There is more in this letter than I thought there would be! Here is this week’s Bible Study recap, 2 Corinthians 2-3 …
2 Corinthians Bible Study Weekly Recap
September 16, 2014
Chapters 2 & 3
Kind of a confusing passage if you don’t know the background
- “The letter seems to have dealt with the actions of someone who offended Paul during his recent visit to Corinth and whom Paul wants the Corinthians to forgive. Unfortunately, we no longer have this ‘letter of tears’”
- The person that Paul is referring to did something wrong, but he wants them to be re-integrated into the church community
Is there a sin that is so bad that they cannot be forgiven in the church?
The Corinthians were upset about the “letter of tears” that we no longer have access to – Paul was responding to this
Paul was forgiving this man – he was asking the Corinthians to do the same
- He forgave in the name of Christ
- We do not know what he was forgiving the man for, but the point seems to be that Christ gave him the strength to forgive
A lot of the focus of Paul’s letters is the church disciplining one another – would we do that today?
- We have to remember that this community was anticipating the end of time
- There was a sense of urgency that everyone was responding to
We see the love & compassion Paul has for the Corinthian community
How do we show love and forgiveness?
- If you don’t show forgiveness, it only hurts you in the end
- Forgiveness is not the absence of consequences
Have you ever intended to follow one path and ended up following another?
Is Paul’s analogy of “scent” effective?
- The smell of the gospel is effective for some and repulsive for others
- A good metaphor – people who are not involved in a church may not understand people who are involved
Is Paul defending his ministry? Should ministry be defended?
- Paul is certainly defensive
- In this day and age, it is something that needs to be defended because there is a model of Christianity that people make assumptions about.
- Paul says the word “glory” several times
- He starts off with Moses face shining with God’s glory and said that the glory faded over time and Christ gives us new glory – but has that glory faded as our institutions have been built up?
- We need a certain amount of structure in order to have stability, but we need to find balance
Moses vs. Paul
It’s about the people
- People turned away from God, they asked Moses to take care of it
- Paul is saying that God is accessible to you
- Paul is urging the Corinthians to remove the veil, telling them that they are good enough
Tablets of stone vs. tablets of human hearts
- We’re still having the same discussion
- A lot of the structures and rules that we have in place today were once on the “tablets of human hearts”
Paul says that the Corinthians are his letter of recommendation
2:6 – “He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not based on what is written but on the Spirit, because what is written kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
- New Covenant
- “What is written” is referring to the Old Testament laws
- This is in line with the UCC “God is still speaking” campaign
- “kills” vs. “gives life” à rules often tell us what we can’t do, but the Spirit tells us what we can do
- Laws/histories/traditions tell us what we can’t do, not what we can do – this often holds us back from what God is calling us to do
Questions to Ponder
How do we share our faith in a way that won’t make us uncomfortable or other people uncomfortable?