In today’s era of instant messaging and communication, most of us probably do not have much appreciation for the type of written communication that we see expressed in the letters of Paul to the early church. Without dating myself too much, I recall a time period in my life where it tool almost an entire month for a single back and forth communication with my friends halfway around the globe. Pre-internet era, the postal service took a fortnight to deliver a piece of written communication. Now that seems like an eternity to send any sort of message across to a love one.
Imagine then how much longer it must have taken for any written communication to take place between Paul and his audience – let alone the fact that Paul was almost continually on the move. So as we read what is documented as the 2nd letter of Paul to the Corinthians, let us keep in mind that it may not be be the true second letter. There are some hints within the text itself that since the first letter some events have transpired and Paul may have indeed had an opportunity to visit the Corinthians in person.
But one thing is certain. Out of all the letters written by Paul, the letters to the Corinthians contain the most material and also reveal a very close relationship between Paul and the people at the church. But as issues come up, and this relationship gets tested and even causing divisions among the church, we see Paul once again responding in love and in the power of the Gospel’s message.
The main (not the only) themes we see in this letter are as follows:
- Comfort amidst Suffering. The book opens with Paul discussing the topic of suffering and is interspersed throughout. But it is mentioned with a tone of overcoming them and not being ashamed of them. Something that the Corinthians really to hear – both for themselves and for them not look down upon Paul or feel sorry for him.
- Reconciliation. There are certainly hints in the letter that Paul had been offended by at least some of the Corinthians and so there is an emphasis on love and reconciliation using Christ as the supreme example who has reconciled us all to Himself.
- Giving. Paul definitely in no uncertain terms exhorts the church at Corinth to give generously almost shaming them by comparing them with the church at Macedonia that gave super generously even in the midst of their own need.
- Warnings. We also see Paul having to contend with the rise of the false apostles who have risen and having to defend himself and his ministry. He bares his heart and lays all his cards on the table explaining exactly what type of ministry he is called to.
Go ahead and give this book a try. It is one where we see a great leader using emotional and spiritual leadership to stir the church towards the purposes of God always keeping Christ and the gospel message at the heart of it.
Paul addresses some concerns with the Corinthian church as he bares what is in his heart and keeps pointing them to the gospel of Christ.
Weekly Reading Plan
And now here is the weekly plan for you to read through this section.
Don’t forget to use the template I shared previously to help you on this journey. Also, check out my resources page where I explain this template a little more.
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule to read through all of the text
- Trace the theme of suffering throughout the book and see what you can glean from it.
- Optional (if you want to really read through the Bible in a year): Read Psalm 119.
And that is it for week 41!
Happy Bible Learning!
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