Today's Devotions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • River of Love +

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing +

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Don  Carson

 

 

http://www.biblestudytools.com/passage/?q=2-samuel+8;+2-samuel+9

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-corinthians/2.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/ezekiel/16.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/passage.aspx?q=psalm+58;psalm+59

2 Samuel 8–9; 2 Corinthians 2; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 58–59

IT IS BEYOND THESE BRIEF REFLECTIONS to provide a history of the difficult visits and painful letters that generated deep emotion in the apostle's relations with the Corinthians.

Relations between Corinth and Paul are apparently improving in the opening chapters of 2 Corinthians, but remain a trifle raw.

In this context Paul devotes quite a bit of attention to explaining the nature of his ministry, whether its grand design or discrete decisions he has made. For example, in 2 Corinthians 1, it is fairly obvious that the Corinthians had charged Paul with being fickle. He had said he would come, and then he had changed plans and not arrived. Paul acknowledges that he had indeed changed plans, but insists this does not indicate fickleness (2 Cor. 1:15–17). In his conduct he tries to imitate God's steadfast faithfulness (2 Cor. 1:18–22).

And then he gives the real reason why he did not show up: he was trying to spare the Corinthians, for he knew that if he had shown up at that point he would have had to take action that would have caused even more distress (2 Cor. 1:23–2:2).

In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul is still unpacking various elements of his ministry. Here we note two.

First, Paul understands his ministry to be akin to a device that distributes the fragrance of the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 2:14). Otherwise put, before God Paul himself is an aroma, "the aroma of Christ among both those who are being saved and those who are perishing" (2 Cor. 2:15). "To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (2 Cor. 2:16). In other words, Paul insists that he does not himself change, depending on his audience. He is the same aroma; he proclaims the same Gospel, the same discipleship, the same Christ, the same way to live. Whether he is perceived to be a sweet fragrance or a foul stench does not depend on some change in him, but on the people who must deal with him. Implicitly, the Corinthians must recognize that some animus against the apostle is the animus of the unregenerate heart. "And who is equal to such a task?" (2 Cor. 2:16).

Second, many Corinthians (as becomes clear later in this letter) thought that teachers should command substantial salaries, and if they didn't, they weren't worth much. In that kind of atmosphere, it would be easy to despise even a gifted apostolic teacher who refused your money. But because he was teaching a gospel of grace, Paul evangelized for free. (He accepted support money from elsewhere.) On the long haul, he did not want to gain a reputation for peddling the word of God for profit; rather, he wanted to be known as a man sent from God (2 Cor. 2:17).

2 Samuel 8–9; 2 Corinthians 2; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 58–59

is a post from: For the Love of God

Reflections to Consider

  • 1

Publications

  • 1

Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
  • 1

Audio & Video

  • 1

Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
  • 1

Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
  • 1