September 19, 2011

Tuesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Tuesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 16, 2 Sam. 12:15-23, 2 Cor. 2
Evening - Ps. 13, 14, Mt. 2:1-12

Commentary
2 Cor. 2

The name, "Second Corinthians" implies that there is also a "First Corinthians." It also implies a link between the two. Certainly 2 Corinthians is a follow up to the first epistle, in which Paul chastised the church for theological, practical, and moral errors. Their primary error made an ecstatic experience the center of Christian faith and worship. Doctrine and morality became meaningless in this setting. All that mattered was that one had the experience and had it often. The more one had it, the more "spiritual" one was considered. So the experience became the "be all, end all" of Christianity, and they spared no effort working themselves into such an emotional frenzy they lost control of their mouths and babbled meaningless noises. Drugs and alcohol were often used to induce this altered mental state, which may partly explain why they were getting drunk at the Lord's Table.

First Corinthians was a stern rebuke of their errors. Having received the first letter from Paul, the church did some house cleaning and made a valiant effort to return to the Apostolic faith and order. In this morning's reading Paul urges the church to make equally thorough efforts to bring the erring ones back into full fellowship of the congregation. This can only be done if they confess and repent of their sin and false religion, but those who will are to be received in full membership of the church (3-11)

Verses 12-17 refer to Paul's concern for the Corinthians as he continued his duties in Macedonia during his third missionary trip. Paul had previously spent two years in Corinth, founding the church there around the year 52 A.D. Having invested that much of his life into it, he was naturally concerned to see it prosper in the true faith. These verses tell of his concern, saying he found no rest in his spirit because he had no word from Corinth through Titus. After receiving word of the Corinthian house cleaning he wrote 2 Corinthians, and it is in that context that he penned the words in verses 14-17 thanking God for the victory in Corinth.