God’s Saving Word: Spiritual Renewal
2 Corinthians 10:1-18: The apostle Paul defends himself and his work against ongoing attacks made by his critics in the church in Corinth. Some claim that his letters are harsh but that in person he is weak. His hope is that the faith of people will grow, and he concludes by admonishing the Corinthians to boast only about what the Lord has done.
Paul Defends His Ministry
10 I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you—I who am said to be meek and mild when I am with you, but harsh with you when I am away. By the gentleness and kindness of Christ 2 I beg you not to force me to be harsh when I come; for I am sure I can deal harshly with those who say that we act from worldly motives. 3 It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. 4 The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; 5 we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. 6 And after you have proved your complete loyalty, we will be ready to punish any act of disloyalty.
7 You are looking at the outward appearance of things. Are there some there who reckon themselves to belong to Christ? Well, let them think again about themselves, because we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 For I am not ashamed, even if I have boasted somewhat too much about the authority that the Lord has given us—authority to build you up, not to tear you down. 9 I do not want it to appear that I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 Someone will say, “Paul’s letters are severe and strong, but when he is with us in person, he is weak, and his words are nothing!” 11 Such a person must understand that there is no difference between what we write in our letters when we are away and what we will do when we are there with you.
12 Of course we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. How stupid they are! They make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and they judge themselves by their own standards! 13 As for us, however, our boasting will not go beyond certain limits; it will stay within the limits of the work which God has set for us, and this includes our work among you. 14 And since you are within those limits, we were not going beyond them when we came to you, bringing the Good News about Christ. 15 So we do not boast about the work that others have done beyond the limits God set for us. Instead, we hope that your faith may grow and that we may be able to do a much greater work among you, always within the limits that God has set. 16 Then we can preach the Good News in other countries beyond you and shall not have to boast about work already done in someone else’s field.
17 But as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast about what the Lord has done.” 18 For it is when the Lord thinks well of us that we are really approved, and not when we think well of ourselves.
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 10:18
For it is when the Lord thinks well of us that we are really approved, and not when we think well of ourselves.
What are the weapons Paul is referring to in verse 4? How are these weapons used (verse 5)? In verse 17, Paul says that “whoever wants to boast must boast about what the Lord has done.” What will you boast about today?
Almighty God, empower me with weapons of the Spirit in order to destroy false arguments and spread the true knowledge of your love and salvation. May I boast today of what you have done. Amen.
And now join us in praising God that the Bible is helping prisoners in El Salvador find Christ. Gracious God, women and girls in El Salvador, who had been targets of violence and had turned to gangs for protection and were arrested, now have hope. Your Word is helping them to begin their journey of finding and following you, Lord God. They claim that they “want to give you, Holy God, a try.” Many have now received their first Bible, and the generous support from Bible-A-Month Partners is helping to provide Bibles for hurting prisoners in El Salvador and beyond. We praise and thank you, God, that your Word is helping those imprisoned to make better decisions and put their trust in you. Amen.
2 Corinthians 11:1-15: The apostle Paul warns the Corinthians about false apostles.