My usual habit for reading the bible on a daily basis is following the One Year Bible. This month covers 2 Corinthians, which I will study and make notes on, sharing them here with you. With only a few days left in August, here is an introduction to my September theme: 'Walking in New Covenant'.
After securing new believers and spending 18 months establishing the church in Corinth, Paul finds himself needing to defend his ministry. This has come about from some, who have 'poo-pooed' his apostleship. Quite a slap in the face considering the sacrifices Paul made to reach them.
This rise in malicious discontent was the result of guest speakers in the church. They had come with their own recommendations, bragging about their spectacular ministry (5:12). Obviously communicating with fervor and lavish word smithing, the Greeks (hungry for 'wisdom' and flashy performances- 10:7) were swept off their feet. However, it was towards a gospel that Paul describes as 'false' (11:13-15) and he bluntly describes them as 'hucksters' out to make money (2:17).
The gospel Paul had preached was sinking in a rip-tide of human effort, spiritual pride and rally's around glamorous 'super apostles' (as Paul sarcastically labels them). The fruit that Paul had laboured to bear was at risk of rotting, if he didn't tackle undermining influences.
In a nutshell, if the new covenant is perverted, those who hear it and believe, will not be saved.
In defending his apostleship and personal integrity, Paul would also need to defend the message they first heard.
If they could understand the difference between REAL GOOD NEWS, and seemingly good news... they would understand the difference between REAL apostleship and 'worldly' self-inflation (10:11).
To give an idea of what the Corinthian church had manufactured or imagined, here's a list of dropped hints from Paul's letter: He...
1. ... 'robbed' other churches by receiving their financial support (11:8)
2. ... writes deceptive or confusing letters (1:12-13)
3. ... is indecisive and wavering in faith (1:17-21)
4. ... is a boaster (5:12).
5. ... is bold in writing but timid in person and acts from human motives (10:1)
6. ... is an imposter (6:8)
7. ... is an ineffective communicator in speech (9:10)
8. ... is inferior to the newly branded 'super apostles' (12:11)
9. ... is sneaky, taking advantage of them by trickery (12:16)
10. ... is not a vessel for Christ's words/heart (13:3)
Sadly, this list is not exclusive to the New Testament church. In my years of visiting ministry, I've met many leaders in hurt and battle, being unjustly maligned from inside the church walls.
However, whether the perpetrator is a new testament Greek or modern day Aussie, the solution is the same. TRUTH.
Only new covenant truth can set us free from our old selves; a path that leads us to love God and love others. The new covenant is a radical departure from human wisdom, which Paul will reiterate in the hope of turning the Corinthians (and us at times) towards honour and joy.