2 Corinthians 13
(1-10) Final Warnings
Paul again warns the Corinthian Christians that when he comes to them for the third time he will be ready to rebuke those who are sinning. However, he would prefer for them to examine their own behavior and see whether it is in line with the Christian faith. He seeks to use his God-given authority to build others up in the faith, not tear them down. As believers, Jesus the Christ lives in us. Instead of waiting for someone else to do it, we should examine ourselves to see whether our words and actions reflect that fact.
(11-14) Final Greetings
In Paul’s final words in his second letter to the Corinthian Christians, they are told to rejoice, to be restored, to comfort one another, to agree with one another, and to live in peace with one another. Because God is a God of love and peace, the lives of those who believe in Him ought to be characterized by those two qualities. When we are at peace with one another, God will be with us.
Favorite verse: (11) Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 12
(1-10) Paul’s Visions and His Thorn
There is nothing to be gained by boasting unless we boast in the Lord.
God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble so he would not become conceited about the revelations that were shown him when he was caught up in the third heaven. Paul pleaded with God three times to have his thorn in the flesh removed, but God thought it best not to do so. He assured Paul that even with the thorn, His grace was enough to get him through. Because of the weakness that the thorn caused Paul to experience, God’s power would be made all the more perfect and evident in his life. This assurance stands true for us today. We may wonder why God is not allowing a certain difficulty in our life to go away, but perhaps He is allowing it to remain to keep us humble and keep us dependent on Him. The power of Christ is able to shine brighter and work stronger through our weaknesses. It is when we are weak that we are strong.
Favorite verse: (9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
(16-33) Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle
Paul engages in the foolishness of boasting to show that he is a true apostle of Jesus the Christ. He mockingly boasts about who he is in Christ, the sufferings he has gone through, and the sacrifices he has made for being a servant of God. Paul gladly boasts about his weakness because he is not dependent on himself for strength, but on God. Paul’s life is an example for us all of the personal costs we should be willing to pay to live for Christ and share the Gospel with others.
Favorite verse: (30) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
(1-15) Paul Defends His Ministry
Paul defends his Gospel ministry by reminding the Corinthian Christians that he preached to them and served them without asking for or receiving any money. He did this so he would not be burdensome to them and so they would not think that he was in ministry for his own gain.
Paul also warns the Corinthian Christians about false teachers and apostles who seek to deceive the true church of God and lead it astray. The false teachers and apostles proclaim ‘another Jesus’ who is not the true Jesus, they talk about a ‘different spirit’ that is not the true Holy Spirit sent by God, and they preach a ‘different gospel’ that is not the true Gospel of Jesus the Christ. We must be on guard against those who promote falsities of the Christian faith unless we, like Eve, are deceived and led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
False teachers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ and servants of righteousness are compared to Satan, who often disguises himself as an angel of light in order to trick people into turning away from God and following him.
Favorite verse: (11) And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
2 Corinthians 10
(1-18) Paul Defends His Ministry
If Paul has to deal with sin when he visits the Corinthian Christians, he promises to do so with boldness. The sin that we fight against each day is not a physical, fleshly war, but a spiritual war. The only effective weapons that we have against sin are spiritual weapons that have divine power to destroy dark strongholds in our lives. Everything that is contrary to God and goes against His knowledge must be torn down. Every thought and action of ours must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.
Paul does not promise to confront the sin of the Corinthian Christians with boldness because he wants to tear them down, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. He does so because he wants to build them up in Christ. It is sin that goes unchecked and unconfessed that tears us down. But when we acknowledge our wrongs, repent of them, and get right with God and others, then we are made stronger.
The only boasting that Paul does is boasting in the Lord. He does not boast in the labors of others. He does not boast in his own labors. We shouldn’t boast about our own successes or achievements or abilities. We should only boast or glory in God and in who He is and in what He has done for, in, and through us. Our commendation does not matter, and neither does the commendation of others. Only what God thinks of us matters.
Favorite verse: (5) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 9
(6-15) The Cheerful Giver
God wants cheerful givers who are generous with their possessions and gives of them willingly, not reluctantly and/or grudgingly. If we give a little, we will get a little; but if we give a lot, we will also receive a lot. The more we keep for ourselves, the less we have; but the more we give away, the more we have. Mathematically, it doesn’t make sense, but God doesn’t always operate by the rules. The grace of God will help us to be willing and cheerful givers. God wants us to give not only so others will be blessed by what we give, but so that we also can be blessed by Him. When we are generous in every way, we will be enriched in every way.
When we give, those who receive our giving will often give glory and thanksgiving to God. So not only is the giver blessed, not only is the receiver blessed, but God is blessed, as well. Believers should not struggle with generosity because we have been given much more than we deserve – God’s inexpressible gift, His very own beloved Son, Jesus the Christ.
Favorite verse: (6) The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Corinthians 8
(1-15) Encouragement to Give Generously
Despite experiencing affliction and extreme poverty, the believers at the churches of Macedonia were extremely generous with what they had because of the grace of God. Their abundance of joy was a result of their genuine wealth of generosity. The believers of Macedonia literally begged to be a part of helping those who were in need. Not only should we excel in faith, in Christian talk, in Biblical knowledge, and love, but we should also excel in the act of grace which is giving.
The genuineness of our love for God and for others, can partly be measured by how much and how freely we give. How did Christ show His love for us? By becoming poor, even though He was rich, so that we by His poverty could become eternally rich. This does not mean we have to give away every single thing that we have and live in poverty, but we should give out of our abundance to those in need.
Favorite verse: (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 by his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 7
(1) Because we have God’s promise that He will be our Father and will make us His sons and daughters, we ought to live holy lives unto Him.
(2-16) Paul’s Joy
When he was restless and afflicted, Paul found comfort in God who comforts the downcast. He was also comforted by Titus, who is an example of how God’s people should encourage and support one another. Paul acknowledges that he said some harsh things to the Corinthian Christians because of their sin, but now he is glad that those hurtful words have caused them to come to repentance. When we are truly sorry for things we have done wrong, we will not continually grieve over those things, but will instead be led to repent of our wrongs which will lead to salvation without regret. Comfort and joy are the blessed results of repentance.
Favorite verse: (6) But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.
2 Corinthians 6
(1-13) Paul pleads with others to receive the grace of God and be saved immediately. Salvation is not a thing to be put off for a more convenient time. The best time to be saved is now. The day of salvation is today.
As a minister of the Gospel, Paul and those who serve with him keep their lifestyles transparent before others. Whether we acknowledge it or not, our lives are already transparent before God because He knows everything about us, so we should live before others in such a way that no fault is found with us or with our Christian testimony or ministry. Our words should not differ from our actions. Our lifestyle should not be an obstacle or a hindrance to others coming to God. Even amid hardships and other difficulties, the testimony and life of every Christian should be one of purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, genuine love, truthfulness, and righteousness – all of which are enabled by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
(14-18) The Temple of the Living God
The hearts, spirits, minds, and attitudes of those who believe in Jesus the Christ should not be compatible with those who don’t believe. We are called to walk with God, and to be different from the world. When we become separate from sin and separate to God, God welcomes us into His family. He becomes our Father. We become His sons and daughters.
Favorite verse: (18) And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”