2nd Corinthians: Paul's Defense
Paul's character, Collection for the saints, Paul's credentials.
Background: Paul writes to the Corinthian church from Macedonia around 56 AD Theme: Defense of Paul's Ministry and Authority Outline: Paul's Character, a Collection for the Saints, and Paul's Credentials Key Verse: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17, NIV)
Second Corinthians Chapter Index
These notes use and refer to the Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol 2, New Testament).
INTRODUCTION: Following the guidance of BKC, it may be assumed that Paul wrote four letters to the Corinthians. Of these, the first and third are lost. The second and fourth are in our Bible as First and Second Corinthians. Whatever the other letters contained, God did not see fit to preserve them to be incorporated into the Canon of Scripture.
I. Introduction (1:1-22)
1:18-20 "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ."(NIV) Mr. Lowery, BKC, interprets this verse as meaning "In Christ the promises to Abraham and David are fulfilled and the Law was brought to an end." The Law was brought to an end, but all of the promises to Abraham and David have not yet been fulfilled. The sentence indicates that Christ is the object and means of the fulfillment of all these promises, not the time of fulfillment (are' fulfilled). The fulfillment of all of the promises of God in Christ is certain, although some are yet future.
II. Apostolic Ministry (1:12-7:16)
2:15-16 Our function is to be the aroma of Christ. This does not guarantee acceptance or measured success in being accepted in the world. For those who are being saved, our aroma is pleasant. For those who do and will reject the gospel, we are a rotting stench, a reminder of death.
3:4-6 BKC: The statement in parenthesis is a careful wording of distinctions between aspects of the New Covenant which apply to the Church and those that apply to Israel. Generally, those of the Reformed tradition do not make these distinctions so clearly.
5:1-6 Our purpose is eternal life in our (future) immortal body. Until then, we groan', looking forward to being with the LORD.
7:1 "Purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit." Sin does not merely contaminate our body and leave the spirit untouched! Body and spirit are linked and both damaged by our sins, even sins we consider 'fleshly' such as gluttony or sloth.
7:6 God, who comforts the downcast, often comforts through the fellowship of the saints. Here, he used Timothy. If we do not participate in a local fellowship with other believers, we cut ourselves off from the potential agents of comfort. There are cases where it is not possible to join with a local body of Christ, particularly on the foreign mission field. However, we should make great effort to be part of a local body of Christ, and both give and receive the comfort of God.
III. Gracious Giving (8-9)
IV. Affirmative Action (10:1-13:10)
11:21b-22 Mr. Lowery, BKC, states the possibility that Paul was comparing himself to the Twelve rather than to the false prophets. I hold to the 'usually believed' interpretation that Paul contrasts himself to the false prophets. For one thing, the Twelve did preach a true message from God, and were in agreement with Paul's message.
I agree that he is comparing himself with false apostles. He seems to be referring to them in verses 19-20 when he speaks of those who enslaved the Corinthians, devoured them, and took advantage of them. [CW]
12:7-9 BKC :This is a careful explanation of the 'thorn in the flesh'. We are not sure what it was. If it was a physical affliction, as BKC states is probable, we see that Christ's servants are not exempt from illness and physical infirmity. Some wrongly teach that Christians by faith never get sick or suffer!
V. Conclusion (13:11-14)
Updated March 2012
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