Bible Reading Day 253
Day 253: September 10 (2 Corinthians 1)
About a year after writing 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing again. In fact this is his fourth letter to the church he planted. The first letter is referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:9, the second is the letter we call 1 Corinthians, the third is referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:4 and this is the fourth. I recommend the article on 2 Corinthians at christianity.about.com, from which the next three paragraphs are quoted:
“As we learned in 1 Corinthians, the church in Corinth was weak, struggling with division and spiritual immaturity. Paul’s authority had been undermined by an opposing teacher who was misleading and dividing with false teachings.
In an attempt to solve the turmoil, Paul traveled to Corinth, but the distressing visit only fueled the church’s resistance. When Paul returned to Ephesus he wrote again to the church, pleading with them to repent and avoid God’s judgement. Later Paul received good news through Titus that many in Corinthian had indeed repented, but a small and fractious group continued to cause problems there.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul laid out his defense, refuting and condemning the false teachers. He also encouraged the faithful to stay committed to the truth and reaffirmed his deep love for them.”
The first chapter of Paul’s letter is commonly used pastorally in situations of great distress. I clearly remember using it during a large conference in Toronto when we were hosting several thousand American visitors on 9/11. The reason the words are so powerful is that Paul is writing from personal experience. And his conclusion (v 9), after suffering to the very edge of death, is a lesson to us all: “as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
Then Paul goes on to explain his change of plan about visiting Corinth. Clearly there were some who were dismissing Paul as a double-minded man, but he tells them the unpleasant truth: he was saving them a painful rebuke! He clearly refutes their charge that he (and God) are unstable! Verses 21 and 22 are a great promise for us today too: “It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.”
Have a great day!