Monday, August 09, 2010

The New Testament in a Year: 2 Corinthians 7-11

For my own personal study, I am using a combination of tools. These include listening to an audio version of the Bible (TNIV) and a series of commentaries in addition to the text itself. I recognize that not everyone will have access to these materials. I can at least provide a link to the Biblical text itself. For this purpose, I've found that is a very useful tool. Not only does it include the TNIV, which enables me to link to the same text as what I'm listening to with the audio version, but one can easily switch to another translation (if one so desires) simply by using the drop-down menus. I hope that this is helpful.

This week, I am working through 2 Corinthians, chapters 7-11.

Chapter 7

  • It seems clear that, although Paul has been distressed by some of the issues he has been admonishing the Corinthians about throughout this letter, his relationship with them remains strong, and it remains important to him.  If there were criticisms before, they are balanced out by compliments here.
Chapter 8
  • Verses 1-9 - Of course, it all seems more than a little passive-aggressive when that buttering up is followed up so quickly by "see how generously these people, who are rather poor, have given.  Now I want to test to you to see how well you give!"
  • Verse 13-15 - Of course, it probably also seems passive-aggressive of me to suggest the obvious implications of this passage for how churches should give to their denominations today, but so be it.  In theory, denominational giving structures exist to fulfill this same purpose, so that poorer churches may have the same opportunities as wealthier ones.  Obviously, this does not pan out in reality as often as it ought to.  Maybe a wealthier church has doctrinal disagreements with the larger denomination.  But should the poorer churches suffer as a result?
  • Verse 18 (and 22) - Who is this "brother," and why doesn't Paul name him explicitly?1  The same questions apply to verse 22, which seems not to be the same unnamed "brother," but yet another one.
Chapter 9
  • Verses 1-5 - See my comments on chapter 8, verses 1-9.
Chapter 10
  • Verses 1-11 - Paul is apparently responding to charges of inconsistency (and perhaps cowardice!).
Chapter 11
  • It seems appropriate to link to Michael Card's "God's Own Fool" here (it's less than three minutes long, so go ahead and have a listen!).
  • Verses 32-33 - Paul seems to be referencing the events recorded in Acts 9:-23-25., but seems less eager to blame the Jews (as Luke did), instead referencing the civil authority of "the governor under King Aretas" (who, as father-in-law to Herod Antipas, apparently did hold power over the region including Damascus at that time2).

1F.F. Bruce, 1 & 2 Corinthians, (The New Century Bible Commentary) Eerdmans, 1971, p. 224, suggests that the traditional identification has been with Luke, but notes that the gospel with Luke's name has not yet been written, and there is no indication the Luke was famous for his evangelism at this point in time.
2See Bruce, pp. 244-245.

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