Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: 2 Corinthians Studies|
Chapter: 2 Cor 10
Passage: 2 Cor 10:1-2
A. Find Out:
1. How did he appeal to them? v.1a
2. What was he like when he was with them? v.1b
3. What was he like when away from them? v.1c
4. What didn't he want to be? v.2a
5. To whom might he have to be like that? v.2b
Again we might wonder why bother with a couple of verses which at first sight seem almost inconsequential. The fact is that they are still part of “Scripture” and as such are “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting” (2 Tim 3:16 ). So what do we see here?
First observe Paul's way of writing: he wants to come over with the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Now Christ, we see in the Gospels, was moderate towards men, trusting in God (meek) and gentle towards the humble and needy. Yet he was also strong and powerful against the religious hypocrites. Paul desires to be Christ-like.
Now the trouble was that there were people who said Paul was weak when he was with them (timid) but strong when he didn't have to speak to them face to face (bold). Oh really, says Paul, well I hope I won't have to be strong when I do come to you, because understand this, I can be strong when it is necessary! If there are people there among you who seek to brings the world's standards into the church, then you will soon see that I'm not timid as has been said!
Paul shows us here that we are not called to be door mats when it comes to the standards of the kingdom. Yes we will be gentle and caring towards the humble, the weak and the needy in the church, but those who distort the truth should receive severe rebuke.
A. Find Out:
1. Where do we live but what do we do? v.3
2. What aren't our weapons? v.4a
3. But what do our weapons do? v.4b
4. What do we do first? v.5a
5. What does this also involve? v.5b
6. So what did Paul say they were ready to do? v.6
Paul has just written about the standards of the world and so now, by contrast, he says “WE don't fight with the world's weapons!”. What are the world's weapons? Lies, untruth, deception. The world uses publicity organisations that convey “image”, usually a false picture, to make things seem different from what they are. It also plays on people's fears or desires to bring change via emotions. Through these means the enemy creates strongholds in the mind's set ways of thinking.
No, says Paul, the weapons we use can bring down such set ways of thinking. To what does Paul refer? What are the weapons we use? Obviously they are love and truth (or ‘grace and truth' as Jesus was described by John - Jn 1:14 ). Put these two things together and you have righteousness. When we come to people with the love and grace of God and we come speaking truth, then the Spirit of God witnesses to what we are saying and the truth penetrates and breaks down those rigid ways of thinking that oppose God in the unbeliever and they come to believe. Every thought, every belief that is contrary to the truth is confronted, taken captive and made to conform to the truth. When the mind is brought in line with the will of God then the actions follow, obedience comes and God is glorified.
A. Find Out:
1. What does Paul say some are doing? v.7a
2. Who should consider what? v.7b
3. What had Paul done and what did he feel about it? v.8
4. What didn't he want to be seen to be doing? v.9
5. What had some said about him? v.10
6. What did Paul say they should realise? v.11
We've said before that this letter, more than any other that Paul writes, reveals the man as much as his ministry. He is desperate that they receive what he is saying to them. He longs for them to be righteous in all they say and do, and therefore he goes to almost extreme lengths to convince them. He is aware of what some of them think and have been saying about him, and that stops them receiving the truth of what he is teaching, so he is now addressing that problem.
Hey, he says, remember I'm a Christian as well and (implied) I'm just as answerable to Christ as you are, so I have to be careful in what I say. Look, he goes on, if I seem to have boasted here about what I've done for you, that's quite legitimate, for that is what I've done and I just want you to remember that to help you receive what I'm now saying. Look, I'm not saying that to frighten you, that's not the point at all! I'm saying it (implied) to help you keep me in right focus. Some of you heard me when I came to you in weakness and humility, and you think that I'm being completely different in my letters. Understand that I'm not always weak. When it needs, I can and will be strong to bring correction face to face.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Paul say he couldn't do? v.12a
2. How were others not being wise? v.12b
3. What did Paul say he wouldn't do? v.13a
4. But what would he do? v.13b
5. Why could Paul's boasting have been wrong? v.14a,b
6. Yet why was it right? v.14c
Let's be honest - these are verses which, if you were looking for passages to really strengthen your Christian walk, you would miss out. But they are still part of God's inspired word and we need to see what they say, and say to us!
Paul has gone to some lengths to show himself as he really is. He wants the Corinthians to listen to what he's been saying and in a measure he's been having to justify himself. Look, he now says, we're not putting ourselves forward as some others do, saying how wonderful we are with no real cause to say it. They compare themselves with themselves and have no justification for any boasting. We're not going to do that, trying to declare how wise we are. No, we'll simply confine our boast to what we've achieved and what you know we've achieved. If we hadn't come as far as you with the Gospel we wouldn't have grounds to boast, but actually coming as far as you is some achievement to be proud of, and (by implication) we want you to feel good about us (so you can receive what we say today), that we put ourselves out to come all that way from home to you with the Gospel.
A. Find Out:
1. What will Paul not boast about? v.15a
2. What did he hope would happen? v.15b
3. With what result? v.16a
4. What did he not want to do? v.16b
5. What spiritual principle does he remember? v.17
6. Who is commended? v.18
Paul has previously said (v.13) that he will not boast beyond what he can boast about. Now boasting in a worldly sense usually means bragging or showing off, but the word that Paul uses has more of a sense of “glorying in”. In a sense he is saying “I am rightly blessed by being able to say that…”. So, now he is saying in verse 15a, I won't be blessed by claiming the works of others for ourselves, but I do hope that our area of activity with you will be able to grow so that we can expand our area of ministry and go further with the Gospel to areas where it has not yet been taken.
Paul is therefore, saying to them, I want you to receive me and what I have been saying, so that you will grow spiritually so that I can move on from having to worry about your problems and get on with sharing the Gospel with others who have not yet heard it.
Look, he goes on, the Scriptures (Jer 9:24 ) say if you want to boast, just boast in knowing God, and that's what I want to do. I simply want to know the Lord and be known by Him so that he may commend me for what I have done. That is the most important thing!
In this second group of 5 studies we have seen Paul:
In chapters 10-12, again and again Paul refers to what he says as boasting. He does it because he is desperate for his ‘children' in Corinth to believe what he says. Sometimes we can only believe someone after they have established their credibility. Paul does this by “boasting” or rather glorying what God has enabled them to do. Their weapons were not of the world, power in writing could be backed by power face to face and if they are to be assessed it is to be on the basis of what they achieved and hope will continue to grow and expand.
1. We aren't to use the tactics of the world - deceit, lies etc.
2. We are to use truth and love.
3. We aren't to assess ourselves by ourselves.
4. We may rejoice in the extent of God's ministry through us.
5. We want that to keep on growing for the blessing of others.
Thank the Lord for the gifts, talents, abilities etc. that God has given through you and what He has achieved through you.
PART 3 : "Boasting (2)"
In this next Part watch how Paul continues defending his own ministry in his desire for the Corinthians to believe him. He rejects the false apostles and asks his readers to consider all of the things that he's had to go through as an apostle, to gain credibility.