Updated 5 Aug 2020
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- Mark 10 - The Rich Young Ruler
- Mark 9 - The Transfiguration
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2 Corinthians 10
In this chapter, the apostle Paul is responding to criticism of his ministry. He teaches about the divine power of the weapons of spiritual warfare and expresses his hope to take the Gospel to places where it has not yet been heard.
Humility and Gentleness
The basis of Paul's defence is his humility and gentleness. Paul is handling the accusations against him, not with anger and defiance but with firm teaching. His humility and gentleness were very much seen in Christ Himself and we know that Jesus was falsely accused on many occasions.
The suggestion from Paul's accusers was that in his letters he was very bold but, in face to face confrontation, he was very timid. Of course, it was easy for people who lacked integrity to despise his humility, but Paul was committed to consistent Christian living and he would not compromise that. He would always be the same person, whatever the circumstances, because he wanted to please God, not men.
The criticisms that Paul faced did not simply come from people. They were actually spiritual battles. Disobedience and false accusations are characteristics of the devil and they need to be defeated by using the weapons of spiritual warfare. Having a state of mind that was wholly committed to Christ, Paul talks about demolishing strongholds, arguments and pretensions, so as to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. His responses to different situations were always to know the will of God and then to act responsibly. However, if there were attitudes and ways of thinking that were contrary to being obedient to Christ, he would challenge them strongly.
Belonging to Christ
Paul speaks about the foolishness of those who commend themselves. He declares that such people, who measure themselves by their own standards, are not wise and he will not compare himself to them. Paul always looked to Jesus and he did not want to exaggerate or understate what it meant for him to belong to Christ. He taught with the goal of bringing maturity to the Body of Christ and his ministry was always aimed at helping people to grow in their faith and love for Jesus.
Paul was not looking for power or control. When his work with a church was finished, he was happy to move on. He inspired churches to reach out to others and sought to go to places where the Gospel had not yet been preached. His desire was neither to boast about himself, nor to make claims concerning what others had done. Today, we would say he was not an 'empire builder'. Paul's only boast was about the Lord, not about himself.
The only approval that Paul sought was the approval of God. He did not seek the approval of the Corinthians or anyone else. As he said to the Philippians, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). This is the attitude that he had towards the Corinthians.
Points to Consider:
- How much humility and gentleness are evident in our ministry to others?
- Are we alert to discern when a battle is spiritual rather than just physical?
- What does it mean to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ?
- Are we guilty of using our own standards to commend ourselves?
- Do we boast about our achievements, or about what Jesus has done for us?
- Are we possessive of our ministry, or are we willing to move on to regions beyond?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 10
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