Paul’s Footsteps #156

Footsteps #156

After Paul left Corinth, spiritual termites got into the church and began to undermine the foundation he had laid. We have previously discussed the disunity that developed. While First Corinthians apparently resolved a number of the issues in the church, a new and potentially more dangerous threat soon raised its ugly head. It came in the form of new leaders who drew the congregation away from their personal loyalty to Paul and to the truth he had so faithfully proclaimed. When Paul heard about this threat, he left Ephesus and made an emergency visit to Corinth, referred to in 2 Cor. 2:1 as a “painful visit.” Things did not go well, for it seems that some of the leaders defied Paul to his face and the congregation refused to stand up for him. He returned to Ephesus and wrote another letter, his third (also not preserved for us), to which he refers in 2 Cor. 2:4: “I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears.” Leaving Ephesus Paul went north to Troas and eventually back across the Aegean to Macedonia (northern Greece), where he received the news from Titus that the Corinthians, at least in part, had repented and reaffirmed their loyalty to Paul (see2Cor.7:6-7). This news obviously encouraged Paul, but he was also discerning enough to know that the church was not yet out of danger, and so he wrote 2nd Corinthians, actually his fourth letter to them that we know of, to announce his intention of making a third visit to Corinth, “Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you.”(12:14). In this letter he vigorously defends his apostleship and his pastoral care for the congregation against the attacks of his detractors. At the same time, he provides profound insight for all of us as to how to go against the grain instead of just adopting the culture around us. Now with that as introductory information from the salutation of the letter. Why should we study 2Corinthians? There is a great deal to learn from this letter today.

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