X Close Menu
  • Featured Posts
  • Show All Posts

Feeling weak today? Good. Yes, that's right, good! I'm not talking about your weakness for chocolate or alcohol or your weakness for sexual lust or any such thing. The weakness I have in mind is not sin. It has nothing to do with your refusal to obey God or your propensity for jealous rage or greed or your disinclination to forgive someone who betrayed you. The apostle Paul would never boast in wickedness or gladly acquiesce to evil in any form (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9-10). Wea...Read More

God loved the apostle Paul. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated his painful thorn in the flesh and then declined to remove it, notwithstanding Paul's passionate prayer that he be healed. We are not apostles. Yet, as his children, no less so than Paul, God loves us too. We don't know the nature of Paul's thorn, but each of us has undoubtedly suffered in a similar way, and some considerably worse. We, like Paul, have prayed incessantly to be healed. Or perhaps knowing of a l...Read More

Some time ago I met with a former student of mine who was considering leaving his church. One of the leaders had openly slandered him and called his character, as well as his theology, into question. He asked for my advice. Knowing so little of the situation, and not being able to hear the other side of the story, I was reduced to directing his attention to Paul's counsel in Romans 12:18 - "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." We explored ...Read More

I have to admit that at times I find myself losing patience with the Corinthians. In more honest moments, I'm flat out sick of them. Although centuries removed and without ever having met them, I still find them more than a little intolerable. How Paul was able to endure their ingratitude and arrogance, not to mention their suspicion of his integrity and intentions, is beyond me. Here again, in vv. 14-18, we encounter yet another inexcusable and groundless charge agains...Read More

2 Corinthians is a vivid, often painful portrayal of the courage, honesty, and vulnerability of the apostle Paul. More so than in any of his other letters, in 2 Corinthians we hear his heart beat, we feel his passions, we are put in touch with his deepest fears and longings and loves. If one is looking for a paradigm of pastoral sensitivity and strength, of unyielding commitment to truth and purity together with compassion and profound concern for his converts, this is t...Read More

We've had several opportunities in our study of 2 Corinthians to witness the destructive presence in that ancient city of what has been called triumphalism. For the sake of those who may have forgotten what the term means, it has in view, among other things, an over-realized eschatology in which the blessings of the age to come are presumptuously claimed as a spiritual entitlement in the present day. Along with this are an aversion to suffering as something beneath the d...Read More

One of the greatest problems we face in the church today is the number of truly born again believers who struggle with the assurance of their salvation. They are burdened with fears that they may have committed the unpardonable sin or that their daily failures indicate the absence of saving grace. Their consciences are tormented by the lingering memory of a tainted past. Anxiety eats away at their hearts like a corrosive acid. They are desperate for some word that will b...Read More

There are several ways to measure Christian maturity, but perhaps none so revealing as how we respond to the demands of God when we're down. All too often we use our pain to justify sin. We appeal to how badly we've been treated or victimized or point to what we regard as injustice in order to ignore or evade our ethical responsibility. I don't know whether the Corinthians fell prey to this temptation or took the moral high ground, but Paul wasn't about to let them off ...Read More

We have come to the final verse of this remarkable New Testament epistle, and I am faced with a monumental, two-fold, task. On the one hand, I cannot (and do not want to) avoid saying something about the triune portrayal of God that Paul provides. The doctrine of God simply cannot be dismissed as theoretical or irrelevant. We are talking about God, are we not? On the other hand, there is profound practical encouragement to be gained from what Paul says that our great tr...Read More

The day after I wrote the 99th meditation in this series of studies on 2 Corinthians, I was driving north on I-35 from Oklahoma City to Kansas City, a five hour journey. To help pass the time, I decided to listen to the reading of the English Standard Version of the New Testament on CD. It seemed only appropriate that I start with 2 Corinthians. I can't recall how long it took to get through the letter, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of forty-five minutes. As I...Read More