2 Corinthians Chapter 2-3

May 10, 2012

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 2 Corinthians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

2 Corinthians 2:1-17 (NIV)
1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. 5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent–not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia. 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

2 Corinthians 3:1-18 (NIV)
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 2:1-17

Paul completes his thoughts about why he changed his plans about visiting the Corinthians as we discussed in Chapter 1. He was giving the Corinthians time to deal with things before he got there. From the chapter it is clear that they had been dealing with some of the problems.

Paul actually tells them to make sure they don’t take the correction too far and not have an opportunity for reconciliation. Reconciliation is always the reason for moving into situations in the church. Once people sincerely repent they are to be reaffirmed in the love of the community.

Sincere repentance is demonstrated by actions as well as words. Repentance is change. Change of mind, change of purpose, change of life. Once these things begin to take place, reconciliation should be a possibility.

2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Paul makes some interesting comparisons between the Old and New Covenants in this chapter. Paul contrasts his ministry with the ministry of Moses.

Paul writes that the Old Covenant had a fading glory that could not be compared to the splendor of the New Covenant ministry of inner transformation that takes place in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, (the hope of transformation and change in Christ) we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

Paul is talking about what happened to Moses after entering the tabernacle of God and then returning to speak to the Israelites. When he would come out of the tabernacle he would have a noticeable radiance and splendor that could be seen by the Israelites.

Moses was leading a group of people that were a lot like the Corinthians. The Israelites were constantly complaining about and challenging the leadership of Moses. The visible radiance of God had to go a long way in quieting the constant complaining of the Israelites. But then Moses noticed that the splendor faded, so he tried to hide the fact that the glory faded by putting a veil over his face so the Israelites couldn’t tell.

In contrast, however, Paul says this:

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

What was Paul saying? Paul is saying that he does not hide behind and veil or any pretense. He will allow the Corinthians and everyone to see who he really is in Christ, so that they will be able to see Jesus in him.

Jesus is not seen in how together we try and act like we are. Jesus is seen by how He is working in and through us in spite of our weaknesses.

So Paul was very open about his weaknesses and as he revealed them he was revealing the power and reality of Jesus who was at work in him.

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