Monday, February 15, 2010

2 Corinthians (Introduction)

Not everything Paul did was vital to the future of the church in history. As influential as he and his teaching are, there is plenty that we do not know about him and things that he did. We are often tempted to find out everything we can about him and the things he did in an effort to replicate his methods and practices. That would be a pretty big mistake.

In the same way that it is rather silly for people to buy every book and go to every seminar of the latest, greatest success in mega-church America in the hopes of reproducing that success everywhere—it would be silly to do that with Paul. What we have in the New Testament are small bits and pieces of Paul’s teaching and story that the Holy Spirit uses to the Church’s benefit today. 2 Corinthians is a perfect example.

We call this epistle “Second” Corinthians because it is the second letter we have from Paul to them, but it is not really the “second” letter. There could be any number of letters between Paul and Corinth. We know of at least one that was written between the first letter and this one. What was it about? What did Paul say to them? In fact, there was also a visit lodged in there too. From all we can gather, it was not a good visit, nor was the lost letter a letter Paul was proud of. Paul had problems in his ministry. His leadership was often challenged and questioned. In that sense, the church has not changed much.

The point is, we can speculate all we want on what Paul did and thought, but ultimately we have what we have and need to let the Holy Spirit use that to help us do what He wants us to in our own context and ministry today. So what does 2 Corinthians have for us now…

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