STUDY II Corinthians
1:12-24 (click here for notes)
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us justas we will boast of you in the day of the Lord.
Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, ys," and "No, no"?
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. (NIV)
Paul's Plans Changed
Paul begins his explanation for his change of plans by reminding the Corinthians that he has always related to them "in the holiness and sincerity that are from God." The word "holiness" has to do with a person being dedicated to God's service and being enabled to live a Godly life by the power of the Holy Spirit (see "Holiness" in New Bible Dictionary, Inter-Varsity Press).
1. What would Paul's "holiness" and "sincerity" look like to the Corinthians, and why did he refer to these attributes as a way of arguing against the false claims about him? (see also 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Matthew 7:28-29)
2. Paul also states that he has related to the Corinthians "not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace." How does one differentiate between "worldly wisdom" and "God's grace"? (see 1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:2-16)
3. About what will Paul boast concerning the Corinthians "in the day of the Lord Jesus," and what does he want them to be able to boast about him? (see 2 Corinthians 3:1-6)
"Yes" in Christ
4. As Paul is explaining his change of plans to the Corinthians he says he does not say "Yes" and "No" at the same time. What does he mean by asking if he makes plans "in a worldly manner"? (see 2 Corinthians 10:2-5; 11:18; Romans 12:2)
5. Paul defends the reliability of his own word by segueing into explaining that they should understand his integrity because they know the faithfulness of Jesus who is the focus of his teachings. When Paul says, "God is faithful," what exactly does that mean? (see Isaiah 49:7; 1 Corinthians 1:7-9; Philippians 1:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Hebrews 10:23; 11:11-12)
6. Jesus, Paul asserts, has never been "Yes" and "No," but "in him it has always been 'Yes'." God's promises, he continues, are all "Yes" in Christ. What are some of God's promises which are "Yes" in Christ? (see Romans 15:8-9; Genesis 12:2-3;Isaiah 9:6-7; 32:1-2; 58:11; 61:6; 65:1; Jeremiah 33:33-34; John 1:12, 17-18; 3:15-17; 5:24; 11:25; Acts 11:42-46; Ephesians 1:12-13; 2:8-10; 1 John 3:21-24; Revelation 22:7)
7. "Amen" means "it is true" or "so be it." In what context was "Amen" used historically? (see Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 1 Chronicles 16:36; Nehemiah 8:6; Psalm 106:48)
8. In what context will "Amen" be used in the future? (see Revelation 5:14; 7:12)
9. Using these references from the Old Testament and the prophecies of the future as a guide, what does Paul mean when he says, "And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God"? (see also Romans 15:8-11)
10. What does it look like when Christ-followers "stand firm"? (see 1 Corinthians 16:13)
11. Paul reminds the Corinthians of God's special claim on their lives by using three phrases: anointing, seal of ownership, and his Spirit as a guarantee. What are God's anointing and his seal of ownership? (see 1 John 2:10, 27; Ephesians 1:13-14)
12. Of what is the Holy Spirit a guarantee? (see 2 Corinthians 5:4-5; Philippians 3:20-21)
13. Why do you think Paul reminds the Corinthians of God's gift of the Holy Spirit by using three different metaphors: anointing, seal of ownership, and guarantee?
14. Whom do you know whose authenticity and sincerity confirm God's word to you?
15. In what circumstances have insincerity deceived or disillusioned you?
16. How can you tell the difference between a person of integrity and a person who is only externally pious?
17. In what ways do you or do you not "speak the 'Amen' " to the glory of God?
18. To what are God's anointing and seal of ownership calling you?
19. In what areas of your life is God calling you to truth and integrity?
20. Ask God to reveal to you the inconsistency or insincerity that is
hidden in your heart. Ask him to make that part of you new and whole with
his Holy Spirit. Let his Spirit bathe your heart with his love and forgiveness,
and ask him to be your light and your strength as you begin to walk more
deeply in truth.
Copyright (c) 2002 Graphics Studio, Redlands,
CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted February 2, 2002.