We finished up our 2 Corinthians bible study last week! We are starting the book of Ephesians tomorrow – I can’t wait! Feel free to comment and stay tuned for what we find in Ephesus!
2 Corinthians Bible Study Weekly Recap
November 4, 2014
Chapters 12 & 13
The “man” that Paul refers to
- The man was Paul, he was talking about himself
- We don’t know what revelation and vision he is talking about have to assume that this revelation was on the road to Damascus OR when he was stoned and left for dead
- Even though he wasn’t saying it directly, Paul was boasting about the fact that he received a revelation from God
- Paul wanted people to know that his revelation was different in a way than his opponents who claimed to know God
12:9 – but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- An opportunity to let our faith shine through
- You have to let go of yourself in order to let God work through you
12:10 – Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
- He’s trying to emulate Christ, suffering makes you a better person
- By taking in Christ’s suffering, you become more like Christ
- Paul is recognizing that our ego sometimes forces us to do wrong things – accepting our weaknesses allows us to connect to others
- When we are weak in our physical bodies then we are strong in Christ
There is a very defensive tone at the end of this letter
- Paul was upset because he started the church and the super apostles were coming in and asking the Corinthians to follow them instead of Paul
- There is fear in the Paul’s tone that the church that he started might be slipping away from him
12:19 – Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up.
- Who is “we”? Back then it was the people Paul was working with – today it is US!
- “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” John Lewis
- We have to interpret Paul’s words today and open ourselves up to the idea that WE are the ones who are speaking in the sight of God and in Christ and WE are the ones that have to build people up
- The notion of building up vs. breaking down – a lot of times Christians believe that the church needs to die in order for it to be re-born and re-vitalized because of the crucifixion leading to the resurrection. But Paul calls us to BUILD up, not tear down!
13:3-4 – since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
- Christ allowed himself to be in a weakened state through his crucifixion
- God’s power working through Jesus’ human weakness
- It is okay for us to be weak, because God’s power works through our human weaknesses
- God’s power sustains us – this is the same power that brought Christ back from the dead
- When Jesus died, he appeared weak to the world – but God proved that he was not weak when he was raised from the dead
13:5 – Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to pass the test!
- Christ is not something that you have to seek out, Christ is already in you
- Faith is our starting point
- We already have the tools we need
- We need to get out of the way and let God work through us
- There is a test here to do what is right – other people might not know if you pass the test, but you will know
- Paul isn’t doing this because he wants to look like he’s done a good job, but because he wants them to do the right thing
13:9 – For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect.
- There are a lot of parenting metaphors in this chapter.
- Paul had so much hope for his community, even if their growth and success meant giving up a piece of who he was