September 18, 2011

Monday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Monday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 7, 2 Sam. 12:1-15, 2 Cor. 1
Evening - Ps. 4, 8, Mt. 1:18

Commentary
2 Corinthians 1

Written from Philippi around 57 A.D. by the Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians is a follow up to first Corinthians. The Corinthians Church had seriously compromised the Christian faith. Attempting to combine it with pagan ideas and practices, they had made personal experience the goal of being a Christian. Though the power to heal and tell the future were prized experiences, and, consequently, usually faked, the most sought after experience was speaking in tongues. Tongues, the Corinthians believed, was THE SIGN that a person was filled with the Holy Spirit. They believed the gift of tongues needed to be sought through prayer and fasting, and, perhaps a little help from drugs and alcohol. These ideas were prevalent in the local pagan religions, and were brought into the Church by new converts. The church leadership was unable to stop their influx, and soon the major concern of the majority of the membership was having as many ecstatic, tongues experiences as they could work themselves into, for in their view, the more experiences one had, the closer one obviously was to God. Paul spent most of 1 Corinthians dealing with this issue, and we learn from it that Corinth was not the model church, as many today believe. It was a church in deep theological and practical error and most of what we learn from it is what not to do or believe in church.

In spite of their errors the Corinthians seem to have been willing to suffer the wrath of their neighbors for becoming Christians. Paul says they endure the same sufferings he endures (2 Cor. 1:6-7). He refers to the suffering mentioned in verses 4-6 and 8-10 which Paul endured for the sake of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. He points out that God has comforted him in his troubles, and that his afflictions have made him better able to comfort others who suffer.

Verses 15-16 tell of Paul's intent to re-visit Corinth, which, apparently did not happen. The Apostle is concerned that the people know it was not because he had deceived them, but because other considerations prevented him from accomplishing his plans ((17-19), and this was the providence of God which worked for the benefit of the Corinthians (20-24).