SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul still feels the need to defend himself to the Corinthians. Some in Corinth were saying that Paul was weighty and forceful in his letters but unimpressive in person. Apparently Paul didn’t capture an audience like a professional speaker. Paul’s response to this is a reminder that those people are only looking on the surface of things, and that Paul’s goal is not to tear anybody down but to build everybody up. He ends by talking about boasting and how anyone who boasts about himself is nothing; all boasting should be about God.
- In verse five Paul says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” These are the weapons he’s referring to the prior verse. The kind of fighting Paul is talking about is different than what we see in the world. It takes place on a spiritual level and is about using truth to defeat lies.
- In verse 16 we see Paul's goal - that the gospel (the good news that Jesus came for us and died for us to make us right with God and give us life with Him) be shared with more and more people.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- What gets you more excited and more ready to talk passionately about than anything else? God should be the thing that makes us want to boast. If you don't feel that way, it just means you don't know God well enough yet. Spend more time reading about Him, praying to Him, and singing worship to Him.
- We need to replace lies with truth. We need to do that in our lives, and (graciously) help others to do that in their lives. To do that, we need to be able to recognize what is not true and know God's truth.
- Our goal should be for everyone to hear the gospel in a way they can understand and respond to.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What lies do you believe? Really think about it. Maybe you believe some lies about what will make you happy? Or about what God is like? Or about how to do relationships? Or about the purpose of life? Or of money? -- And, do you know God's Word well enough to expose those lies and replace them with truth? -- What can you do about this?
- Take some time to pray and ask God to impress you with Him, so that He's what you want to boast about, and so your goal is for everyone to know Him.