2 Corinthians: The Character of True Servants of Christ
This booklet is meant to promote self-study in 2 Corinthians. This booklet was originally designed for a class that met for 26 sessions. Choose between docx, pages, and pdf file formats (pdf downloads usually preserve the cleanest layout).
The Corinthian church wasn’t healthy before, but it seems something even worse happened between the time Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Corinthians. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, his relationship with the Corinthian church seemed intact. In 2nd Corinthians, Paul is dealing with the aftermath of a pretty serious conflict. What happened?
The Corinthian culture resembled our “selfie generation” quite well. The Corinthians were driven by worldly success and self-promotion. They loved competing, succeeding, and promoting the winner. Now, this culture was skewing how they followed Christ. This was especially evident in the types of leaders the Corinthians embraced. Who doesn’t love confident, powerful leaders who seem like they have the whole world in their hands?
Apparently, not Paul. Paul was the poor, suffering man who tried to emulate the crucified Lord in his ministry. While the Corinthians loved teachers who used their ministry as a stage for personal success, Paul boasted of nothing but his weaknesses. Soon enough, the Corinthians began accepting intruding “super apostles” to the exclusion of Paul. Sadly, when the Corinthians rejected this “weak” apostle, they were rejecting Christ and the message of the cross. Paul writes 2nd Corinthians after reconciliation has already begun. Second Corinthians is often seen as unimportant since Paul spends a lot of time explaining why he does what he does. But his goal is not to defend himself, but to humbly show the Corinthians what it looks like to walk in the path of the cross. Paul is trying to motivate the Corinthians to join him in a life of weakness for God’s glory. Here are our objectives for the quarter:
- Look at 2 Corinthians as a whole. Paint a picture of the conflict - past and present.
- Study through the text seeking to understand the flow of this seemingly erratic letter.
- Apply Paul’s cross-emulating example in his ministry to how God wants us to perceive our afflictions and our entire lives.