THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration through Bible study.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard.
He has set up an archive page.
To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

2Corinthians

INTRODUCTION to 2Corinthians

After Paul wrote 1Corinthians (letter to the church at Corinth), he made
a visit to that church.
The reason he made that visit was because the problems he had
discussed in 1Corinthians had not yet been resolved.

Paul then went on to Macedonia. (AD 57)
Titus came to him and shared good news.
The church had finally repented!

Then, Paul wrote this second letter to the Church at Corinth (2Corinthians).
And, he followed up that letter with his final visit to Corinth (See Acts 20:1-4).

We might find 4 purposes for this letter.

1st -- to make the church aware of another visit by Paul (See 2Cor. 12:14 and 2Cor. 13:1)

2nd -- to exhibit Paul's thankfulness and give exhortations for their response to
his first letter, and to the visit of Titus. 2Cor. 1:7 and 2Cor. 3:1-6:18)

3rd -- to remind the church to give an offering for the Christians in Judea. (See 2Cor. 8:1-9:15)
By the way, this is the longest discussion of giving in the New Testament.

4th -- to share about Paul's apostolic authority. (See 2Cor. 10:1-13:14)

CHAPTER 1

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

Though Paul had not lived with Jesus as the other apostles had done, he had certainly visited with the risen Christ!
In fact Paul HAD seen Christ on the Damascus Road as he was bearing letter to imprison Jewish Christians.
(See Acts 9:1-6 and Acts 22:14-15)
It was at that point, Paul was converted and became an "apostle of Jesus Christ by
the will of God..."

Paul adds to his greeting the fact that Timothy is with him.
And, he adds that the "saints which are in all Achaia" send their greetings also.

Verse 2 is a part of this greeting and expresses Paul's desire that the church
(all the people in the church) are aware of, stand in, and are experiencing GRACE.
Grace comes from the Greek charis and means a divine influence -
especially upon the heart.

Therefore this grace can only come by the visitation of God's Holy Spirit,
having been sent by "God the Father, and .. the Lord Jesus Christ."

Therefore, Paul's statement in verse 2 seems to be a prayer for the saints at Corinth.

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

The word "Blessed" here is derived from the Greek eulogetus.
It literally means adorable!
God is to be ADORED!

He, and He alone can COMFORT us while we experience "tribulation!
And tribulation can mean: affliction, burden, persecution, anguish and even trouble!

When God comforts the saved, they receive EXPERIENCE.
That experience is helpful to comfort others!

I never will forget when Ann and I lost our first child.
Both of us were devastated.
We didn't understand how God could let that happen.

But through much prayer and Bible study, we learned that God's Holy Spirit,
would HELP us through that difficulty.
Though we could not then understand why this happened, we COULD understand
that God's Holy Spirit was there to give us comfort and strength to go on.
God also used other people (in whom His Spirit was working) to help us receive comfort.

NOW we understand.
I cannot tell you how many times we have stood by a couple who just lost
a baby and we were able to share God's COMFORT with them!

When Christians have experienced God's comfort during difficult times,
they receive experience with which they can comfort others!

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the
enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for
your consolation and salvation.

As Christians, we are "partakers of Christ's sufferings." (See 1Pet. 4:13)

But we also have the joy of KNOWING that "when His (Christ's) glory shall be revealed,
ye (we) may be glad also with exceeding joy."

Jesus is our SOURCE for consolation through Bible study, prayer and the constant
presence of His Holy Spirit.

Christians in today's world are scorned, mocked, and even persecuted.
More Christians have been murdered because of their faith in the last 5 years than in
the last 100 years combined!

When other people, who are Christians, see us enduring such "affliction",
they are consoled in their faith.
When those who are NOT Christians see us enduring the same, they become
acutely aware that there is ONE thing DIFFERENT about Christians:
THE FAITH IN CHRIST CANNOT BE DENIED!!!!

Once a person is truly surrendered to Christ, He is "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise"
(See Eph. 1:13)!
And even the threat of DEATH cannot cause us to deny Christ!!
((After all, death just takes us to be with Him eternally!!))

Over the past few years, I have seen many Christians despised, hated, and even beheaded
because they WOULD NOT deny Christ.
They WOULD not because they COULD not!!

This brings more revelation to what John said in 1John 4:4!

I don't know about you, but considering what we're experiencing in the world
right now, that brings me great comfort and consolation!

7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings,
so shall ye be also of the consolation.

Paul states that, knowing the former, he is secure in his hope for those in Corinth,
because they have already suffered persecution without denial, and will receive
full consolation when Christ comes.

Those who do face persecution and find they cannot deny Christ,
will receive FULL consolation when Christ returns!!

8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia,
that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many
persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

Asia was a large Province, of which Ephesus was the capitol.
Paul had suffered many difficulties in Asia.
(See Acts 14:6 and Acts 14:19-20 and Acts 19)

It is not specific to which of these instances Paul refers.
However, it is to be noted that he and those with him "despaired even of life!"

In verse 9, Paul relates that fact that this peril made him (and those with him) realize
that they could not trust in their own abilities to be saved from the peril; but
that they could only trust in "God which raiseth the dead!"

Please note three tenses in verse 11.
*God "delivered" (past tense)!
He HAS delivered us from the awful eternal death by salvation through Jesus Christ!
*"DOTH deliver" (present tense)!
God IS DELIVERING them (and us) in the present time.
He is our comfort, consolation and Protector!
*"WILL YET deliver" (future tense)!
One day, one blessed day, God will deliver us into His eternal heaven of glory
where we shall never face the trials caused by sin again!!

In verse 11, Paul refers to the HELP that those in Corinth had given Him (and those with him) by PRAYER!
Our prayers, for other Christians, are SUSTAINING!
God HEARS, God ANSWERS!

When we earnestly pray for others, it is one of the most unselfish acts we can perform.
It is pouring out our heart's desire to God for someone else.
God HEARS those prayers, and He ACTS upon them.
Though He may not act according to our desires, we KNOW that He always acts in the way
that glorifies Him and brings the best benefit to those for whom we pray!

12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity,
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world,
and more abundantly to you-ward.
13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge;
and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are
ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

The "testimony" of a good "conscience" leads to rejoicing!
NONE of us can say we are perfect.
But, if we have lived with honest and earnest intent, we can hold a good conscience.

Note, it is not by "fleshly wisdom" that we live honestly in the world.
It is by the "grace of God" through following Him!

If we live daily clinging to God, and with honest and earnest intent,
when we face death, we can have rejoicing!

Paul rejoices in the Corinthians because He knows their witness and testimony.
And, they rejoice in Him, because they know his witness and testimony.

We can rejoice in each other (as Christians) when we know the witness and
testimony of our life is lived clinging to Christ and doing His will.

15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be
brought on my way toward Judaea.

BECAUSE Paul knows their honest intent to live for Christ, he made plans
to visit the church at Corinth again.

Christians love to visit where people are living a good testimony for Christ!

17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness?
or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh,
that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

Paul did not get to make the visit he desired (See 2Cor. 1:23)

Does that mean that his plans were made inconsistently?
Was Paul varying in his actions toward the church at Corinth?
Was he only being headstrong in his plan to visit them?
Or was he indeed being spiritually strong?

Those might be the questions the church at Corinth were asking.

But Paul assures them that his plans were true.

However, sometimes God CHANGES our plans!

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us,
even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Paul had preached Jesus as the CHRIST -- MESSIAH.
He had preached Jesus as the SON of GOD - the express image of God's person in a fleshly body.
He includes Silvanus and Timothy as having preached the same thing.

And, Paul states that what he preached about Jesus was "yea!"
In other words, his preaching was affirmative truth.

I love vs 20!
ALL the promises of God are IN CHRIST!
And, ALL of them are "yea" -- affirmative truth!
And ALL of them are "Amen" - absolute truth!

There are SO MANY promises of God through Jesus Christ.
I cannot name them all here.
But, I will name some of the more pertinent.
1) Jesus promises if you surrender to Him, He will RECEIVE you. (See John 4:12)
2) Jesus promises those who receive Him will be made DIFFERENT. (See John 4:12 and 2Cor. 5:17)
3) Jesus promises His presence will ALWAYS be with those who surrender to Him. (See Matt. 28:20 and Heb. 13:5)
4) Jesus promises He is creating a REAL heaven, and that He will come to receive all those who
surrender to Him, that they may live forever with Him. (See John 14:3)
5) Jesus promises to send His Holy Spirit to COMFORT the saved and TEACH them the Bible. (See John 14:26)

Those are affirmative truths because they are absolute truths!

21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

The word "Christ" is derived from the Greek Christos.
The word "God" is derived from the Greek Theos.

Permit me, if you will to restate verse 21 like this:
"He who grounds us and you in Messiah,
and He who has given us God's Holy Spirit,
is THEOS -- Ruler of ALL!"

By the grace of God, through surrender to Christ, we become "SEALED"
in God's Holy Spirit. (See Eph. 1:13)

THAT's how God establishes and anoints those who truly surrender to Jesus!

23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
2 Corinthians 2:1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

((Please note, I have included verse 1 of 2Cor. 2, because it seems to be a concusive statement
to verses 23 and 24 of 2Cor. 1. Actually, the 2nd chapter could begin with verse 23 of the 1st chapter.))

Paul did not consider himself to "have dominion", or authority, over the Christians at Corinth.
He had genuine concern for them.
And, he was quite upset about them having divisions among themselves.
So, he stayed away in order that they might learn to grapple with difficulties and stand in their own faith.

So, it was by grace through God's prevailing Holy Spirit that Paul decided NOT to visit Corinth
at the time he desired - because he was heavy - hearted.

The church at Corinth was in a state of disorder.
Paul would have had feelings about resorting to harsh statements.

He had writted the 1st letter to Corinth both to answer their questions and to put-off the visit.
Now, he is stating the true reason he changed his plans to visit them.

Sometimes, the best approach to disorder is to back off and write down what help could be offered.
Then, after perusing that, to reach out in an affirmative manner rather than using negative words.

This second letter to the church at Corinth, is actually more affirmative in wording.
Because, Paul had been given word that the church had repented and began acting in an orderly,
and more loving fashion.

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.
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