The "D" word (2 Corinthians 2 v 5-11)
NOTE: There is only one day 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.
Discipline is a bit of an ugly word in many societies in the west. And it’s not much talked about in churches, either. But in this passage, we see that church discipline has an important and useful purpose: and that no church can afford to be without it.
A time to restore
Read 2 Corinthians 2:5
In verse 5 Paul talks about a particular member of this church.
• What do, and what don’t, we know about what “he” has done?
• What did the Corinthians do to him (v 6)?
• What does Paul want them to do now (v 7-8)?
One of the most important things about church discipline—the punishment by the majority (v 6)—is that its aim should be restorative. The goal of discipline is to make people see what they have done wrong, so that they will repent—turn back to God—and be forgiven, and then be restored into the community. Church discipline done properly is the loving thing to do for the member involved.
Paul had already spoken to this church about this issue: read 1 Corinthians 5:1. For the teaching of Jesus during
His time on earth, have a look at Matthew 18:15.
A time to obey
Read 2 Corinthians 2:9
Paul had written to them telling them to deal with this person who was living in unrepentant sin (v 9). Perhaps he’s the man mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 v 1-8; or perhaps Paul wrote about his in the “weighty letter” he alludes to in verse 3.
• How does Paul affirm what they have done (v 10)?
• What is the goal of this whole process of church discipline (v 11)?
Imagine you share the same aims as Satan. If you can convince one churchgoer to stop trying to live with Jesus as Lord, and they leave the Christian community, great. But if you can get them to live sinfully within the church, encouraging others by their example and words to do the same—much, much better.
Paul wants Christians to be “not unaware of his schemes” (v 11). Church discipline is for the good of the ongoing faith and obedience of the whole church.
• If someone you were friends with at church experienced church discipline, how should you respond?
• What about if it was you?
NOTE: There is only one day 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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