STUDY II Corinthians
13:1-14 (click here for
This will be my third visit to you. "Every mater must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealilng with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority-the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (NIV)
Paul concludes this letter with final warnings before his third visit to the Corinthians. He warns them that he will be decisive in dealing with those who are unrepentant in their sins when he arrives. By quoting a law from Deuteronomy regarding the need for at least two or three witnesses to establish blame, he clarifies that he will be fair, but he will also be just and proactive.
1. What is Paul saying to the Corinthians by quoting Deuteronomy 19:15?
2. Paul is about to make his third visit to this church, a visit he had postponed earlier. How is his attitude toward them different from his attitude at the time he postponed his visit? (compare v. 2 with 1:23)
3. What accounts for this attitude change?
4. Why were the Corinthians now, after Paul had lived with them and preached the gospel to them, demanding proof that Christ was speaking through him? (see 2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:6-7; 1 Corinthians 1:17)
5. What does it mean to have Christ speaking through one? (see Matthew 10:19-20; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; 2 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6)
6. In verse 3, Paul juxtaposes the Corinthians' demand for proof that Christ speaks through him with the statement that Jesus is not weak but is powerful among them. What is Paul saying about his role among them by making this association? (see 1 Corinthians 1:1; 3:6-7; 2 Corinthians 2:14-173:3; 12:11-12)
Passing the Test
7. In verse 2, Paul says he "will not spare those who sinned earlier" when he comes if they are unrepentant. In verse 4, he says that by God's power he lives with Christ to serve the Corinthians. What is Paul saying about the role and importance of discipline in this passage?
8. Paul counters the false apostles' agitating that the Corinthians demand proof that Christ speaks through him by telling them to examine themselves instead. Why is such self-examination crucial? (1 Corinthians 11:28-32; Lamentations 3:40)
9. In verse 7, what underlies Paul's desire that these spiritual children of his do what is right?
10. As an apostle of Jesus, Paul cannot exercise his authority in any way execpt in support of the gospel. What implications does this fact suggest if Paul should come to Corinth and find the people unrepentant?
11. What exactly does Paul mean when he says he is glad whenever he is weak? (see 12:9-10)
12. What is the "perfection" which Paul will pray that the Corinthians attain? (see Ephesians 4:11-13)
13. Paul ends with an appeal that the Corinthians live in peace and honor each other. What is signiuficant about the form of verse 14, the last senentce of this letter?
14. What specific aspects of our salvation do the three persons of the Trinity provide?
15. What characteristics of true Christian leadership and discipling can we learn from this last chapter of 2 Corinthians?
16. What are the main points you learned from your study of 2 Corinthians?
17. When you examine yourself, do you pass the test of being surrendered to Jesus and responsive to the Holy Spirit?
18. In what area of your life is Jesus asking you to exercise Godly authority in a manner supportive of the gospel?
19. What is the area of weakness in your life with which God is dealing with you now, asking you to submit to him and to allow his strength to be made perfect in that spot?
20. What people (or person) is God placing in your life whom you must hold accountable as you direct or redirect them to the gospel?
21. Ask God to show you the areas of your life you need to surrender to him. Ask him to fill you with the Holy Spirit and his power. Ask him to give you his authority and his boldness to speak truth and to be unwavering in your commitment to his discipline and love. Praise God for calling you to himself and for giving you his work and his power to do it!
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