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An Argument Of Second Corinthians

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Message Statement:

Obedience To The Words Of Paul The Apostle Is The Same As Obedience To Christ.1

I. Paul and Timothy open their letter to the church in Corinth as well as believers in Achaia with the desire for both grace and peace from the God the Father and the Son to be their experience 1:1-2

A. The letter is from the Apostle Paul and Timothy to the church in Corinth as well as all the saints in the surrounding province of Achaia 1:1

1. Paul identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus the Messiah according to God’s will 1:1a

2. Timothy is identified as a fellow believer 1:1b

3. The letter is addressed to the church in Corinth 1:1c

4. The letter is addressed to all the believers of the broader province of Achaia 1:1d

B. The usual salutation of Grace and peace is given in behalf of God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah 1:2

II. Paul desires to minister to the Corinthians by reaffirming that they are justified in their confidence in his integrity as an apostle from God despite his change in travel plans, and by thus affirming that they should not abandon his message for one of legalism leading to sin 1:3--7:16

A. Paul discusses comfort in affliction so that the Corinthians might in the future find comfort in their persecution by seeing how Paul is strengthened by God when falsely accused (by the Corinthians) 1:3-11

1. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to say good, enriching things about God because He has helped us in our affliction so that we might use His comfort to help others 1:3-4

a. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to say good, enriching things about God 1:3a

b. The reason good things should be said about God is because He has helped us in our need by sending Jesus to die for our sin 1:3b

c. God, who is characterized by all mercy and comfort, comforts us in our affliction so that we might use His comfort to help others 1:3c-4

2. Paul demonstrates that God comforts believers in affliction so that others (the Corinthians) may also be comforted in the affliction of Paul and Timothy 1:5-11

a. Statement: Paul and Timothy affirm that they received a proportionate comfort from God for their affliction which arose from their faith in Messiah 1:5

b. Paul and Timothy affirm that affliction and comfort to them is to comfort the Corinthians when they endure the same kind of sufferings 1:6-7

c. Paul and Timothy’s confidence in God’s comforting of the Corinthians as they share in the sufferings with Paul and Timothy is illustrated by reminding them of a specific case in point where God delivered them from death 1:8-11

1) Specific affliction to Paul and Timothy in Asia are recounted in that they wanted to die it was so difficult, but learned to trust in God rather than themselves because He overrules death 1:8-9

2) God delivered them in their suffering 1:10a

3) One may be confident that God will deliver in the future 1:10b

4) Therefore the Corinthians are encouraged to be praying for future deliverances of Paul and Timothy so that the church may be encouraged toward God in His use of them to bring deliverance for Paul and Timothy 1:11

B. Paul explains his change in travel plans in order to restore the confidence of the Corinthians in his integrity: his change in plans was not due to a motive of deception but in purity of love for the Corinthians 1:12--2:4

1. Motives are pure: Just as Paul’s past actions were based upon pure motives, so was it when he planned to come to the Corinthians twice as he passed through Macedonia 1:12-16

a. Paul is confident of the good way in which he and others have conducted themselves to the world and especially to the Corinthians who received them well initially 1:12-14

1) They were pure in lifestyle, sincerity rather than sinful decisions, and in a message of grace from God 1:12a

2) They conducted themselves to everyone in a pure way, especially the Corinthians 1:12b

3) Their writings are of good motive, understandable, and will hopefully be looked to in the future for direction 1:13

4) The Corinthians did understand that there was a mutual love for one another in proper pride--especially before Christ in the last day 1:14

b. In the same good attitude Paul intended to come a second time to enrich the Corinthians as he went through Macedonia 1:15-16

2. Message is true because of God even if Paul’s motives were not pure: Paul’s change in travel plans does not affect the reliability of his message about Christ since Paul, Silavanus, and Timothy spoke to the Corinthians truth about Christ based upon Christ who Himself fulfills that truth 1:17-22

a. Since Paul’s motives have been pure, it is wrong to think of the promise to come as being not thought through, or intentionally deceptive 1:17

b. In contrast to perceptions of sinful motives, Paul proclaims that their words to them about Christ are reliable because they were based upon Christ who fulfills the promises of God and has brought them together by His Spirit 1:18-22

3. Motive was to spare sorrow: Paul explains that his choice to not come twice to the Corinthians was an act of compassion because by disciplining them it would hurt him 1:23--2:4

a. Paul’s motive in not coming to Corinth was not deceptive, but to spare the Corinthians of more sorrow 1:23

b. Paul does not desire to be viewed as one who “lords it” over their faith, but as a worker with them for their joy because they have stood firm in their faith 1:24

c. Paul desired to spare the Corinthians more sorrow because it hurts him too much to see them hurt, therefore, he determined not to come, but to send a severe letter 2:1-4

1) Paul determined to not come again in sorrow to the Corinthians for his own sake because their sorrow grieves him 2:1-2

2) Paul wrote the Corinthians the severe (sorrowful) letter in order that he would not have sorrow when he came from those who ought to make him rejoice 2:3

3) Paul’s writing was difficult to do because he did not desire to make them sorrowful but to have them know how much he loved them 2:4

C. The time that Paul has given to the Corinthians has proven helpful as they dealt with sin--something they needed to complete because it will lead to triumph as it did with the Corinthians and Paul (2:5-17)

1. The time that Paul has given to the Corinthians was helpful because they dealt with sin and need to continue in obedience: (Because the sorrow was against the Corinthians and not Paul, and because Paul had already forgiven the man who sinned, the Corinthians should forgive the man and reaffirm their love) 2:5-11

a. The sorrow caused by the person in the church in Corinth was to the Corinthians and not to Paul 2:5

b. The punishment was sufficient so that the man should be forgiven and comforted lest he become overwhelmed with great sorrow 2:6-7

c. Paul has also forgiven the brother so that the Corinthians might forgive him and so that Satan might not take advantage of all 2:10-11

2. The benefit of continued obedience is that it will lead to triumph as it did with the Corinthians and Paul before: (Even though Paul is extremely concerned about the Corinthians’ response to his confrontive letter, he thanks God for their joint victory in their confidence in him as God’s messenger) 2:12-17

a. When Paul arrived for Gospel ministry in Troas, he wrestled within because he did not find Titus with a word of encouragement from Corinth, so he left for Macedonia 2:12-13

b. Paul gives thanks for His work in leading the Corinthians and Him in triumph (over their differences) and giving a testimony to all people of either God’s grace received or judgment which is awaiting 2:14-16a

c. Paul affirms their confidence in him as being God’s sincere spokesman 2:16b-17

D. Just as the change enabled the Corinthians to deal with sin, so does it demonstrate that Paul is from God and needs no commendation. Rather, he is substantiated by: the Corinthians themselves, his superior message of the new covenant with the Spirit, the sufferings of the ministry which were made possible in view of the resurrection and the greater experience of life (3:1--5:10)

1. The source of affirmation of the ministry of Paul and his associates is not in external letters but in the experiential growth of believers under the new covenant of the Spirit of God which was preached by them 3:1-18

a. Paul questions the need for him and his colleagues to have letters to substantiate their ministry when the lives of the Corinthians and the life the new covenant speak for themselves 3:1-6

1) Paul questions whether or not it is necessary to have references to substantiate his ministry 3:1

2) The reason Paul questions the need for letters of reference is because the Corinthians are living proof of their ministry unto people 3:2-3

a) The Corinthians themselves are evidences of Paul’s ministry which all can and do read 3:2

b) The Corinthians manifest Christ by the Spirit in a living way which Paul and those with them cared for 3:3

3) Paul affirms their confidence before God and through Christ to proclaim His new covenant of the Spirit giving life rather than the law which kills 3:4-6

a) Paul and those with him have confidence through the work of Christ and before God 3:4

b) Paul and those with him do not consider their adequacy as coming from their own strengths but from God’s 3:5

c) God has made them adequate as those who serve the new relationship between man and God through the Spirit who gives life rather through the law which gives death 3:6

b. Even though the law came with glory, the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious because it leads to uprightness and endures rather than the law 3:7-11

1) The ministry of death in letters on stone came with such glory that the sons of Israel could not even look intently at Moses face which shone even though it was fading 3:7

2) The ministry of the Spirit is even more glorious than was that received by Moses because of its good and lasting results 3:8-11

a) The ministry of the Spirit has even greater glory than the one received by Moses 3:8

b) The ministry leading to uprighteous has more glory than the one leading to condemnation 3:9

c) The enduring nature of the ministry of the Spirit exists in greatness over the transitory nature of the ministry of Moses which faded away 3:10-11

c. Paul and his associates speak boldly now, not being ashamed as Moses was of the passing glory, knowing that legalism by Israel is a case of hardness of heart, and knowing that believers are experiencing God’s transformation 3:12-18

1) Because of the hope of the ministry of the Spirit, Paul and his associates are bold in speech 3:12

2) Paul and his associates are not ashamed as Moses was of the fading of the glory of the message 3:13

3) Unlike Moses who veiled his face, the minds of Israel are hardened when they look at the Law, even though Paul and his associates speak clearly, because they will not turn to Christ 3:14-16

a) Unlike Moses who veiled the glory that was passing away, the Israelites minds are hardened as if covered by a veil when they read the Scripture without Christ 3:14-15

b) When a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away 3:16

4) The Spirit of God within believers is transforming them into His image of glory 3:17-18

a) The Lord being the Spirit is bringing about liberty for believers 3:17

b) Believers are being transformed into God’s greatness by the Lord 3:18

2. The source of affirmation of the ministry of Paul and his associates is not in external letters but in their participation in the sufferings of Christ 4:1--5:10

a. Encouragement to continue in ministry comes through being the recipient of grace in difficulties so that God may be seen to work--except for the case of those who are blinded by the Enemy 4:1-12

1) The solution to loosing heart in the ministry is the reception of mercy 4:1

2) Rather than using cryptic and deceptive ways of sharing Christ, Paul and his companions openly display the truth through their own lives to reach men 4:2

3) Those who do not receive their message are blinded by the enemy to not perceive the greatness of God in believers 4:3-12

a) The enemy has blinded the eyes of those perishing from seeing the greatness of God in Christ 4:3-4

b) The misperception does not relate to the greatness of men, but to the message of God which men bear through their infirmities 4:5-12

(1) Paul and his companions do not proclaim themselves, but Christ as Lord and themselves as His servants 4:5

(2) God who sovereignly reveals Himself as light does so through our infirmities 4:6-12

(a) God who Sovereignly reveals Himself has done so through Christ within us 4:6

(b) God displays this power through fragile clay posts (a believer's life) which may break, but will not be destroyed through Christ's work in us 4:7-12

(i) God places his greatness in our fragile selves 4:7

(ii) We experience difficulty but are not consumed by it 4:8-9

(iii) Death inflicted by evil is the believers' (as it was Jesus') so that one might also display concurring life which Jesus has 4:10-11

(iv) People are encouraged by the battles won over evil 4:12

b. Because of past experiences of God’s deliverance and the greatness of eternity, Paul and his companions proclaim without giving up God’s deliverance focusing on inner growth 4:13-18

1) Having experienced God’s deliverance in life, Paul and his companions believe and proclaim that deliverance through the resurrection for the benefit of others who will then give thanks to God 4:13-15

a) With a similar experience of deliverance as the writer of Psalm 116, Paul and his companions proclaim God’s work in their lives to others 4:13

b) One reason they proclaim deliverance is because they know that Christ’s resurrection will apply to them and others who believe 4:14

c) All experiences of difficulty and victory are for the sake of others that the gospel of grace might spread to many, culminating in thanksgiving to God due to His greatness 4:15

2) Therefore, Paul and his companions do not loose heart in the ministry, but in their experiences of difficulty focus on God’s building of their personhood for latter reward and eternity 4:16-18

a) Paul and his companions do not loose heart but see their physical difficulties as being times of strengthening for their inner selves 4:16

b) One reason they focus on their inner growth is because God will provide a much greater reward in eternity for that growth during difficulty 4:17

c) One reason that focus is on the inner man is because the outer man passes away while the inner developments are forever 4:18

c. Paul is able to suffer in view of the eternal weight of glory in the resurrection body and the greater experience of life of life to follow for obedience today 5:1-10

1) Paul focuses on eternity during difficulties because our future bodies will be superior to now in that they will end our vulnerability due to sin and death through life 5:1-4

a) The reason Paul focuses on eternity during difficulties is because of the future body which is superior to the one we now have 5:1

b) The reason Paul focuses on eternity during difficulties is because of the future personal conquering of guilt and death in our new bodies 5:2-4

(1) In our present bodies we painfully long for our future heavenly body because it will cover our vulnerability due to sin 5:2-3

(2) One groans in one's present body wit a burden of not wanting to leave one's body but to have one's new body so that one's fear of death may be overcome by life 5:4

c) The believer has confidence in his future body because of God’s work in his life 5:5

(1) God prepares the believer for the purpose of the future 5:5a

(2) God gives the believer the experiential promise in the work of the Holy Spirit in his life 5:5b

2) While difficulties are eased through the knowledge that the believer’s future with the Lord will contain so much more, there is still an encouragement to live in a way pleasing to Him because one will be recognized for one’s present actions 5:6-10

a) During difficulties it is encouraging to know that life now is less than complete and one’s future with God will contain so much more 5:6-8

(1) During difficulties believers can be encouraged through the knowledge that one's present existence is less than perfect since one does not see Him who is reality 5:6-7

(2) During difficulties it is helpful to look toward one's leaving of this limited experience and being with God in the fullness of life 5:8

b) Because of one’s future presence before God Himself, the goal of believers is to please Him whether in life or in death 5:9-10

(1) The goal of the believer is to please God whether in life or in death 5:9

(2) The reason the believer's goal is to please the Lord is because everyone will be duly recognized by Him for those things--be they good or bad--which one has done while in this existence 5:10

E. Paul urges the Corinthians to increase their confidence in Him, not to give up grace for the law, and to be reconciled to God and him and to separate from evil 5:11--7:16

1. Paul urges the Corinthians to increase in their confidence in him: Paul exhorts believers to share with others the grace of God rather than focusing on the externals of men because of Christ’s gracious provision of life for those who will receive it 5:11-21

a. Because of the reality of our future before God, Paul and those with him persuade men in an openness and honesty that God sees and hopefully the Corinthians also see 5:11

b. Paul’s motive in explaining himself is not to begin again with the Corinthians, but to encourage them in their confidence in him as they answer objectors who focus on externals rather than the heart 5:12-15

1) Paul’s motive in explaining himself is not to begin in his relationship again with the Corinthians but, that the Corinthians may be proud of him and have an answer for those who insist upon external requirements 5:12

2) The reason for the logical explanation is to resolve the Corinthians’ struggles and not those of Paul with God 5:13

3) The reason Paul is patiently explaining himself is because of the control which understanding Christ’s substitutionary death places on him in serving Christ 5:14-15

c. Because of Christ’s provision for man, Paul does not focus on externals, but on the change that Christ makes within people who have received His provision 5:16-19

1) Paul does not focus on men’s external appearances because, as with Christ, they are temporary 5:16

2) For believers there is a newness to them in that their past changes and their present becomes new when they have faith 5:17

3) Christ has provided reconciliation with God for believers and to be proclaimed by believers 5:18-19

d. Because of Christ’s provision for reconciliation with God, believers are messengers for God to the world of their need to receive this grace 5:20-21

2. Paul, through a life of integrity which substantiates his ministry, urges the Corinthians to be those who do not give up the benefits of grace for law 6:1-7

a. As a worker with Christ, Paul urges the Corinthians to not receive the grace of God to no avail by following the law since they are forgiven by Christ already 6:1-2

b. Paul urges the Corinthians as a man of integrity who has endured, been pure and expressed the power of God 6:3-10

3. Paul urges the Corinthians to be reconciled to him: thus, they are to separate from the false teachers and continue in the movement which they began with Titus 6:11--7:16

a. Just as Paul and those with him have been open, honest, and helpful to the Corinthians, he asks them, as a father, to be receptive to him 6:11-13

1) Paul and those with him have been open and honest with the Corinthians 6:11

2) The Corinthians have not been limited by Paul, but by themselves 6:12

3) Paul urges the Corinthians--as his own children--to be receptive of him and those with him 6:13

b. Paul urges the Corinthians to separate themselves from unbelievers: Because of the incomparability of unbelievers with believers, and the promises of a close relationship with God, believers should not unite themselves with evil ones, but with the people of God 6:14--7:1

1) The Corinthians are exhorted not to unite themselves with unbelievers because they have opposite views of life 6:14-18

a) Believers are not to unite with unbelievers 6:14a

b) The reason believers are not to unite with unbelievers is because they share opposite views of life 6:14b-18

(1) There is questionable partnership in righteousness and lawlessness 6:14b

(2) There is questionable fellowship in light with darkness 6:14c

(3) There is questionable harmony in Christ with Satan 6:15a

(4) There is questionable common ground in a believer with an unbeliever 6:15b

(5) There is questionable agreement with God's temple and idols which is who a believer is 6:16a-18

(a) Statement of the questionable agreement 6:16a

(b) God likens a believer to His temple where He dwells and reigns 6:16b

(c) Because of God's presence among believers, they are not to be people who are contaminated by evil, but who are dedicated unto God 6:17

(d) A believers' adherence to God will enhance his family relationship with God 6:18

2) Based upon the promises of God, believers should cleanse themselves from external and internal pollution of their faith, and work towards a separateness unto God 7:1

c. Paul urges the Corinthians to once again be receptive of him because he has never hurt them, but always loved them finding them to be a great source of comfort and joy 7:2-4

1) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be reconciled to him and to those with him 7:2a

2) The reason Paul exhorts that the Corinthians be reconciled toward him is because nothing was done by him, or those with him, to hurt the Corinthians 7:2b

3) Paul is not speaking to condemn the Corinthians because they are his joy and satisfaction 7:3-4

a) Paul is not speaking to condemn the Corinthians 7:3a

b) The Corinthians are in Paul’s heart a source of confidence, boasting, comfort and joy during affliction 7:3b-4

d. Paul urges the Corinthians to continue in the direction of their good response to Titus 7:5-16

1) The news which Titus brought of the Corinthians’ response to him was a comfort to Paul in Macedonia 7:5-7

2) Titus’ report of the good response by the Corinthians to his lettered encouraged Paul 7:8-13a

a) Titus’ report helped Paul to rejoice that he had caused a limited amount of sorrow since it led to repentance 7:8-9a

b) Paul had made the Corinthians sorrowful as God would have them be--not to destroy them, but to help them, as it did to Paul’s encouragement 7:9b-13a

3) Paul rejoiced over the encouragement the Corinthians had given Titus by being all that Paul had said they would be in their reception of the word of God through Paul 7:13b-16

III. Paul specifically exhorts the Corinthians to complete their intended gift for the church in Jerusalem by noting the faithfulness of the church in Macedonia, describing it as a spiritual service, emphasizing the need for purity of commitment, focusing upon proportionate giving, warning of embarrassment if they fail to organize their gift, reminding them of the law of the harvest 8:1--9:15

A. Inspired by the willing and sacrificial giving of the Macedonian churches, Paul encourages the Corinthians to also be a part of God’s working by completing their giving as a spiritual service, motivated out of a purity of commitment, and in accordance with their ability 8:1-15

1. From the inspiration of God’s gracious work through the willing, abundant giving of the afflicted Macedonian churches, Paul encourages the Corinthians to likewise give as they had intended 8:1-6

a. Paul informs the Corinthians of the working of God through the great, sacrificial giving of the Macedonian churches 8:1-5

1) God has expressed grace through that which was given by the Macedonian churches 8:1

2) The Macedonian churches liberally gave while suffering themselves 8:2-5

a) The Macedonians were in affliction 8:2a

b) The abundance and poverty of the Macedonians overflowed in liberal giving 8:2b-5

(1) The Macedonians gave according to and beyond their ability 8:3a

(2) The Macedonians strongly desired to give out of their relationship with God 8:3b-5

b. Titus was therefore, encouraged to complete God’s gracious work through the Corinthians’ giving just as he had initiated it there 8:6

2. The Corinthians should abound in their giving as a spiritual service, motivated out of a purity of commitment in accordance with their ability 8:7-15

a. The Corinthians should abound in the spiritual act of giving as much as they do in spiritual character qualities 8:7

b. Rather than being motivated out of duty, the Corinthians are asked to consider the sincerity of their commitment through the stimulation of others 8:8-9

1) Paul is not commanding obedience 8:8a

2) Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to be motivated within for good by the earnest giving of the Macedonians and by the condescension of Christ for our benefit 8:8b-9

c. The Corinthians are encouraged to willingly complete the task which they began in giving according to their ability 8:10-15

1) Just as the Corinthians were first to begin and even desire to give, they should finish the task of giving 8:10-11a

2) The Corinthians should complete their giving in accordance with their ability to give 8:11b-15

a) Statement: The Corinthians should complete their intention to give in accordance with their ability 8:11b

b) One reason the Corinthians should give in accordance with their ability is because God understands and accepts one’s limitations 8:12

c) Another reason the Corinthians should give in accordance with their ability is because God’s desire is not to afflict a believer, but to provide equally for all who have life-threatening needs 8:13-15

(1) God's desire is not to afflict a believer for the ease of others 8:13a

(2) God's desire is for one to give according to one's ability so that all with life-threatening needs may be met 8:14-15

(a) God desires for all with life-threatening needs to be met by one another 8:14

(b) Support that God desires to meet one's basic needs equally is in His proportionate supply of "manna" in the wilderness 8:15

B. Since Titus and two brethren from the churches are coming to Corinth to help in administrating the Corinthians’ offering, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to prove their intentions by giving lest there be embarrassment 8:16--9:5

1. Titus and two faithful, prominent brethren from the churches which are participation in the offering are coming to Corinth to help with their offering 8:16-23

a. God is thanked for His working in Titus to the point where he chose to go to the Corinthians to help 8:16-17

b. Another brother has been sent along with Titus who is famous for the gospel, and represents the churches in taking the offering to Jerusalem 8:18-21

1) A brother has been sent with Titus who is noted for the gospel among the churches 8:18

2) The brother is also going along with the gift which the apostles are administering as a further protection against any questions of misconduct by men 8:19-21

c. Another brother is coming with Titus and the churches representatives because of his faithfulness in ministry and his confidence in the Corinthians 8:22

d. In summary, those coming to help the Corinthians with their offering for the church in Jerusalem are Titus, Paul’s partner and faithful worker, and messengers from the churches which are the glory of Christ 8:23

2. The Corinthians are exhorted to demonstrate their intentions of love toward the Jerusalem saints by giving their offerings through the arrangement of the brethren, and which will prevent the embarrassment of empty promises 8:24--9:5

a. The Corinthians are exhorted to demonstrate their good character through the offering and for which Paul and others are proud 8:24

b. The reason Paul desires for the Corinthians to demonstrate their character is because their good intentions could lead to embarrassment if not arranged well 9:1-5

1) Paul does not feel it is necessary to write again about the ministry unto the Jerusalem church because the Corinthians have been ready to help so as to spur on the Macedonians 9:1-2

2) Even though the Corinthians have been ready to help the saints, Paul has sent the brethren to help arrange the actual gift so that no one would be embarrassed by empty promises 9:3-5

C. Remembering the law of the harvest, the Corinthians are encouraged to give knowing that in doing so God will provide for them, enrich them to give more, and use them to reflect Him in His goodness 9:6-15

1. Since one receives in proportion to one’s giving, God desires for all to willfully choose to give, knowing that He will provide for one’s needs, and give one even more to give in uprightness 9:6-10

a. The law of the harvest is true with respect to giving: one receives in proportion to how one invests 9:6

b. God desires everyone to do what they do out of contemplative, willful choices, rather than against one’s will as a duty 9:7

c. God is able to graciously supply for one’s needs and give one an abundance for more good works of uprightness 9:8-10

1) Statement concerning the physical 9:8

2) Old Testament support for the spiritual from Psalm 112:9 9:9

3) Statement combining the physical and the spiritual 9:10

2. God will enrich those who give more liberally because it will ultimately reflect back to the goodness of Himself to all 9:11-15

a. God will enrich those who give in order to give more 9:11a

b. One’s giving will ultimately reflect back unto the goodness of God 9:11b-15

1) One’s giving produces thanksgiving to God 9:11b

2) Proofs of this assertion:

a) Those who receive the gift will glorify God for the Corinthians’ obedience to the gospel, and the liberality of their contribution 9:13

b) Those who receive the gift will pray for the Corinthians because of the grace of God they have received through them 9:14

c) God is thanked for His indescribable gift for all 9:15

IV. Paul responds to criticisms of his leadership by explaining his choice to care for those under his responsibility, by sarcastically boasting of his strengths in order to emphasize that weaknesses are the realm through which God shows strength rather than the strength of men, and by directly exhorting the Corinthians to be reconciled to him and by-pass the hurt of going in the direction of error 10:1--13:6

A. Responding to criticisms of his leadership style, Paul explains his preference for caring for those entrusted to his responsibility as God would have him do rather than succumbing to the pressures of others to be more stern because only God’s opinion lasts 10:1-18

1. Responding to criticisms of his leadership style, Paul explains that he does not desire to physically punish those rebelling in Corinth because spiritual warfare can change hearts 10:1-6

a. In a sarcastic way, due to criticisms of his leadership style, Paul gently writes to urge the Corinthians to not force him to deal sternly with them 10:1-2

b. The reason Paul is usually not visibly stern with people when face to face is not because he sinfully seeks approval, but because he fights in the spiritual realm first 10:3-6

1) Though one lives in the physical realm, Paul engages in the power of spiritual warfare first 10:3-5

a) Spiritual warfare is divinely powerful and able to destroy fortresses 10:4

b) Spiritual warfare is able to defeat how people think 10:5

2) Punishment for disobedience follows the completion of spiritual warfare 10:6

2. Urging his critics to consider his motivations which are to help those under his care in leadership, and not to act out of jealously, Paul reminds the Corinthians that only God’s approval lasts when leading, not man’s 10:7-18

a. Rather than judging Paul’s leadership style from external appearances, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to consider his inward motivations 10:7-10

1) Those judging Paul are only looking at things externally 10:7a

2) Paul encourages his critics to consider his inward motivations which are for good 10:7b-10

a) Statement: Paul exhorts his critics to look at things inwardly 10:7b

b) Being a believer, Paul desires what Christ would desire for another believer 10:7c

c) Paul bears authority for the purpose of building-up other believers 10:8

d) Paul’s desire is not to terrify the Corinthians with his letters as a coward would when away 10:9-10

b. Paul re-affirms his personal consistence of leadership which is demonstrated when dealing with real needs of people under his care, but is not evoked by personal jealousy 10:11-16

1) Paul affirms that his character of leadership is consistent whether absent or present 10:11

2) That which motivates Paul’s expression of leadership is personal care for those under his responsibility and not ‘peer’ jealousy 10:12-16

a) “Peer”-jealousy does not motivate Paul to express himself because to do so is not to understand what God values 10:12

b) Paul is motivated to exercise leadership over people whom God has given into his care as service to God 10:13-16

(1) While not overstepping his bounds, Paul will exercise leadership in those areas which God has given responsibility which includes the Corinthians 10:13

(2) The Corinthians fall into Paul's sphere of responsibility because they first received the Gospel from him with the hopes extending his ministry to people beyond them who had not heard 10:14-16

c. Paul reminds his critics to evaluate their actions by God’s expectations rather than their own because only His will give a lasting approval 10:17-18

B. Using the foolishness of boasting to expose the Corinthians naive reception of false teachers, Paul explains that focusing on weakness rather than strengths is the correct way to boast because it emphasizes God’s power rather than men’s 11:1--12:10

1. Paul encourages the Corinthians to endure some boasting which he is about to do with them because he is acting with understanding and out of commitment to them 11:1-15

a. Even though the Corinthians were beginning to consider Paul as foolish, he asks that they might put up with some talk that he deems foolish 11:1

b. Paul deserves for the Corinthians to listen to his foolishness for their good, because he is committed to them, because he is an apostle, and because he has cared for them 11:2-15

1) One reason Paul wants to enter into these games of boasting is because he is committed to the relationship the Corinthians have with God 11:2-4

a) Paul is committed to helping the Corinthians remain pure toward God 11:2

b) Paul is fearful that the Corinthians are being led astray by the Enemy through false teachers 11:3-4

2) Another reason Paul entreats the Corinthians to bear with his discussion is because of his Apostolic understanding and care for them 11:5-9

a) Paul asks the Corinthians to hear him out because of his apostolic authority which is expressed with knowledge 11:5-6

b) Paul asks the Corinthians to hear him out because of the sensitive way that he has ministered to them 11:7-9

3) Paul is determined to argue against false teachers because they are an instrument of Satan to corrupt believers 11:10-15

2. Exposing the Corinthians naive reception of boasting--false teachers, Paul demonstrates their silliness by comparing himself to them in a boastful way 11:16-22

a. Once again Paul encourages the Corinthians to receive his foolish boasting 11:16

b. The reason Paul is going to express a confidence of boasting is not because he thinks it is as Christ would speak, but to expose the Corinthians in their blind reception of others who do so 11:17-21a

1) Paul proclaims that his boasting is not biblical 11:17

2) Paul proclaims that his boasting is meant to expose the naive reception of others by the Corinthians 11:18-21

a) Paul is going to boast as the false teachers do 11:18

b) The Corinthians naively accept the boasts of foolishness 11:19-21

(1) Statement: although the Corinthians appear to be wise, they gladly endure the foolishness of boasting 11:19

(2) Proof of the statement: the Corinthians receive those who abuse them while considering those who care for them as weak by comparison 11:20-21a

c. In a comparative way Paul boasts of his bearing the same natural qualifications of leadership as do the false teachers 11:21b-22

3. Continuing in the sphere of boasting, Paul explains that weaknesses rather than strengths are better areas to boast in since they point to God’s strength rather than men’s 11:23-12:10

a. Paul continues his comparative boasting with the false teachers by describing himself as a servant of Christ yet, through experiences of weakness and care rather than “authority” 11:23-29

1) Paul compares himself with the false teachers as a servant of Christ, not really believing that they are so 11:23a

2) Paul actually demonstrates his position as a servant of Christ through weaknesses of experience 11:23b-29

a) Paul has had more hurtful things happen to him 11:23b-25

b) Paul has experienced dangerous journeys 11:26

c) Paul has experienced physical abuse 11:27

d) Paul feels daily pressure of the churches’ needs 11:28-29

b. Paul explains that boasting should be in the area of weakness rather than strengths citing God as his witness and an experience at Damascus as proof 11:30-33

1) Paul explains that real boasting should in a person’s weaknesses rather than in their strengths 11:30

2) Paul supports his statement by testifying of God’s understanding and with an example of God working in delivering him even through a humiliating experience 11:31-33

c. Using the context of his receiving a vision from God, Paul explains that it is better to boast in weakness where God’s power is displayed rather than in strengths which uplifting men 12:1-10

1) Feeling that it is necessary for the Corinthians to more fully understand what Paul has to say about empty boasting, he begins to boast about receiving a revelation from God 12:1-4

2) Paul now explains how boasting about what a man has experienced builds up a man where as focusing on a man’s weakness builds up one’s perception of the strength of God 12:5-10

a) Boast about one’s strengths only builds up men; that is why Paul will only boast in regard to his weaknesses 12:5-6

b) God gives those who have personal strengths and gifts weaknesses so that they strength can be seen as coming from God 11:7-10

(1) Paul was given a weakness to keep him from exalting himself with the revelation he received 12:7

(2) When Paul asked God to take the weakness away, he was told that it was a gracious gift to mature power which he had 12:8-9a

(3) Paul concludes that the weakness is better as the channel of God's power 12:9b-10

C. Speaking directly, Paul questions the Corinthians’ attitude toward him, explains his desire to draw them away from sin and its consequences, and exhorts them to by-pass hurt by receiving him as God’s messenger 12:11--13:6

1. Paul directly questions the doubting attitude of the Corinthians toward him in light of his apostleship, respectful treatment of them, and his intentions to invest himself in them 12:11-18

a. Paul directly addresses the Corinthians improper attitude toward him of questioning, rather than commending him for being an apostle who treated them respectfully 12:11-13

1) Paul felt compelled by the questioning spirit of the Corinthians to present the foolishness of his credentials to the Corinthians 12:11a

2) Rather than always questioning him, Paul felt that the Corinthians should have commended him because of his apostleship and respectful treatment of them 12:11b-13

b. When Paul comes to the Corinthians on his third visit, his intention is not to burden them, but to invest himself in them as a father would with a child 12:12-15a

c. Because of Paul’s past dealings, and present plans on behalf of the Corinthians, he questions openly their unfeigned hostility toward him and his message 12:15b-18

1) Paul questions the Corinthians’ lack of love for him in light of his great love for them 12:15b

2) Paul insists that he did not burden, or act deceitfully toward the Corinthians himself, or through any of his fellow-workers 12:16-18

2. Rather than desiring to build himself up, Paul has been defending himself to build up the Corinthians by drawing them away from sin and its consequences to the truth of God 12:19-21

a. Rather than trying to build himself and those with him up, Paul insists that his arguments have been biblical for the purpose of building up those whom he loves--the Corinthians 12:19

b. Paul has been defending himself in hopes of drawing the Corinthians back to the truth so that they may not experience the hurtful consequences of sin 12:20-21

1) One reason Paul has been defending himself is so that neither he nor the Corinthians might have to experience painful surprises about each other 12:20a

2) Another reason Paul has been defending himself is because he desired to end sinful disputing within the church 12:20b

3) Another reason Paul has been defending himself is because he does not desire to be humbled and mournful by continued immorality within the church 12:21

3. Warning of his upcoming exercise of the life-giving power of God towards those who are continuing in sin, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to receive him as a messenger of Christ 13:1-6

a. As Paul has warned in the Past, he once again warns that when he comes on his third visit, he will deal with strength against all who continue to sin 13:1-2

b. Paul’s strong dealings toward the Corinthians’ continuing in sin will be experiential proof of the real strength of Christ which leads to life 13:3-4

1) Paul’s actions will really demonstrate the strength of Christ through him towards them 13:3

2) The power of God is that which turns the weakness and death of sin into life for Christ, Paul and now the Corinthians 13:4

c. By sarcastically reaffirming the faith of the Corinthians, Paul once again exhorts them to receive him as a messenger of Christ 13:5-6

1) In a sarcastic manner Paul exhorts the Corinthians to examine their relationship with Christ--knowing full well that they are believers through his proclamation to them 13:5

2) Paul once again encourages the Corinthians to acknowledge his place among the messengers of the faith 13:6

V. Praying for the Corinthians good, and encouraging them to respond to him so he need not be severe, Paul closes his correspondence by encouraging them to obedience, sending greetings from the saints and praying that they might experience God’s care for them 13:7-14

A. Paul prays for the Corinthians good and explains that he desires for them to have a change of mind so that he does not need to be severe when he comes 13:7-10

1. Because of Paul’s and his companions’ commitment to the truth, they pray for the Corinthians’ good regardless of whether they receive Paul or not 13:7-8

a. Paul prays for the good choices of the Corinthians whether or not they approve of him 13:7

b. Paul’s reason for praying for the Corinthians is that he is committed to the truth and good of the Corinthians even in personal loss 13:8-9

2. Paul’s purpose in writing is so that they may have a change in heart and thus, he may not need to be severe when he comes 13:9

B. Paul closes by encouraging a response of mature, peaceful unity to increase the Corinthians’ relationship with God, sending greetings from the saints, and praying that they might experience the triune God among them 13:11-14


1 Paul desires to encourage the Corinthians to obey his words out of confidence in his apostleship from God.  He develops this encouragement by explaining his change in plans (1--7), exhorting the Corinthians to participate in the offering going to Jerusalem from all of the churches in Macedonia (8--9), and by defending his authority as an apostle (10--13).

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines