Love is difficult (2 Corinthians 1 v 23 – 2 v 4)Friday, January 6, 2012
NOTE: There are only two days more of this series on 2 Corinthians available on Biblestudytools.com. To get the rest of the series, get a set of Explore devotional, either as an app or as a paper copy, here—details of a great deal below this study.
In this section, Paul explains a little bit more about why his travel plans changed, and reveals more about his relationship with the Corinthian church.
Difficult times, difficult words
• Why didn’t Paul go to Corinth (1 v 23, 2 v 1)?
• What kind of Christian leader is Paul (1 v 24)?
• What does Paul want for the Corinthians (1 v 24, 2 v 3)?
In 2 v 3, Paul mentions a letter. This letter is probably not what we call “1 Corinthians”, but instead a letter we no longer have. It is sometimes called the “weighty letter” or the “painful letter”. In it, Paul dealt with some of the issues
that had come up since he wrote 1 Corinthians, and after the letter he then visited the Corinthians again. This was a “painful visit” (v 1).
So now he is writing to them again (for the third time, even though we confusingly know it as “2 Corinthians”!) We can only admire the apostle’s persistence in continuing to care for and urge on these difficult Corinthian Christians!
A difficult reaction?
• What sort of response to his letter does Paul seem to be concerned about (2 v 2-3)?
• How do we know that Paul loves the Corinthians?
This section takes a good deal of thinking about, because there is a lot happening, and much of it is concerned with a background we don’t know all the details of. Paul is explaining himself, seeking to show his care for the Corinthians, and
seeking to help them become more like Jesus all at the same time. But we do get a glimpse of something really important here…
• What does this passage teach us about what real Christian love, and good Christian leadership, look like?
Paul was always willing to risk his friendship and reputation with the members of this church, in order to encourage and call them to live lives worthy of the God who makes them “stand firm in Christ” (1 v 21).
• Are you willing to listen to your Christian leaders when they gently point out areas where you are not living God’s way?
• If you are a leader (of a church, small group, youth or children’s group, etc) would you risk your popularity to tell those in your care some hard truths?
• Do you have a Christian friend who you need to love properly by challenging them in some way, however painful that may be for them and you?
NOTE: There are only two days more of this series on 2 Corinthians available on Biblestudytools.com. To get the rest of the series, get a set of Explore devotional, either as an app or as a paper copy, here—details of a great deal below.
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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