Monday, March 1, 2010

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:13; 7:5-16 (Paul Behind the Scenes)

Sometimes we have a view of Paul as the “Super Missionary.” It seems as though he could do no wrong, like he never had a hard time planting churches. 2 Corinthians pulls the curtain back a bit and shows us a man who faced serious oppositions, self-doubt, and serious challenges in his church planting efforts.

One thing that will help the reader to see this clearly is a better understanding of the letter’s “structure.” Of course, Paul did not write things with a clear outline in mind. 2 Corinthians was certainly written rather quickly, in fact. Something that makes it hard to follow is the fact that Paul liked to chase ducks, and he does so here twice over. From 2:14 to 7:4 is a giant (and important) parenthetical, that happens to contain a second parenthetical within it.

Try reading 1:12-2:13 and then directly reading 7:5-16. You get a pretty clear view of what Paul is dealing with in the church he planted in Corinth. He has had his teaching challenged, faced an embarrassing trip to the church to try to clear things up that failed miserably, and he has sent them a harsh letter that we no longer have. However, things seem to have improved and Paul writes this letter in response to this turn of events.

Encouraging stuff for modern church planters to read, no? When you have to deal with all the politics and fighting that are required at times to defend God’s work in a group of redeemed sinners, just remember you are not alone!

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