Saturday, July 17, 2010

2 Corinthians 12:11-21

11 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing. 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. 13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

Questions to consider:
  • Why has Paul spent so much time acting the ironic fool?
  • To whom has Paul’s defense been directed?
  • For what reasons will Paul continue his former policy concerning his support while at Corinth?
  • Can you think through possible relationships with friends and family when you could “gladly spend” for their benefit?
  • What are the reasons for Paul’s apprehension regarding his forthcoming visit to the Corinthians?
Possibilities for prayer:

Paul expresses concern over the state in which he might find the Corinthian church upon his next visit--that, despite being Jesus followers, they might be involved in various sins without repentance. Today, let’s repent of the sins in our lives that do not match up with our identity as followers of Christ. Let’s strive to be a community free of the sins Paul mentions, and ask God for the strength to resist those temptations.