BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
PAUL DEFENDS HIS AUTHORITY
2 Corinthians 10
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “meekness” or “gentleness” is “epieikeia” (ep-ee-i-ki-ah, and it is a tool or strategy used by one who wishes to bring a situation to a productive, peaceful ending or outcome. It calls for one to be thoughtful and considerate in his or her approach to a peaceful solution.
The Apostle Paul had often been accused of being, both, too bold, and, too timid. He was regularly accused of being too harsh in his writings, and yet, too timid in person (v.1). However, when doing the work that CHRIST calls us to do, it calls for both “meekness” and “boldness”, but with an equitable balance, or compassion, that will not add fuel to the fires of disagreement.
In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul attempts to make a very difficult transition to the topic which he intentionally reserved for last. The final four chapters of this second letter to the Corinthians is believed by some scholars to be from a different letter that was probably written, either earlier, or perhaps later, because now, he seems to begin to engage in a direct, unavoidable confrontation with those in the Corinthian church who oppose his authority in CHRIST.
False teaching, and false teachers, must be confronted and challenged openly, so as they don’t steal the hearts of those seekers of GOD, who are yet vulnerable to satan, because of their lack of knowledge in CHRIST. These teachers must be cut off from the Christian Church and kept from filling the hearts of potential Christians with their own personal, tainted doctrine.
Wherever false teaching occurs, seeds of doubt in the truth are planted in the hearts of mankind. Paul realized that it is no small thing to allow such spiritual infidelity to exist and persist in the Church of CHRIST JESUS. And so here, his letter makes a severe shift from talking about the benevolent collection of funds for the Mother Church at Jerusalem, to the more delicate subject of devotion to CHRIST, and the upholding of HIS teachings.
While we may be human, we are not waging war against a human enemy, and so our human ingenuity (human plans and methods) are useless (Vs.3). Only the plan of GOD can liberate us from the clutches of satan, and allow us to overcome the gravitational pull of this world the way JESUS did. When JESUS, in a 100% human body, was ready to begin HIS ministry of doing spiritual battle with satan, HE had to first be empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-3, & John 1:32-34), and it is the same with us. We can’t wage a physical battle with a spiritual enemy, and so, as I always say, there is no room in the Christian Church for “human ingenuity”.
It is a must that we use GOD’S mighty weapons, that are incorporated in HIS Word, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. When we do so, we can break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing GOD (v.4). With these weapons we can conquer man’s rebellious ideas, and, at one and the same time, teach ourselves how to obey CHRIST, and those who remain disobedient, will be punished (v.5).
Like most people, the Corinthians made their decisions based on appearance. Paul, in their minds, did not look the part. He was diminutive in statue, and by his own admission he was not an eloquent speaker like, say, Apollos was. He was also battered and scarred from the many beatings and persecutions he had suffered for teaching the truth about CHRIST JESUS.
For these and other reasons, Paul, many times, found himself having to spend a great deal of time defending himself against doubters of who he was, before he could address those who doubted the teachings of CHRIST, and WHO HE is. In fact, sometimes he came off as being a “bragger” about his authority in CHRIST, because he had to repeat himself in his own defense, over and over again.
However, Paul assured the Church at Corinth that, despite his weak and battered appearance he was a strong man of GOD, whose teachings were meant to build them up, not tear them down, and Paul assured them that he would not be put to shame by having his work among them destroyed by false teachers (Vs.7-8).
The struggle of the Christian leader is to resist the temptation to incorporate his or her own human ingenuity into GOD’s plan for the church, and, for the Christian community. Oftentimes, after a pastor makes a name for himself, he begins to errantly focus on what they perceive to be their own greatness, and lose themselves in the idea of how wonderful they are, as opposed to how wonderful GOD is. They begin to compare themselves to each other, and consult each other regarding their plans, not GOD’s plan, for the Church (v.12).
To be validated by the world is an abomination to GOD. To be validated by GOD is an abomination to the world. The goal of the true Christians is to stay within the boundaries of GOD’s plans for us. We must trust GOD’s provisions, trust GOD’s protection, and trust GOD’s plan for us, which in part, is to evangelize the world, making disciples of men. And the greatest way we can do that is by showing the world, through our behavior, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. We must not let the world define us, but rather, we must abide with GOD’s definitions of what is best for us and the world that HE created.
And so boasting about ourselves and the successes that we think we have achieved in ministry on our own is ridiculous and pointless. It is only when the LORD approves and validates us that we are truly successful. We can’t take credit for achievements GOD has made possible through us. As our faith grows, so does our success in doing GOD’s work. And so, the person who wishes to boast can only boast of what GOD has done with them, through them, and, for them (Vs.13-18).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website