The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 48 – 2 Corinthians
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–2Co 1:3-4.
* KEY PHRASE–“GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT.”
Where possible, read the book at home, study it chapter by chapter in prayer meeting, and section by section in the Bible study. For family altar read:
* Sunday–An honest ministry,–2Co 5:1-7.
* Monday–Looking away from trials,–2Co 4.
* Tuesday–The motive of Christian service,–2Co 5:14-21.
* Wednesday–An appeal for liberality,–2Co 8:7-15.
* Friday–Paul defends his right as an apostle,–2 Corinthians 11:1-12.
* Saturday–Paul qualified by visions,–2Co 12:1-8.
DATE 57 A. D. A few months after the first epistle.
PLACE OF WRITING–Probably Phillipi.
OCCASION–After Paul had sent the First Epistle condemning the church for its lack of discipline, he was in great anxiety because of the state of the church, and as to how they would receive his recent rebukes. He,- therefore, sent Titus to Corinth to find out the effect of his epistle. While Paul was at Phillipi on his third missionary journey, Titus brought back the good news that the First Epistle had been received in the right spirit, and the offenders had been promptly dealt with. Paul was so thankful for the encouraging news that he wrote the Second Epistle.
1. To express the comfort their repentance had given him.
2. To urge a collection for famine-stricken Christians in Palestine.
3. To defend his right as an apostle.
Great Fact: I. Paul’s Faithful Ministry
2Co 1; 2; 3; 4; 2Co 5; 6; 7.
In 2Co 1; Paul declares that he has a clear conscience as to his sincerity and faithfulness while laboring among them, and explains that he has sent his first epistle instead of visiting them in order that when he did come he might be able to praise and not to scold them. In 2Co 2; he begs the church to forgive the noted offender who has repented, in order that Satan may take no advantage of the affair. In 2Co 3; he declares that he needs no letters of commendation, for the church at Corinth. In his letter of commendation, a letter written not with ink upon paper, but with the Spirit upon Christian hearts. In 2Co 4; he declares that his ministry was honest, and the gospel message understandable to those who were spiritually capable of receiving it. He suffered much in his ministry, but was optimistic because afflictions here will increase our glory yonder. In 2Co 5; he finds comfort in the thought that our suffering bodies will soon be exchanged for bodies of painless glory, therefore, whether we live or die we should keep the judgment of reward in view. As Christ’s ambassador, he sought men to be reconciled to God. In 2Co 6; he appeals to his fellow workers not to receive God’s loving kindness in vain, also to open their hearts to him, and to prove their love by separating themselves from unbelievers. In 2Co 7; he tells of his anxiety while waiting for a report from them by Titus. He notes that they were at first grieved by his sharp letter, but afterward followed his counsel and stood firm for the truth. Thus Godly sorrow leads to repentance and brings salvation, which one will never regret he possessed.
1. When in trouble we should find comfort, not in forgetfulness or in dissipation, or in complaining, but in the God of all comfort, for all true comfort conies from Him. Then as with Paul, the comforted shall become comforters.
All through Paul had to say severe things to his friends at Corinth, yet he was not blind to their good qualities, but praised them at every opportunity and never disparaged them to outsiders. If we wish friendship to last, and stand the strains to which all human ties are subject, we must never forget this rule: “Praise somewhat!”
Great Fact II. The Collection for Famine-Stricken Christians
2Co 8; 9.
In 2Co 8; Paul reminds the brethren at Corinth of the liberality of the Macedonian churches to the Palestine famine fund. Although poor they begged an opportunity to give, and gave beyond their power, because they first gave themselves to the Lord. He , therefore,urges the Corinthians to excel not only in faith, teaching and arnestness but also in the spiritual gift of giving, following the example of our Lord, 2Co 8; 9. They were the first to start the offering for their Jewish brothers, now they are asked to complete it that Paul’s praise of them to the other churches may be justified. Let each one give, not grudgingly, but cheerfully and liberally, and God will enrich with spiritual graces, and material supplies to repay gifts made to Him. These gifts will strengthen the ties of brotherhood between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!
LESSONS–The Macedonian churches, were shining examples in the grace of giving, for:–
1. They gave out of deep poverty, 2Co 8:2.
2. They gave largely, 2Co 8:3.
3. They gave spontaneously, of their own accord, without being begged, 2Co 8:3.
4. They counted it a privilege to give, and gave with much joy, 2 Corinthians 8:4; and
5. All this was because they first gave their own selves to the Lord.
An earnest Christian says, “Four years ago I was to spend the day in a large city. Before starting I said to my invalid sister now in glory, Can I buy anything for you, dear? I do want so much to bring you something from the city.’ With a look full of meaning, she said, Nothing, dear. Do not bring anything. I only want you. Come home as soon as you can!'” This is what the Saviour desires. He knows that if He gets our love, He gets ourselves and our service. The important problems of tithing and stewardship will be solved when we first give our own selves unto the Lord.
Great Facts III. Paul’s DEFENCE of His Apostleship
2Co 10; 11; 12; 13; 2 Corinthians 14.
A minority of Judaizing Christians in the church accused Paul of being bold toward them in his letters, but cowardly with them in person. They said that he was no apostle because he worked with his own hands to support himself, and did not live on the gospel as did the other apostles. Paul replies that if false teachers boast of their power and authority, even while seeking to put them under the bondage of the Law, he, therefore, will boast somewhat, and show that he is ahead of them all because of his countless sufferings on land and sea. Yea, his very sacrifices and successes prove his apostleship. Besides all this, the Lord had given him marvellous visions and revelations, indeed he was caught up into paradise and heard things that could not be put into speech, 2Co 12:4. It was because of these exalted experiences that he had a thorn in the flesh, 2Co 12:7. He did not want to boast but to show that he had wrought all the mighty deeds of an apostle. 2Co 12:12. He would yet come to them a third time and would not spare those who were impenitent or who opposed the gospel, 2Co 13:2.
1. Paul was a highly gifted man but he did not rely upon his personal ability for his apostolic authority. Also, he and the other apostles declared again and again that they did not receive their commissions from man but from the Lord. He convinced his opponents that he was truly an apostle because he had seen Jesus, 1 Corinthians 9; 2Co 10; 11. Had received a call to the work of an apostle, 1Co 1:1, and could point to the signs and seals of his apostleship, 2Co 12:12. The other apostles perceiving the grace that was given him recognized Paul as an apostle to the Gentiles and gave him the right hand o fellowship, Ga 2:9.
2. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is thought to have been chronic eye trouble that made him look contemptible to others. What it actually was, however, is not stated, in order that the grace sufficient which he received, may avail for all to whom ANY thorn is given.
3. God always hears the prayers of faith, but sometimes answers “No,” because He sees we will be better off with the thorn than without it. Who knows the sins and failures we are saved from by a warning thorn? Perhaps no verse in Scripture has brought more strength and comfort than 2Co 12:9. The sufficiency of divine grace was the great comfort of Paul in times of weakness, hardship and danger. So with us, for unusual tasks, we are given unusual strength, for the unusual suffering we are given unusual patience. Hils grace is always sufficient!
The cross is not greater than His grace, The cross cannot hide His blessed face! I am satisfied to know that with Jesus here below, I can conquer every foe, With His grace!
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the key word and key verse.
2. Give author and date.
3. What the occasion of writing?
4. Name the great facts.
5. Why did Paul write instead of visiting the church?
6. Now the offender had repented what was to be done?
7. Why was Paul optimistic about afflictions?
8. How could the church prove their love?
9. Where should we find comfort?
10. How may we retain friendships?
11. Tell of Paul’s appeal for a collection.
12. Give the four points in which the Macedonian churches were shining examples.
13. What ought we first to give to the Lord?
14. What two charges were made against Paul’s apostleship?
15. Why was Paul ahead of all the apostles?
16. Give the three points that convinced Paul’s opponents.
17. Tell about Paul’s thorn.
18. Why do we sometimes have a thorn?
19. Quote the most comforting verse in the Bible.
20. Quote verse on the cross and His grace.
21. How much of the book have you read?
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; — Titus 2:11-13 KJV