Week #146; Wed, Oct 14: 1 Corinthians 13–2 Corinthians 5

Week #146; Wed, Oct 14: 1 Corinthians 13:1–2 Corinthians 5:21

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

1 Corinthians 13:1, I. The Way of Love

I. KEY TEXT (The Way of Love): “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (13:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (13:4-7)
1. FINDINGS: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (13:8-10)
2. CRITERIA: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (13:11-12)
3. CONDITION: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (13:13)
4. CAUSE: “Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1 John 4:8, 16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected. 1 Corinthians 13:8” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Love is the best of all, because it is eternal. All else will perish. Our highest attainments will be as the babblings and playthings of childhood. But when we are in touch with the reality of things, love will be all in all.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “God is love, and if you would love, you must abide in Him and He in you.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

1 Corinthians 14:1, I. Prophecy and Tongues; II. Orderly Worship

I. KEY TEXT (Prophecy and Tongues): “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” (14:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.” (14:4)
1. FINDINGS: “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.” (14:5)
2. CRITERIA: “Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” (14:6-8)
3. CONDITION: “So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.” (14:9-12)
4. CAUSE: “Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (14:13-19)
5. EFFECT: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, ‘By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.’ Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” (14:20-25)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Prefer prophecy to the gift of tongues.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Orderly Worship): “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (14:26)
A. INFERENCE: “If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” (14:27-29)
1. FINDINGS: “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (14:30-32)
2. CRITERIA: “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (14:33-35)
3. CONDITION: “Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.” (14:36-40)
4. CAUSE: “The Apostle sums up his directions in two simple rules: 1. Let all things be done unto edifying; that is, to building up individual character, and to fitting each member as a brick or stone into the rising fabric of the Church. Hence the stress laid on prophesying or speaking under the impulse of God’s Spirit. All who had that gift should certainly have a chance to use it, because the whole Church would be thereby profited and enriched. 2. Let all things be done decently and in order: decently, so as not to interrupt the dignity and gravity of the services; in order, not by hazard or impulse, but by design and arrangement.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The man who is inspired by the Spirit of God will observe order and decency in delivering his revelations. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station. 1 Corinthians 14:26” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behavior, order, and decency. 1 Corinthians 14:34” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

1 Corinthians 15:1, I. The Resurrection of Christ; II. The Resurrection of the Dead; III. The Resurrection Body; IV. Mystery and Victory

I. KEY TEXT (The Resurrection of Christ): “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.” (15:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, the he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. ” (15:3-6)
1. FINDINGS: “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (15:7-9)
2. CRITERIA: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” (15:10-11)
3. CONDITION: “All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sum and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died. 1 Corinthians 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. 1 Corinthians 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “This apostle was highly favored, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are 1 Corinthians 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Notice that the Resurrection was primarily not a doctrine but a fact. It is not necessary to argue it, but simply to say that Christ arose, therefore all will arise, because Christ is the Son of man.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (The Resurrection of the Dead): “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.” (15:12-13)
A. INFERENCE: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.” (15:14-15)
1. FINDINGS: “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (15:16-19)
2. CRITERIA: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.” (15:20-24)
3. CONDITION: “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (15:25)
4. CAUSE: “For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘all things are put in subjection,’ it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.” (15:26-27)
5. EFFECT: “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. (15:28-34)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Belief in this sublime undoing of the last effects of sin was one of the chief features in the conquering power of Christianity.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Resurrection Body): “But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’” (15:35)
A. INFERENCE: “You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.” (15:36-41)
1. FINDINGS: “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (15:42-44)
2. CRITERIA: “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. .” (15:45)
3. CONDITION: “But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” (15:46-47)
4. CAUSE: “As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.” (15:48)
5. EFFECT: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (15:49)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Life on the other side will be as real and as earnest as here. We shall not dissolve into thin mist or flit as bodiless ghosts. We shall each be provided with a body like that which our Lord had after, He arose from the dead. It will be a spiritual body, able to go and come at a wish or a thought; a body that will be perfectly adapted to its spiritual world environment.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Mystery and Victory): “I tell you this brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (15:50)
A. INFERENCE: “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (15:51-52)
1. FINDINGS: “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. ” (15:53)
2. CRITERIA: “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (15:53-55)
3. CONDITION: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (15:56)
4. CAUSE: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (15:57)
5. EFFECT: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (15:58)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant. 1 Corinthians 15:51” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary) Rapture can be read here.

1 Corinthians 16:1, I. The Collection for the Saints; II. Plans for Travel; III. Final Instructions; IV. Greetings

I. KEY TEXT (The Collection for the Saints): “Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.” (16:1)
A. INFERENCE: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” (16:2)
1. FINDINGS: “And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.” (16:3)
2. CRITERIA: “If it seems advisable that I should go also they will accompany me.” (16:4)
3. CONDITION: “All our purposes must be made with submission to the Divine providence, James 4:15. Adversaries and opposition do not break the spirits of faithful and successful ministers, but warm their zeal, and inspire them with fresh courage. 1 Corinthians 16:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “A faithful minister is more discouraged by the hardness of his hearers’ hearts, and the backslidings of professors, than by the enemies’ attempts. 1 Corinthians 16:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is remarkable that the Apostle can turn from one of his sublimest flights of sacred eloquence to deal with so ordinary a matter as the collection. But, after all, there is no incongruity. The thoughts to which he has given expression should surely lead to some tangible response of Christian duty and activity, or they would injure rather than help.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We should give according to a system, and not merely by impulse.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Plans for Travel): “I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go.” (16:5-6)
A. INFERENCE: “For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.” (16:7)
1. FINDINGS: “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (16:8-9)
2. CRITERIA: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.” (16:10)
3. CONDITION: “So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.” (16:11)
4. CAUSE: “Timothy came to do the work of the Lord. Therefore to vex his spirit, would be to grieve the Holy Spirit; to despise him, would be to despise Him that sent him. Those who work the work of the Lord, should be treated with tenderness and respect. 1 Corinthians 16:10” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Faithful ministers will not be jealous of each other. It becomes the ministers of the gospel to show concern for each other’s reputation and usefulness. 1 Corinthians 16:10” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “It is God who opens great and effectual doors before His servants. It is of no use to force them. Let us wait for the Lord Jesus, who has the key of David, to open them, for then none can shut. Our duty is to be prepared to enter when the moment comes and the door swings wide.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Final Instructions): “Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.” (16:12)
A. INFERENCE: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (16:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “Now I urge you, brothers–you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints–be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such men.” (16:15-18)
2. CRITERIA: “A Christian is always in danger, therefore should ever be on the watch. He should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert or give it up. By this faith alone he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation. 1 Corinthians 16:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Christians should be careful that charity not only reigns in their hearts, but shines in their lives. There is a great difference between Christian firmness and feverish warmth and transport. 1 Corinthians 16:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Those who serve the saints, those who desire the honor of the churches, and to remove reproaches from them, are to be thought much of, and loved. They should willingly acknowledge the worth of such, and all who labored with or helped the apostle. 1 Corinthians 16:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Apostle was careful to cultivate friendship, one of the priceless gifts of God; and he was very generous not only in his references to his friends, but also in his dealings with them.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Human love is a revelation of the divine; an earthen pitcher which God fills with heavenly treasure; a chalice holding the wine of life.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Greetings): “The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greeting in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (16:19-20)
A. INFERENCE: “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. ” (16:21)
1. FINDINGS: “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.” (16:22)
2. CRITERIA: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (16:23-24)
3. CONDITION: “True Christianity makes us wish those whom we love, the blessings of both worlds; this is meant in wishing the grace of Christ to be with them. The apostle had dealt plainly with the Corinthians, and told them of their faults with just severity; but he parts in love, and with a solemn profession of his love to them for Christ’s sake. 1 Corinthians 16:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “May our love be with all who are in Christ Jesus. Let us try whether all things appear worthless to us, when compared with Christ and his righteousness. 1 Corinthians 16:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Maranatha!-our Lord cometh. He will put right the wrongs of time, and crown His faithful servants with honor and glory. Hallelujah!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “May our love be with all those who are in Christ Jesus! Amen.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)

2 Corinthians 1:1, I. Greeting; II. God of All Comfort; III. Paul’s Change of Plans

I. KEY TEXT (Greeting): “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience, and to calm the raging passions of the soul. 2 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “These blessings are given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our Savior who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. 2 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This was a circular letter, including in its scope all the scattered communities in the district. Grace was the usual salutation of the West, Peace of the East. Here they meet. All our mercies emanate from the Father’s heart, and all comfort comes from the Comforter.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Remember that you are being comforted in order to comfort others. God is training you to be, like Barnabas, a ‘son of consolation.’” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The gains of trial are immense, because they furnish the experience from which others may profit. Often God ministers comfort by sending a friend, 2 Corinthians 7:5-7.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us – The sufferings endured on his account. So our comfort also aboundeth through Christ – The sufferings were many, the comfort one; and yet not only equal to, but overbalancing, them all.” (John Wesley)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Christ calls His people’s sufferings His own suffering: (1) because of the sympathy and mystical union between Him and us (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 4:10); (2) They are borne for His sake; (3) They tend to His glory (Ephesians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:14, 1 Peter 4:16).” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (God of All Comfort): “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (1:3-4)
A. INFERENCE: “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (1:5)
1. FINDINGS: “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (1:6-7)
2. CRITERIA: “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (1:8)
3. CONDITION: “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (1:9-10)
4. CAUSE: “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (1:11)
5. EFFECT: “He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favors God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve him. 2 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others. 2 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul’s Change of Plans): “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” (1:12)
A. INFERENCE: “For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and acknowledge and I hope you will fully acknowledge–just as you did partially acknowledge us–that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.” (1:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’ at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.” (1:15-19)
2. CRITERIA: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (1:20)
3. CONDITION: “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (1:21-22)
4. CAUSE: “But I call God to witness against me–it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.” (1:23-24)
5. EFFECT: “The Holy Spirit makes Christians firm in the faith of the gospel: the quickening of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life; and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting joy. 2 Corinthians 1:15” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, secure from delusion in so important a matter. 2 Corinthians 1:15” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

1 Corinthians 9:1, I. Paul Surrenders His Rights

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Surrenders His Rights): “For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained?” (2:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all.” (1:3)
1. FINDINGS: “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” (1:4)
2. CRITERIA: “The Apostle desires the Corinthians to understand that he also had shed many tears over the case, 2 Corinthians 2:4. His was a very affectionate and tender disposition, which shrank from inflicting pain, and yet was resolute at all costs to maintain truth.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The penitent offender was to be restored to church fellowship and received with brotherly welcome.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “I would not come to you then (2 Corinthians 2:1), as, if I were to come then, it would have to be “in heaviness” (causing sorrow both to him and them, owing to their impenitent state).” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The latter happy effect was produced by his first Epistle, whereas the former would have been the result, had he then visited them as he had originally proposed.” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The Apostle desires the Corinthians to understand that he also had shed many tears over the case, 2 Corinthians 2:4.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

2 Corinthians 2, I. Forgive the Sinner; II. Triumph in Christ

I. KEY TEXT (Forgive the Sinner): “Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure–not to put it too severely–to all of you.” (2:5)
A. INFERENCE: “For such a one, his punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” (2:6-7)
1. FINDINGS: “So I beg you to reaffirm you love for him.” (2:8)
2. CRITERIA: “For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything.” (2:9)
3. CONDITION: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive.” (2:10)
4. CAUSE: “Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2:11)
5. EFFECT: “The apostle desires them to receive the person who had done wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of his fault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow for sin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. 2 Corinthians 2:5” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In this, as in other things, wisdom is to be used, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. 2 Corinthians 2:5” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Triumph in Christ): “When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.” (2:12-13)
A. INFERENCE: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always lead us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2:14)
1. FINDINGS: “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2:15-16)
2. CRITERIA: “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned y God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (2:17)
3. CONDITION: “A believer’s triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian’s joy and rejoicing. 2 Corinthians 2:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon the apostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and of ourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God. 2 Corinthians 2:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “For if I grieve you, who is he that cheereth me, but he that is grieved by me – That is, I cannot be comforted myself till his grief is removed.” (John Wesley)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “May we carefully watch ourselves in this matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speak we in Christ and of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)”

2 Corinthians:3, I. Ministers of the New Covenant

I. KEY TEXT (Ministers of the New Covenant): “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.” (3:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (3:3)
1. FINDINGS: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (3:4-6)
2. CRITERIA: “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.” (3:7-9)
3. CONDITION: “Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.” (3:10-11)
4. CAUSE: “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.” (3:12-14)
5. EFFECT: “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (3:15-18)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to use great plainness, or clearness, of speech. 2 Corinthians 3:12 We behold Christ, as in the glass of his word; and as the reflection from a mirror causes the face to shine, the faces of Christians shine also. 2 Corinthians 3:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

2 Corinthians:4, I. The Light of the Gospel; II. Treasure in Jars of Clay

I. KEY TEXT (The Light of the Gospel): “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (4:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (4:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (4:5)
2. CRITERIA: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (4:6)
3. CONDITION: “The best of men would faint, if they did not receive mercy from God. And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end. 2 Corinthians 4:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ by his gospel makes a glorious discovery to the minds of men. But the design of the devil is, to keep men in ignorance; and when he cannot keep the light of the gospel of Christ out of the world, he spares no pains to keep men from the gospel, or to set them against it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The rejection of the gospel is here traced to the willful blindness and wickedness of the human heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Do not tamper with God’s word.” (4:3)

II. KEY TEXT (Treasure in Jars of Clay): “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (4:7-10)
A. INFERENCE: “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (4:11)
1. FINDINGS: “So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (4:12)
2. CRITERIA: “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (4:13-15)
3. CONDITION: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. ” (4:16-17)
4. CAUSE: “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (4:18)
5. EFFECT: “There are unseen things, as well as things that are seen. And there is this vast difference between them; unseen things are eternal, seen things but temporal, or temporary only. Let us then look off from the things which are seen; let us cease to seek for worldly advantages, or to fear present distresses. Let us give diligence to make our future happiness sure. 2 Corinthians 4:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Faith enables to make this right judgment of things. 2 Corinthians 4:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

2 Corinthians:5, I. Our Heavenly Dwelling; II. The Ministry of Reconciliation

I. KEY TEXT (Our Heavenly Dwelling): “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on the heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.” (5:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (5:4-5)
1. FINDINGS: “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (5:6-7)
2. CRITERIA: “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (5:8)
3. CONDITION: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” (5:9)
4. CAUSE: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (5:10)
5. EFFECT: “Let all consider the judgment to come, which is called, The terror of the Lord. Knowing what terrible vengeance the Lord would execute upon the workers of iniquity, the apostle and his brethren used every argument and persuasion, to lead men to believe in the Lord Jesus, and to act as his disciples. 2 Corinthians 5:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Know the difference between the “Bema Seat of Christ–for believers” and the “Great White Throne of Judgment–for unbelievers.”

II. KEY TEXT (The Ministry of Reconciliation): “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” (5:11)
A. INFERENCE: “We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” (5:12)
1. FINDINGS: “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (5:13-15)
2. CRITERIA: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” (15:16)
3. CONDITION: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (15:17-19)
4. CAUSE: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (15:20)
5. EFFECT: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (15:21)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labor, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him? 2 Corinthians 5:16” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)