Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21 - 2 Corinthians 11

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Corinthians 11. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul continues the defense of himself he started in Chapter 10.
  • Paul views himself as a kind of "spiritual father" to the Corinthians. He feels like it's his job to watch out for them, and he fears that they are being led astray. 
  • Paul compares the Corinthian Christians to an unfaithful bride, and then to Eve, from the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, when she disobeys God and eats the forbidden fruit (see Genesis 3). Just like Eve the Corinthians have been deceived and were following false teachers. They cared more about credentials, power, and eloquence than they did the real truth of God.
  • Paul "lowers" himself to boasting about his own credentials to make a point. He explains that he is full of knowledge, has never taken a penny from them, and that his suffering and weakness are proof that his life is truly lived for God. Paul is sharing what really proves he is a servant of Jesus.
  • Why did Paul resort to this kind of boasting? Because the Corinthians were being diverted from their sincere devotion to Christ and he was willing to do anything to help them. He wanted to show these "super apostles" for what they were, by explaining what truly reveals a person is serving God.
  • He makes a statement about Satan, stating that he “masquerades as an angel of light.” What Paul means is that the enemy often portrays himself as a messenger from God. He is a "wolf in sheep's clothing." This is why we must closely examine the ideas we hear and the teaching we receive, to make sure it really does align with the truth of God's Word as given to us in the Bible.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We need to know God's Word well enough that we recognize it if someone is trying to deceive us or lead us away from truth.
  • The good news of God is that we get to live life relying on His grace. His grace isn't only what gets us into Heaven in the future; it's what we rely on to get through everyday. That means instead of being ashamed of our weaknesses, or trying to hide or compensate for our weaknesses, we can be proud of and boast in them. Why? Because they force us to rely on God all the more.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • God cares about our heart's devotion to him more than eloquent words or fancy resumes. Satan will constantly try to distract us like Eve to shinier, prettier things, but we need to simply hold onto the Word of God and stay strong.
  • The fact that you're doing this Bible study today shows that you are committed to growing in your knowledge of God's Word. Way to go! This will help you to recognize what is not true, and to build your life on what is true. Keep reading the Bible every day!
  • Take joy in the fact that you have a God who loves you perfectly, and who is strong. His strength can come into your weaknesses, which means you can boast in your weaknesses.