2 Corinthians Chapter 3

Chapter 3: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Christ’s epistle

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for understanding as we opened up Your inspired Word for us today in 2 Corinthians. We pray for illumination and anointing of the Holy Spirit. We permit You to search our hearts and motives. We pray that You will create in us a pure heart, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-3, 1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

Paul asked two rhetorical questions. Paul used the plural pronouns, we, us, ourselves, our, to include his co-workers. Paul and his team did not require any letters of recommendation from his audience. The Corinthians Christians were letters of Christ written by the Holy Spirit onto their hearts of flesh and not on tablets of stone.

VV 4-6, 4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Greek for sufficiency is “hikanos”, which means worthiness. Our worthiness is from God and not from ourselves. God, through the Holy Spirit, made us worthy to be ministers of the new covenant. The Mosaic law brings condemnation but the Holy Spirit gives life.

VV 7-11, 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. The Mosaic law written on stone tablets resulted in death to those who broke it. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after meeting God, his face shone with the glory of God. When he came down to meet the Israelites, he covered his face with a veil because the glory of God was too strong for the people. Paul asked a rhetorical question saying that the glory of the Holy Spirit far exceeded the glory on Moses’ face.

VV 12-18, 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech, 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Moses veiled his face because the Israelites could not look at his fading glory. Until today, the veil had covered the hearts of most Israelites preventing them from understanding the revelation of Christ in the Old Testament.

God will remove this veil and free the Israelites from spiritual blindness when they believe in Christ. Christians who looked into the glory of Christ with unveiled faces will undergo transformation of hearts and renewal of minds to conform to the image of God. Romans 12:2, “And do not be conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of minds, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Application:

You are letters of Christ, not written onto ink and paper, but by the Holy Spirit onto your hearts. You carry the image and glory of Christ wherever you go. Non-Christians read your lives daily as if you are the living and walking Bible. When people see you, will they see the glory of Christ? Are you the living and walking Bible that non-Christians read?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for writing Your epistles into our hearts. Help us live our lives worthy of Your calling so that others may see the glory and image of Christ in us. Do not allow the world to squeeze us into its mould. Transform our hearts, renew our minds, and conform us into the image of Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians chapter 2

Chapter 2: 2 Corinthians 2:1-17, triumph in Christ

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom, insight, understanding, knowledge, and discernment in rightly dividing the word of truth. We pray for spiritual gifts, spiritual truths, daily bread, living water, living word, and living manna, in Jesus’ name, Amen.  

 

VV 1-2, 1 But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. 2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?

Paul’s previous visit to Corinth was painful because he came to them in sorrow. Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. 

 

 

 

VV 3-4, 3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

Paul worried that his next visit to Corinth would be another painful visit, but was confident that his next visit to them would be joyful. Paul’s had written a previous painful letter  with many tears, out of affliction and anguish of heart. This letter was lost in history and could not be found. Paul confessed his love for the Corinthians Christians. Greek for love is “agape”, which means unconditional and sacrificial love. 

 

VV 5-11, 5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent, not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

 

The man in verse 6 was the same man in 1 Corinthians 5:1,  who had committed the incest. Because the man had repented of his sin, Paul pleaded for his forgiveness and restoration into church fellowship. Paul was testing their obedience. Paul had forgiven that man in the presence of Christ and pleaded with his audience to do the same. They should not  allow satan to take advantage of the situation by not forgiving. 

 

VV 12-13, 12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother, but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

 

When Paul came to Troas, he found an open door to gospel preaching, but he was burdened in spirit because he did not find Titus there. He left Troas with a heaviness of heart to look for Titus in Macedonia and found him there.

 

VV 14-17, 14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

 

 

Paul thanked God for leading him to victory in Christ. Christians carried the aroma of Christ’s life to those who  believe, but the aroma of death to those who do not believe. Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. Paul preached the word of God with sincerity of heart. 

 

Application:

 

If a brother or sister sinned against us but came back with  repentance, then we should forgive that person. As long as there is repentance, there should forgiveness,  irrespective of how many times this had happened.

 

Matthew 18:21-22, The Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven time? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven times”.

 

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for always leading us to triumph in Christ. Help us to spread the fragrance of Christ’s life to others. Help us to share the gospel to others with sincerity of heart, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, Chapter 1

Chapter 1: 2 Corinthians 1: 1-24, God of all comfort 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, we pray for persistence, perseverance, commitment, and diligence to journey with You in this journey of faith into the epistle of 2 Corinthians through the eyes apostle Paul. We pray for open, soft, receptive, teachable, and obedient hearts, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

VV 1-2, 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia, 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul revealed himself as the author. He spelled out his credential,  an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. Greek for apostle is “apostolos”, which means a messenger, someone sent out on a mission. Paul acknowledged Timothy, his co-worker, protégé, and spiritual god-son in the faith.  He identified his recipients as Christians in Corinth and Achaia. Corinth is the city. Achaia is the region or state.  Christians are called saints. Greek for saint is “hagio”, which means holy, sanctified, or set apart. Paul’s opening salutation was grace and peace. Grace is the common Greek greeting, “charis”. Peace is the common Hebrew greeting, “shalom”. Grace precedes peace. Grace is the result of justification. Peace is the result of reconciliation. 

 

VV 3-4, 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

 

Greek for blessed is “eulogeo” which means praise. The English word eulogy is derived from the Greek word “eulogeo”. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the God of praise, mercies, and comfort. God comforts us in our sufferings so that we can identify with and comfort other people who are suffering.  

 

 

 

VV 5-7, 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

 

Christ comforts and restores us in our sufferings. Paul identified with his audience’s sufferings because of his suffering. There is a higher purpose in suffering. Suffering helps us to help others in their suffering. Paul encouraged his audience to share in his suffering and consolation. 

 

VV 8-11, 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

 

 

Paul listed out his troubles, trials, tribulations, persecutions, and sufferings in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Paul used the personal pronouns, us, our, and we, to include his co-workers Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, and others in his team. They had suffered beyond imaginations, to the point of exhaustion, desperation, despair, and depression. There were times when they thought they would not make it out alive. They relied on God for deliverance out of these perilous times. God had delivered them from death in the past, was delivering them in the present, and would continue to deliver them in the future. Paul thanked his audience for their prayer support. 

 

VV 12-14, 12 For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul and his co-workers conducted themselves with humility, honesty, integrity, simplicity, godly sincerity, and spiritual wisdom. They dared not boast of anything except to boast concerning the day of the Lord’s second coming. 

 

 

 

VV 15-17, 15 And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit, 16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 

 

Paul planned to travel from Ephesus to Corinth, to Macedonia, to Corinth and then to Judea, visiting Corinth twice. Paul asked 2 rhetorical questions to prove his sincerity and integrity. 

 

VV 18-22, 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

 

Everything that Paul said and do was either yes or no. All the promises of God are Yes and Amen. Amen in the beginning of a sentence means “surely”. Amen at the end of a prayer means, “so be it”. God had established, anointed, and sealed Christians in Christ with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Greek for seal is “sphragis”, which means the impression of a signet ring on wax.

 

 

 

The seal is the authority of God to signify ownership. Christians are owned by God. Greek for guarantee is “arrabona”, which means earnest deposit or down payment. The Holy Spirit is God’s earnest deposit to Christians until Christ’s second coming. 

 

VV 23-24, 23 Moreover I call God as a witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

Paul declared the genuineness of his dealings by calling on God as his witness.  He did not dominate or oppress anyone but considered all as his fellow workers in the kingdom of God. 

 

Application:

 

There is a higher purpose in suffering. When we go through sufferings, Christ comforts, rescues, and restores us. Sufferings help us to help others in their suffering. Suffering allows us to identify with other people’s suffering. 

 

     We are sealed with the Holy Spirit, God’s down payment to us until Christ’s second coming.

 

Our dealings and conducts with others must always be above board. Our answers to others should be either yes or no. We should not give ambiguous, misleading, dishonest, or vague answers to get out of difficult situations. 

 

 

 

Prayer:

  Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have done for us in our lives. Thank You for delivering us from perilous, critical, and dangerous life situations. Thank You for rescuing us through the various storms of lives. Thank You for delivering us in the past, ij the present, and in the future, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

2 Corinthians, Introduction

2 Corinthians, Introduction:

Author, Date, and Recipients:

 

Scholars believed that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians between 55 to 56 AD from Macedonia during his third missionary journey, about 1 year after 1 Corinthians and 1 year before Romans. This was probably the fourth letter that he wrote to the Corinthian church. Scholars believed that two letters of Paul to the Corinthians church did not survive through history. 

 

After spending three years in Ephesus, Paul visited the churches in Macedonia. In Macedonia, Paul met his protégé and spiritual god-son in the faith, who updated him with news about the church in Corinth. 

 

 

 

Purpose:

 

Paul vindicated his apostolic ministry, strengthened the faith of the Corinthian Christians, and offered the rebellious minority a chance to repent before his return to Corinth. 

 

     Theme:

 

Paul confronted the false apostles, whom he called ministers of satan, who peddled heretic doctrines,  opposed Paul’s apostleship, and disputed his apostolic credentials.

 

The message of the cross, God’s righteousness, transforming power of the Holy Spirit,  Jesus Christ, Saviour and universal Judge of the world. The Holy Spirit as a guarantee for Christian’s end-time resurrection.

 

Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to endure hardships, tribulations, sufferings, and persecutions.

 

Outline

 

     1:1-24, salutation, the God of all comfort, godly sincerity

    2:1-17, triumph in Christ

3:1-18, Christ’s epistle, the Holy Spirit, the glory of the New Covenant

 

 

 

4:1-18, the light of Christ’s gospel in jars of clay, seeing the invisible

    5:1-21, assurance of resurrection, the judgment seat of Christ, substitutionary atonement

6:1-18, the hallmarks of a true apostle, warning against the false apostles 

7:1-16, the Corinthian’s repentance, godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow

8:1-25, collection for the mother church 

9:1-15, principles of sowing and reaping  

10:1-18, spiritual warfare, confronting the false apostles

11:1-33, confronting the false apostles, an angel of light, the hallmarks of a true apostle 

12:1-21, raptured into paradise, a thorn in the flesh, the credentials of a true apostle 

13:1-14, Final encouragements and benediction 

 

Application:

 

Times had not changed. Today, we still have false teachers who peddled false doctrines and heresies. Heresies and false doctrines are dangerous and should be rejected at all costs.

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for journeying with us through Paul’s epistle of 2 Corinthians. Open our eyes to see the truth of scripture. Help us to encounter You through Your living Word of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 16

1 Corinthians 16: 1-24, Final encouragements & Farewell

P

rayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for traveling with us in this spiritual journey of faith through Paul’s epistle of 1 Corinthians. Thank You for the learning experience. Help us to convert head knowledge into heart knowledge. Help us be more and more Christ-like through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

VV 1-4, 1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also, 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.

 

Paul initiated a love offering from the prosperous churches in Asia Minor to the poverty-stricken mother church in Jerusalem. They should

 

 

 

 

 

set aside a sum of money on the first day of every week and gave it to Paul upon his arrival. He would send the love offering to Jerusalem through someone approved by them. 

 

VV 5-9, 5 Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). 6 And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay awhile with you if the Lord permits. 8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Paul planned to spend the winter with them, on his way from Ephesus to Jerusalem via Macedonia if the Lord permits. Meanwhile, he would remain in Ephesus until the feast of Pentecost. 

VV 10-12, 10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me, for I am waiting for him with the brethren. 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.

 

Paul told his audience to expect Timothy, receive him cordially, and not despise him for his youth. Timothy would be their pastor and minister.  Apollos was not ready to go to Corinth yet, although Paul had spoken to him about it. 

 

VV 13-18, 13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love. 15 I urge you, brethren, you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints, 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

 

 

 

 

Paul encouraged his audience to be faithful, courageous, strong, and to love one another. Paul encouraged them to follow the examples of Stephanas’ household, who were faithful to the Lord. Paul encouraged them to submit to one another and labour in the ministry as a team. Paul also acknowledged the service of Fortunatus and Achaicus to the Corinthian church during Paul’s absence. 

 

VV 19-25, 19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 The salutation with my own hand, Paul’s. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Paul sent greetings from Aquila, Priscilla, and other brethren in Ephesus. Paul acknowledged that he wrote this closing salutation with his own handwriting. He encouraged them to greet each other with a holy kiss and to love the Lord. Paul pronounced a blessing of grace from Christ, love from him, and close with Amen.

 

Application:

 

Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians Christian also applies to us. We should be faithful, courageous, and strong. We should submit to one another, love one another, and work together as a team to serve the Lord. 

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the epistle of 1 Corinthians. There are so many lessons that can be applied to our lives. Thank You for revealing the mysteries of Your Word and making them understandable. Thank You for the encouragement, enlightenment, and empowerment in our journey of faith, in Jesus’ name, Amen.