Hi friend! I’m going to try a new thing for this month. I want to do a Bible series every Wednesday for the month February. I am very very excited about this. If you’re not a Bible-lover like me, I hope you will still stick around and be open to be encouraged by it. A fave author of mine once answered one of her readers who asked how come she is so wise? She said “I read the Bible, I get all my wisdom from it.” It’s true and I absolutely agree.
We will be looking at 2 Corinthians 12:9. Before we go into a deep dive study of this verse, I’d like to share three important things I learned are very important to understand better what you read from the Bible.
- Pray- it’s quite obvious but pray before you study God’s Word. Pray that God reveals His Word to you. Watch and wait how He makes the Bible come alive before your eyes. (Yes, I just described it like its magic… in a way it is.)
- Context. Who wrote the book? When was it written? For whom is it for? Questions like these are important to better understand the text. I didn’t know how to really do this before, but throughout the years (especially studying Theology), I’ve learned how to be better. I can teach you, if you want and if you let me 😀
- Your Bible. Well, you need a bible to study the bible, right? Haha. Also, get a good study Bible or commentary if you can. You don’t have to have a bazillion commentaries, start with ONE. Also, how do you know if it’s a good and reliable one? Well, google it, google reviews, ask your pastors or friends which one they’ve used and found helpful. I find that as you keep studying, and exploring, you’ll soon find out that there’s no perfect commentary, but each provides good teaching points.
Let’s BEGIN! 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽
WHO: Apostle Paul, the author.
Let’s get to know the author Paul, otherwise known as the Apostle Paul
- citizen of Tarsus (which was “one of the great educational centers of the world at that time”)
- Jewish (this allowed him the understanding of Judaism “to have been fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah”
- Pharisee, trained by the rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)
- Knows Greek language, which helped him communicate powerfully throughout the churches.
- He was a tentmaker (described as a “quiet, portable and universally needed” occupation at that time)
- He used to be a persecutor of the early Christians, but had a remarkable encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ (read more in Acts 9)
- Church planter across the Mediterranean, the well-known Christian missionary to the Gentiles.
- Distinctive kind of “apostle”. According to 1 Cor. 15:8, he was ‘differently called from the other apostles.’
Political & Social Background of Corinth
Corinth was a political hub of Rome. While its architecture and politics were very Roman, but more Greek-influenced private affairs. It was a thriving rich city of 80,000 people, having two harbours, functioning as a “major commercial intersection in the ancient world”. 
Around mid-first century.
The church in Corinth had a lot of social and cultural problems. It’s important to understand that the people at this time were very concerned of their social and wealth status. (But hey surprise surprise! Sounds familiar, right?) This Greek-influenced “social competition” highlights the “honor & shame” culture, where honor defines a person’s value. If a person had honor, they brought glory to their family, but same as well with shame. Wealth was very much valued too, especially when you “aspired leadership in the society”.
Perhaps that’s why in 2 Corinthians, Paul addressed cynicism of his “theocentric and biblical”leadership because his type of leadership values does not align with the society’s culture.
The Corinthian church.
The Corinthian church was founded by Paul, Silas and Timothy.Paul first arrived towards the end of winter AD50, and ministered in Corinth for more than a year.
Read More in Acts 18 & 25
SPILLING the TEA on the 2 CORINTHIANs situation!!!!
Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians when he was in Ephesus in AD53.
When Timothy arrived in Corinth in AD54, he saw that things were messed up! False teachers were gaining popularity (imagine fake influencers), people were still heavily involved in sexual immorality and attacking each other’s backs (2 Cor 12:21). Why was this disappointing for Paul? Well, they basically ignored all the instructions he gave in his first letter. I imagine being in his position, I probably would have been so frustrated too! And angry and annoyed lol. Timothy updated Paul in the Corinth sitch. Paul’s response? Let’s just say all his travel plans were thwarted so he can visit Corinth and address this issue. (Paul’s previously planned trips were going to Macedonia before Corinth- 1 Cor 16:5-6). There’s just this complication: Paul’s main reason of coming to Corinth in the first place was to ask for financial help for the trip to Jerusalem, (spoiler alert: he still asked them!) it just became really tricky to confront the church.
THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW, FOR NOW.
NOW that we’ve become familiar with the BACKGROUND context of 2 Corinthians, as in where it was, when it was, and what was up with the Corinthian peeps whom Paul wrote the letter for…
NEXT WEEK Wednesday, come back and we can learn deeper the particular verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9
What was this “thorn” Paul alluded to?
What is grace? How is it sufficient? Is the promised “strength” physical or spiritual? How can we learn to be strong in our weaknesses?
More of this NEXT WEEK! come back next WEDNESDAY!
QUESTIONS FOR TODAY:
WHAT NEW THING DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW BEFORE? Curious to know, comment below! 🙂
Commentary mainly used:
Guthrie, George H. 2 Corinthians. E-book Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2015.
George H. Guthrie, 2 Corinthians, E-book edition. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2015), 57.
Ibid., 72, 74.