I am going to be transparent: is it just me or are these 2 letters hard? Maybe it is just me.
Paul spoke in the last letter about the resurrection, but now he takes it deeper. He talks about what he expects for himself after death. He uses the word “tent” because it coincided with the local teaching of Plato and Pythagoras. He explains how our earthy body “tent” will be transformed into an eternal house. This will happen when we receive our “new clothing” at our resurrection. We know this to be true because he gives us a “deposit guaranteeing what is t come” (Holy Spirit).
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
No longer can those who belong to Christ live for themselves, but to live for Christ!
If there was ever a scripture to memorize in this book it is:
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
My pencil underlined words this year like Ambassadors (verse 5:20), Co-Workers (verse 6:1), Servants (6:4), and then a series of comparisons: what appears to be failures are victories:
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
- through glory/dishonor,
- bad report/good report;
- genuine/regarded as impostors;
- known/yet regarded as unknown;
- dying/yet we live on;
- beaten/not killed;
- sorrowful/always rejoicing;
- poor/making many rich;
- having nothing/yet possessing everything.
In the first letter (chapter 15:33) Paul says:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” In this letter, he expounds on that:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. Using Deuteronomy 22:10 as a reference of not plowing a field with a donkey and an ox.
One is strong, one is weak. One is a clean animal, one is considered unclean. They are not equal and they will not make progress. Paul drives the point home with 5 rhetorical questions:
- For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
- What fellowship can light have with darkness?
- What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (the devil)?
- What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
- What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
The Corinthians are living in both worlds. Are you?
“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Go back and read chapter 7:8-13.
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.
Paul knew that his last letter was strong and may have hurt them. When we read 2 Timothy it will say : 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Paul compares a collection he took for the church in Macedonia to Corinth. They gave beyond their means and exceeded Paul’s expectations. Paul reiterates that giving is not a command, but as proof for your Love for Christ.
8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Paul chose Titus to take up the collection, and the Corinthians chose an unnamed man to partner with him. There was a lot of criticism being taught by others to defame Paul’s name and his purpose for taking up collections in the church. The two men will be appointed to make sure that the collection is for the Lord and not to line Paul’s pockets.
20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. On this Sunday, when you might be about to go Christmas shopping: read this, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Remember what will be written in 2 Timothy 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Now that I finished the read, it wasn’t as hard as I thought 😂.