Today marks the conclusion of the Fall Bible study, All Things New by Kelly Minter. I hope you have enjoyed this in-depth look at 2 Corinthians. I also hope that you have discovered more about yourself and your relationship with Jesus Christ through all you have learned. Our theme verse for the study was 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV); “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” All of the posts pertaining to this study as well as past studies are available for your use at any time under the Bible Studies Archive tab.
“… I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. The things that make an apostle – signs, wonders and miracles- were done among you with great perseverance. How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!” Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? ” 2 Corinthians 12:11-15
During the early days of the church, signs, miracles, and wonders were proofs that the disciples had been given spiritual authority by God. Some of the people of Corinth still had difficulty believing Paul despite all of the supernatural work he had done before them. They turned to others that Paul called super-apostles because they felt these other men were better equipped than Paul. These super-apostles made demands upon them that Paul didn’t make. Our questions on Day 1 of our lesson were focused on discovering the true proof of Paul’s and of our faith and discipleship. In our cross- reference passages, we learned that the true proof is love. The remaining personal reflection and response questions dealt with one of the chief complaints of the Corinthians which was that Paul wasn’t accepting financial support from them. The questions we answered concerned various aspects, barriers, and difficulties of sharing love and friendship with others.
“Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be….” 2 Corinthians 12:19,20a
In our lesson on Day 2, we considered the four fears that Paul had concerning his upcoming visit to the Corinthian church. We also listed the eight sinful behaviors that Paul highlighted in his letter to them. We answered and reflected on these sins and fears as part of our personal questions for this day.
“This will be my third visit to you….On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.” 2 Corinthians 13:1-4
Our lesson on Day 3 led us to ponder the proof of Christ in our lives. Paul took his time in dealing out judgment among those who were sinning in the church. We reflected on the problems he handled in Corinth and if we,too, are slow to judge and patient to confront in love. We considered how God uses our weaknesses to show His strength in our lives rather than our own strength. We were also led to consider if we perceive God’s favor of blessings, particularly materialistic ones, as evidence of His love and favor on us.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” 2 Corinthians 13:5-10
We were challenged to examine our faith during our lesson on Day 4. We reflected on the desires of our hearts, our spiritual passions, what motivates our actions and our prayers as well as our love for others. We also answered questions about the Corinthians and their spiritual condition.
“…Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal,, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Kelly Minter writes in our lesson on Day 5; “2 Corinthians was written to real people in a real city because the gospel is meant to thrive in real life. My prayer is that what we’ve learned along the way will not be mere academic knowledge but will be put into practice.” I couldn’t state the importance of bible study any better. The information is meant to be applied and lived out. The five imperatives that we listed in our lesson challenge us to live vibrant, active, maturing, faith-filled lives as brothers and sisters in Christ. We examined ourselves and our relationships based on these 5 commands during this lesson. May our lives be distinguished by the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth.