fear of judgment.

2 Corinthians 7:16 "I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all [things]."

This is just Paul saying, one more time how pleased he was at their attitude. He reminds them, he has confidence that they would do the right thing.

He is sure that they will continue to walk in the light and is confident they will follow the teachings he has given them.

2 Corinthians Chapter 7 Questions

1. What are these promises?

2. Why do you suppose most people do not like to speak of holiness?

3. Who is the only one who can do this cleansing?

4. What 3 things did Paul say, he had not done to any man in verse 2?

5. Paul did not say these things to __________ them.

6. Why did Paul feel that he was part of whatever they were?

7. Who was this church at Corinth to be an example for?

8. What was an example of true Christianity they did?

9. What did Paul face in his journeys?

10. What comforted Paul?

11. Paul had made them sorry with what?

12. What caused Paul to rejoice?

13. Godly sorrow worketh ___________.

14. In verse 11 what emotions had this stirred up in the people?

15. Who had Paul written this letter for?

16. How had the church at Corinth treated Titus?

17. Even Paul's boasting was ______.

18. Paul had confidence in them in ____ _______.

19. Paul was pleased with their ________.

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2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians Chapter 8

While (verses 8:1 - 9:15), specifically deal with Paul's instruction to the Corinthians about a particular collection for the saints in Jerusalem, it also provides the richest, most detailed model of Christian giving in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 8:1 "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;"

Paul in this, is bringing to the attention of the church at Corinth the progress made at the Macedonian churches.

Macedonia was the northern Roman province of Greece. The generosity of the churches at Macedonia was motivated by God's grace. Paul did not merely commend those churches for a noble human work, but instead gave the credit to God for what He did through them.

Paul's reference was to the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. This was basically an impoverished province that had been ravaged by many wars and even then, was being plundered by Roman authority and commerce.

God had shown great favor to these churches.

Paul tells one church of the good workings of another church to get them to do the same things. Many of us do better after we see an example.

2 Corinthians 8:2 "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality."

It seemed as if the people attending the Macedonian churches, were not as well off financially as the church here at Corinth. These churches (even though they were financially poor), had been very generous in their giving to the poor in Jerusalem. The affliction it seems, was to see just how much Christian faith they really had. We know that the church in Philippi started in Lydia's home.

"Abundance of their joy" means "surplus". Despite their difficult circumstances, the churches' joy rose above their pain because of their devotion to the Lord and the causes of His kingdom.

"Riches of their liberality": The Greek word for "liberality" can be translated "generosity", or "sincerity." It is the opposite of duplicity or being double minded. The Macedonian believers were rich in their single minded, selfless generosity to God and to others.

2 Corinthians 8:3 "For to [their] power, I bear record, yea, and beyond [their] power [they were] willing of themselves;"

The power spoken of here, is the Holy Ghost power to minister. They not only ministered in the gifts the Holy Ghost had bestowed upon them, but of their material wealth (as little as it was).

Paul highlighted 3 elements of the Macedonian's giving which summed up the concept of freewill giving:

1. "According to their ability": Giving is proportionate; God sets no fixed amount or percentage and expects His people to give based on what they have.

2. "Beyond their ability": Giving is sacrificial. God's people are to give according to what they have, yet it must be in proportions that are sacrificial.

3. "Freely willing" Literally, one who chooses his own course of action. Giving is voluntary; God's people are not to give out of compulsion, manipulation, or intimidation. Freewill giving has always been God's plan.

Freewill giving is not to be confused with tithing, which related to the national taxation system of Israel and is paralleled in the New Testament and the present by paying taxes.

2 Corinthians 8:4 "Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and [take upon us] the fellowship of the ministering to the saints."

It seemed they had insisted on Paul allowing them to give to the saints in Jerusalem. It seemed they wanted Paul to oversee the gift, and to take it to where it was needed.

The Macedonian Christians implored Paul for the special grace of being able to have fellowship and be partners in supporting the poor saints in Jerusalem. They viewed giving as a privilege, not an obligation.

2 Corinthians 8:5 "And [this they did], not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."

It seemed they were very poor, and Paul had not expected them to give anything, but they insisted of giving of themselves and their funds as well. They gave like the widow with the mites, unselfishly. They gave of their need and not of their abundance.

The Macedonian response was far more than Paul had expected.

"First" didn't refer to time but to priority. The priority of the Macedonians was to give their selves as sacrifices to God. Then generous giving follows personal dedication.

2 Corinthians 8:6 "Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also."

Paul is encouraging these people in Corinth to give with such unselfishness, as they had in Macedonia. Titus was the acting evangelist at the time in Corinth, so it would be his lot to receive from the people at Corinth.

Titus had initially encouraged the Corinthians to begin the collection at least one year earlier. When he returned to Corinth with the severe letter, Paul encouraged him to help the believers finish the collection of the money for the support of the poor saints in Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 8:7 "Therefore, as ye abound in every [thing, in] faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and [in] all diligence, and [in] your love to us, [see] that ye abound in this grace also."

Paul is saying, you have done well in your faith, and all of the other things of God. Give just as well as you have done the other things. Giving is a gift of God, as well as knowledge and utterance.

"That you abound": The giving of the Corinthians was too be in harmony with other Christian virtues that Paul already recognized in them?

1. Faith: sanctifying trust in the Lord;

2. Speech: sound doctrine;

3. Knowledge: the application of doctrine;

4. Diligence: eagerness and spiritual passion;

5. Love: the love of choice, inspired by their leaders.

2 Corinthians 8:8 "I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love."

Paul is not commanding the church at Corinth to do this, but is just encouraging them to do this. Sincere love is associated with giving to others who cannot help themselves. This type of love and giving asks nothing in return.

Freewill giving is never according to obligation or command.

2 Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

Really, the earth and everything and everyone in it belonged to Jesus. He was Creator. His entire creation belonged to Him. When you speak of being rich, this is the richest of all. Jesus did not use this to win people to the Lord. He did not use this to spare Himself the cross either. It was His, but He lived as if nothing belonged to Him.

Once, He caused the coin to be in the fish's mouth to pay the tax collector. His mother Mary gave the offering at the temple as someone who was poor. Possibly the gold that was brought to Him at His birth was enough to keep Him, and Mary, and Joseph in Egypt. We know that when there was a need of others, Jesus took care of that need. He was rich in good deeds toward men. He had no need for money.

"He became poor" is a reference to Christ's incarnation. He laid aside the independent exercise of all His divine prerogatives, left His place with God, took on human form and died on a cross like a common criminal.

He did this so believers could become rich. Believers become spiritually rich through the sacrifice and impoverishment of Christ. They become rich in salvation, forgiveness, joy, peace, glory, honor and majesty. They become joint heirs with Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:10 "And herein I give [my] advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago."

This offering that they were to give was to be of their own free will, not of necessity. Notice, this is not a command from Paul, but a suggestion.

It was his opinion that it was to their advantage to give generously so they might receive abundantly more from God in either material blessings, spiritual blessings, or eternal reward.

2 Corinthians 8:11 "Now therefore perform the doing [of it]; that as [there was] a readiness to will, so [there may be] a performance also out of that which ye have."

This is saying, not to promise, and then not do it. What you have promised, do. They had agreed this would be good to do, now carry that promise out.

They needed to finish the collection. They needed this reminder since they likely stopped the process due to the influence of the false teachers, who probably accused Paul of being a huckster who would keep the money for himself.

2 Corinthians 8:12 "For if there be first a willing mind, [it is] accepted according to that a man hath, [and] not according to that he hath not."

God counts the gift, not so much in how much you gave, but in how much you gave in the face of your ability to give. The widow's mites were a great gift, because she gave of her need, not of her abundance. This is true here as well. God appreciates a sacrificial gift more than he does a gift out of your excess.

God is most concerned with the heart attitude of the giver, not the amount he gives. Whatever one has is the resource out of which he should give. That is why there are no set amounts or percentages for giving anywhere stated in the New Testament. The implication is that if one has much, he can give much; if he has little, he can give only little.

"According to that he hath not": Believers do not need to go into debt to give, nor lower themselves to a poverty level. God never asks believers to impoverish themselves. The Macedonians received a special blessing of grace from God to give the way they did.

2 Corinthians 8:13 "For [I mean] not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:"

Paul is saying, he does not want them to be lacking and give to others who do not need it any more than they do themselves. Paul is saying, if ye can give, do it.

2 Corinthians 8:14 "But by an equality, [that] now at this time your abundance [may be a supply] for their want, that their abundance also may be [a supply] for your want: that there may be equality:"

Paul is saying, that this time the Corinthians are giving to help others who have greater need. The next time the situation may be turned around, and others might have to give to the necessity of the Corinthians.

The idea is that in the body of Christ some believers who have more than they need should help those who have far less than they need. This is not a scheme of Paul's to redistribute wealth within the church, but rather to meet basic needs.

2 Corinthians 8:15 "As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack."

Paul is trying to teach them a principal in giving here. We can all use all that we make, but many of us could do with a great deal less, if necessity arose. In the end, it all equals out.

The manna in the desert was an appropriate illustration of sharing of resources. Some were able to gather more than others, and apparently shared it so that no one lacked what they needed.

2 Corinthians 8:16 "But thanks [be] to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you."

Paul is thanking God that Titus loved the Corinthians like he did. He knows that Titus will tell them as he has, what is the best thing to do.

2 Corinthians 8:17 "For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you."

Paul had given the message to Titus, and Titus volunteered to take the message for Paul. It seemed that Titus was more forward with the message than even Paul would have been.

Titus had initially encouraged the Corinthians to begin the collection for Jerusalem at least one year earlier.

2 Corinthians 8:18 "And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise [is] in the gospel throughout all the churches;"

We have discussed before the importance of them going out by twos. Jesus had sent them out by twos to minister. One thing was the prayer of agreement. Some believe the other brother that was sent was Luke. It could have been any of them such as Barnabus, or Silas. We would be guessing to say. Whoever he was, he was highly thought of by the Christians.

The man was probably unnamed as he was so known, prominent and unimpeachable. Obviously, he added credibility to the taking of the collection to Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 8:19 "And not [that] only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and [declaration of] your ready mind:"

We have mentioned before, that there was usually a large party who traveled with Paul. Luke was nearly always with Paul. Whoever this was that Paul sent, would rejoin Paul and the larger group after they had made this necessary trip to Corinth.

To protect Paul and Titus from false accusations regarding the mishandling of the money, the churches picked the unbiased brother as their representative to lend accountability to the enterprise.

Paul wanted careful scrutiny as protection against bringing dishonor to Christ for any misappropriation of the money. He wanted to avoid any offenses worthy of justifiable criticisms or accusations.

2 Corinthians 8:20 "Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:"

Paul really did not want to handle the money, because he did not want anyone thinking that was why he was ministering. Paul had a great deal of authority, and he did not want anyone accusing him of misusing this authority.

2 Corinthians 8:21 "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

Paul knew that the Lord knew what he was doing and there was no problem there. The people were looking for things that they might accuse Paul of. He would give them no room to accuse him in this matter.

Paul cared greatly about what people thought of his actions, especially considering how large the gift was.

2 Corinthians 8:22 "And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which [I have] in you."

Paul has sent a third party, someone he trusts to bring the offering. He is also, showing great trust in the people of Corinth. He knows they will come through with an offering to help their less fortunate brothers.

2 Corinthians 8:23 "Whether [any do inquire] of Titus, [he is] my partner and fellow helper concerning you: or our brethren [be inquired of, they are] the messengers of the churches, [and] the glory of Christ."

Paul is just telling them here, that they can trust Titus, and the brother Paul sent with Titus, with their offering to be sent to Jerusalem. Paul says, they need no more recommendation than the fact that I sent them, and that they too, are messengers of the churches.

The two men who went with Titus were apostles in the sense of being commissioned and sent by the churches. They were not apostles of Christ, because they were not eye witnesses of the resurrected Lord or commissioned directly by Him.

"Glory of Christ": The greatest of all commendations is to be characterized as bringing glory to Christ. Such was the case of the two messengers.

2 Corinthians 8:24 "Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf."

It seems that Paul had been bragging about the church at Corinth and their generosity. Paul is saying, prove to all of them that it was not boasting, but the statement of fact.

2 Corinthians Chapter 8 Questions

1. What is Paul bringing to their attention in verse 1?

2. What are the two Macedonian churches the author is familiar with?

3. What was the financial condition of the people of the Macedonian churches?

4. What was Paul bragging on them about?

5. Where was the church in Philippi started?

6. Where were these donations going to be used?

7. The power in verse 3, is what power?

8. Who had they wanted to be in charge of the gift?

9. The giving at the churches in Macedonia could be compared to who?

10. Who had Paul sent to Corinth to receive the offering?

11. Name the various things we see in verse 7, they abound in.

12. Was Paul commanding the church to give? Explain.

13. What belongs to Jesus?

14. When was one instance the Lord Jesus used His power to pay a bill?

15. How much were they to give?

16. He that gathered much had _______ left over.

17. Was Titus forced to go to Corinth?

18. Why was it important for the ministers to go by twos?

19. Why had Paul not handled this offering personally?

20. Who did Paul have great trust in?

21. What recommendation did Titus have?

22. Who had Paul been bragging about to the Macedonians?

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2 Corinthians 9

2 Corinthians Chapter 9

2 Corinthians 9:1 "For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:"

The ministering to the saints is still speaking of the offering for the saints in Jerusalem.

The last lesson was very similar to this lesson. "Superfluous" means excessive or super abound. It also means, have more abundance.

The word "for" above shows that this is a continuation of chapter 8.

Paul is saying he really shouldn't have to write to them about this. They should be eager to help their brothers in Christ who have a need. They had been sidetracked by the false teachers who were accusing Paul of ministering for the money only.

2 Corinthians 9:2 "For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many."

It appears the zeal of the church at Corinth has caused the other churches to want to help also. Paul had bragged so much on the church at Corinth that they had wanted to do the same thing.

Now Paul is calling the Corinthians back to their original eagerness and readiness to participate in the offering project.

Macedonia was located in northern Greece and Achaia was a province in southern Greece near where Corinth was.

2 Corinthians 9:3 "Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:"

When the Corinthians first heard of the need, they had undoubtedly promised Paul that they would raise a large amount.

Paul is encouraging them to do whatever they are going to do now. It seems a great deal of time has passed since the need was known, and Paul is saying, send your offering now.

2 Corinthians 9:4 "Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting."

After promising so boldly what they would do, if they did not, it would be embarrassing for Paul, as well as for them. Paul had not ceased telling the people in Macedonia what the church at Corinth had planned to give.

2 Corinthians 9:5 " Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as [a matter of] bounty, and not as [of] covetousness."

"Bounty" meaning their generous gift.

Paul says that he is not coveting their funds. He wants them to have the free will offering ready when they come, to keep down embarrassment.

"Covetousness": or greed meaning a grasping to get more and keep it at the expense of others. This attitude emphasizes selfishness and pride, which can have a very detrimental effect on giving and is natural for unbelievers but should not be for professed believers.

2 Corinthians 9:6 "But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

If you want a large crop, you have to plant a lot of seeds. Pertaining to Christian giving is the saying that the harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown.

"Bountifully" comes from a Greek word "eulogy" meaning blessing. When a generous believer gives by faith and trust in God, with a desire to produce the greatest possible blessing, that person will receive that kind of a harvest of blessing.

This is not speaking in planting real seed, but speaking of the ministry. If the Lord is to bless them mightily, then they must give mightily. God gives a return on the amount one invests with Him. Invest a little, receive a little and vice versa.

The Lord multiplies what they give. 10 times one is ten, but ten times ten is 100. To bring in a big harvest, you must plant big. This is true in all walks of life. You reap according to what you sow.

2 Corinthians 9:7 "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

Paul is teaching them a principal of giving.

"Purposeth" is a premeditated, predetermined plan of action that is done from the heart voluntarily, but not impulsively.

To give because you have to and not because you want too brings no rewards at all. You might as well keep the offering if it is given grudgingly. It will not do you any good, or the person receiving it either. Give and it shall be given you, pressed down and running over. The "if" is then, if you gave it in love, cheerfully.

God has a unique special love for those who are happily committed to generous giving. The Greek word for "cheerful" is the word from which we get "hilarious," which suggests that God loves a heart that is enthusiastically thrilled with the pleasure of giving.

2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work:"

When you give to those with no hope of return, you lay up treasures in heaven for yourself. God does not overlook the smallest gift you give to someone in need.

Mark 9:41 "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."

The gift does not have to be large; it just has to be given freely with a cheerful heart. Those who help others in need will find that they will never suffer from need themselves. God sees their generosity and rewards them.

Grace here isn't referring to spiritual grace, but to money and material needs. When the believer generously and wisely gives of his material resources, God graciously replenishes them so he always has plenty and will not be in need.

God gives back lavishly to generous, cheerful givers, not so they may satisfy selfish, nonessential desires, but so they may meet the variety of needs others have.

2 Corinthians 9:9 "(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever."

When you are continually giving to others in need, you are insuring the love of God toward you. You are letting the righteousness that Jesus gave you, work in your life.

This verse comes from Psalm 112;

Psalm 112:9: "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor."

God replenishes and rewards the righteous giver both in time and eternity.

2 Corinthians 9:10 "Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)"

This verse may be translated, "Now He (God), who supplies seed to the sower and bread to eat will supply and multiply your seed and will increase the harvest (Yield), of your righteousness (prosperity).

The Corinthians would not be the ones to distribute their offerings. They are the one who provides the seed to be sown. They entrust someone else to sow it for them and everyone benefits. The person who provides the funds to minister with has just as much part in the ministering as the one who actually does the ministering.

In this scripture, Paul quotes from Isaiah 55:10 for support:

Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:"

The same God who is faithful to supply all His creatures' physical needs and is kind to all men, is uniquely gracious to His children. He always fulfills His promise to replenish their generosity.

This verse may be translated, "now he who supplies the seed to the sower and bread to eat will supply and multiply your seed and will increase the harvest (yield), of your righteousness (prosperity).

The "fruits of your righteousness" is God's temporal and eternal blessings to the cheerful giver.

Paul may preach to these people, but the givers of the funds to do it with are producing fruit for God, as well. Both are needed to get a good crop.

2 Corinthians 9:11 "Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."

One may provide the seed and another plant the crop, but God gets the increase. The saints who are blessed by this offering will give thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:12 "For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;"

This giving to the saints in need is not just a physical blessing to them, but also shows the love of God to them. It feeds their souls to know of the unselfish love these Corinthians have for them. It shows to them Christianity in action. This is what Christianity is all about.

Paul viewed the entire collection project as a spiritual, worshipful enterprise that was primarily being offered to God to glorify Him.

The Jerusalem church had an extremely great need. Many of its members had gone to Jerusalem as pilgrims to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, had been converted through Peter's message, and had then remained in the city without adequate financial support.

Many residents of Jerusalem had undoubtedly lost their jobs in the waves of persecution that came after the martyrdom of Stephen. However the Corinthians were wealthy enough (they had not yet suffered persecution and deprivation like the Macedonians), to help meet the huge need with a generous monetary gift.

2 Corinthians 9:13 "Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men];"

The collection, which the Corinthians had provided, gave proof of this ministry which gave them opportunity to test the genuineness of their faith.

The Jewish believers, who already doubted the validity of gentile salvation, were especially skeptical of the Corinthians since their church had so many problems. The Corinthian's involvement in the collection would help to put those doubts to rest.

Obedient submission to God's Word is always evidence of a true confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. If the Corinthians had a proper response to and participation in Paul's collection ministry, the Jewish believers would know the Gentile conversions had been real

We see from this scripture that they had not only accepted Jesus as their Savior, but are walking in that newness of life of the Christian. Jesus is their Lord, as well as Savior. They are acting in a Christ-like fashion. We see, in this, the brotherhood of the believers.

2 Corinthians 9:14 "And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you."

This just shows that the saints in Jerusalem thank God for the Corinthians who helped them. They do not have funds to give in return, but pray for their generous brothers in Corinth. The grace of God is showing in these followers in Corinth.

This verse illustrates the truth that mutual prayer is at the heart of authentic Christian unity. When the Jerusalem believers recognized God was at work in the Corinthian church because of its outreach through the collection, they would have become friends in Christ and prayed for the Corinthians, thanking God for their loving generosity. The Spirit of God was at work in the Corinthians in a special way.

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift."

Paul summarized his discourse by comparing the believer's act of giving with what God did in giving Jesus Christ, "His unspeakable gift". God buried His Son and reaped a vast harvest of those who put their faith in the resurrected Christ. That makes it possible for believers to joyfully, sacrificially and abundantly sow and reap. As they give in this manner, they show forth Christ's likeness.

2 Corinthians 9 Questions

1. What does "superfluous" mean in verse 1?

2. What does the fact that this lesson begins with the word "for" show us?

3. Who had Paul boasted to of them?

4. Who was ready a year ago?

5. What zeal was Paul speaking of?

6. Why was Paul anxious for them to send the offering now?

7. What bounty are they speaking of?

8. He that soweth sparingly, shall reap _____________.

9. What must you do to get a large crop?

10. You reap according to what you ____.

11. How does verse 7 say to give?

12. What does verse 8 say God will do for you, if you are generous in your giving?

13. What is working in your life when you give generously?

14. Who is blessed more, the one who provides the seed to sow, or the one who sows it?

15. In verse 11, thanksgiving was given to whom?

16. What does this offering do for the saints, besides take care of their physical needs?

17. These Corinthians are walking in ____________ of _____.

18. What will the saints at Jerusalem do for the Corinthians?

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2 Corinthians 10

2 Corinthians Chapter 10

2 Corinthians 10:1 "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence [am] base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:"

"Meekness" is a gentle and humble attitude that expresses itself in patient endurance of unfair treatment. Someone who is meek is not bitter or angry nor do they seek vengeance when wronged.

Gentleness is similar in meaning and when applied to a person in a position of authority, refers to leniency. Gentle people refuse to retaliate even when it is in their power to do so.

"Base", in the verse above, means humiliated, depressed, cast down, humble, or of low degree. Paul is saying that his person is not overwhelming to anyone. We will find in this chapter that Paul is answering some of the accusations made by people who were trying to change the church at Corinth and its teachings. Jesus was meek and gentle, until someone started making God's house a house of merchandise.

Paul is saying, that he can say what is really in his heart in this letter. His boldness comes from righteous indignation for the false teaching that was trying to creep into the church at Corinth. He might seem base to them, but when it came to matters of God, he was bold. Paul was a small man, possibly plain in appearance, and was not an overwhelming speaker. He was, however, very talented in writing his thoughts down.

It seems that some had mistaken his gentleness and meekness toward them for weakness and had accused him of cowardice, by being bold only when writing to them from a safe distance.

2 Corinthians 10:2 "But I beseech [you], that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh."

It seemed as if the person who was bringing in the false teaching, was also attacking the character of Paul. They had accused Paul as walking after the flesh. Paul would stand up boldly and denounce this false accusation.

Paul was capable of bold confrontation, but sought to spare the rebellious minority not to force him to display his boldness by confronting them.

2 Corinthians 10:3 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:"

I have said over and over, that the Christian is in the world, but not of the world. Paul is saying here, I may be housed in flesh, but I am not a flesh man. The battles that Paul had been fighting were spiritual battles. His weapons were spiritual as well. He describes his armor in Ephesians 6 starting with verse 11.

Some at Corinth had wrongly accused him of walking in the flesh in a moral sense. Paul affirmed that he did walk in the flesh in a physical sense; though possessing the power and authority of an apostle of Jesus Christ, he was a real human being.

2 Corinthians 10:4 "(For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)"

The war that Paul was fighting is still going on today. It is the battle between the flesh and the spirit.

Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]."

We will find in all of Paul's battles, he did not use a sword to fight a physical battle. God fought Paul's battles for him. The formidable spiritual strongholds manned by the forces of hell can be demolished only by spiritual weapons wielded by godly believers, such as the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17), since only the truth of God's Word can defeat satanic falsehoods.

2 Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"

You can sit around and imagine all sorts of terrible things. Paul says cast them down. Do not allow yourself to start imagining all sorts of terrible things. Thoughts, ideas, speculations, reasonings, philosophies, and false religions are the ideological forts in which men barricade themselves against God and the gospel. The mind is where evil imaginations begin.

We find in the next Scripture that it our responsibility to guard over our own mind.

1 Peter 1:13 "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"

The devil tempts man in his mind. The mind is an enemy of God. A true Christian takes on the mind of Christ. That means our mind obeys Christ to the utmost.

2 Corinthians 10:6 "And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."

Paul is saying that these disobedient will conform to Christ in truth. He says that he had rather his preaching and explaining would win them, but he will do more if he has to.

Paul would not stand idly by while enemies of the faith assaulted a church under his care. He was ready to purge them out as he did at Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:19-20), as soon as the Corinthian church was complete in its obedience. When that happened, the lines would be clearly drawn between the repentant, obedient majority and the disobedient minority.

2 Corinthians 10:7 "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he [is] Christ's, even so [are] we Christ's."

It appears that these trouble-makers had even gone so far as to say that Paul was not of Christ. Paul is warning the Corinthians to not look at outward appearance. Paul is the one who led them to Christ. How could he lead them to Christ if he were not of Christ himself? He says if you are of Christ, then certainly I am of Christ.

In light of what the Corinthians knew about Paul, how could some of them possibly believe that He was a false apostle and the false teachers were true apostles? Unlike Paul, the false apostles had founded no churches and had suffered no persecution for the cause of Christ. Paul could call on his companions and even Ananias as witnesses to the reality of his Damascus Road experience; there were no witnesses to verify the false apostles' alleged encounters with the risen, glorified Christ.

For the sake of argument, Paul did not at this point deny the false apostles' claims as he did later (in 11:13-25). He merely pointed out that he too, can and does claim to belong to Christ. To decide between the conflicting personal claims, the Corinthians needed only to consider the objective evidence, as he commanded them to do earlier in this verse.

2 Corinthians 10:8 "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:"

Paul is saying, if anyone has a right to boast it would be me. The Lord Jesus Christ had appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, and gave him authority to minister to the Gentiles. Paul is not meaning this to brag on himself, but to shame them for their bragging. The Lord had raised Paul up, not Paul.

The Lord gave Paul his authority to edify and strengthen the church; that he had done so at Corinth proves the genuineness of his claim to apostolic calling. Far from edifying the Corinthian church, the false apostles had brought confusion, divisiveness and turmoil to it. That showed that their authority did not come from the Lord, who seeks only to build His church, not tear it down.

2 Corinthians 10:9 "That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters."

We know that Paul wrote at least 2 letters. Paul's letters were very strong, but that is what they needed to keep them straightened out.

False apostles had accused Paul of being an abusive leader and of trying to intimidate the Corinthians in his letters. Paul's goal, however, was not to terrify the Corinthians but to bring them to repentance, because he loved them.

2 Corinthians 10:10 "For [his] letters, say they, [are] weighty and powerful; but [his] bodily presence [is] weak, and [his] speech contemptible."

Some of this was certainly true. Paul did write powerful letters to them. He also was a small man in stature. "Paul" means small. He was not a flashy minister. Even his speaking was not as powerful as his letters.

The false teachers had claimed that in contrast to his bold, forceful letters, that in person he lacked the presence, charisma and personality of a truly great leader. They no doubt supported their view by portraying Paul's departure after his "painful" visit.

God called each of us to our own calling. One can write, another preach, another teach, another heal, and so on. We should use the ability that God has given us to the very fullest amount we can.

2 Corinthians 10:11 "Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such [will we be] also in deed when we are present."

Paul is saying, do not think that I will let up when I come to you in person. What I have been giving you is truth, and will remain the truth. Paul says, it is the same message, whether I write it to you, or give it in a speech before you.

Paul denied the false charges against him and affirmed his integrity. What he was in his letters he was to be when present with them.

2 Corinthians 10:12 "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

When you have to brag on yourself, there is not much there to brag about. Paul refuses to be of that sort.

It is a mark of Paul's humility that he refused to compare himself with others, or engage in self-promotion. His only personal concern was what the Lord thought of him, though he needed to defend his apostleship so the Corinthians would not, in turning from him, turn from the truth to lies.

Paul pointed out the folly of the false apostles' boasting. They had invented false standards that they could meet, then proclaimed themselves superior for meeting them.

2 Corinthians 10:13 "But we will not boast of things without [our] measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you."

It is not bragging to tell of the call of God in your life. That is just stating a fact.

In contrast to the proud, arrogant, boastful false apostles, Paul refused to say anything about himself or his ministry that was not true and God given.

Paul was content to stay within the bounds of the ministry God had given him, that of being the apostle to the Gentiles. The apostle again demonstrated his humility by refusing to boast of his own accomplishments, preferring to speak only of what Christ had done through him.

2 Corinthians 10:14 "For we stretch not ourselves beyond [our measure], as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in [preaching] the gospel of Christ:"

This is Paul saying; let my preaching speak for its self. Paul reminds them that the church at Corinth was under his jurisdiction, since he started the church there. He knew others would come, but he was the very first to minister to them, and he felt it his responsibility to keep them in sound doctrine.

2 Corinthians 10:15 "Not boasting of things without [our] measure, [that is], of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,"

Paul had not gone into a church that someone else started and tried to impose his way. This was a church he had started himself, and another had come and tried to change it. Paul has every right to defend the church he started, and his self.

When the crisis in Corinth had been resolved and the Corinthians' faith strengthened, Paul would, with their help, expand his ministry into new areas.

2 Corinthians 10:16 "To preach the gospel in the [regions] beyond you, [and] not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand."

Paul went into areas where they had not heard the gospel, and started new works. He was not building on someone else's work, but on his own.

This is speaking of areas in Rome and Spain (see Romans 15:24 and 28).

2 Corinthians 10:17 "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

The thought of self-glory was repugnant to Paul; he boasted only in the Lord.

The following Scripture says it much better than I could.

Galatians 6:14 "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

To God be the glory for all things.

2 Corinthians 10:18 "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."

Self-commendation is both meaningless and foolish; the only true, meaningful commendation comes from God.

Let us look at a very good explanation of this from the Scriptures.

Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican." "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

To exalt yourself means that no one else will do it. God is the Judge of all. Pray that He will exalt you.

2 Corinthians Chapter 10 Questions

1. What does "base", in verse 1, mean?

2. What is Paul doing in this chapter?

3. When was Jesus not meek and gentle?

4. What does Paul's boldness come from?

5. Describe Paul's outward appearance.

6. He was very talented in what?

7. What terrible thing had they been saying about Paul in verse 2?

8. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not ____ after the ______.

9. What kind of battles had Paul been fighting?

10. Where can you find the armor worn by a Christian?

11. Who fought for Paul?

12. Give a good example of this?

13. What did Paul say to do with imaginations?

14. A true Christian takes on the _______ of Christ.

15. In verse 7, what does Paul tell them is proof he is of Christ?

16. Who had the most right to boast?

17. What things were true about the description they had given of Paul?

18. What are some of the different things God calls us to do?

19. What is Paul saying to them in verse 14?

20. Why did Paul have the right to correct these at Corinth?

21. Let him glory in the ______.

22. Who is approved in verse 18?

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2 Corinthians 11

2 Corinthians Chapter 11

2 Corinthians 11:1 "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in [my] folly: and indeed bear with me."

In the last scripture of chapter 10, Paul had just pointed out the folly of self-commendation, but he certainly did not want to engage in it. But the Corinthians' acceptance of the false apostles' claims forced Paul to set forth his own apostolic credentials as that was the only way he could get them to see the truth.

Unlike the false apostles, Paul's boasting was in the Lord and motivated by concern for the Corinthians' well-being under the threat of false teaching.

In the latter part of (chapter 10), we saw Paul saying, if any one had anything to boast of, it would be him. Now he is calling that folly. Whatever it takes for Paul to make them realize he has authority from God to teach them, is the argument Paul will give. Look over my boasting and understand what I am trying to tell you, would be another way of putting it.

2 Corinthians 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ."

Paul's folly was caused by his deep concern for the Corinthians to the point of jealously, not for his own reputation, but zeal for their spiritual purity. Jealously that was inspired by his zeal for God's causes, and thus similar to God's own jealousy for His holy name and His people's loyalty.

This jealousy is not in the physical sense. Paul is saying, I have claimed you for the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wants these Corinthians, who started out with him, to stay loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Being a "chaste virgin" is saying not to stray away from pure Christianity. This has to do with the spiritual. God will not take second place to anything. In fact, He will not share you with any other God, or any other teaching.

Paul portrayed the Corinthians like a daughter, whom he betrothed to Jesus Christ at their conversion. The Old Testament pictures Israel as the wife of the Lord while the New Testament pictures the church as the bride of Christ.

Paul loves them as dear children. He tries to keep them with the simple message of the gospel they had received through him. We must walk in our salvation, after we have received it.

2 Corinthians 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

Paul does not want them to receive any other message than the simple message of the cross. He compared the danger facing the Corinthian church to Eve's deception by Satan. He feared the Corinthians, like Eve, would fall prey to satanic lies and have their minds corrupted. The tragic result would be the abandonment of their simple devotion to Christ in favor of the sophisticated error of the false apostle.

Galatians 1:8-9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." "As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

The mind is at enmity with God. The mind will lead you astray. Christianity is of the heart. Even today, some of the doctrines (that claim to be of Christ), are not telling the truth. Many people, looking for something new, find something very old, a false doctrine. Christianity is simple. It is not complicated.

Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

2 Corinthians 11:4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]."

The false apostle(s) came into the church from the outside just as Satan did into the Garden. They were like the Judaizers, seeking to impose Jewish customs on the Corinthians.

Their fascination with rhetoric and oratory suggest they had been influenced by Greek culture and philosophy.

Despite their vicious attacks on him, Paul's quarrel with the false apostles was not personal, but doctrinal.

Paul is explaining to them that he had already brought them the gospel, and had even taught them of the Spirit. If this person or persons is teaching them a message better than the one Paul gave and one they had rather believe, then stay with them. If they are not, why break away?

Why are they seeking for something else, when they already have Jesus as Savior and Lord? They also, have been introduced to the Holy Spirit. There is no need to seek another.

Though the precise details of what the false apostle(s) taught are unknown and don't matter, they preached "another Jesus" and "a different spirit", which added up to "a different gospel".

2 Corinthians 11:5 "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles."

It seems that the Corinthians (led by this new teacher), have begun to compare Paul with the other apostles. Possibly, because he was not of the original 12, they have questioned whether he is an apostle at all, or not.

Here, Paul is more likely making a sarcastic reference to the false apostles, based on their exalted view of themselves.

2 Corinthians 11:6 "But though [I be] rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things."

Paul, after he had seen the Light, went into the desert.

Galatians 1:15-18 "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace," "To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:" "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."

Whatever deficiencies Paul may have had as an orator, he had none in terms of knowledge.

It seems from this, that Paul was taught of the Spirit for three years. Paul was not necessarily a great orator, but was a minister of truth which he had received directly from God. Paul's ministry was verified over and over by the signs and wonders that followed him.

Paul was an educated man in the ways of the temple, but had no formal training to be a Christian minister. None of the apostles were formally trained. Their training was by the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 11:7 "Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?"

Greek culture measured the importance of a teacher by the fee he could command. When Paul opened the church at Corinth, he asked nothing for himself. He preached the good news of Jesus Christ to them, free of charge. Because he did not charge them to preach, does that make him less a preacher? Being a tent maker was not thought of as a prominent job.

This is possibly what he is saying being "abased". The message of good news from God that Paul brought them free of charge is the most precious possession of any of us.

Paul asked his accusers how foregoing his right to support could possibly be a sin. In fact, by refusing support he had humbled himself so they could be exalted That is, lifted out of their sin and idolatry.

2 Corinthians 11:8 "I robbed other churches, taking wages [of them], to do you service."

Paul is probably speaking of the church at Philippi. This is the only church that recorded helping Paul with his expenses. The workman is worthy of his hire (whether secular work, or church work).

God established the high priest and his family to live of the things of the offerings. Everything Paul had ever done for Corinth had been at no charge.

Why Paul refused to accept the support he was entitled to from the Corinthians is not clear. Perhaps some of them were suspicious of his motives in promoting the offering for the Jerusalem church.

2 Corinthians 11:9 "And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all [things] I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and [so] will I keep [myself]."

Paul took great pride in the fact that he did not minister for the money they would pay him. Mostly he worked as a tent maker to feed and clothe himself. The church that is mentioned that helped Paul with funds was the church at Philippi in Macedonia.

Silas and Timothy were the brethren who came from Macedonia, bringing money from Philippi and possibly Thessalonica. The Macedonians; generous financial support allowed Paul to devote himself full time to preaching the gospel.

2 Corinthians 11:10 "As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia."

He is just saying that he would not take their funds, even if they offered, because he wanted to prove to them that his gospel message was with no strings attached. Paul would give them no room for suspicion of his motives.

"The regions of Achaia": The Roman province of which Corinth was the capital and leading city. The false apostles apparently were affecting more than just the city of Corinth.

2 Corinthians 11:11 "Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth."

They were of a suspicious nature, and it seemed right to Paul to not help that suspicion along. He says, God knows that I love you as a parent would.

2 Corinthians 11:12 "But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we."

Because Paul's refusal to accept financial support from the Corinthians', was a source of embarrassment to the false apostles, who eagerly sought money for their services. Paul intended to keep his ministry free of charge and thereby undermine the false apostles' claims that they operated on the same basis as he did.

We see in this, that the new teachers who have been opposed to Paul are saying, they are not interested in being paid for their services. At the same time, they are secretly receiving from the church at Corinth themselves. Paul is saying that all who minister in the church have needs for their own personal care.

2 Corinthians 11:13 "For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."

Paul was no longer speaking with veiled irony or defending himself, but bluntly and directly exposed the false apostles for what they were, emissaries of Satan. Not only was their claim to apostleship false, so also was their doctrine. As satanic purveyors of false teaching, they were under the curse of (Gal. 1:8-9).

Galatians 1:8-9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." "As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

Paul says that these new teachers that have come into the church are not truly apostles of Christ. These are people who have chosen to minister as a way of making a living. Paul believes they are not really called of God. They are pulling Paul down to pull themselves up.

Paul's forceful language may seem harsh, but it expressed the godly jealously he felt for the Corinthians. Paul was unwilling to sacrifice truth for the sake of unity.

2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

Not every one in the church proclaiming Christianity is truly of God. Satan, himself, tries to mimic all the things the Lord does. He even many times pretends to be of the Light, when he is really darkness to the utmost. We are told to try the spirits, and see whether they are of God, or not.

Since the Prince of Darkness masquerades as an angel of light, that is, deceptively, disguised as a messenger of truth. It is not surprising that his emissaries do as well.

The truth is that Satan is a counterfeit. He may appear, at a glance to be of God, but a closer examination will reveal who he is. He counterfeits the gifts of the Spirit many times.

2 Corinthians 11:15 "Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

The really sad thing about false doctrines is that at a glance they appear to be real. A person, who is not well versed in the Scriptures, would quickly accept the teaching, because it is close to truth. One quick giveaway is that anything that elevates man up to the level of God is false. Also, any doctrine that denies that Jesus was Immanuel (God with us), is false.

Satan deceived Eve and holds unbelievers' captive. His emissaries were attempting to deceive and enslave the Corinthians. The terrifying "end" these self-styled "ministers of righteousness" will face is God's judgment, the fate of all false teachers.

Jesus is God the Word who took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us, and anything less than that is a false doctrine. Anything or anyone, who denies the power of the shed blood of Jesus is also false. The reason so many people, then and now, fall for this false teaching, is that it usually elevates man and brings God down to the level of man.

Lucifer's sin was in wanting to be God. Jesus said that there would be false teachers, and many would follow them. Study your Bible carefully, and do not be deceived. Test every spirit by the Word of God.

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

2 Corinthians Chapter 11 Questions

1. Boasting is _______.

2. What is verse 1 saying?

3. I am jealous over you with _________jealousy.

4. What is meant by "chaste virgin" in verse 2?

5. We must _______ in our salvation after we have received it.

6. Who did the serpent beguile in the Garden of Eden?

7. What did Paul fear would happen to their minds?

8. Christianity is of the ________.

9. In verse 4, what is Paul telling them to do with this new minister?

10. These Corinthians led by this new teacher, have begun to do what?

11. What had Paul charged the church at Corinth when he ministered to them?

12. What is he probably speaking of when he uses the term "abased"?

13. What is the most precious possession we have?

14. What church is Paul speaking of, when he says, he robbed other churches?

15. What were the high priest and his family to live of?

16. What had Paul taken great pride in about ministering to these Corinthians?

17. How did Paul love these Corinthians?

18. What are these new teachers secretly doing?

19. What did Paul call the new teachers in verse 13?

20. Satan himself, is transformed into an angel of ________.

21. Satan is a __________.

22. What is so sad about false doctrines?

23. How can we defend against false doctrines?

2 Corinthians Chapter 11 Continued

2 Corinthians 11:16 "I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little."

After digressing to discuss the issue of financial support and to expose the false teachers as emissaries of Satan, Paul returned to the 'foolish" boasting the Corinthians had forced him into.

Boast, seems to be the prominent word in the last few chapters including this chapter. It seems to me that it is very painful to Paul to have to defend himself. Paul has already mentioned that he thought it foolish to boast. This boasting is in defense of his character.

Paul's concern was not personal preservation; rather, the apostle knew that by rejecting him in favor of the false apostles, the Corinthians would be rejecting the true gospel for a false one. So by establishing himself and his ministry as genuine, Paul was defending the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:17 "That which I speak, I speak [it] not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting."

Paul is not speaking for the Lord here, but for himself. Paul will be sure to give his things that he has suffered for the Lord to prove who and what he is about.

Paul does acknowledge that the boasting is "not according to the Lord", but the desperate situation in Corinth (where the false apostles made their "boast according to the flesh), had forced him to boast. Not for self-glorification, but to counter the false doctrine threatening the Corinthian church.

2 Corinthians 11:18 "Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also."

This boasting is a fleshly thing in answer to the boasting of the new teacher who has stirred them up against Paul.

In these next 3 scriptures (from 19-21), Paul pens some of the most scathing sarcasm that he had even penned, demonstrating the seriousness of the situation at Corinth and revealing the jealous concern of a godly pastor. Paul did not view his disagreement with the false apostles as a mere academic debate; the souls of the Corinthians and the purity of the gospel were at stake.

2 Corinthians 11:19 "For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye [yourselves] are wise."

The Corinthians who had wrote Paul sarcastically, should have no trouble bearing with a "fool" like him, since they themselves were so wise.

Paul is saying, you are so intelligent that you listen to fools gladly. This is really saying to them that their judgment of character is not what it should be.

2 Corinthians 11:20 "For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour [you], if a man take [of you], if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face."

"Bring you into bondage" is a Greek verb translated by this phrase appearing elsewhere in the New Testament only (in Gal. 2:4), where it speaks of the Galatians' enslavement by the Judaizers. The false apostles had robbed the Corinthians of their freedom in Christ. The false apostles were attempting to catch the Corinthians like fish in a net.

The new teachers, it seems, were putting them under great bondage. It seems they had these Corinthians so convinced they were right, that they would put up with most anything from these new teachers.

2 Corinthians 11:21 "I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also."

Paul's sarcasm reached its peak as he noted that he was "too weak" to abuse the Corinthians as the false apostles had done.

Paul says, I may have appeared to you as weak, but if you want boldness, I can be bold also.

2 Corinthians 11:22 "Are they Hebrews? so [am] I. Are they Israelites? so [am] I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so [am] I."

Here again, we see Paul being all things to all men that by all means he might save some. If they claim they are a Hebrew, they have nothing on Paul. He is a Hebrew. Paul always reminded the Israelites that he was not only an Israelite, but a Pharisee of the Pharisees. All believers in Christ are seed of Abraham.

To each of these questions Paul replied simply, truthfully and powerfully, "so am I".

2 Corinthians 11:23 "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft."

"Fool" means insane (in verse 23). Paul is saying, that it is insane to speak this way. Paul, in comparing himself to these teachers who have come against him, says that he is a better minister. He has labored harder than them all. He had been imprisoned most of the time he was ministering. In Rome, he was under house arrest and yet ministered regularly. He had been beaten, and stoned, and even left for dead. Paul was reminding him the suffering he had endured for the sake of the gospel. I am sure this rejection hurt him more than all the beatings.

In this scripture, Paul had emphatically denied that they were ministers of Christ, however, some of the Corinthians still believed they were. Paul accepted that belief for the sake of argument then went on to show that his ministry was in every way superior to the false apostles so called "ministry."

A general summary of Paul's sufferings for the gospel in the next few verses give specific examples, many of which are not found in Acts. Paul was often in danger of death.

2 Corinthians 11:24 "Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one."

Jesus had told Paul in the beginning that he would show him what great things he would suffer for him. These beatings were just one of these things he suffered. Forty stripes was thought to be too much, and a man would die so the most that was allowed was 39. Any more than that and the one doing the beating could be put to death.

(Deut. 25:1-3), set 40 as the maximum number that could legally be administered. In Paul's day the Jews reduced that number by one to avoid accidentally going over the maximum. Jesus warned that His followers would receive such beatings (Matt. 10:17).

2 Corinthians 11:25 "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;"

With rods is referring to Roman beatings with flexible sticks tied together. He was stoned at Lystra.

We know that Paul was shipwrecked on the way to Rome to be heard of Caesar, but when this scripture was written, this had not yet taken place. Paul had been on several sea voyages up to this time, giving ample opportunity for the 3 shipwrecks to have occurred. On one of those shipwrecks was so severe that Paul spent an entire day floating on the wreckage waiting to be rescued.

All of these things, Paul gladly endured so that he might be able to bring the gospel message to the lost world.

2 Corinthians 11:26 "[In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;"

These perils are those connected with his frequent travels. Waters (rivers), and robbers posed a serious danger to travelers in the ancient world. Paul's journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch for example, required him to travel through the robber infested Taurus Mountains and to cross two dangerous, flood prone rivers. Paul was frequently in danger from his "own countrymen" and less often, from Gentiles.

From the time that Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and the time he was killed in Rome, Paul travelled widely in missionary journeys. On one of these journeys, he established the church at Corinth that this letter was written to. Paul was hated by the Jews, and they followed him and tried to kill him. The Christians here at Corinth, it appeared, were turning against Paul and the Romans finally killed Paul. This is not exaggeration that he was speaking.

2 Corinthians 11:27 "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

Paul had gone right on ministering in the face of all these troubles. He ministered many times immediately after he had been beaten or stoned. He and Silas were praying and singing at midnight in the prison. He went on, weary or not. Paul gave no thought at all for the physical handicaps he faced. He went right on ministering.

He learned to be content whatever state he found himself in at the time.

2 Corinthians 11:28 "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."

Far worse than the occasional physical suffering Paul endured was the constant, daily burden of concern for the churches that he felt.

Paul could well endure the hardships from without, but it truly hurt him when the very churches he had started were against him. Paul dearly loved all the churches he had begun. He loved them as a parent loves a child. He felt responsible for the churches he had begun. This is the very reason he wrote this letter. All pastors who begin a work are always concerned for that church staying true to the teachings it began with.

2 Corinthians 11:29 "Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?"

Those "who were weak" in faith or were made to stumble into sin caused him intense emotional pain.

Paul felt every problem right along with them. Their troubles were his troubles too. He loved them and wanted things to go right for them.

"Who is offended, and I burn not". That is, "Who is caused to stumble, and I am not indignant?" The apostle is deeply concerned about the weaker brethren, and he burned with indignation when he thought of those who would lead them into sin.

Remember that if one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.

2 Corinthians 11:30 "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities."

They have forced Paul to glory. He does not like to glory at all. He says, if I must glory, I will glory in my infirmities. To do so magnified God's power at work in him.

Many church people of our day would say that Paul was not right with God or he would not have had these problems. My Bible says exactly the opposite.

2 Timothy 2:12 "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:"

2 Corinthians 11:31 "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not."

Realizing how incredible the list of his sufferings must have seemed, Paul called on God to witness that he was telling the truth that these things really happened.

This is the only One that it is important to know that he is not telling anything false. When the final judgment comes, it will not matter what man thinks of you. It will be very important what God knows about you.

2 Corinthians 11:32-33 "In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:" "And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands."

It appears it was not just the religious leaders of Paul's day who had tried to destroy him, but some of the rulers of which we read of one here.

Paul related his humiliating escape from Damascus as the crowning example of the weakness and infirmity in which he boasted. The Acts narrative names the hostile Jews as those who sought Paul's life, whereas Paul here mentioned the governor under the Nabatean Arab king Aretas (9 B.C. - 40 A.D.), as the one who sought him. Historians believe the man mentioned here was the father-in-law of Herod.

Evidently the Jews stirred up the secular authorities against him as they were later to do repeatedly in Acts.

Paul is just telling of one of the many times when he escaped from prison. The letting down with the basket means that someone helped Paul escape, probably his Christian friends.

2 Corinthians Chapter 11 Continued Questions

  1. In verse 16 Paul says, let no man think me a _______.
  2. What has been the prominent word in the last few lessons?
  3. In verse 17 Paul says, this is not God speaking, but whom?
  4. Many glory after the _______.
  5. What is Paul saying to them in verse 19?
  6. How were the new teachers treating them?
  7. Paul had appeared to them as weak, but he could be ______.
  8. What 3 things did Paul say he was in verse 22?
  9. All believers in Christ are ________ of Abraham.
  10. What does "fool" mean in verse 23?
  11. Where was most of Paul's ministering done?
  12. Where did Paul minister in Rome?
  13. Of all things, what hurt Paul the worst?
  14. How many times had Paul received 40 stripes save one?
  15. How many times was he shipwrecked?
  16. What were most of Paul's journeys for?
  17. Who kill Paul?
  18. What problems of Paul are mentioned in verse 27?
  19. Who was in prison with Paul when they prayed at midnight?
  20. What kind of love did Paul have for the churches he started?
  21. What did Paul glory of?
  22. Who did Paul say, knew that he did not lie?
  23. Who do historians say, this is speaking of in verse 32?
  24. What did they use to let Paul down the wall?

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2 Corinthians 12

2 Corinthians Chapter 12

2 Corinthians 12:1 "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord."

"Expedient" probably means profitable in the verse above.

"Revelations", in the verse above, means disclosure. Paul now proceeds to tell them of the revelations of God to him. Jesus revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul is apologizing for boasting, saying it is really of no use.

Though it was "not expedient," since it could tempt his own flesh to be proud, the Corinthians' fascination with the alleged visions and revelations of the false apostles left him little choice.

Six of Paul's visions are recorded in Acts, and his letters speak of revelations he had received.

Acts 9:12 "And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight."

Acts 16:9-10 "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us." "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them."

Acts 18:9 "Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:"

Acts 22:17-18 "And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;" "And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me."

Acts 27:23-24 "For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve," "Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee."

"Visions" means presentation while neither sleeping or awake. You might be awake, but not aware of other things around you. The Lord revealed Himself to Paul in this manner.

2 Corinthians 12:2 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven."

Of course, Paul is speaking of himself. Paul was truly "in Christ" as most Christians can only dream of.

This had taken place 14 years before the writing of 2 Corinthians so the specific vision Paul relates cannot be identified with any incident recorded in Acts. Probably took place between his return to Tarsus from Jerusalem and the start of his missionary journeys.

Verse 4 shows this "third heaven" and Paradise is the same place. The first heaven is the earth's atmosphere; the second is interplanetary and interstellar space; and the third is the abode of God.

Whether Paul had a vision, or was carried away into heaven to the presence of God, really does not matter. What does matter is that Paul had a close encounter with God. There are very few instances like this in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 12:3 "And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)"

Paul is saying, that he could have left his body and gone to heaven in his spirit. He is not sure whether his spirit body went to heaven, or whether his physical body went to heaven as he was so overwhelmed by the vision.

Paul is not trying to speculate. He says God alone knows.

2 Corinthians 12:4 "How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."

We mentioned in a previous lesson, that Paradise is where the Tree of Life is.

Revelation 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

If the words are unlawful for man to utter, there would be no way we could know what they were. More than likely these words were for Paul alone and he was forbidden to repeat them.

2 Corinthians 12:5 "Of such a one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."

There would be no way to prove to anyone on the earth that this had happened to you, so there is no way to glory in this. Also, Paul had nothing to do with this, God took Paul on this journey. The glory then, must lie in his infirmities.

Though Paul's reluctance to boast caused him to refer to himself in the third person as (in verse 2), the context there makes it obvious that he was speaking about himself as relating the experience of another man would hardly have enhanced Paul's apostolic credentials. Also, Paul's thorn in the flesh afflicted him not someone else.

2 Corinthians 12:6 "For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but [now] I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me [to be], or [that] he heareth of me."

Paul says, there is no need to think of him highly for this happening. Paul again, turns their attention to the truth of the gospel he has brought to them.

If he had wished to boast about himself about this unique experience he would not be a fool because it happened. But he refrained because he wanted the Corinthians to judge him based on their observations of his ministry, not on his visions.

2 Corinthians 12:7 "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

If you were to look up the meaning of this messenger of Satan, you would find that it means an angel of Satan. This is just more evidence to me that the "demons", devil spirits working for Satan are the fallen angels. We can see in this that God does not always heal. Sometimes the impairment we have is for our own good.

Many have speculated on the thorn in Paul's flesh. Suggested views are

(1) Temptations from the Devil;

(2) Paul's opposition from his adversaries;

(3) Some intense bodily pain;

(4) a recurring physical affliction such as eye trouble; or

(5) Some form of mental or psychological distress.

Whatever the case, it was a tool of Satan. Whatever it was, it was sent to him by God to keep him humble. As with Job, Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause.

John MacArthur has an interesting take on this as he states that Paul's use of the word "messenger" (Greek: angellos, or angel), from Satan suggests the "thorn in the flesh" was a demonized person, not a physical illness. Of the 175 uses of the Greek word, angellos in the New Testament, most are in reference to angels.

This angel was from Satan, a demon afflicting Paul. Possibly, the best explanation for this demon was that he was indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthian conspiracy, the leader of the false apostles. Through them he was tearing up Paul's beloved church and thus driving a painful stake through Paul.

Further support tor this view comes from the context of (chapters 10-13), which is one of fighting adversaries (the false prophets). The word "buffet" always refers to ill treatment from other people. And finally, the Old Testament describes Israel's personal opponent as thorns.

2 Corinthians 12:8 "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me."

We see in this, that Paul earnestly prayed 3 times to be healed, and God said no. We must carefully examine the guilt trip some ministers put on people who do not get healed. Sometimes it is not the will of God to heal you. It is God's business who he heals. We must not stop praying, but it is not our business whether they are healed or not, it is God's business.

The 3-fold repetition of Paul's request parallels that of Jesus in Gethsemane. Both Paul and Jesus had had their requests denied, but were granted grace to endure their ordeals.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

We must not question this answer from God. For some reason, Paul could minister better with the infirmity, than he could without it. Since Paul had this weakness, he was very aware that his strength was in Christ. It would be perfectly obvious to everyone Paul ministered to, that Paul's power was in God. God ministered through Paul.

The present tense of the verb translated "is sufficient" reveals the constant availability of divine grace. God would not remove the thorn, as Paul had requested, but would continually supply him with grace to endure it.

"My strength is made perfect in weakness" shows that the weaker the human instrument, the more clearly God's grace shines forth.

2 Corinthians 12:10 "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Paul's weakness in his flesh just allowed the spirit to work in him more fully. Paul knows that there will be no mistaking where his strength comes from.

2 Timothy 2:12 "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:"

Paul, knowing this, was happy to suffer for Christ's sake.

Paul took no pleasure in the pain itself, but rejoiced in the power of Christ that it revealed through him.

2 Corinthians 12:11 "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing."

Paul is not happy that he had to boast but states the Corinthians had compelled him as they should not have believed the false apostles. He then goes on to point out that in nothing is he behind in the preaching of the 12 apostles, though he considers himself nothing. Here is how Peter and John were seen by the high priest, elders and scribes.

Acts 4:13 "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

Even though Paul had this weakness in the flesh, he still used all of his time to further the kingdom of God. He, even more than the other apostles, fulfilled the great commission.

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Paul went to many countries and carried the gospel message. He also did it the way Jesus had commanded.

Matthew 10:8 " Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." All of these signs of ministry followed Paul.

2 Corinthians 12:12 "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."

The purpose of miraculous signs was to authenticate the apostles as God's messengers. The miracle of the Corinthians' salvation was also a mark of Paul's apostleship.

Paul did heal the sick and cast out devils. In all of the ministry the Lord Jesus brought, the most important thing was to preach the gospel. On the trip to Rome, when Paul was shipwrecked, the people thought Paul to be a god, when he threw the poison serpent off, after it bit Paul. Paul had to tell the people not to worship him.

2 Corinthians 12:13 "For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except [it be] that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong."

Paul is telling them, here, that the only mistake he made was in not teaching them to take care of the needs of their minister. Paul had given them the salvation message and the message about the Holy Spirit. He really had no apologies to make.

How ironic that he begged their forgiveness for that wrong.

2 Corinthians 12:14 "Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children."

On his upcoming visit, Paul wished to continue his practice of refusing to accept support from the Corinthians. Paul sought the Corinthians, not their money. To reinforce his point, Paul cited the axiomatic truth that parents are financially responsible for their children, not children (when they are young), for their parents.

Paul was like a spiritual father to this church, and speaks here of himself as their parent. He is saying that he wants to give to them instead of them giving to him. I do not believe he is speaking of material things however. He was to bless them in their spirit. They need more teaching, and that is what Paul intends to do. He would like for them to be more rooted in the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 12:15 "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."

Paul has great love for them. He is just as sure that they do not love him in return. Nothing, within his power to give them, will be withheld.

The verb translated "spend" refers to spending money, and probably describes Paul's willingness to work to support himself while in Corinth. "Be spent" describes Paul's willingness to give of himself, even to the point of sacrificing his life.

2 Corinthians 12:16 "But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile."

We find that, even though Paul had completely explained that he personally had never taken money from them, they still felt that he was trying to get money from them for himself, when he asked for an offering for the poor in Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 12:17 "Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?"

The answer of course, is no. Paul deliberately did not handle any of the offerings, so they could not accuse him of this.

2 Corinthians 12:18 "I desired Titus, and with [him] I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? [walked we] not in the same steps?"

This charge was more painful to Paul because it impugned the character of his friends. Outraged that the Corinthians could believe such ridiculous lies, Paul pointed out that his associates did not take advantage of the Corinthians during their earlier visits regarding the collection.

Paul not only defends himself here, but Titus as well. Neither Paul, nor Titus, had taken any of their offering. The offering had gone to the poor. Paul says, was it not just like me being with you, when Titus was there?

2 Corinthians 12:19 "Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but [we do] all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying."

Paul says that he does not have to answer to them, but to Christ. Paul's teaching them to give to those in need was to build them up, not to tear them down. If their giving was with such regret, I doubt it would do them any good. Giving should be done with a free heart.

Lest the Corinthians view themselves as judges before whom Paul was on trial, the apostle quickly set them straight: only God was his judge. Paul sought to edify the Corinthians, not exonerate himself.

2 Corinthians 12:20 "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and [that] I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest [there be] debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:"

Paul does not want to come to strife and fussing. He wants to make sure they want him to come. They should settle all the questions they have, and then invite him to come. He does not want to debate with them. His reason for coming is to bring them to a fuller knowledge of God, not to debate things that do not matter. He loves them too much to come, and have so much trouble with them that it would break all ties.

2 Corinthians 12:21 "[And] lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and [that] I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed."

Parents are grieved greatly, when their children sin and do not repent. Paul feels that he is their spiritual father, and he wants them to repent of their sins, and turn from their wicked ways. When he visited them, Paul did not want to find them in the same sorry spiritual condition as on his last visit which was called "the painful visit".

To come and find the Corinthians still living in unrepentant sin which he lists here, would both humiliate and sadden Paul. This warning and the one in verse 2 in chapter 13 was designed to prevent that from happening.

"Uncleanness", in the verse above, means impurity. "Fornication", has to do with spiritual and physical adultery. It includes incest, homosexuality, and lesbianism. "Lasciviousness", means filthy or wantonness.

The problem is that some were still in an unrepentant state for these sins.

2 Corinthians Chapter 12 Questions

1. In verse 1 Paul says, he will speak of what 2 things?

2. What does "expedient" mean?

3. What does "revelations" in verse 1 mean?

4. "Visions" means what?

5. How many years before this writing did this occur?

6. Who was this man?

7. Where was he carried?

8. Was he in his body, when he went to heaven?

9. Who knows whether Paul went to heaven in body or in spirit?

10. What was the name of the place he was carried up to?

11. Describe the words Paul heard.

12. Where is the Tree of Life?

13. What was the only thing Paul would glory in?

14. To keep Paul from glorying of these revelations, what was given him?

15. Messenger of Satan in verse 7, is actually who?

16. Who does the author believe the fallen angels to be?

17. How many times did Paul pray for the thorn to be removed?

18. What answer did he get from God?

19. Paul's strength was made perfect in ___________.

20. In verse 10, what things did Paul take pleasure in?

21. What is the great commission?

22. Did Paul fulfill the commission?

23. What were some of the signs of an apostle?

24. What was the only mistake Paul made with these Corinthians?

25. The children ought not to lay up for the __________.

26. What apostle had Paul sent in his stead?

27. Who does Paul have to answer to?

28. What were some of the sins they had not repented of?

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2 Corinthians 13

2 Corinthians Chapter 13

2 Corinthians 13:1: "This [is] the third [time] I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

Paul informed the Corinthians that he would deal biblically with any sin he found in Corinth.

This is a statement that Jesus had spoken of as being true with the Jews, as well as the Christians. This is one of the reasons that we are not to take everything in Corinthians as doctrine for the general church. Everything must be established by two different witnesses, or else it is a custom, or tradition, instead of a law.

In many of the statements made in Corinthians, Paul is the only one who said it.

Deuteronomy 19:15 "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

In the following Scripture, we read what the Lord Jesus had to say about this very thing.

John 8:17 "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true." The number two means agreement.

2 Corinthians 13:2 "I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:"

Paul is saying to those who think he is not coming and are continuing in their sin, that when he comes in person, he will take care of the problem.

As we had found (in chapter 12:21), that Paul did not want to find the Corinthians in the same sorry spiritual condition as on his last visit, the one called the "painful visit". If he came and found them practicing the same sins that he mentions in that scripture, he would have had to discipline them.

2 Corinthians 13:3: "Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you."

Paul is saying, I may appear in the flesh to weak, but Christ speaking in me is very strong. Even though they had strayed, The Lord Jesus Christ had not abandoned them. They were but babes in Christ who needed further training in the things of God. Paul was just the one who could give this training, because of the power of Christ which worked in him.

Those Corinthians still seeking proof that Paul was a genuine apostle would have it when he arrived. They may have gotten more than they bargained for, for Paul was going to use his apostolic authority and power to deal with any sin and rebellion he found there.

Christ's power was to be revealed through Paul against the sinning Corinthians. By rebelling against Christ's chosen apostle, they were rebelling against Him.

2 Corinthians 13:4: "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you."

It appeared to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ was weak, because he was crucified. What Satan thought to be his greatest victory, was actually his defeat. The greatest victory of all time was the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. He defeated Satan and sin for all of mankind on the cross.

He defeated death, when He rose from the grave. Paul is saying, we may appear to be weak, but that is our flesh you are looking at. The power of the living God (Jesus Christ), in Paul made him stronger than anything that could be thrown against him. Our lives and Paul's life is hid in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Paul was to come to Corinth armed with the irresistible power of the risen, glorified Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Paul turned the tables on his accusers. Instead of presuming to evaluate his apostleship; they needed to test the genuineness of their faith (James 2:14-26). He pointed out the incongruity of the Corinthians' believing as they did, that their faith was genuine and his apostleship false.

Paul was their spiritual father and if his apostleship was counterfeit, so was their faith. The genuineness of their salvation was proof of the genuineness of his apostleship.

"Reprobates", in the verse above, means unapproved, rejected, worthless, or castaway. All true Christians have Jesus within them. The reprobate is those who totally reject Jesus as their Savior.

2 Corinthians 13:6 "But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates."

There was no question that Paul was not a reprobate. He was so full of the Lord Jesus that many miracles were performed by him in the name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 13:7 "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates."

Paul is not saying he is reprobate, he is saying, that the false teachers there at Corinth think he is reprobate. Paul's concern is for his church, and not for himself. Paul prayed to God for his churches all the time.

His deepest longing was for his spiritual children to lead godly lives, even if they persisted in doubting him. Paul was even willing to appear "disqualified," as long as the Corinthians turned from their sin.

2 Corinthians 13:8-9 "For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." "For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, [even] your perfection."

Lest anyone think Paul's reference to being disqualified in verse 7 was an admission of wrongdoing on his part, Paul hastened to add that he had not violated "the truth" of the gospel. The apostle may also have meant that he needed to take no action against the Corinthians if he found them living according to "the truth".

In that case, he would rejoice in his "weakness", that is, his lack of opportunity to exercise his apostolic power, because that would mean that the Corinthians' were spiritually "strong".

The Word of God is Truth. I have said, over and over, the 2 great powers in the world are the spoken and the written Word. Paul's power and, in fact, our power is in the Truth of God. The only way to accomplish anything is with the Truth. When we operate in the power of the Word of God, it is Truth.

Paul is much more concerned for those he led to the Lord than he is for himself. He says, I do not need to be elevated up. Paul wishes that they will be perfect in all their deeds.

2 Corinthians 13:10 "Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction."

This is a one sentence summary of Paul's purpose in writing this letter to the Corinthians.

Paul is afraid if he were with them and they had not repented of their sins, that he would get harsh with them, and possibly even run them off from God. The Lord has given him power and authority to rule over these churches that he started. Paul would rather build them up, instead of destroy them. This is why he is writing, instead of coming to them in person.

2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

Paul's last words to them is speaking a blessing on them. He wants them to feel his love for them in these last few words of his letter to them. He rebuked them for their sin, which he had to do as their leader, but he wants them to know that he has not stopped loving them.

This was written as an encouragement to the Corinthians to carry out the exhortations in the first part of the verse. Only here in the New Testament is God called "the God of Love".

He has high hopes for the way they will conduct their lives from here on in. Just as a loving parent, his last words are instructions on how to live peaceful lives. He says, I know you will do these things. Do not fuss and fight. Be of one mind and one accord.

2 Corinthians 13:12 "Greet one another with a holy kiss."

This was a sign of greeting in biblical times, much like the modern handshake. For Christians, it further expressed brotherly love and unity.

2 Corinthians 13:13 "All the saints salute you."

Those in Macedonia, possibly Philippi, from where Paul wrote 2 Corinthians are most likely the saints being referred to here.

While encouraging unity within the Corinthian church, Paul did not want the Corinthians to lose sight of their unity with other churches.

2 Corinthians 13:14 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen."

The Trinitarian benediction reminded the Corinthians of the blessings they had received: "grace" from the Lord Jesus Christ, "love" from God the Father and "communion" with God and each other through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was mentioned before the Father because His sacrificial death is the ultimate expression of God's love.

2 Corinthians Chapter 13 Questions

1. In the mouth of how many witnesses shall every word be established?

2. Where, in the Old Testament, do we find this same statement?

3. What did Jesus have to say about this?

4. If there are not two witnesses, it is a _______, and not a ____.

5. What did Paul warn them of in verse 2?

6. They were seeking proof of _______ in Paul.

7. What was their real problem?

8. Who was just the one to give them the training they needed?

9. Why did it appear to the world that Christ was weak?

10. What is the greatest victory the world has ever known?

11. What did Jesus defeat on the cross?

12. What did He defeat, when He rose again?

13. What made Paul stronger than anything they could send against him?

14. Where is the life of the Christian hid?

15. Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be ____________.

16. What does "reprobate" in verse 5, mean?

17. Who are the reprobates?

18. Who had called Paul reprobate?

19. What is Truth?

20. What are the 2 great powers in the world?

21. Who is Paul more concerned for than for himself?

22. What was Paul afraid he would do, if he were with them?

23. What things did Paul tell them to be in verse 11?

24. What did Paul say to them in his last words to them?

25. How were they to greet each other?

26. What is the benediction that Paul spoke here, that is used in many churches today?

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