Bible Reading Plan: Feb 19th – Feb 23rd: 1 Corinthians 1 – 5
|February 19th||February 20th||February 21st||February 22nd||February 23rd|
|2 Corinthians 1||2 Corinthians 2||2 Corinthians 3||2 Corinthians 4||2 Corinthians 5|
2 Corinthians begins with Paul showing us how to deal with situations where we cannot understand what is going on. While God does give visions and insights we often find ourselves having to trust God when we don’t understand and can’t see what is happening. The God of all Comfort, comforts us so that we operate out of that comfort towards others. We learn to rely on Him rather than ourselves or worldly wisdom. No matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” and “amen” in Christ.
Paul planned to visit the church at Corinth but was forced to change his plans. We all make many plans but circumstances can change those plans. So how do we handle change? How do we handle other people’s responses to those same changes?
Forgiveness? God’s comfort helps us forgive and say amen. Then we find ourselves growing from mere forgiveness to becoming ministers of reconciliation. God’s agents for transforming situations. That is the ministry Jesus has called us to. What a great hope, no matter the circumstance we can change the people around us through Christ.
This great hope comes from our understanding of the gospel, seeing God’s glory ourselves and being transformed in His presence. We never stand on the outside of God’s throne room but always start at the throne of grace. Recognising our own weakness but confessing His ability and goodness. Treasure within!
This great hope helps us to think right about other people, the unsaved. They can’t see and need a transforming encounter with Jesus. The devil has blinded them to the truth. They need us to reflect God’s glory.
That glory is part of us now as new creations, but so much more is going to be ours in eternity. So, we make it our goal to please God and have confidence before Him, those around us and even the angels and demons. Whatever happens, we are going to trust God.
Questions to consider:
- “Your testimony is powerful. As a new creation, you are Christ’s Ambassador carrying life that is unique, valuable and reveals God’s glory. Just as Paul sought to strengthen others, who can you strengthen this week as you declare God’s faithfulness?
- “As the “aroma of Christ”, consider what aroma you leave behind wherever you go. Do you reveal Christ’s life?
- “In 2:7 we read that God is always ready to forgive when we come to him in repentance. He restores us gently. No person is beyond redemption when He turns to God. Do you need to repent and ask forgiveness for anything? Do you need to forgive someone?
- “It’s easy to feel frustrated when an unsaved person doesn’t listen to us but we need to remember that the “veil” is only removed through Christ. We reveal Christ’s glory through the testimony of our lives and not by mere words.
- “Often, we don’t see our good qualities or the gifts that we have. As a family/household encourage one another with the good qualities that you see in each other. Strengthen your children as you concentrate on their good points, don’t use this as a time to point out their weaknesses or things that need changing.
Paul probably wrote 4 letters to the church at Corinth, two of which have been lost. Paul refers to a first letter in 1 Corinthians 5:9 saying “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with …”. Then 1 Corinthians was written in early 55 AD. A further “severe letter” was then written in response to the leadership challenges from a group of “other apostles”. This letter was also lost. Then we have 2 Corinthians written just before winter started in 55 AD.
After establishing the church in Corinth and living there for 18 months Paul had moved to Ephesus to continue planting churches. While there he initially heard of issues relating to major sexual scandals but these initial problems became so much worse when a group of false apostles arrived. Bringing different teaching and challenging Paul’s ministry they caused major divisions.
After two years living in Ephesus, the riot mentioned in Acts 19:23-41 caused Paul to leave that city. He aimed to travel to Corinth hoping to meet up with Titus at Troas and get news of Corinth. When he arrived there Titus was not there (2 Cor 2:12-13) so Paul travelled to Macedonia (Acts 20) where Titus arrived with news that Paul’s “severe letter” had brought about a major change (2 Cor 7:5-16). The rest of Paul’s 4th letter has a gentler tone reflecting this good news as he tackles the “easier” issue of financial giving and defends his credentials as an apostle. We get so much insight into Paul’s life from 2 Corinthians chapters 11-13.
Paul is clearly the author of this letter to the Corinthian church.
Paul, an apostle and church planter had awesome visions of heaven and wonderful revelations of Christ but here we also get to see the real man. Having to deal with the uncertainty of a divided church. Not knowing whether his letters and ministry are working. Living in a vacuum of information and having to trust God to work things out. Paul faced the same issues we do.