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Tuesday, September 4 2012

The Epistles: Second Corinthians

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation


"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort"

Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians was written not long after the first (see The Epistles: First Corinthians), however much had happened that had caused Paul to change the itinerary of his journey through Greece. The second epistle was written primarily in explanation of that, to the Corinthians, and "also to the saints in all Achaia."

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God [see Straight Street], and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God [see Can You See The Church?; see also Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?] which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:1-2 KJV)

The revised schedule was explained because "we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia." It was also a warning to the Corinthians that trouble met, or followed, Paul almost everywhere he went now - a testimony in itself that Satan was becoming afraid of Paul, not as a mere man, but of the work that he was doing to liberate people from the Devil's world of lies and ignorance.

"1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation [see The Church In The End Time and Could Christ Return Tonight?], that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead [When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]: 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us [see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?]; 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf." (2 Corinthians 1:3-11 KJV)

Paul then emphasized that his change of schedule wasn't a breaking of his promise to visit, but rather that the Devil was putting up a fight along the Way.

Paul's Third Missionary Journey

"1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus [see Who Is The LORD?, When Is The LORD's Day? and What Is The Day Of The LORD?].

1:15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 1:16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea [see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey]. 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

1:18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts [see Written In The Heart Of Our Tabernacles]. 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy [see What Do Leaders Do?]: for by faith ye stand." (2 Corinthians 1:12-24 KJV)

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"

Paul then expounded how it would be easy for him to visit them if he was preaching the false "truth" that holds humanity in darkness, "but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" he had to struggle against the "blinded" powers of the world.

Paul In Prison

"4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully [see Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall and The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not [see Who's Hiding On Your Wall?], lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 KJV)

Paul repeated through the epistle his own mortality, perhaps as a further warning to the Corinthians that death itself might delay him even more - but not forever.

"5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin and The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:1-10 KJV)

Without going into detail, Paul summarized what was delaying him - violent opposition and imprisonments, to which he responded peacefully. It wasn't yet the time for hell fire.

"6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed [see the Fact Finder question below]: 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 6:7 By the word of truth [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 6:8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." (2 Corinthians 6:3-10 KJV)

Some of the most famous sayings of the Bible are found in Paul's epistles, including "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." While loving everyone, and teaching everyone who would listen, there remained the line of Truth that was not to be compromised, regardless of the cost or consequence.

"6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers [see The Yoke Of Freedom]: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV)

The principle applied even more so to the "leaders" who sound and appear righteous, but are nevertheless vile if they do not preach the Truth.

"11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ [see The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]. 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light [see Who's Hiding On Your Wall?]. 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works [see also Works Means Obedience]." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV)

"Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you"

Paul then gave some examples of living according to Christ's example. The Messiah came from "the highest heaven"; Paul was given, in vision, to see some of it. But like the Messiah, Paul never boasted of it. So too, Paul's "thorn in the flesh," which was figurative, but just as painful.

The Stars Of Heaven

"12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven [see also Are We In Heaven Now?]. 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh [see Paul's Thorn], the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 KJV)

Paul closed the epistle, which was written to let the Corinthians know that he would be delayed in arriving, but was also used as a major teaching document, with a balanced "uplifting" - do what is right, don't do what is wrong, if you desire salvation (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners).

"13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 13:2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness [see Nisan 14: The Sacrifice Of The Lamb Of God], yet he liveth by the power of God [see Counting On The Resurrection]. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 13:6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 13:7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 13:9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss. 13:13 All the saints salute you.

13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." (2 Corinthians 13:1-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: In what ways are the Name of God blasphemed?
See Blaspheming The Name Of God


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This Day In History, September 4

476: Romulus Augustulus, 16, the last emperor of the original Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), was deposed when Odoacer proclaimed himself the King of Italy. The date is considered by some historians to be the "fall" of the Roman empire, but history and prophecy plainly show how it was merely the fall of the Roman Roman Empire; it thereafter became, by its official title, "The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see The "Holy" Roman Empire).

626: Li Shimin, later known as Emperor Taizong of Tang, assumed the throne of the Tang Dynasty of China.

925: The coronation of Athelstan, the first king to rule over all of England.

1189: King Richard I (the Lion-Hearted) of England was crowned in Westminster.

1609: English explorer Henry Hudson discovered a large, heavily wooded, nearly-unpopulated island on the east coast of the continent of North America. Today, it is known as Manhattan.

1774: New Caledonia (a major island east of Australia and north of New Zealand) was first sighted by Europeans, during English explorer James Cook's second voyage.

1781: In what is today southern California, 44 Spanish settlers named their new settlement El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula ("The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola"). It is known today by the abbreviation Los Angeles.

1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed to end the war of rebellion between England and the New England colonies that English pioneers created in the undeveloped wilderness centuries earlier.

1820: Czar Nicholas of Russia claimed all territory from Alaska to Oregon, closing all Alaskan waters to foreigners. Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867. The territory became the 49th U.S. state in 1959.

1886: After 30 years of fighting to defend his native ancestral homeland, to stop the further genocide of native Americans, Apache chief Geronimo surrendered to U.S. troops in Arizona, thereby ending the last major "Indian" war (early explorers from Europe thought that they had arrived in India, and so they incorrectly called the Americans "Indians").

1888: George Eastman patented the first roll-film camera and registered the "Kodak" trademark. Film cameras became obsolete in the late 20th century with the invention of digital photography.

1957: Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus mobilized his National Guard to prevent black students from attending Central High School.

1957: Ford started selling the Edsel, a medium-priced luxury car named after Henry Ford's son. The car proved to be so unpopular that it was discontinued 2 years later, in 1959. Edsels have since become valuable to collectors and museums.

1976: Viking II landed on Mars and transmitted the first close-up, color photographs of the planet's surface.

1984: Brian Mulroney led the Conservative party to the largest victory ever won by a federal party in Canada; 212 out of 282 seats, defeating the Liberals under incumbent Prime Minister John Turner and the NDP (the "New Democratic Party," an even more liberal wing of the Liberal Party) under Ed Broadbent. Prime Minister Mulroney also defeated Turner and Broadbent in the election 4 years later.

1985: The first fullerene (an allotrope of carbon in which the atoms form ball-like structures) molecule of carbon was discovered. It was given the name Buckminsterfullerene.

1998: The Internet search Google was founded by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

2010: The Canterbury earthquake. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused widespread damage on the South Island of New Zealand.





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