2nd Corinthians Bible Study

I. Primarily Apologetic: Paul’s Explanation of His Conduct and Ministry (chapters 1-7)

A. Salutation (1: 1-2)
B. Thanksgiving for Divine Comfort in Affliction (1: 3-11)
C. The Integrity of Paul's Motives and Conduct (1: 12-2: 4)
D. Forgiving the Offender at Corinth (2: 5-11)
E. God's Direction in the Ministry (2: 12-17)
F. The Corinthian Believers--a Letter from Christ (3: 1-11)
G. Seeing the Glory of God with Unveiled Faces (3: 12-4: 6)
H. Treasure in Clay Jars (4: 7-16a)
I. The Prospect of Death and what it means for the Christian (4: 16b-5: 10)
J. The Ministry of Reconciliation (5: 11-6: 10)
K. A Spiritual Father’s Appeal to His Children (6: 11-7: 4)
L. The Meeting with Titus (7: 5-16) 

II. Horatory: The Collection for the Christians at Jerusalem. (chapters 8-9)

A. Generosity Encouraged (8: 1-15)
B. Titus and His Companions Sent to Corinth (8: 16-9: 5)
C. Results of Generous Giving (9: 6-15)

III. Polemical: Paul's Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (chapters 10-13)

A. Paul’s Defense of His Apostolic Authority and the Area of His Mission (chapter 10)
B. Paul Forced into Foolish Boasting (chapters 11-12)
C. Final Warnings (13:1-10)
D. Conclusion (13:11-14)

"THE TRUE GOSPEL..."

1. T--estimony to Paul's sincerity
2. H--eaviness of Paul’s heart
3. E--xcellence of new covenant

4. T--emporal versus eternal ministry
5. R--econciliation offered to all
6. U--nion with unbelievers forbidden
7. E--xhortation to perfect holiness

8. G--enerosity of the Macedonians
9. O--pportunity for cheerful giving
10.   S--piritual authority of Paul
11.   P--aul's boastings in Christ
12.   E--xperience of Paul's thorn
13.   L--ives that stand the test

2 CORINTHIANS STUDY OUTLINE...

I. 1: 1-7: 16 RETROSPECT: Paul's Authority and Ministry in Corinth

A. 1: 1-11 Ministry Under the God of All Comfort
B. 1: 12-2: 17 The Ministry of Divine Triumph
C. 3: 1-3 The Ministry Commended by Christ
D. 3: 4-4: 6 The Ministry of the New Covenant
E. 4: 7-5: 10 The Ministry of Imparting the Life of Jesus to Men
F. 6: 11-7: 4 The Ministry of God's Exclusive Appeal
G. 7: 5-16 Titus' Report: The Joyful Prospect of Reconciliation

II. 8: 1-9: 15 THE PRESENT: Collection for the Saints of Jerusalem

A. 8: 1-7 The Example of the Churches of Macedonia
B. 8: 8-15 You know the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
C. 8: 16-9: 5 Commendation of Titus and Two Brothers
D. 9: 6-15 God Loves a Cheerful Giver

III. 10: 1-13: 14 PROSPECT: Paul's Impending Visit to Corinth

A. 10: 1-8 Paul's Defense Against the Charges of His Opponents
B. 11: 1-12: 21 Paul's "Foolish" Boasting
C. 13: 1-14 Paul's Impending Visit and Conclusion

The time between 1 and 2 Corinthians...

1. The Coming of Timothy

Paul in his first letter had prepared the church of Corinth for a coming visit by Timothy. That visit was designed by Paul to reinforce and to carry out the further work which his letter was designed to do.

Paul wanted to bring the Corinthians back from their flight out of Christian reality and into an intoxicated and enthusiastic individualism. Paul wanted them back to the cross, back to where Paul stood.

Paul had written, "I urge you... be imitators of me. Therefore I sent you Timothy...to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them…in every church" (1 Corinthians 4: 16, 17)

How long did Timothy stay in Corinth? We don't know. We can say that his stay was brief since the Second Letter says nothing of it. We know nothing of its results except that we can infer from the events, which followed...

2. Paul's Intermediate Visit to Corinth

Timothy returned to Paul, who quickly learned how his letter had been received and how things stood at Corinth. What he heard moved him to interrupt his work at Ephesus and to proceed to Corinth at once. Things were not looking good.

This visit to Corinth was the second visit which is implied by 2 Corinthians 13: 1-2 12: 21. In 2 Corinthians 2: 1 Paul refers to it as the "painful visit". From Timothy's report is was clear to Paul that influences of new teachers had spread farther and gone deeper than he had realized. Things were bad. It was not "some" who were arrogant (1 Corinthians 4: 18). It was not "some" who denied the central content of the Gospel proclamation (1 Corinthians 15: 12). The whole congregation was infected and endangered--the very existence of the "temple of God" (1 Corinthians 3:17) Was being threatened.

Harsh times call for harsh actions! Immediate action was necessary. It was dramatic action that had to be taken--personally. Paul's visit proved to be a painful one first for the Corinthians. They were rudely shaken out of their dreaming by the home truths that their apostle had to tell them. (2 Corinthians 2: 2; 13: 2).

The visit was also painful for Paul. Opposition to him, under the leadership of the men who claimed to be Christ's proved strong. These men must have been bold, intellectually vigorous and capable, they were able to face Paul and keep a sizable part of the congregation with them.

Paul was convinced that a fellowship with the new leaders was no longer possible, a break had to be made! (2 Corinthians 13: 2). Paul left Corinth, without immediately forcing the issue. He still trusted that the church would come to see the necessity for the break as clearly as he saw it.

As Paul left Corinth he left with a promise. He would return to Corinth when his work in Ephesus was done. He would pay the church a double visit.

Both before and after the proposed revisitation of the Macedonian church (2 Corinthians 1: 15-16) Paul vowed to come to Corinth. This was, of course, a change from the travel plans that Paul had announced in 1 Corinthians 16: 5-6.

3. The "Severe" Letter

In reality the letter of Second Corinthians is really Third Corinthians. What follows though is what some have stated as "the obscurest part of an obscure history." Paul's trust that the church would be the light (after feeling the heat) and walk in that light was, apparently disappointed.

What happened? We don't know and possibly this is good. Paul doesn't need to air all of the church garbage for the rest of the world to see. But what we do know is that there occurred an incident, which strained still further the already strained relations between Paul and the congregation.

Paul only speaks of one who did an injury which caused him pain (2 Corinthians 2: 5). This injury was not directly put on Paul himself but it did affect him. We can only conjecture what it may have been.

At any rate, the offense was so flagrant and involved the authority of Paul so immediately that the church could not ignore it and still be in any sense "his" churchapter Paul had to change his plans once more. Instead of going directly to Corinth from Ephesus, he first proceeded northward toward Macedonia by way of Troas.

Before leaving Asia Paul wrote a letter to Corinth. This is what Paul would only refer to as "The Severe Letter". This letter is now lost but Paul says he wrote it "with many tears". (2 Corinthians 2: 4).

What did the severe letter say? This letter summoned the church to repentance and in no uncertain terms. The wrongdoer must be dealt with and disciplined. The congregation must return in obedience to its apostle. Paul dispatched the letter by the hand of Titus and gave Titus the instruction to rejoin him at Troas and report on its effect.

4. The Report of Titus

Paul, deeply concerned might have felt the worse. Titus had not yet returned to Troas when Paul arrived there. (2 Corinthians 2: 12). In agony of doubt concerning the outcome of Titus' mission Paul left Troas and proceeded to Macedonia. (2 Corinthians 2: 13).

With the coming of Titus came the comfort of God the Father (2 Corinthians 7: 5-6) Titus brought good news! The church at Corinth had heeded Paul's summons to repentance, had bowed to his authority, and had disciplined the offender, who also had repented and asked for forgiveness. The church was ready to forgive the man they only were awaiting Paul's assent to such a course before granting forgiveness.

The church was cleansed and restored by repentance and she longed to see Paul again. The ties so long strained and endangered were now to be confirmed and strengthened. The sooner the better! (2 Corinthians 2: 6; 7: 1-16)

Titus had come with "some good news and some bad news". The bad news was not at all good. The offender at Corinth had been punished by the "minority" of the congregation, but not all. (2 Corinthians 2: 6). There were still those at Corinth who held to the new teachers.

Neither Paul's own individual visit or his "severe" letter had silenced the men who maliciously misinterpreted every word and action that Paul would give. They were looking not only for their "pound of flesh" of which to beat Paul they were also looking for enough rope to give Paul in which to hang him.

For example, Paul's change in travel plans (2 Corinthians 1: 13) and his letters (2 Corinthians 1: 23) were used to undermine Paul's apostolic authority. It was probably their influence that had brought to a standstill a project which Paul had promoted with such energy and with such good initial success: a collection fox' the poor saints at Jerusalem.

It seems that Paul had learned the following points, which still at work in the church today. As we go through the study we will need to remember the following realities of life in the churchapter

1. Despite the pious things said, at any given time, there are some in the church operating with non-Christian motivation. They are asking "What's in it for me?"

2. Most of the times in the world of the church, things are not always what they appear to be.

3. There is a friction in the church that burns up enormous energy, consumes endless hours, smothers creativity, impedes progress and often creates quite a little heat.

4. They'll only do it to you if you let 'em.

5. The ultimate principle is a "tough love" that looks beyond the irritation of the moment and in the strength of Christ loves people as they are.

To this end we must remember two other points:

1. God calls us to be faithful to Him, not necessarily "successful."

2. The Pastor is not called to do all of the work, nor to have the people helped him do the work, BUT to help the people do their work in Christ.

The Occasion of Paul’s letter…

The unfinished task of the collection of the saints of Jerusalem was the occasion of Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, our present Second Letter to the Corinthians. But this is not all.

Paul also wanted to place a re-establishment of a full and pure understanding of hid authority as "apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God". His desire to make clear forever to the Corinthians where the glory and power of his ministry lay is the "underlying impulse of his writing.

This concern of Paul dominates the first section of the letter (chapters 1-7). Here Paul looks to the past where he welcomes the penitent advances of the majority of the congregation, forgives the disciplined wrongdoer and speaks the love of the church for him. Paul speaks for a renewal of the full communion of love, which had been a characteristic of his association with the church of Corinth.

This concern of Paul also dominates the last section of the letter (chapters 10-13) where he looks forward to his coming visit to Corinth and deals with his detractors and their "hangers-on".

Chapters 8-9 deal with the collection. It is an action of his office that seeks nothing for itself, but all for the glory of Christ.

The Effect of the Letter...

Paul spent the three winter months AD 55-56 in Greece, just after the letter was dispatched to Corinth (Acts 20: 2-3)

It is believed that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans most likely in Corinth. In this letter to the Romans Paul looks back over his work in the eastern Mediterranean area as finished. He looks westward with serenity and confidence. (Romans 15: 14-33). No doubt, the second letter to the Corinthians had now done the work it was intended to do. The reconciliation with Corinth was complete.

I. RETROSPECT: Paul's Apostolic Authority with Special Reference to His Ministry in Corinth. (Chapters 1-7)

This whole first section is actually the thanksgiving which Paul regularly opens his letters. But here it is executed on a more monumental scale. This is an awed and grateful retrospective survey of the ministry, which the grace of God has assigned to Paul.

A. (2 Corinthians l: l-11) Paul's Ministry is under the God of all comfort.

This ministry is pure grace. It is the grace of God that sustains Paul in it. Paul designates himself as "(An) apostle...by the grace of God" in the salutation.

Paul opens with a thanksgiving to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered him from desperate danger in Asia. This gave him comfort in order that he might be able to comfort others in the strength given to him.

The strength is that strength of God, namely, to rely "on God who raises the dead". 1:9

B. (2 Corinthians 1: 12-2: 17) The Ministry of Divine Triumph.

The grace of his apostolic ministry makes Paul's life a life full of agonizing stress. Paul had to endure the malice of men who misinterpreted his letters. (1: 12-14)

Because of these misunderstandings they used his change of plans to charge him with cacillation and unreliability. (1: 15-2: 4)

Notice Paul's reasoning. He had delayed his coming to Corinth in order to "spare" the church 1:23)

God has helped Paul. Now as always he stands vindicated as the proclaimer of the Christ who is God's great "YES" to all His promises.

The church over which he travailed has repented. The offending brother has been restored in love.

"Thanks be to God," Paul breaks out even before meeting with Titus. It was Titus who brought him "Thanks he to God, who in Christ always leads us he has told of his the comforting news, in triumph." 2: 14

  1. (2 Corinthians 3: 1-3) The Ministry commended by Jesus Christ.

Since his sufficiency is from God, Paul needs no letters of men to recommend him in his ministry. Possibly this is what the "Christ" party apparently were doing. The argument being Paul is not a true apostle because he has no papers that give his credentials. There might have been some public skepticism about the truth of Paul's office and his pronouncements because there were no "official" church papers on Paul. Therefore, in some minds there was a church credibility gap.

The church, which his apostolic ministry has by God’s grace created, stands as Paul's letter of commendation. "A letter from Christ…written...with the Spirit of the living God," 3:3

D. (2 Corinthians 3: 4-4: 6) The Ministry of the New Covenant

God has given Paul his ability as a minister of God's New Covenant. Paul is to carry out a ministry not of the letter of the Law which condemns and kills but a ministry of the Spirit which justifies and gives eternal life.

This is a minis try not of transient and fading glory. That was Moses' ministry. Paul's ministry is one of surpassing and enduring glory.

This ministry gives Paul a "boldness" which Moses could not have and which Israel cannot know until she turns to the Lord.

Paul's ministry is one of boldness in the Lord whose Spirit gives freedom and carries him and all who receive his liberating word "from one degree of glory to another" 3: 18.

This boldness brings with it a pure and candid honesty. Paul proclaims not himself, but Jesus Christ.

Paul proclaims the miracle of the new creation, the dawn of a new first day, "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ", 4:6

Note: Why do you and I worship on a Sunday? One reason is because God the Father started creation on a Sunday. Our life in Christ is a new creation." Each Sunday when we gather to worship we remember that a "new world order" has already started and will be fully realized when we enter into heaven!

E. (2 Corinthians 4: 7-5: 10) The Ministry of Imparting the Law of Jesus To Men.

The glory of this apostolic ministry is solely God's not man's.

What does this mean? The frailty and sufferings the "angst" of men who exercise this ministry, as men who are afflicted, perplexed3 persecuted, and struck down, take nothing from its glory.

In their weakness the transcending power of God is manifested. In their feet of clay and in their defeat and dying the new life of Jesus is released for men. 4: 7-12

Suffering and the prospect of dying do not discourage the ministers of God. They work in the faith that the God who raised Jesus from the dead will raise them with Jesus.

In the courageous certitude that the as yet unseen glory of the new creation will enfold them in an eternal splendor which outweighs by far their present momentary affliction, in the knowledge that the Spirit given them by God is His pledge of a new and eternal bodily life. 4: 13-5: 5

They long to be at home with their Lord. Clothed with the new body, which God will give them; but this longing does not make them weak and inert dreamers. It makes them strong and courageous workers who "make it their aim to please Him".

Christ is the One before whose judgment seat all pastors must appear to give an account of their working! What a thought! Pray for your Pastor! 5: 6-10

F. (2 Corinthians 5: 11-6: 10) The Ministry Of Reconciliation

The apostle Paul works to win men, but with a high independence over and against the praise or blame of men.

Whether men esteem him mad or sane is of small moment to him; his "Madness" and his "sanity" are both in the service of his apostolic ministry.

Paul finds himself moving between the two poles of the fear of the Lord who will judge all men and the impulse of the all-controlling love of the Christ who died that all men might live for Him. 5: 11-15

Question: Which is more important to be "respected" or "liked"?

There are many "hot" topics in the church today the issue of the call, the role of pastor and people in the work of the churchapter What is the important work in the churchapter These are just a few of the challenges, which confront the Christian world today. Here Paul reminds us that human standards do not apply to this ministry, for it is nothing less than the ministry of the divine reconciliation.

The ministry Paul is speaking of gets its content and its authority from that act of God's by which God's new creation has broken victoriously into the present evil world and has made the old world irrelevant and obsolete.

The apostle is nothing less than the ambassador for the Christ, who knew no sin, whom God made to be sin for sinful man, in order that man may become the righteousness of God in Him.

God Himself makes His appeal to man through the apostle. 5: 16-21

G. (2 Corinthians 6: 11-7: 4) The Ministry of God's Exclusive Appeal

Paul’s point is clear: the Church lives by perpetual repentance.

The church at Corinth can be a real church, can be an apostolic church, and can be "the church of God at Corinth" ONLY by heeding the appeal of God through the apostle.

Reconciliation with Paul can only take place as a piece of the church’s reconciliation with God.

Paul renews once more his ambassadorial plea of: "Be reconciled to God" in the form that the present situation of the Corinthian church calls for: "We entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain." 6: 1

The congregation has been in danger of squandering the grace, which they had once accepted. There is still time for reconciliation, but that time is now! 6: 2

As he renews his appeal, Paul sums up once more the whole glory of this apostolic ministry as the pure and free channel of the reconciling grace of God. 6: 3-10

Paul reminds the Corinthians that the appeal of God the "RECONCILER" is an exclusive appeal. The reconciliation with God calls for a radical break with all that opposes God.

Paul reminds them that if God is their Father and they His sons and daughters, they must come out from the world around them and touch nothing unclean, must cleans themselves "from every defilement of body and soul and make holiness perfect in the fear of God".

The secularized Christianity with which Paul dealt in his first letter is being rouched on once more here. 6: 11-7: 1

When the people have opened their hearts to God and made their hearts His alone, then they can open their hearts to their apostle. Paul loves them with the forgiving love of God: "You are in our hearts, to die together and to live together".

Point to think about: To "make the marriage work" between Pastor and people in the church today there has to be this type of love which Paul is speaking about. How is this love created? How is this love expressed? How can we deepen this love in our own parish?

H. (2 Corinthians 7: 5-16) Titus' Report: The Joyful Prospect of Reconciliation Now, at last, Paul tells what he ahs been on the verge of telling! 2: 13

Paul could not tell them this until had had given thanks to God for His gift. Now Paul tells of his meeting with Titus and of Titus' report of their repentance.

The thanksgiving, which Paul began and which has been the constant undertone in all of his description of his apostolate, is now heard full and clear.

Paul "REJOICES" and is "COMFORTED" He can't say it often enough!

Question: What makes a pastor and people "sing" together?!

II. THE PRESENT: The collection for the Saints in Jerusalem (chapters 8-9)

Paul closed his account conceiving Titus' report with the words, "I rejoice because I have perfect confidence in you" (7: 16) Now in chapters 8 and 9 Paul gives directions concerning a collection for the saints in Jerusalem. This collection is to be an expression of that confidence. Tactful and gentile Paul leads the congregation through his plans and directions.

A. (2 Corinthians 8: 1-7) The Example of the Churches of Macedonia

Paul holds before them the example of the Macedonian churches, which in their poverty and affliction gave beyond their means--because the grace of God moved them to give "THEMSELVES" to the Lord.

Note: When men give themselves, their money is given too.

Paul characteristically never speaks of money, in so many words, at all in this section. What he will say is very important.

Point to think about: It has been said that in the life of the church there is "the golden rule" The one with the "gold" will "rule". What does the Lord have to say about our work together? Our money? Our time? Our abilities? Our priorities?

B. (2 Corinthians 8: 8-15) You Know the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Paul will not command them. He reminds them, instead, of what they already ... .of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ became poor for the enrichment of men.

Paul reminds the Corinthians of what they have already done. They had set about the gathering of the collection as early as the previous year.

C. (2 Corinthians 8: 16-9: 5) Commendation of Titus and Two Brothers

Paul is sending Titus and two other brothers to aid them in the task, which will prove their love and make good Paul's boast concerning them.

Paul does this lest he and they themselves also be put to shame when he comes to Corinth with the representatives of the Macedonian churches and finds the Corinthians not ready.

D. (2 Corinthians 9: 6-15) God Loves a Cheerful Giver!

Paul reminds the congregation that generous giving reaps a great harvest.

Not only will the God who loves a cheerful giver reward such giving.

God will also be glorified in the thanksgiving of the recipients of the gift.

As in the description of his apostolic ministry, so also here, in the exercise of it, Paul first and last word in his letter is the grace of God.

That Gentiles are bound to Jews is such communion that Jewish need provokes a Gentile gift. That this gift is the fire which sends up clouds of grateful incense in Jerusalem, to the glory of the God who is Lord of the Jews and Gentiles both, that is all grace.

Grace greater than man’s words can tell is what Paul is thinking of here: "Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!" 9: 15

III. PROSPECT: Paul's Coming Visit to Corinth. Personal Vindication in the Face of the Charges Brought Against Him by His Opponents. (Chapters 10-13)

Paul has spoken the word of conciliation to the full. He has set before the eyes of the Corinthians all the wondrous grace of God, which has united him with them in the past.

Paul has enlarged upon the task, which unites them in a common effort he presents as an "inexpressible gift" of God. But between Paul and the Corinthians there still falls the shadow of the men who say, "We belong to Christ" both in their peculiar and exclusive sense.

This group stands in the way of full and perfect conciliation. No possibility of conciliation with them; they have given in indication of a change.

Being what they are, they must oppose Paul, for Paul is the opponent of all human greatness, including his own.

Paul is a man opposed to ALL factions and all parties in the church, even the "Pauline" party included. Paul upholds and affirms all that they sought to override and supersede-the Old Testament Scriptures, the commands of Jesus, the apostolate as the vehicle of the power and presence of Christ, an earthen vessel perhaps, but the vessel which God Himself had chosen and therefore the only vessel.

Paul interprets all the terms, which they used as slogans:

"freedom"
"knowledge"
"Spirit"
"The Lordship of Christ"

There is no possibility of compromise here. No prospect of conciliation; the message of conciliation must show the hard edge of its exclusiveness. Paul must unmask them for what they are the satanic messengers who destroy the work of God, and bid the Corinthians come out from them and be separate from them.

Paul has touched on the attitudes, methods, and accusations of his opponents as early as his first letter (1st Corinthians 4: 18-21; 7: 40; 14: 37)

The anathema upon those who have no love for the Lord in 1st Corinthians 16: 22 is no doubt intended primarily for these persons and groups.

There are indications in the first section of the second letter that Paul is seeking conciliation in an atmosphere charged with calumny and controversy (e.g. 2nd Corinthians 1: 12ff; 2: 6; 4: 2; 5: 11ff; 6: 3). But it is not until now, when the word of conciliation has been fully spoken that Paul meets his adversaries and their charges head on.

A. (2nd Corinthians 10: 1-18) Paul's Defense Against the Charges of His Opponents.

1. The Charges of His Opponents, with Paul's Comment (10:1-12)

Their charges: Paul is humble when face to face with the Corinthians but bold only with absent. (verse 1)

He terrifies them with his letters, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech is of no account. (verses 9,10)

He "acts in worldly fashion" (verse 2)

Paul is blustering when he can and stepping softly when he must. This proves that he is not one who "belongs to Christ" in the sense and to the degree that they, his hold and brilliantly persuasive opponents, do. (verse 7)

Note: How many times do we find similar charges going on in the church today? If we really want to "nail" someone we either attack him or her for being impersonable or immoral! They either have some sort of "personal problem" or they lack some sort of "Christ- like quality".

Paul’s answer: Do not force me to demonstrate the authority divinely given me, an authority given me for building up the church, not for destruction. An authority, which therefore has the patience to wait for repentance and its fruits before it performs the necessary but painful task of destruction by judgment (10:4-6)

Paul has an authority, which his opponents cannot even understand, for they know nothing but themselves. (10:12)

2. Paul’s Authority as an Apostle. (10:13-13)

Over and against the self-commendation of his detractors Paul gets the fact of the Lord having "commended" him by building the church at Corinth through him. Paul has built the church, and he has not thrust himself into another’s field of labor either, as his opponents have done.

This is the solid and factual vindication of his authority, one that permits him to boast only in the Lord and allows him to hope that he will further be vindicated by a greater work in a wider field, as the Corinthians' faith increases.

Paul is here looking as the Letter to the Romans makes plain, to the West, to Rome and beyond Rome, to Spain.

B. (2 Corinthians 11: 1-12: 21) Paul's Foolish Boasting

To defend the church, which he has betrothed to Christ and to protect her from satanic influence of those who preach "another Jesus" Paul will play the fool and boast.

It is a holy jealousy for the church that impels Paul to this boasting. 11:1-4

1. Though he makes no pre tense of rivaling these "superlative apostles" in skilled speech3 Paul will boast of his knowledge. 11: 5-6

2. Paul will boast, ironically, of that which has been made a reproach against him, of the fact that he worked without pay. He will not let the insinuations of the "false apostles" (who evidently interpreted his refusal to accept remuneration as an admission that he lacked full apostolic stature) drive him from this policy, which his love for the Corinthians dictates. 11:7-15

3. Though he is too "weak" to assume the arrogant and selfish demeanor of his opponents, he will boast of all that they dare boast of--a more. If they are Hebrews, descendants of Abraham, he is all that AND a better servant of the Christ than they, marked by toil, suffering, and persecution, worn by the daily pressure of his anxious care for all the churches. He "will boast of the things that show his weakness" to the glory of the Lord. 11:16-33

4. He will boast of the visions and revelations of the Lord, which have been given him. But he again ends by boasting of his weakness of the affliction, which his Lord would not take from him, in order that the Lord's power might be made perfect in the apostle’s weakness. 12: 1-10

5. But thought he be in his person nothing, Paul is not at all inferior to those superlative apostles. He can boast of the signs of the TRUE apostle, which were performed by him at Corinth, signs, wonders, and mighty works.

In light of this, the Corinthians can 't give ear to those who interpret his refusal to accept pay as a sign that they were 1ess favored than churches founded by other apostles. Neither can they lend credence to the change that he refused to take pay directly in order to gain it indirectly, through his helpers and associates.

Selfish men like Titus are the sufficient refutation of that charge. This practice was dictated by his fatherly love for them, and he will not depart from it now. 12:19-21

C. (2nd Corinthians 13: 1-10) Paul’s Impending Visit

Paul will come and deal unsurprisingly with those who do not repent; they shall have full proof of the power of his apostolic authority. 13: 1-4

But, the apostle who is strong when he is weak implores the Corinthians not to put his authority to the test. He bids thee' do what is right, in order that he "may seem to have failed" that he may not have to demonstrate the power given him by the exalted Christ who speaks to him.

Nowhere, does the complete selflessness of Paul's apostolic will and purity of his apostolic love appear in clearer light than here!

D. (2nd Corinthians 13: 11-14) Conclusion

Paul's last concluding admonition: "Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace! 13:11
Paul's greeting 13:12,13
Paul's closing benediction 13:14

So ends our study of Paul’s writing to the Christians at Corinth!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Sources

The Acrostic Bible An Entertaining Way to Remember The Bible Barry Huddleston Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, TN. 1978 Walk Thru the Bible Ministries Portland, Or.

Concordia Self Study Bible New International Version, Robert G. Hoerber Editor Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO. 1986 pp.1542-1543

Concordia Self Study Commentary Martin H. Franzmann Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO. 1979 pp.160-170