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2Corinthians 12:14 – 13:14

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 19, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

Paul had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, during which he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.

Paul’s stay in Ephesus ended abruptly when a riot broke out in the city because of how the Christian revival was affecting the business of those who made idols.

After the riot, Paul headed up north to Macedonia.

The year is AD 56, almost a year after Paul had written his first letter to the Corinthians.

The main issue running throughout the letter is the questioning of Paul’s authority.

12:14-21 Love for the church

:14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

:14 the third time I am ready to come to you

Luke only recorded Paul going to Corinth twice. (Acts 18; 20:2).

Paul is writing in that time period just before that second time.
Some have suggested that sometime between these two times, Paul may have made a “quick trip” that Luke didn’t record, made during the three years that Paul had been headquartered in Ephesus.

It is also possible that Paul only made one actual trip when he wrote this, but that he had actually intended to go an additional time but never made the trip, making this the third time he “was ready” to go.

This intention of going, but not going was one of the things the Corinthians had used to say that Paul wasn’t a guy who kept his promises.
(2 Corinthians 1:17 NLT) You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”?

:14 burdensomekatanarkao – to cause to grow numb or torpid; to weigh heavily upon, be burdensome to

:14 lay upthesaurizo – to gather and lay up, to heap up; to accumulate riches; to keep in store, store up, reserve

:14 I will not be burdensome to you

Paul didn’t wasn’t coming to get stuff from them, he was coming because he wanted to be with them. (“for I do not seek yours, but you”)


Feeding or Fleecing

Some shepherds only care about how much wool they are going to take off the sheep, and would be guilty of neglecting the feeding and well-being of their flock.
Those shepherds are intent on only “fleecing” the flock instead of “feeding” the flock.
Paul described his relationship with the Corinthians as if they were his kids, and he was their dad.
At least until the parents get much older and are cared for by their children, the general principle is that parents take care of their kids.
Video:  How to Dad – Cheerios

Paul sees the Corinthians as his “kids”, and he’s not out to expect them to take care of him, but he will take care of them.

When you are in a position of ministry, you need to be careful what your goal is in ministry.
Some folks start off okay, but then slide into a bad place.
It’s not hard to start thinking that the people are there “for you”.

It might be that they think the people are there to pay their salary.

It might be that they think that their self-worth is bound up in what kind of recognition they might get from the people.

In the early church there was a problem with certain wandering “prophets” who would go from church to church, giving prophesies and expecting the church to support them.
So the early church devised a test for telling whether a man be a true prophet or not.  The test was that if a man came to your church and said, “Thus saith the Lord, you shall give me a loaf of bread”, then that man was a false prophet.
Peter wrote,
(1 Peter 5:1–3 NLT) —1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.
Ministry needs to be “others” centered, not self-centered.
Ministry ought to be about what you are doing for others, how you are serving them, and now how your own needs are being met.

:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

:15 spenddapanao – to incur expense, expend, spend

:15 be spentekdapanao – to exhaust by expending, to spend wholly, use up; to spend one’s self wholly

The more Paul does for them, the less he is loved back.

:16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning!

:16 burdenkatabareo – to press down by an imposing weight; to weigh down

:16 craftypanourgos – skillful, clever

:16 cunningdolos – craft, deceit, guile

:16 I caught you by cunning

A little more of Paul’s sarcasm.

It’s possible that Paul is quoting his enemies here.  They may have said that Paul hadn’t been accepting support from the Corinthians because he was planning on keeping the “offering for Jerusalem” for himself.

:17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you?

:17 sentapostello – to order (one) to go to a place appointed

:17 take advantagepleonekteo – to gain or take advantage of another, to overreach

It comes from the word for “greed”, pleonektes, “to have or want more”.

:18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

:19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.

:18 take advantagepleonekteo – to gain or take advantage of another, to overreach

It comes from the word for “greed”, pleonektes, “to have or want more”.

:18 Did we not walk in the same steps


The Imitation Game

stepsichnos – a footprint, track, footstep; of imitating the example of any one
We all tend to imitate or walk in the footsteps of someone who seems ahead of us.  The question is, “whose footsteps”?
The word is used two other times in the NT including

(Romans 4:12 NKJV) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

(1 Peter 2:21 NKJV) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

In His Mother's Steps
A mom (Davida Dalton) writes:

It was a busy day in our Costa Mesa, California home. But then, with 10 children and one on the way, every day was a bit hectic. On this particular day, however, I was having trouble doing even routine chores-all because of one little boy.

Len, who was three at the time, was on my heels no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him. Several times, I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied. “Wouldn’t you like to play on the swing set?” I asked again.

But he simply smiled an innocent smile and said, “Oh, that’s all right, Mommy. I’d rather be in here with you.” Then he continued to bounce happily along behind me.

After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose my patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at me with sweet green eyes and said, “Well, Mommy, in preschool my teacher told me to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. But I can’t see him, so I’m walking in yours.”

Whose footsteps are you walking in?  Who might be walking in your footsteps?
Paul is reminding the Corinthians that he and the fellows he had sent to Corinth all walked in the same footsteps.
None of them had tried to take advantage or act out of greed with the Corinthians, and they knew it.

:19 excuseapologeomai – to defend one’s self, make one’s defense

:20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;

:21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

:20 contentionseris – contention, strife, wrangling

:20 jealousieszelos – excitement of mind; an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy

:20 outbursts of wraththumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again

:20 selfish ambitionseritheia – electioneering or intriguing for office; a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts

(Philippians 2:3–4 NKJV) —3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

(James 3:14–16 NKJV) —14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

:20 backbitingskatalalia (“against” + “words”) – defamation, evil speaking

:20 whisperingspsithurismos – a whispering, i.e. secret slandering; of the magical murmuring of a charmer of snakes

An example of onomatopoeia, where the word sounds like what it describes.

:20 conceitsphusiosis – a puffing up of soul, loftiness, pride

:20 tumultsakatastasia – instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion

:21 who have sinned beforeproamartano – to sin before; of those who before receiving baptism had been guilty of the vices especially common among the Gentiles

:21 uncleannessakatharsia – uncleanness

:21 fornicationporneia – illicit sexual intercourse; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

:21 lewdnessaselgeia – unbridled lust, excess, no sexual moral restraint, shamelessness

:21 sinned before and have not repented

Paul is concerned that he is going to be embarrassed or “humbled” because his children (the Corinthians) have not turned out very well.

Look again at this list (vs. 20-21) of issues in the Corinthian church.

(2 Corinthians 12:20–21 NIV) —20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

(2 Corinthians 12:20–21 NLT) —20 For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. 21 Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.


Time to change

Paul is warning them that he is indeed coming for a visit and he is hoping that things have changed.
On Sunday we read what John the Baptist said to the people who were coming to be baptized.
(Luke 3:8 NKJV) Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…

The point is, don’t just talk about change, don’t just be sad that you’re not where you want to be, actually turn around.

I think that older believers can find ourselves too comfortable to pay attention to what God might be leading us to do.
Video:  Comfort - OneTimeBlind

13:1-6 Coming with Authority

:1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

:1 the third time I am coming to you

See comments above on 12:14)

:1 two or three witnesses

What do you do when you hear that someone is doing bad things?

When confronting sin, it’s not wise to just listen to one person’s ideas, but to seek more “witnesses”.

(Deuteronomy 19:15 NKJV) “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.

Paul applied the principle to Timothy this way.

(1 Timothy 5:19 NKJV) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

Jesus applied the principle this way.

(Matthew 18:15–17 NKJV) —15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

:2 I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—

:3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.

:2 being absentapeimi – to go away, depart

:2 those who have sinned beforeproamartano – to sin before; of those who before receiving baptism had been guilty of the vices especially common among the Gentiles

(2 Corinthians 12:21 NKJV) —21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

:2 sparepheidomai – to spare; to abstain

:2 I will not spare

Paul is warning them that he isn’t going to go easy on those who haven’t repented when he comes.

:3 proofdokime – proving, trial; a proof, a specimen of tried worth

:3 you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me

If they want to see how Jesus works through Paul, he will oblige them, but I’m not sure you really want to be asking Paul to do this.

Many years earlier on Paul’s first missionary journey, while travelling across the island of Cyprus, there was a false prophet who tried to oppose Paul while he was witnessing to the governor.  The man ended up blind (Acts 13:6-12)

(Acts 13:6–12 NLT) —6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing. 9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him. 12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

In talking about Jesus…

:4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

:4 we also are weak … shall live

Don’t mistake “weakness” or “meekness” in a person with a lack of God’s power to work.

Jesus displayed weakness when He allowed Himself to be crucified.
Jesus also displayed power when He rose from the dead.

Paul wrote,

(2 Corinthians 12:10b NKJV) …For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Jesus works in our weakness.

:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

:5 Examinepeirazo – to try whether a thing can be done; to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself

:5 testdokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

:6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

:6 I trustelpidzo – to hope; hopefully to trust in

:6 disqualifiedadokimos – not standing the test, not approved

This is the opposite of the word translated “test” in verse 5.

:5 Examine yourselves


Self check

I think you have to be a little bit careful here.
Some of us tend towards being overly critical of ourselves.
Yet I do think it’s a valuable thing for every Christian to check themselves every now and again.
How do I know that I’m saved?

(1 John 5:11–13 NKJV) —11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

Do you believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins?

Have you received Jesus into your life?


How is your life characterized?  Paul wrote,

(Galatians 5:19–21 NKJV) —19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What are you practicing in your life?

As John said, are you bringing forth the “fruits of repentance”?

Are you working at changes in your life?

The issue isn’t whether you’ve achieved perfection and have stopped sinning altogether.

The issue is are you fighting the fight?  Are you struggling with your sin?  Or are you not all that bothered by it?

13:7-10 Paul prefers gentleness

:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.

:7 I prayeuchomai – to pray to God; to wish, to pray, to pray for

:7 evilkakos – of a bad nature; troublesome, injurious, destructive

:7 approveddokimos – accepted, particularly of coins and money.

:7 honorablekalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

:7 disqualifiedadokimos – not standing the test, not approved

:7 I pray to God that you do no evil

Paul doesn’t want them to do good things just so he looks better.

He wants them to do good things because that’s what’s best for them.

:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

:8 do nothing against the truth

truthaletheia – what is true in any matter under consideration

(2 Corinthians 13:8 NLT) For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth.

A.T. Robertson:  “He is no Jonah who lamented when Ninevah repented.”

Chuck:  Paul knew that the truth about himself would be revealed in time and the liars exposed.

Unfortunately, damage is sometimes done before the truth is known.

:9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.

:9 we are gladchairo – to rejoice, be glad

:9 be made completekatartisis – a strengthening, perfecting of the soul; a training, disciplining, instructing

:9 that you may be made complete

(2 Corinthians 13:9 NLT) We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature.

His goal is that the Corinthians grow up.  If it costs Paul his reputation, he doesn’t care.  Just as long as the Corinthians are growing in Jesus.

:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

:10 sharpnessapotomos – abruptly; sharply, severely, curtly

:10 authorityexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; physical and mental power; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

:10 destructionkathairesis – a pulling down, destruction, demolition

Authority should not be about destroying people or pulling them down.

It should be all about building them up.

13:11-14 Farewell Benediction

:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

:12 Greetaspadzomai – to draw to one’s self; to salute one, greet

A salutation was made not merely by a slight gesture and a few words, but generally by embracing and kissing, a journey was retarded frequently by saluting.

:12 kissphilema – a kiss; the kiss with which, as a sign of fraternal affection, Christians were accustomed to welcome or dismiss their companions in the faith

:12 holyhagios – set apart, holy, pure

I remember when I was young how excited us young men were to stumble across this verse, until you look at the word “holy”

:13 All the saints greet you.

:13 greetaspadzomai – to draw to one’s self; to salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to; to receive joyfully, welcome

:13 saintshagios – set apart, holy, pure

:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

:14 grace - charis

:14 loveagape

:14 communionkoinonia

:14 Jesus … God … Holy Spirit

Note Paul’s use of the trinity here.

Now back to…

:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

:11 farewellchairo – to rejoice, be glad; to be well, thrive; in salutations, hail!

This may be simply “farewell”, but it is an imperative like the next four verbs.

Maybe it would better to translate this as “Rejoice”.

:11 Become completekatartizo – to render sound, complete; to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair; to complete; make one what he ought to be

Also an imperative, a command.

This is what Paul “prayed” for back in verse 9, that they be complete.

The NLT translates it “grow to maturity”

Now he tells them to grow up.

Growing up isn’t simply something you pray for, it’s something you take steps to do.

:11 Be of good comfortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.

The verb is passive, and an imperative.

Present passive imperative

Or, “Be encouraged”

Sometimes we don’t want to be encouraged.  Sometimes we don’t want to receive comfort.
Sometimes we’d rather stay in our pity party and wallow in our sorrow.
Paul commands them to receive encouragement or comfort.

:11 be of one mind

Or, “be of the same mind”, another command.

Paul used the same words in:

(Philippians 2:2 NKJV) fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

He also wrote the same thing to the Romans:

(Romans 12:16 NKJV) Be of the same mind toward one another…

The longstanding problem in Corinth was the divisions in the church.

He’s encouraging them to get on the same page with each other.

:11 live in peaceeireneuo – to make peace; to cultivate or keep peace, harmony; to be at peace

Again, this is a command.

Paul used the same word in:

(Romans 12:18 NKJV) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
It’s not always possible, but when you can, do your part of making peace with people.

:11 the God of love and peace will be with you

The verb is a future indicative, not a command.

This is not a wish of Paul’s for them.
This is the result of what happens when you do the things he just mentioned.


God’s love and peace

It seems to me that Paul is laying out a path for the Corinthians to experience God’s love and peace in their lives.
1) Rejoice
Too often we find our joy in our circumstances.
Work at finding your joy in your relationship with God.

(Philippians 4:4 NKJV) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

2) Grow up
Are you growing in your walk with God or have you just settled for things as they are?
Make an effort to seek God.

Make an effort to hear God’s voice.

Make an effort to obey God and put His ways into practice.

3) Be encouraged
Some of us get stuck in our negative thinking.

Let others encourage you.

Don’t just use your old excuses that “they don’t understand”.

Let God encourage you.

Work at receiving it.
4) Cultivate Unity
Be careful of becoming part of things that would divide Christians.
Sometimes it’s a negative criticism or fear about another person.
Work at getting along with others.
Be careful of thinking that you (or we) are better than others.
5) Practice peace
Video:  Skittles Settle It

I wish settling things between people were as simple as arm wrestling, but it’s usually a little more work than that.

It’s not always possible to live in peace with people, but you don’t have to be the one that’s always stirring things up either.