Our Blog

Filter By:

2 Corinthians 13





Today we come to the end of another book that we have covered.  I hope you have enjoyed this journey through 2 Corinthians.  But also I hope it has been informative and helpful as well. 

This last chapter obviously contains some of Paul’s last words to this church. We are going to look at a few of these last things that Paul wanted to get said to the folks at Corinth.

Paul begins the chapter with a warning.  The church needs to be careful about allowing sin to go unchecked within the body of believers.  Every church needs to be careful about this.  Unchecked sin in the church robs the church of power and destroys the reputation of the church in the community.  None of us are perfect. We all sin.  But blatant, continuous sin has to be dealt with.

In verse 3, Paul mentions that they were seeking proof that he was real – that Christ was actually speaking through him.  And then in a masterful turn we find in verse 5 where Paul says to the folks in the church that they need to examine themselves – they needed to evaluate themselves – to see if they were actually Christ followers or not.  They need to know whether or not they are real.

The ultimate test of our Christianity is that Jesus lives in us.  If you have been around the church for any length of time, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  But if we were honest with each other, sometimes it is difficult to know if our faith is genuine or not.  Thankfully, the Bible gives us some things to work through to make sure we are indeed saved.  Here are a couple of examples.  One is the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (Romans 8:9, 16).  A second one is a genuine love for other Christ followers (1 John 3:14).  Third is practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29, 3:9).  Fourth is a desire to be different from the culture we live in (1 John 5:4).

Remember God does not want anyone guessing whether he is a Christian or not.  He wants us to know.  1 John 5:13 says that one of the reasons the Scripture is written to us is so that we can know that we have eternal life.

As Paul wraps up this letter in verses 11-14, we find him telling us to aim for restoration or perfection.  We should always be willing to make adjustments so that our lives line up better with the Word of God.  The concept of comfort is a call to come alongside someone and be an encourager. Paul also gives us an important reminder of unity in the church as he ends this letter.  We must never doubt the power and importance of unity.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

2 Corinthians 12





In this chapter, Paul continues to prove his identity as a true apostle.  He speaks of receiving visions and revelations from the Lord.  Scripture does indeed record several of these.  One happened on the day of his conversion in Acts 9:3.  Another vision was of Ananias coming to minister to him in Acts 9:12.  A third vision was of the Macedonian Call in Acts 16:9.  A fourth vision occurred in Acts 23:11 after Paul was arrested in Jerusalem.  This by the way is not a comprehensive list.  It is not even a complete list of what appears in Scripture.  And obviously it does not contain any visions or revelations that are not recorded in Scripture. 

As far as revelations go, Paul was given an uncommon understanding of God’s plan for this present age.  Many of the mysteries of God were revealed to him.

But one of the most amazing things that happened was God took Paul to heaven and then brought him back to earth so that he could complete the ministry that God set before him.  As Paul writes, this happened some 14 years before he wrote this letter.  This would have put this event somewhere between the time Paul left Tarsus and the time Barnabas found him.

During this particular time in history, it was common for Jewish rabbis and other respected individuals to write in the third person.  English royalty still often uses the third person.  The reason this is important is to make clear that the man that Paul is writing about is actually him. 

Paul was unable to decide whether he was taken physically to heaven or spiritually.  But to heaven he was taken.  While there he heard things that he was not permitted to speak on earth.  By the way, there was a similar thing that happened in Revelation.  At one point, John was told not to write about what he saw and heard.  There are obviously some things that happen in heaven that we either don’t need to know about or are unequipped to deal with. 

Such an experience would be enough to turn the most humble into a prideful person.  It would be hard to imagine experiencing such an incredible thing and then not telling everyone you saw what had happened to you.  Interestingly enough, Paul had obviously not made a big deal about it.  In fact, it appears that this may be the one and only time Paul spoke of it.

So how was he able to stay so quiet and humble after such a thing?  Paul was given a thorn in the flesh.  For hundreds of years people have tried to figure out what that thorn was.  But the truth is we have not known the answer to that and we will not know as long as we inhabit this earth.  But whatever it was, it was from Satan.  Satan used this to buffet or harass Paul.  That word literally means to beat as with a fist.

Whatever this thorn was, Paul asked God three times to remove it.  God’s answer was that His grace was sufficient to perfect Paul’s weakness.  In other words, God did not remove it.  He allowed it (whatever it was) to remain for His glory and Paul’s good.

As Paul continues this chapter, he speaks of his love for the Corinthians.  And he reminded them that he had not taken advantage of them and he didn’t allow those he sent to Corinth to take advantage of them.  Instead he continued to care about them greatly.

Paul was an amazing man who suffered greatly for the Gospel’s sake.  But he also contributed incredibly to the Christian life that we still live today.  I am thankful that he took the suffering and continued on with the unparalleled ministry God gave him.  We live in the fruits of that every day.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

12345678910 ... 133134