Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 10

December 5, 2017 Bible Study — Rewards For Generous Giving

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on 2 Corinthians 9-13.

    Paul tells us that we should give generously to those in need, in particular to our fellow believers who are in need. In many ways what he writes here is a reflection of the guidelines to giving we can draw from Luke’s account of the sharing undertaken by the early Church in Acts. In Acts we were told that no one was under obligation to give of their wealth to help others. Here, Paul tells the Corinthians that their giving should not be under compulsion. We should cheerfully give as we are able. God is more than able to supply our needs and will do so. If we give generously, God will reward us generously…although we should not make the mistake of thinking that the reward which God gives us will necessarily be material. Nevertheless, the more generous we are in our giving, the more generous we will be able to be going forward. This comes to be in two ways. As we give generously God may reward us financially so that we can give even more going forward. However, even if He does not, the joy of giving will cause us to ferret out ways in which we can reduce our expenses so that we can give more.

    At the end of his letter to the Corinthian believers Paul makes a defense of his ministry against the teachings of other teachers whom some of the Corinthian believers were more impressed with than they were with Paul. His defense contains two lines of argument. He warns the Corinthians not to be impressed by the credentials and personality of people whose teachings contradict what they already believe. Paul does not go into detail about what these other “apostles” are teaching, but he makes it clear that even those who follow them acknowledge it contradicts what Paul taught. These teachers were building on top of the foundations of belief which Paul had laid among the Corinthian believers, yet contradicting his teachings. These “apostles” presented themselves as having great credentials and wonderful accomplishments. For the most part all the Corinthians knew about the credentials of these “apostles” is what they said about themselves. Which brings me to Paul’s second line of argument. Paul laid out to them his own credentials, credentials which had been attested to by others, many of which had been directly witnessed by Corinthian believers.
    From this we learn to judge teachers and leaders by how their teaching and leadership lines up with what we already know about the Gospel. A true leader or teacher from God should encourage us to go to Scripture for ourselves and see if what they are teaching is supported by Scripture. Any teacher who claims authority to interpret Scripture in a way which only those with “secret” knowledge would understand is suspect. The second part of Paul’s argument reminds us that we must occasionally explain to people how we came by our understanding and knowledge of the Gospel. We should not ask people to accept our understanding of the Gospel on the basis of “appeal to authority”, but we do need to remind them that we learned from authoritative sources. To put that in personal perspective: I have no special knowledge and have no authority to demand your obedience or agreement, but I have studied the Scripture and the Holy Spirit has guided my thinking.

September 08, 2015 Bible Study — Make Every Thought Serve Christ

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.

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Proverbs 22:26-27

    If you guarantee someone else’s debt, or put up security for them, make sure you are able to pay the debt, because you are likely to need to do so. If someone needs you to guarantee their debt, they are probably not a good risk for making the payments.

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Psalm 52

    I struggle to put meaning to this psalm because the picture this psalm draws of Doeg the Edomite does not match the picture I get from reading about him in 1 Samuel. It is not that there is a contradiction between these two views of Doeg, just that I am not sure how to connect the two.
    So, what does this psalm tell us? It tells us that those who are willing to do evil in order to curry favor with the powers-that-be will earn God’s judgment. If you put your trust in the power and wealth you can gain by toadying up to the people in charge, you will so learn that the people in charge may change, but God never does. Those who trust in their wealth to save them from the consequences of their wicked behavior will discover that it will fail them.

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2 Corinthians 10

    I found it a challenge to find a theme which ties the lessons I see in this passage into a coherent pattern. However, as I started typing it sort of came to me. Paul is talking about how we should view ourselves/behave when we find ourselves in a position of authority over other believers (which I believe that all of us will for some period of time in our Christian walk). He is also giving us a standard to measure those who have been given spiritual authority over us.
    His first point is that the tools/weapons of spiritual authority are not the same as those of worldly authority. Instead we use use spiritual insight, divine power, to destroy the obstacles, the arguments and pretensions, which keep people from knowing God. In order to do this we must make our every thought serve Jesus. This is a standard to which I do not yet meet. As I think about things I need to learn to stop and ask myself, “How does this serve Christ?” If I cannot see any way that it does, I must take control of my thinking and direct it in a different direction. As we make all of our thoughts, on every subject, serve God, the Holy Spirit will provide us with the insight and understanding to address whatever obstacles prevent those we are called to reach from knowing God.
    Paul’s next point is that we are given authority over others to build them up, not to tear them down. It is important that we do not belittle our fellow believers. They belong to Christ just as much as we do. We do not accomplish God’s purpose by using whatever authority we have to make others feel like they are inferior to us (or to anyone else). That means that when we provide help to others we do not do so in a way which increases their dependence on that help. Paul’s final point is that we should not boast about what we have done. We should only boast about what God has done.

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Isaiah 1-2

    God wants us to seek justice, help the oppressed, defend those who cannot defend themselves, and fight for the powerless. If our worship services, offerings and sacrifices, retreats and special events do not empower us to do such things, they are worse than useless. The time is coming when God will take revenge on His enemies. He will restore the world with justice. Those who repent will be revived, but those who rebel and desert the Lord will be destroyed.
    As I read this passage, I see a day of judgment coming soon. We are standing at a crossroads and God is giving us a choice. We can choose to go up to the Mountain of the Lord and learn His ways, doing as He commands. Or, we can fill the land with armies and military might, worshiping the things which we have made. If we choose the former, God will mediate between nations, He will settle our disputes. If we choose the latter, God will punish the proud and mighty, humbling human pride and arrogance. Time is running short, let us repent and turn to the Lord in prayer!