Sunday, May 3, 2015

Romans Chapter 14 Part One

Romans 14:1-4

In dealing with other Christians
Paul had discussed various aspects of a Christian’s responsibilities in interpersonal relationships (Rom_12:9-21; Rom_13:8-10), but relationships with other believers loom large and involve special problems that require discussion. Harmonious relationships within the family of God are important.
Without Judging
Christians are at different levels of spiritual maturity. They also have diverse backgrounds that color their attitudes and practices. The first lesson to learn in living harmoniously with other Christians, therefore, is to stop judging others.
The focus in these verses is on him whose faith is weak (lit., “the one being weak in faith”), which appears in the emphatic first position in the sentence. Paul commanded believers to accept (pres. middle imper., “keep on taking to yourselves”; cf. Rom_15:7) such a person, without passing judgment on disputable matters (lit., “but not unto quarrels about opinions”). We can easily see from this, that just because someone is not a trained Bible scholar is no reason not to fellowship with them. We are warned not to get into arguments with them that might lead to their not believing. The new convert to Christianity should be fed milk and honey for a while, until they are able to understand the deeper things in the Word. I Corinthians 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ."
I Corinthians 3:2 "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able."
The mature believer should not sit in judgment on the sincere but underdeveloped thoughts that govern the weak believer’s conduct.
The weaker brother may feel he must abstain from certain practices that are in fact not sinful in themselves.
A believer with certain scruples is not to be welcomed into the fellowship with the intent of changing his views or opinions by quarreling with him about them.
One area of differing scruples pertains to food, in particular the eating of meat. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables (lit., “but the one being weak eats vegetables”). The strong believer whose mature faith allows him to exercise his freedom in Christ by eating the inexpensive meat sold at the pagan meat markets. It was inexpensive because a worshiper had first offered it as a sacrifice to a pagan deity.
We know that anything we pray over is clean and may be eaten without fear of condemnation from God. The secret is the prayer, the prayer made it clean for us.
I Timothy 4:4-5 "For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:" "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." 
The person who is eating herbs is doing it from lack of knowledge. We, who know that it is alright to eat meat, should not make fun of a fellow Christian if he feels it is wrong.
I Timothy 4:1-3 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; " "Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
The reason some Christians then were vegetarians is not stated. Since the issue is related to their Christian faith, it could be to insure against eating meat offered to idols (cf. 1Co_8:1-13; 1Co_10:23-30). The reason for a believer’s scruple is not the point, however; its existence alongside a differing opinion was Paul’s concern.
In such a situation neither believer should judge the other. Look down on (exoutheneitō; also used in Rom_14:10) should be translated “despise” or “reject with contempt” (cf. “treat… with contempt,” Gal_4:14; 1Th_5:20). The reason a “strong” Christian (cf. Rom_15:1) should not despise a “weak” one, and the reason that a weak Christian should not condemn (krinetō) the strong one is that God has accepted (same verb as in Rom_14:1) both of them. This tells me that to the fullness of the knowledge that we possess at the time, we should do our best to be pleasing to God.
I Corinthians 10:29 "Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?" Here, we see the answer to it all. Whatever we do, we must do it with a clear conscience.  Again I say, God will not hold you responsible for the things you do not know, if you have made an effort to do what you believe to be pleasing to Him. Why don't we just let God handle His business? We are not anyone's judge, God is. What God does with someone else is not our business.
The strong hold the weak in contempt as legalistic and self- righteous; the weak judge the strong to be irresponsible at best and perhaps depraved.
(Another reason for not downgrading others is given later in Rom_14:10.) As a believer, he is a servant of God and he is accountable to God, his Judge. Any Christian tempted to judge another believer must face Paul’s question, Who are you to judge (lit., “the one judging”) someone else’s servant? (Oiketēn, “domestic servant,” is not the usual word doulos, “slave.”) The present participle, “the one judging,” suggests that Paul sensed some judging of others was occurring among the Christians at Rome. But such criticizing is wrong because a domestic servant should be evaluated by his… master, not by fellow believers. Therefore, Paul concluded, And he will stand (lit., “he shall be made to stand”), for the Lord is able to make him stand. It is how Christ evaluates each believer is what matters, and His judgment does not take into account religious tradition or personal preference.
Even if a believer despises the scruples of another Christian, God can defend the second person.

Romans 14:5-8

A second area of differing opinions was the significance of special days. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike (cf. Col_2:16). Which position a person held meant nothing to the apostle. His concern was that each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (cf. Rom_14:14, Rom_14:22), examining his heart to be sure he is doing what he feels the Lord would have him do. Colossians 2:16 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:"
These are both interesting Scriptures, in face of the fact that, the Jews celebrate Saturday as their Sabbath, and the Christians celebrate Sunday as the Lord's Day or first fruits. We are told to be fully persuaded that what we are doing is pleasing to God. We are to celebrate with a clear conscience. Whatever day you esteem, do it as unto the Lord.
The weak Gentile wanted to separate himself from the special days of festivities associated with his former paganism because of its immorality and idolatry.
The mature believers were unaffected by those concerns. Each Christian must follow the dictates of his own conscience in matters not specifically commanded or prohibited in Scripture. Since conscience is a God given mechanism to warn, and responds to the highest standard of moral law in the mind, it is not sensible to train yourself to ignore it. Rather, respond to its compunctions and as you mature, by learning more, your mind will not alert it to those things which are not essential.
And he should hold his opinion to the Lord. This is true for any issue where an honest difference of opinion among Christians exists, whether in keeping or not keeping special days or eating or abstaining from meat, or in other matters not prohibited by Scripture. God is not so interested in the technicality of what day we celebrate as He is in the fact that we have chosen an individual day and set it aside to worship in. God wants our heart to be in worshipping Him. We know that Jesus said, that the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath. 
Mark 2:27 "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"
You see from this it is not the day that is important, but the fact that we choose to worship God one day a week.
This verse tells us that the strong believer eats whatever he pleases and thanks the Lord. The weak brother eats according to his ceremonial diet and thanks the Lord that he made a sacrifice on His behalf. In either case, the believer thanks the Lord, so the motive is the same. Whether weak or strong, the motive behind a believer’s decisions about issues of conscience must be to please the Lord.
All belongs to the Lord and is sanctioned by Him (1Co_10:25-27; 1Ti_4:3-5). A believer’s individual accountability to the Lord in every area and experience of life is paramount. The focus of Christian living is never oneself. Everything we do should be to please our sovereign Lord.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Each Christian in both life and death is seen by the Lord, and is accountable to Him, not to other Christians. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Jesus bought us on the cross with His own precious blood. We are not our own, we belong to Jesus. 
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
You see, if I am a Christian, then Christ lives through me and in me.
Romans 14:9-12

In these verses Paul stated the theological basis for his exhortation for Christians to desist from and to resist judging one another. One of the reasons for the Lord Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection is to be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Christ died not only to free us from sin, but to enslave us to Himself; to establish Himself as Sovereign over the saints in His presence and those still on earth.
John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
We see from this Scripture that, Jesus not only rose from the dead, but because He rose, we have the promise that we will rise also if we believe in Him. Jesus is actually Lord over everything.
Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" You see, there is no limit to His power and rule.
Since Jesus is the Lord, Christians should not judge (krineis) or… look down on (exoutheneis, “despise” or “reject with contempt”; cf. Rom_14:3) one another, their brothers, in such matters. One Christian is not above another as his judge; all are equally under Christ, the Judge.
As Lord, Jesus will one day review and evaluate the ministry of His servants at His judgment seat (bēma; see comments on 2Co_5:10). Ecclesiastes 12:14 "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil."
Jesus is the Judge of all the earth.  We will stand or fall by whether we are accepted by Him as His sheep, or whether we are among the goats. Jesus sends the sheep to eternal life in heaven with Him. He sends the goats to eternal damnation.
Matthew 25:32-34 "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats:" “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"
Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
According to this verse, every believer will give an account of himself, and the Lord will judge the decisions he made, including those concerning issues of conscience. That verdict is the only on that matters. 
Paul affirmed the certainty of this event by quoting Isa_49:18 and Isa_45:23, pertaining to everyone standing before Christ and confessing Him as Lord (cf. Php_2:10-11). At that event each believer will give an account (lit., “a word”) of himself to God. Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;"
Isaiah 45:23 "I have sworn by myself, the word is one out of my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." 
We can see, again, in these three Scriptures above that, God never changes. He is the same in Isaiah that He is in Romans.
We read in Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.  Even so, Amen." 
We must not wait to declare Him our Savior, until we can see Him with our physical eyes. We must accept Him by faith, not fact, to be saved.
Since Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome (Rom_1:7) and included himself with them in the first personal plural pronoun and verb (“we will all stand,” Rom_14:10), “God’s judgment seat” is only for believers in the Lord. What is here called God’s judgment seat is the judgment seat of Christ in 2Co_5:10. Jesus will judge us one at a time. Whether your mother or dad was saved will not matter. You will stand or fall by the decision you made about what you would do about Jesus.
II Timothy 4:1 "I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;"
All believers in Christ will stand before His Throne in heaven.
Revelation 7:9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
These in white robes are the Christians who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Because God judges through His Son (Joh_5:22, Joh_5:27), this judgment seat can be said to belong to both the Father and the Son. The issue of the believer’s eternal destiny will not be at stake; that was settled by his faith in Christ (cf. Rom_8:1). Each believer’s life of service will be under review in which some loss will be experienced (cf. 1Co_3:12-15), but he will be rewarded for what endures (cf. 1Co_4:4-5). This judgment of believers climactically demonstrates God’s lordship.
Romans 14:13-14

Without Hindering
Paul’s warning against judging relates to Christians’ attitudes and actions toward the convictions of other believers (Rom_14:1-12). The other side of the coin is evaluating the impact of one’s own convictions and actions on other Christians. In this section Paul warned against causing other Christians to stumble (hindering their spiritual growth) by asserting that one is free to live in accord with convictions not shared by other believers.
Paul’s opening sentence is both the final charge on the previous subject and the introduction to the new one: Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on (krinōmen, “condemning”) one another (pres. tense subjunctive, “no longer let us keep on judging or condemning one another”). Instead a Christian should judge himself and his actions so that he does not place a stumbling block (proskomma, lit., “something a person trips over”; cf. 1Co_8:9 and comments on Rom_14:20-21) or obstacle (skandalon, lit., “trap, snare,” and hence “anything that leads another to sin”; cf. Rom_16:17) in his brother’s way (lit., “to the brother”). It does no good at all for us to try to judge another, because we are not the Judge, Jesus is. We are told to judge not, lest ye be judged and, also, with whatever judgment we judge another we will be judged. We find a very good Scripture covering this in James 4:11
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren.  He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."
The Greek word translated “judge” is here translated “determine”. In verses 3, 10 and 13a the meaning is negative: to condemn. In 13b, the meaning is positive: to determine or make a careful decision.
The point of Paul’s play on words is that instead of passing judgment on their brothers, they should use their best judgment to help fellow believers. Anything a believer does, even though Scripture may permit it, that causes another to fall into sin by his going against his conscience, puts a stumbling block in his brother’s way.
Returning to the subject of food (Rom_14:2-3, Rom_14:6), Paul expressed his own conviction (cf. Rom_14:5) as a Christian that no food (lit., “nothing”) is unclean (koinon, “common”) in itself (cf. Act_10:15; Rom_14:20; 1Co_8:8). The problem, however, is that not all Christians — especially some from a Jewish heritage — shared Paul’s conviction. Therefore Paul properly concluded, But if anyone regards (lit., “but to the one reckoning”) something as unclean (“common”), then for him it is unclean (cf. Tit_1:15). We see here another illustration of the sin taking place in the heart and conscience. If we believe something to be sin and go ahead and do it anyway, then regardless of what it is, it is sin to us.
Titus 1:15 "Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
Again, this is a very good example that the sin takes place when we do something feeling in our heart that it is displeasing to God. God judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
“Unclean”: The Greek word originally meant “common” but came to mean “impure” or “evil”. If a believer is convinced a certain behavior is sin, even if his assessment is wrong, he should never do it. If he does, he will violate his conscience, experience guilt and perhaps be driven back into deeper legalism instead of moving toward freedom.
But if someone persisted in holding that conviction, he could bring harm to others.

2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Part One

2 Corinthians 1:1

Even in this very first verse of the letter, Paul says it was the will of God for him to be an apostle. Paul, in a real sense, is saying, I did not choose to be an apostle, God chose me. The Christians, at this time, were called saints, or brothers.
It is not clear whether this letter was written from Cenchera, or not, but it was in Achaia.  An ancient province which is a part of the country of Greece on the northern coast of the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece in Ancient Roman times the name of the province of Achaea was given to the whole of Greece. This would be somewhere in the southern part of Greece.   
Paul immediately states that he is an apostle. He does not say, I think I am an apostle. He boldly states that he is. The word "apostle" means delegate, or ambassador of the gospel. In the official sense, it means commissioner of Christ, this meaning includes {with miraculous powers}. It can, also, mean messenger, or he that is sent. Paul was all of these things.
We must notice in this that Paul always has someone to minister with him. In this particular instance, he has Timothy. He knows that Timothy is loyal to him. Timothy is Paul's student and would not differ with Paul at all. There are times when this type of loyalty is very important. Timothy is not the only one with Paul, but is the closest to Paul in this instance. One of the reasons it is important to have the second minister that agrees with you, is for the prayer of agreement. Paul wants this church to know that his ministry is actually a revelation of Jesus Christ through Paul.
2 Corinthians 1:2

Grace refers to the love of God in action with peace its result. Both aspects were displayed in Jesus’ ministry (Joh_1:14; Joh_14:27). This is a greeting that Paul used many times and is more evidence that this letter was Paul's. It is a prayer of Paul's for them. He wished that God would give them this grace {unmerited favor}. He is explaining, also, that this is not just from Jesus as Savior, but from the Father, as well.  Paul hoped that this salutation would find expression in the Corinthians’ lives as he shepherded them.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Thanksgiving for God’s comfort (2Co_1:3-11)
One of the many paradoxes of the Christian life is that the grace of God is most keenly experienced not in the best but in what seem to be the worst of times. However much a Christian longs for exaltation (cf. 1Co_4:8), it is often in humiliation that he finds grace (cf. 2Co_12:9). That theme pervades this letter and finds poignant expression in Paul’s thanksgiving.
Troubles (thlipsei, “pressures, distresses”) are mentioned nine times by Paul in this letter (2Co_1:4 [twice], 2Co_1:8; 2Co_2:4; 2Co_4:17; 2Co_6:4; 2Co_7:4; 2Co_8:2, 2Co_8:13; sometimes the word is trans. “troubles,” other times “hardships”). Paul also used the corresponding verb thlibō three times in this epistle (“distressed,” 2Co_1:6; “hard-pressed,” 2Co_4:8; “harassed,” 2Co_7:5). Troubles are experienced by all Christians. And the Apostle Paul probably endured more pressures than nearly all his readers. Troubles, Paul said, help Christians shift their perspective from the external and temporal to the internal and eternal (cf. 2Co_1:9; 2Co_4:17-18).
The source of all comfort in the midst of troubles is God Himself, to whom Paul gave three titles: the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. identical wording in Eph_1:3; 1Pe_1:3), the Father (i.e., the Originator) of compassion, and the God of all comfort. Paul, never once, stopped speaking of the blessedness of God. "Father of mercies" just means that God is full of mercy for everyone who believes.
There is no other comfort compared to the peace that God brings. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to comfort. He is even spoken of as the Comforter.
This same God had sustained Paul through his suffering (2Co_1:8-9) and delivered him from it (2Co_1:10). Tribulation comes to the Christian, as well as to those of the world. This "comfort in tribulation" speaks of us having a peace in the midst of the tribulation. There is a rest for the Christian in Christ. The world may be falling apart around us, but we can have perfect peace within.
God’s comfort is not an end in itself. Its purpose is that believers also might be comforters. Having humiliated and convicted the Corinthians, God used Paul to return to them with a strengthening message after he himself had received divine strengthening.
The only way to truly sympathize with someone else is to have had the same problem yourself.
“Compassion” translates the Greek oiktirmōn, used only four other times in the New Testament (rendered “mercy” in Rom_12:1 and Heb_10:28, and “compassion” in Php_2:1 and Col_3:12). Just as spiritual gifts are not intended solely for the recipients’ benefit but are to be used in turn for the service of others (cf. 1Pe_4:10), so comfort received from God enables believers to comfort others. The comfort of God is channeled through people (cf. Act_9:10-19; 2Co_7:6) and by means of prayer (2Co_1:11).
2 Corinthians 1:5-7

The sufferings Paul experienced were a consequence of his relationship to Christ (cf. Mat_5:11; Col_1:24). As Paul continued to preach the gospel, he suffered at the hands of men (e.g., 2Co_11:23-26) and from privations which were a part of his task (2Co_11:27). But Paul’s sufferings for Christ were accompanied by a comfort that overflowed. When we receive Christ in us, we are partakers in His suffering, as well.
Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."
Here is a favorite Scripture that explains this very well.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
God’s comfort to believers extends to the boundaries of their suffering for Christ. The more they endure righteous suffering, the greater will be their comfort and reward.
In referring to the sufferings of Christ (2Co_1:5), sufferings we suffer (2Co_1:6), and our sufferings (2Co_1:7), the apostle probably had in mind either the suffering he experienced in Asia which he referred to next (2Co_1:8) or the pain brought to him by the problems of the Corinthian church (cf. 2Co_11:28-29). Both kinds may be in mind, but if it was primarily the latter to which he referred (cf. 2Co_7:5) then the Corinthians’ own suffering was similar. Paul’s severe letter (2Co_7:8) produced in them a profound sorrow as they understood how their reprehensible behavior had grieved Paul (2Co_7:9). It had certainly distressed him to write it (2Co_2:4) but he did it out of love for them, for their comfort and salvation (cf. 2Co_7:10). Paul is saying to them, that his suffering and tribulations were endured by him without complaining, so that he could bring the gospel to them. Paul was willing to go through almost any hardship, if he thought in so doing; he could win some to Christ.
Here Paul is referring to the body of Christ’s partnership of suffering, which mutually builds godly patience and endurance. All believers need to realize this process, avoid any sense of self pity when suffering for Him, and share in each others’ lives the encouragement of divine comfort they receive from their experiences.
The aspect of salvation suggested here is their advance in sanctification, which in fact this letter produced (cf. 2Co_7:11). The Corinthians’ response brought comfort to both themselves and Paul (2Co_7:13) and reaffirmed Paul’s hope (2Co_1:7) that God indeed had His hand on their lives (cf. Heb_12:7-8). In addition, the Corinthians’ comfort produced in them patient endurance (hypomonē; steadfastness in the face of unpleasant circumstances; cf. 2Co_6:4; Rom_5:3; Col_1:11; Jas_1:3). Paul is saying that he will not give up on them. He, also, says to them, if they are to minister for Christ there will be sufferings that they will have to endure, as well. Paul says if you allow yourself to die to this world, in Christ, you will share in His resurrection.
Many in the church of Corinth were suffering for righteousness as Paul was. Although that church had caused him much pain and concern, Paul saw its members as partners to be helped because of their faithfulness in mutual suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11

The hope in God which sustained Paul in his relationship with the Corinthians was also effective in his own life. An experience in Asia had brought him to the end of himself. Apparently the Corinthians had some knowledge of this hardship, possibly communicated to them by Titus, but they did not appreciate its severity. Rather than gloss over his feeling of despair and helplessness in this situation Paul underscored it forcefully to illustrate how powerless both he and the Corinthians were apart from God and to stress how important is prayer as a means of effecting God’s gracious intervention and aid.
Just what the hardships were is debated. Commentators in the 19th century and earlier held that the phrase in the province of Asia referred to Ephesus. Paul’s experience was linked with that mentioned in 1Co_15:32, in which he mentioned fighting with beasts, a possible allusion to the contention instigated by Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths (Act_19:23-41). However, no mention is made in that account of any harm coming to Paul. Twentieth-century opinion seems more disposed to locating this experience somewhere in the outlying region of the province of Asia (in the western end of what is today Turkey). One such suggested area is the Lycus Valley, where Paul may have experienced a beating by the Jews (cf. 2Co_11:24), which nearly killed him. Or perhaps he contracted a drastic illness with similar devastating results. All such views are merely conjectures. Being unable to be specific in identifying this experience permits believers today to apply this to themselves, especially when they find themselves in desperate circumstances where deliverance seems impossible.
Paul believed he would die. He was under such great pressure (thlipseōs; cf. 2Co_1:4) far beyond his human ability to endure, so that he despaired even of life and felt the sentence of death (cf. 2Co_4:10-12, 2Co_4:16; 2Co_11:23-25). The persecution that Paul endured was so great, that, he would have welcomed death. We are not told just exactly which act of violence came to Paul while he was in Asia. We are told that it was almost more than he could bear.
Paul faced something that was beyond human survival and was extremely discouraging because he believed it threatened to end his ministry prematurely. The Corinthian’ were aware of what had happened to Paul, but did not realize the utter severity of it, or what God was doing through those circumstances.
The one thing Paul wants them to learn from this is that they also might be called upon to suffer. The Lord Jesus Christ did not deceive Paul. He told Paul that He would show him what he must suffer. Acts 9:16 "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." This is the Words of the Lord. They are printed in red in the Bible.
Certainly the Christian life was for him no bed of roses! Some suggest that this experience irrevocably altered Paul’s perspective on his own destiny.
Before this he expressed the hope that he might be numbered among those who would be alive at the coming of Christ (cf. 1Co_15:51-52; 1Th_4:15-17). Now his focus was on the resurrection (cf. Php_3:10-11).
What was sure was Paul’s trust that God would deliver him from the peril of death (cf. 2Co_4:8-14) until his course was run (2Ti_4:7), and his task completed. Then later God, he knew, would deliver him from the dead (cf. 1Co_15:55; 2Co_4:14). Paul knew that his life was in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was not fearful of physical death. He knew that there were many Jews who would like him killed. He, also, knew that he could do nothing about this. His trust was in the Lord. He also knew, if they killed his body, he would live on through Jesus Christ.
Paul was so absolutely sure he was going to die for the gospel that he had pronounced the sentence upon himself. This was God’s ultimate purpose for Paul’s horrible extremity. The Lord took him to the point at which he could not fall back on any intellectual, physical or emotional human resource.
Paul placed his trust in Jesus the same as we must do. We should all heed this Scripture in Hebrews.
Hebrews 13:6 states "So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Before we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we are living unto death. We have no hope for the future. When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive everlasting life.
Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Again, these are the Words of Jesus as shown by the red print.
Paul had a firm hope in the Corinthians (2Co_1:7) and also in the Lord (2Co_1:10). The prayers (2Co_1:11) of the Corinthians were part of this deliverance, a means ordained by God to fulfill His will among people. Paul was thanking them for praying for him. Every church that I know of is as strong as the prayers that go up for it. Every minister needs the prayers of the congregation. Some people think that they cannot help the ministry, because they are not the minister. The job of intercessory prayer is just as important, and I would say more important than the actual ministry.
Intercessory prayer is crucial to the expression of God’s power and sovereign purpose. In this regard, Paul wanted the faithful Corinthians to know he needed their prayers then and in the future.
Prayer’s duty is not to change God’s plans, but to glorify Him and give thanks for them. Paul was confident that God’s sovereign purpose would be accomplished, balanced by the prayerful participation of believers.
The prayer, then, causes the Spirit to call to the person. No one will come to the Lord, unless the Spirit woes him. You see, prayer is the number 1 reason for people being saved. Someone must care enough to pray for you.
2 Corinthians 1:12

Apostolic Ministry
One reason Paul wrote this letter was to answer insinuations raised in Corinth about the authenticity of his apostleship, the propriety of his conduct, and the sincerity of his commitment to those Christians. Later (in chaps. 10-13) Paul gave a defense of the genuineness of his apostleship. Questions about the propriety of his conduct, especially as it concerned “the collection,” are addressed in 2Co_8:1-24 and 2Co_9:1-15. The burden of these preceding chapters (1:12-7:16) is an emotional affirmation by Paul of his sincere commitment to the ministry in general and to the Corinthians in particular.
Changed plans defended
Who raised the questions in the Corinthians’ minds about Paul’s supposed lack of commitment to the church in Corinth or his alleged insincerity? No one knows for sure. But a reasonable conclusion is that they were broached by false apostles (2Co_11:4, 2Co_11:13) who hoped to discredit their chief rival. Though Paul reserved his open confrontation with these opponents for the conclusion of his letter, a polemic pervades even these early chapters.
Paul met questions concerning his motives head-on. He could affirm with confidence — this is our boast — that the moral sensibilities of his conscience (cf. 2Co_4:2; 2Co_5:11), intensified by his knowledge of God’s Word, were without censure regarding his conduct, especially in his relations with the Corinthians (cf. 1Co_4:3-4). He said three things about his conduct. (1) It was with a singleness of heart. Instead of holiness (hagiotēti) Paul probably wrote “simplicity in the sense of singlemindedness” (haplotēti; cf. 2Co_11:3). These two Greek words could easily have been confused by a manuscript copyist. (2) His conduct was in sincerity (cf. 1Co_5:8; 2Co_2:17) of purpose that could stand the closest scrutiny. (3) His conduct was not in keeping with worldly (sarkikē, lit., “fleshly,” i.e., human) wisdom, for that is ultimately self-serving. Instead it was according to God’s grace, that is, he was guided by a love for others and sought what was in their best interests. Paul is just saying that he has a clear conscience.
The conscience is the soul’s warning system which allows human beings to contemplate their motives and actions and the make a moral evaluation of what is right and wrong.
Paul has not tried to show how smart he is, but has tried to bring the good news of the gospel as simply as he could, so that all could understand. Paul has spoken the words that the Lord has given him for these people. He will not apologize for the message God has given him. The gospel is not complicated, but simple, so that all might receive it with joy in their heart. This is still the way the Lord expects His salvation message to go out. He wants it simple, so that all may understand.
Using big words, elevate the person that is using them, but do nothing for the uneducated person who is trying to understand. Ministers are to keep it simple for all to understand. Ministry is not to make the minister feel important, but to cause people to come to Christ. The more who understand, the more who believe and come to Christ.
Fleshly wisdom is the wisdom that is based on worldly, human insight. See James 3:15.
2 Corinthians 1:13-14

Paul’s letters were like his conduct: simple, sincere, not in man-made wisdom but in God’s grace. Paul had no hidden meanings or ulterior motives in his correspondence with the Corinthians. He was aboveboard and straightforward in person; and he was the same way in his letters. He felt the Corinthians must acknowledge this to a degree (in part). And he hoped that this provisional assent would one day grow into their wholehearted acceptance and endorsement (understand fully). Many ministers, even now, find themselves in the awkward position of trying to defend their selves. Paul was no different. Rumors had arisen that he was not ministering correctly. This letter, as we said before, is to dispel some of those rumors.
This broadly answers the accusation that Paul had engaged in deceptive personal relationships. His continuing flow of information to the Corinthians was always clear, straightforward and understandable, consistent and genuine.
Paul is just saying, in the verse above, that he has no ulterior motive at all for what he is doing. He said, in the previous verse, that his conscience was clear. He had brought the simple message of salvation. Paul is saying here, if you will examine what I have said, you will know it to be truth. He also says, I believe the very things that you have heard and accepted.
Paul wanted them to know that he was not holding back anything, nor did he have any secret agenda.
That in fact was how Paul viewed them. He was confident of the genuineness of their conversions (cf. 1Co_9:1-2). And he felt they would eventually come to vindicate him and even boast of (kauchēma, “exult over”) him in the day of the Lord Jesus (cf. Php_2:16), that is, at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. 2Co_5:10-11). Paul is saying, in this, that he will rejoice on judgment day, when many of those that he brought the gospel message to, will stand before the Lord and be saved.
Paul eagerly longed for the Lord’s coming when they would rejoice over each other in glory.
He is, also, saying that in that day, they will rejoice that he brought them to the knowledge of the Lord. It is so strange, after they were saved under his ministry, that suddenly many find fault with his ministry.

2 Corinthians 1:15-16

In this spirit of confidence in his relationship with the Corinthians, Paul had proposed a journey from Ephesus that would have permitted him to visit them twice. This was apparently a change in the plans he had stated earlier (1Co_16:5-7). At that time he hoped to go to Corinth by way of Macedonia and spend the winter with them, a course of action he eventually followed (cf. Act_20:1-3). The change included the opportunity for two visits: first from Ephesus to Corinth and then on to Macedonia; then a second stop as he retraced his route. The two visits were meant to express Paul’s affection for them. He wanted to see them as often as possible. Paul is feeling that it would have been good, if he could have come to them and ministered again.
Paul’s original plan was to visit the Corinthians twice so that they might receive a double blessing. His travel plans were not the result of selfishness, but of the genuine relationship he enjoyed with the Corinthians and their mutual loyalty and godly pride in each other.
Sometimes there needs to be lessons taught on how to continue in the faith. The difference in an evangelist and a pastor tell us that. An evangelist brings the message of salvation and goes on to the next place. The job of a pastor is to teach his congregation to live in the salvation they have received. The pastor is a shepherd who leads the sheep. That is the very reason it is so important for the pastor to be living a good clean life himself. Paul had planned to leave Ephesus, stop at Corinth on the way to Macedonia and return to Corinth again after his ministry in Macedonia. For some reason, Paul’s plans changed and he was unable to stop in Corinth the first time. The false apostles who had invaded the church seized upon that honest change of schedule as evidence of his untrustworthiness and tried to use it to discredit him.