STUDY II Corinthians
4:13-18 (click here for notes)
It is written: "I believed; therefor I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)
Believe and Speak
"It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken,' " Paul quotes as he concludes his discussion of being persecuted, crushed, perplexed, and struck down-but not destroyed.
1. Read Psalm 116:7-11 to find the original psalm to which Paul refers. Using the context of the psalm, why might Paul have quoted this particular saying of David in this place in his letter to the Corinthians?
2. How are "belief" and "speaking" related?
3. Paul identifies with David's "spirit of faith." How can Paul compare or equate his spirit of faith with David's when Paul is living in the new covenant, and David was living under the old? (see 1 Corinthians 12:9; Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11)
Raised With Jesus-Now and Future
"We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence," Paul asserts. (v.14)
4. In what way is this declaration true for every Christ-follower when he or she is born again? (see Romans 6:5-14; 8:10-11; Ephesians 2:6; 1:3-4; Colossians 1:22)
5. How is this declaration expanded for Christ-followers in the future? (see 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-22; Jude 24)
6. What is the grace "reaching more and more people"? (see 2 Peter; 2 Cor. 6:1; John 1:14)
7. What makes this grace noteworthy, and why does Paul include it in this discussion of the new covenant as compared to the old? (see John 1:17)
The Unseen Outweighs the Seen
"Therefore," Paul says, "we do not lose heart."
8. "Therefore" means "because of these things." What keeps Paul from losing heart? (see also v.1)
9. Based on Paul's statements previously in this chapter, what (besides age) is causing him (and others) to waste away?
10. What is the inward renewal Paul says is going on day by day? (see Romans 7:22; 12:2; Psalm 103:1-5; Isaiah 40: 28-31; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10)
11. How can Paul call his suffering "light and momentary troubles", and what is the eternal glory that far outweighs these sufferings? (see Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:13-14; 5:1; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 21:2-7)
12. "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." What does it mean to look at something unseen? (see 2 Cor. 5:7; Romans 8:22-25; Hebrews 11:1)
13. In the context of this chapter, what are the temporary things we can see, and what is unseen but eternal? (see 2 Cor. 5:1; 21; 1 Cor. 15:51-56; Revelation 21:2, 27)
14. How has your belief influenced your speaking, or has it?
15. In what ways have you observed the resurrection power of Jesus at work in your life?
16. What persistent habits or personality traits is God bringing to your attention that need the inward renewal of which Paul speaks?
17. In what way(s) are you struggling with losing heart?
17. In what way(s) do you behave that cause others to question your true surrender to Jesus?
18. What criticisms or demands in your life cause you to question or doubt God's call and empowering of you?
19. In what ways have you been living by determination and hard work instead of by faith?
20. Ask God to show you how the buffeting in your life is his revelation to you of ways he wants you to grow. Ask him to teach you to surrender to him the criticisms and difficult people who threaten you or cause you to doubt God's call on your life. Ask Jesus to give you the humility to acknowledge the ways in which you live by your fear or your wits instead of by faith. Ask him to help you to know and admit the truth he wants you to know about yourself, and ask him for his love to strengthen you to surrender to him your fear of loss and humiliation and misunderstanding. Ask him to be everything you need.
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CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted April 6, 2002.