“Second Corinthians is one part of a chain of correspondence dealing with events surrounding the Christian community at the Greek city of Corinth. It is best understood within this historical context. Sometime around A.D. 54, a Corinthian delegation arrived in Ephesus reporting major problems in the church. During this time, a letter was brought from some Corinthian members raising a number of questions. First Corinthians is Paul’s initial response to these reports and questions. Soon afterward Paul dispatched Timothy to bring back news about the letter’s reception. Timothy’s report was negative—so alarming, in fact, that Paul made an unscheduled journey to Corinth. Paul found the church in disarray, with many members openly rebellious against him. Paul said this second visit to Corinth was a “painful visit” (2:1; cp. 12:21-13:2). Upon returning to Ephesus, Paul wrote a letter (delivered by Titus), sometimes termed “the severe letter” (referred to in 2:3-4; 7:8-12), calling upon the Corinthians to recognize Paul’s apostolic authority. Moreover, the letter presents a natural progression. In chapters 1-2 Paul updated the Corinthians with his past movements after leaving them and explained why he did not directly return. Chapters 6-9 challenge them about current issues, particularly their continuing participation at pagan temples and their failure to complete the collection for Judean believers. In chapters 10-13, he anticipated his future (and final) visit to Corinth and exhorted his readers to set their house in order before he came. Thus 2 Corinthians presents a chronological logic, moving from past to present to future.” (HCSB)

1:3-4, 7: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all of our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.” When we go through hardships that our lives present to us, it is important to take those difficulties to God in prayer and if needed, to other believers for reassurance of light at the end of a dark tunnel that no matter what the situation may be, it will pass. After going through a specific struggle, we will be better able to help others who are currently in the same place where we were. We have an enhanced understanding of where we were before the struggle, how we felt during the struggle, and how much stronger we have become after the struggle. We build our lives on the promise of the Father, who will never leave us or forsake us and offer this promise to others.

1:12, 22: “For our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God’s grace. He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.” God has given us His Spirit and He expects us to allow the Spirit to guide us to live the lives He has planned for us so that we may be living examples of who He is. We have been saved by His grace so that we may serve others with love and grace to show that there is hope. As we read in 2:14-15: “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ, and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Our words and actions have the power of life and death, knowing this, let us speak, and perform our lives to others those of life. 3:6: “He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.”

3:10: “In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious in this case because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.” In other words, if you think you had a good thing going in your life, you have not seen anything yet! Remember what Scripture has mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

4:6-10, 16-18: “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”—He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. Therefore, we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” To quote Dr. George Calhoun, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. If you are going to grow in your walk, you must be willing to allow God to help you to change, to be more and more like Jesus.” Anything and everything that weighs heavy on your heart must be given up on the Cross. Are you holding on to past regrets and heartache? Are you struggling with sin? Let go and let God! Believe me; you will be surprised at how God will turn your pain into joy!

5:20-21: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” In regards to 5:21, Paul Barnett notes that, “This great atonement text (which is inseparable from the great incarnation text of 8:9) is packed with meaning: (1) Christ was sinless as a qualification, and so (2) in His death God made Him “to be sin” (i.e., an accursed sin offering), (3) “for us” (i.e., in our place, substituting Himself for us), (4) so that “in Him” (through the ministry of the gospel) believers become the righteousness of God.”

6:2: “For He says: In an acceptable time, I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation.” Do not wait for a specific time to let God in your life. Now is the time. God is full of mercy, grace, and compassion, and is waiting for you to turn to Him. He has His arms open for you. Unlike other religions, you do not need to conduct acts and follow rules before salvation, just accept the free gift of Jesus Christ and allow Him to be your Lord and Savior that is the only thing that needs to be done. I can not stress enough through my blogs that religions are about rules; Christianity is all about a relationship.

In regards to 8:9, “This profound incarnational text (see Jn 1:14) reflects Christ’s initiative-taking kindness (“grace”) expressed in His becoming “poor.” Christ voluntarily left heavenly riches and glory for earthly poverty (in birth, life, and death by crucifixion) and being made “to be sin” (5:21). The purpose? That man, impoverished by sin, “might become rich”—abundantly forgiven, reconciled, and blessed by God’s Spirit.” (Barnett)

9:6-8: “Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.” God provides us with everything that we need and more so that we may serve others with our surplus. The Law of Moses demands 10% tithes, God just wants the heart of a cheerful giver of more than just money, but our lives. Barnett made a comment in regards to 10:3-5: “In keeping with his personal strategy in engaging in discussion with Jews in synagogues and Athenians on the Areopagus (Mars Hill), Paul here advocated the importance of depending upon divine resources rather than human methods and strategies. When we use theological and philosophical reasoning in presenting or defending the gospel, we are to do so graciously, humbly, and prayerfully (1 Pt 3:15).”

In regards to 12:7-9: “This “thorn” was likely a chronic illness. Astonishingly, Christ’s power—unlike the claims of “super-apostles”—comes to ordinary, broken people. In Gethsemane (which this passage echoes), Christ knew this quiet power as He cried to His Father. Here the exalted Lord gives that strength to those who call out to Him (see Is 57:15: God dwells with the oppressed and lowly of spirit). Contrary to the health-and-wealth gospel, even the godly must expect to face physical disabilities, sickness, and eventually, death.” (Barnett)

12:9-10: “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” God allowed our weaknesses as blessings in disguise. For in our weaknesses, we learn the value of being humble. We discover that our reliance is on God alone and not on ourselves nor anyone or anything else. Our strength comes from Jesus Christ. As we read in 13:4-5, 8: “In fact, He was crucified in weakness, but He lives by God’s power. For we also are weak in Him, yet toward you we will live with Him by God’s power. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? —Unless you fail the test. For we are not able to do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

13:11: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be restored, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

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