2 Corinthians, Chapter 13

Chapter 13: 2 Corinthians 13: 1-14, benediction

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You. You are worthy to be praised. You are the name above all names. We give You all glory, honour, praise, power, and authority, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare, 3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives 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.

Paul’s next visit to Corinth would be his third. Paul quoted Deut 19:15. Paul encouraged those who had sinned to repent. There is strength in weakness. Christ was crucified in weakness but lives by the power of God. Paul was weak in Christ but he lived with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Deut 19:15, “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits, by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

VV 5-6, 5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. The mark of a true Christian is possession of the Holy Spirit. A person who did not have the Holy Spirit is not a Christian. Romans 8:9.

Romans 8:9, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

VV 7-10, 7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. 10 Therefore, I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

Paul encouraged his audience to be honourable, truthful, honest, and not to do evil deeds. If they were truthful and honest, they could not be faulted, but if they were dishonest and exposed, and they could be shamed.

VV 11-14, 11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Finally, Paul encouraged his audience to cheer up, be unanimous, live in peace, love God, and love one another. Paul enocuraged them to greet one another with a holy kiss. The holy kiss of the first century world is equivalent to a handshake, a kiss on the cheek, or a hug today. Paul pronounced a greeting of grace, love, communion of the Holy Spirit, and ended his epistle with an Amen.

Application:

We should not do evil, be honourable, truthful, and honest. If we are truthful and honest, no one can find fault with us. If we are dishonest, the truth will be exposed and we will be shamed. Honesty is the best policy.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for journeying with on this wonderful journey in 2 Corinthians through the writings of Paul. We pray that You will help us be truthful, honourable, honest, and above board. We pray for Your strength in our weakness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 12

Chapter 12: 2 Corinthians 12:1-21, raptured to paradise

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to surrender our lives to You. Help us to make You the centre of our lives. We believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-6, 1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows, such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows, 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such a one I will boast, yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. 6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

14 years ago, Paul was raptured into the third heaven. There are three heavens. The atmosphere is the first heaven. The outer space where the sun, moon, and stars are located is the second heaven. The dwelling place of God is the third heaven. Greek for caught up is “harpazo”. Latin for caught up is “rapturo”. Paul was caught up to the throne room of God in the third heaven which he described as Paradise. God did not permit him to disclose what he saw and heard. What he saw was so glorious and magnificent that could not be expressed in words. This event was believed to have happened at Lystra when Paul was stoned by the Jews until he was unconscious and possibly dead, but the Lord miraculously raised him up, Acts 14:19.

Acts 14:19, “the Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there, and having persuaded the multitude, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.”

VV 7-10, 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The thorn in the flesh was a health issue. Paul prayed to the Lord three times for healing of this condition but the Lord answered no, saying that His grace was sufficient for him and His strength was made perfect in weakness. Paul did not say what this health issue was. Some scholars suggest eye problems, others suggest it was malaria but these are all conjectures.

VV 11-13, 11 I have become a fool in boasting, you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

Paul disputed the false apostles’ claim of super spirituality. Paul’s credential of a true apostle was his ability to perform signs, wonders, miracles, and mighty deeds, Acts 19: 11-12. The false apostles did not have this power. Paul asked 1 more rhetorical question.

Acts 19:11-12, Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them, and evils spirits went of them.

VV 14-15, 14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you, for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

Paul’s next visit to Corinth would be his third and he would not ask for any financial assistance from them.

VV 16-18, 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

Paul asked 4 rhetorical questions to reinforced that he and his co-workers did not take advantage of the Corinthian Christians.

VV 19-21, 19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish, lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbiting, whisperings, conceits, tumults, 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Paul asked 1 more rhetorical question. Paul loved his audience and did everything for their edification.

Paul warned them not to have contentions, jealousies, wrath, self-ambitions, backbiting, murmuring, conceit, and confusion as these would destroy the church. Paul urged his audience to repent of their sins.

Application:

Memorise 2 Corinthians 12:9, And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” When we are weak, we can rely on the strength of God.

God will not answer all your prayers with yes. A no answer is also an answer. God did not answer Paul’s prayer to remove his thorn in the flesh. His grace is sufficient for you.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, apostle Paul pleaded with You three times to remove the thorn in his flesh but You answered no. Your grace is sufficient for Paul and will be sufficient for us. Your strength is perfected in our weakness. Thank You that You are strong even when we are weak, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 11

Chapter 11: 2 Corinthians 11: 1-33, marks of true apostle 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for a special anointing into Your Word. We pray for Your help, presence, and fellowship. We pray for the rain of the Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon us today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly, and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it!

God is a jealous God. The church is the bride of Christ. Christians owe their allegiance fully to Christ. Paul warned his audience not to be deceived by the false apostles who preached a corrupted gospel, a corrupted Jesus, and a corrupted spirit.

VV 5-6, 5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

Paul sarcastically commented that he was inferior to the most eminent of the false apostles. The false apostles falsely accused Paul for his poor oratory skill and lack of knowledge.

VV 7-9, 7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything, I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. The false apostles falsely accused Paul of robbing other churches so that he could offer free services to the Corinthian Church. Paul never requested financial support from the Corinthian church. He worked as a tentmaker and received financial support from the Macedonian churches.

VV 10-15, 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul asked 2 rhetorical questions. Paul boasted about Achaia because he loved them. Paul warned his audience to reject the false apostles because they were ministers of satan. They transformed themselves into ministers of righteousness although they were ministers of lawlessness. They were wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even satan transformed himself into a false angel of light to deceive people.

VV 16-21, 16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold, I speak foolishly, I am bold also.

The false apostles boasted according to the flesh but Paul boasted according to the Spirit. The false apostles exalted themselves, enslaved their followers, and devoured them. Paul did not give us any hint on whether these false apostles were Gnostics or Judaizers.

VV22-23, 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 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 frequently, in deaths often.

Paul’s 4 rhetorical questions indicated that the false apostles were Jews. They were ministers of satan, sent by him to oppose the work of God and deceive the Corinthian Christians.

VV 24-28, 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have been in the deep, 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness, 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily, my deep concern for all the churches.

Paul asked 3 more rhetorical questions. He spelled out the marks of a true apostle, viz. suffering, tribulations, trials, and persecutions. Paul was beaten, persecuted, and stoned by the Jews, robbed by robbers, and shipwrecked in the open seas. He suffered weariness, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold, and even nakedness. The tribulations that Paul suffered were beyond imagination, and yet he did not give up on the ministry. If Paul was not a true apostle, he would have thrown in the towel and given up.

VV 29-33, 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

Paul asked 2 more rhetorical questions. If Paul wanted to boast, he would only boast about his weakness. With God as his witness, Paul testified that he told the truth. In Acts 9:25, when the governor of Damascus wanted to arrest Pau, his supporters hide him inside a basket, lowered the basket down the wall through a window, and successfully allowed Paul to escape out of Damascus.

Acts 9: 25, “Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.”

Application:

Satan and his agents walked around as an angel of light to deceive Christians. False apostles are present even to this day. There are false preachers and teachers of the prosperity doctrines and other heretic doctrines going around deceiving Christians. We should be careful not to be deceived. The best way to counter this threat to know the Word and be biblically literate by diligently studying the Bible.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for raising up the great apostle Paul who educated us through his extensive writings in the New Testament. Thank You for his faithfulness, determination, boldness, and spiritual gifting, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 10

Chapter 10: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18, spiritual warfare

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for transformation, renewal, new insights, revelation, and anointing. We pray for understanding, insight, and application of difficult and controversial passages. We pray for spiritual eyes of faith to see into the spiritual world, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-2, 1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Paul was bold when he wrote letters to his audience but was meek, gentle, and lowly when he confronted them face to face.

But Paul was bold when he confronted the false apostles because he was not afraid of them .

VV 3-6, 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Our battle is not physical but spiritual. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. Since our battle is spiritual, our weapons of warfare are also spiritual. These are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. The first five are weapons of defend. The sixth, the sword of the Spirit, is a weapon of defend and attack. The sword of the spirit is the word of God and prayer. We defend ourselves with the word of God. We attack the enemy with prayer.

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:14-17, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

VV 7-11, 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed, 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. Paul urged his audience not to judge him by outward appearance. Paul boasted about his apostolic authority from Christ. The false apostles criticised Paul’s unremarkable oratory skills and unimpressive outward appearance although they acknowledged his exemplary writing skills.

VV 12-13, 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us, a sphere which especially includes you.

Paul and his co-workers dared not judge or praise themselves. The false apostles however, did not hesitate to judge, praise, and elevate themselves excessively.

VV 14-18, 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ, 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the

Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Paul and his co-workers imposed limits to their boastings and authority. Paul preached the gospel to places where no other apostles visited so as not to encroach into other apostle’s sphere of influence. Paul quoted Jeremiah 9:24.

Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.”

Application:

Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. The spiritual weapons of our warfare are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. In order to win this battle, we must identify and know our enemy and we must use the correct spiritual weapons.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to understand that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Help us to protect and fight this battle using Your full spiritual armour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 10

Chapter 10: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18, spiritual warfare

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for transformation, renewal, new insights, revelation, and anointing. We pray for understanding, insight, and application of difficult and controversial passages. We pray for spiritual eyes of faith to see into the spiritual world, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-2, 1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Paul was bold when he wrote letters to his audience but was meek, gentle, and lowly when he confronted them face to face.

But Paul was bold when he confronted the false apostles because he was not afraid of them .

VV 3-6, 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Our battle is not physical but spiritual. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. Since our battle is spiritual, our weapons of warfare are also spiritual. These are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. The first five are weapons of defend. The sixth, the sword of the Spirit, is a weapon of defend and attack. The sword of the spirit is the word of God and prayer. We defend ourselves with the word of God. We attack the enemy with prayer.

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:14-17, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

VV 7-11, 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed, 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. Paul urged his audience not to judge him by outward appearance. Paul boasted about his apostolic authority from Christ. The false apostles criticised Paul’s unremarkable oratory skills and unimpressive outward appearance although they acknowledged his exemplary writing skills.

VV 12-13, 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us, a sphere which especially includes you.

Paul and his co-workers dared not judge or praise themselves. The false apostles however, did not hesitate to judge, praise, and elevate themselves excessively.

VV 14-18, 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ, 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Paul and his co-workers imposed limits to their boastings and authority. Paul preached the gospel to places where no other apostles visited so as not to encroach into other apostle’s sphere of influence. Paul quoted Jeremiah 9:24.

Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.”

Application:

Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. The spiritual weapons of our warfare are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. In order to win this battle, we must identify and know our enemy and we must use the correct spiritual weapons.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to understand that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Help us to protect and fight this battle using Your full spiritual armour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 9

Chapter 9: 2 Corinthians 9: 1-15, sowing and reaping

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for spiritual ears to hear, spiritual eyes to see, spiritual minds to understand, spiritual hearts to receive, and divine enablement to obey. We permit You to perform radical surgery, to conform, transform, and renew us from inside out, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-3, 1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. 3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready,

Ancient Achaia was a province of the Roman Empire and Corinth was its capital. Achaia had already started the collection for the mother church in Jerusalem 1 year ago but the collection might have slowed down.

Paul sent Titus and 2 other brothers ahead of him to them to encourage them to continue and complete the collection. Paul boasted about the Corinthian Christian’s zeal to the Macedonian Christians.

VV 4-5, 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.

If Paul came to Corinth with some Macedonian Christians and found them unprepared with the offering it would not be edifying. Therefore, Paul took the liberty to send Titus and the two other brothers to them ahead of him to prepare their generous gift beforehand.

VV 6-9, 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”

Paul explained the principle of sowing and reaping. In planting, whoever sows a lot of seeds will reap a plentiful harvest. Whoever sows a few seeds will reap only a meagre harvest. The same principle applies to giving to the Lord’s work. Whoever givea lot to the Lord’s work will reap a bountiful reward from the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10. We should not give grudgingly because God loves a cheerful giver. Paul quoted Psalm 112:2.

Paul quoted, Psalm 112:9, “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.”

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

VV 10-11, 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

The principle of sowing and reaping also applies to evangelism. God is the gardener. He supplies us with the seed of the gospel. Our job is to sow the seeds far and wide to increase the fruits of our labour. Whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully. Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly.

VV 12-15, 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

The collection of the offering would supply the needs of the famine and poverty-stricken Judean Christians of the mother church. Their generous offering would be proof of their obedience, glorify God, and answered the prayers of the Judean Christians. Paul thanked God for their generous and indescribable gift.

Application:

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 should be committed to memory. “But this I say, He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Whoever sows generouly to the Lord’s work will reap a generous reward from the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10. Sowing into God’s kingdom on earth translates to depositing into our heavenly bank accounts. Whatever is deposited into our accounts in heaven lasts into eternity.

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians chapter 8

Chapter 8: 2 Corinthians 8: 1-24, collection for the saints

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for daily bread, to nurture our weary souls and spirits. We pray for sanctification by Your Word of truth. We pray for growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Paul initiated a collection of offering from the churches in Asia Minor to the poverty-stricken mother church in Judea, who was facing financial hardship due to famine.

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their joy, willingness, and enthusiasm in giving. Even during times of affliction and poverty, they freely and urgently gave beyond their ability.

VV 5-7, 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us, see that you abound in this grace also.

Before the Macedonian Christians gave their offerings to Paul’s initiative, they gave themselves fully to Christ in submission to God’s will. Paul entrusted Titus to be in charge of the collection. Paul did not handle the collection to prevent any conflict of interest. Paul urged his audience to give freely out of love and grace.

VV 8-9, 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, became poor for our sake, to make us rich. He gave up the glory of heaven when He became a man. He humbled Himself on the cross to become the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, Philippians 2:5-8.

Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

VV 10-12, 10 And in this I give advice. It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago, 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

The Corinthian Corinthians started the collection 1 year ago. Paul encouraged them to continue and complete the collection.

VV 13-15, 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Paul quoted Exodus 16:18. God miraculously provided manna from heaven to the Jews of the Exodus.

The Jews who were greedy collected more manna than they needed but the extra manna turned bad the next day. Those who collected less manna they needed did not experience any lack because God supplied the balance.

Exodus 16:18, “So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.’’

VV 16-21, 16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this, that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us, 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.

Titus willingly accepted the duty of overseeing the collection. In addition to Titus, Paul also entrusted another brother chosen by the churches to minister and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul did not want to be accused of mishandling the funds for personal gain.

VV 22-24, 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

In addition to Titus and the other brother, Paul entrusted one more brother to co-administer and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul confirmed the credentials of Titus and the other two brothers as his partners and fellow workers of the gospel. Paul encouraged his audience to give generously to this worthy project as proof of their love and obedience.

Application:

Before giving your offering to the Lord’s work, you should give yourself fully to the Lord first, and submit yourself to His will. You should give generously to the work of the Lord. God loves a cheerful giver. You cannot never out-give God. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

 

 

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that even though He was rich, yet became poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty, we might become rich. Thank You for the gift of salvation, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 7

Chapter 7: 2 Corinthians 7:1-16, godly repentance

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for You to minister to us by the living Word of eternal life and feed our weary souls with the Bread of Life. We pray for You to quench our thirst with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

V 1, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Paul admonished his audience not to walk in the flesh but encouraged them to walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

VV 2-4, 2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

Paul urged his audience to open their hearts to him and his co-workers. They were honest with them. They had not wronged, corrupted, or cheated them. Paul loved (agape) them and was willing even to die for them. Paul minced no words. He was exceedingly joyful even when under intense persecutions and tribulations.

VV 5-7, 5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me so that I rejoiced even more.

When Paul and his co-workers arrived at Corinth from Macedonia, they encountered troubles, conflicts, and fear. Paul was comforted, encouraged, and edified when he met Titus in Macedonia, and received favourable news regarding the Corinthians Christians.

VV 8-10, 8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Paul apologised to his audience for his strongly worded letter. He was vindicated when this resulted in repentance, obedience, and change of hearts by his audience towards him. Godly sorrow resulted in godly repentance and salvation but worldly sorrow ends in death.

VV 11-12, 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

Paul commended the Corinthians Christians for their godly repentance in response to his strongly worded letter.

Paul’s letter was for the benefit of the Corinthian Christians, not for the false apostles and not for himself.

VV 13-16, 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

Paul and Titus were comforted, encouraged, refreshed, and edified by the Corinthians Christian’s godly repentance and obedience. Speaking the truth in love, Paul commended Titus for his zeal, confidence, and boldness.

Application:

Memorise 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

If we sinned, we should confess, repent, and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all filthiness and works of the flesh. We pray for divine empowerment and grace to walk in the Spirit. We pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed in us. You are the God of all comfort who comforts and rescues us out of difficult circumstances, so that we can comfort others in similar circumstances, in Jesus’ name, Amen.