BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 14

2 Corinthians - BibleProject

In this lesson, you will explore 2 Corinthians, in which Paul addresses the conflict between himself and the Corinthians. He seeks reconciliation and reminds them of the importance of generosity, as seen in the fundraising efforts for the impoverished Jerusalem Christians. The letter also confronts the "super apostles" who challenge Paul's authority. By examining the paradox of the cross, you will discover how it challenges our values and expectations, as well as how it empowers Jesus' followers to embrace a cruciform way of life.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 14
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2 Corinthians - BibleProject

BP150-14: 2 Corinthians

I. Reconciliation with the Corinthians

A. Background and Context

B. Paul's Forgiveness and Commitment

II. Forgotten Generosity

A. Poverty of Jerusalem Christians

B. Paul's Fundraising Efforts

C. Gospel Transformation and Generosity

III. Confronting the "Super Apostles"

A. Comparison of Credentials

B. Paul's Sacrifices and the Cross

C. The Paradox of Weakness and Power

IV. Conclusion and Invitation

A. Warning and Self-Reflection

B. Embracing Cruciform Way of Life

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-14 - 2 Corinthians

Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. Even though it's called second or two Corinthians in our Bibles, there are multiple clues within this letter that it's not the second thing he ever wrote to the Church of ancient Corinth. Paul started this Jesus community in Corinth some time ago on one of his missionary journeys. You can read the story in the Book of Acts, chapter 18. And after moving on, Paul got a report that things were not going well there. So he wrote the letter that we call First Corinthians to correct these problems. And it appears that many in the church rejected Paul's teaching in that letter and rebelled against his authority. So we learn in this letter that Paul had followed up in person with what he calls the painful visit. And after that, he sent a letter which he says was written with anguish and tears. And so after all these measures, most but not all of the Corinthians realized their arrogance. And they apologized to Paul. They wanted to reconcile. And so Paul wrote this letter to assure them of his love and commitment. The letter has been designed with three main sections, each addressing a distinct topic. So Paul first finalizes his reconciliation with the Corinthians. Then in chapters eight nine, he addresses the topic of forgotten generosity. And in the final chapters, Paul challenges the remaining Corinthians who still reject him. Let's dive in and you'll see how it all works. So Paul opens up by thanking the God of all mercy and comfort who brought peace and encouragement to Him and the Corinthians during this time of division and dispute. He acknowledges that things have been tense since this painful visit, and he makes clear he's forgiven them. He wants an open and honest relationship. But why had they rejected Paul in the first place? Well, we discover later in this letter that the Corinthians had disregarded Paul as a leader. He was poor. He earned a meager living through manual labor. He was under constant persecution and suffering. He was often homeless. And to top it off, he wasn't a very impressive public speaker. And so once the Corinthians were exposed to other, more wealthy, impressive Christian leaders, they started to think less of Paul. They were actually ashamed of him. So Paul responds first by showing that their elevation of these leaders, simply because of their wealth and eloquence, is a betrayal of Jesus. It shows a totally distorted value system. True Christian leadership, Paul says, is not about status or self-promotion. Paul depicts himself and the other apostles as captives slaves to King Jesus, who's leading them on a procession of triumph. Paul's job isn't to be impressive, but rather to point people to the one who is Jesus. He then alludes to the recent demand of the Corinthians that he provides some letters of recommendation to prove his authority and credentials. And this is ridiculous to Paul. Their church wouldn't even exist if he hadn't started it. And so he says they are his proof of genuine leadership. They are his letter of recommendation. He cleverly quotes from the prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, saying that God's spirit has written his letter of recommendation on their hearts as his New Covenant people. The Corinthians shouldn't need any more proof than that. Now the mention of the New Covenant, it leads Paul into a long comparison between the old covenant, between God in Israel that was mediated by Moses and the New Covenant between God and the Corinthians, mediated by Jesus in the Spirit, the old covenant made at Mt. Sinai. It was truly glorious. It made Moses himself shine with God's glory. But that glory eventually faded, not to mention the fact that the laws of that covenant were ineffective at truly transforming Israel. But the New Covenant, by comparison, is even more glorious because the resurrected Jesus is the very glory of God and He lives on forever. And it's His spirit that's now transforming people to become more faithful, just like Jesus himself. Now, this all sounds amazing. I mean, who doesn't want to share in God's own glory? But Paul goes on to show how the paradox of the cross turns upside down. The Corinthians ideas of glory and success. After all, Jesus's glorious exaltation as King took place through his suffering, execution and death on the cross. Jesus revealed God's salvation. He died for the sins of the world to reconcile people to God. But the cross does even more. It reveals God's character. He's a being of utter self-giving, suffering, love that seeks the well-being of others. The cross also reveals a new, cruciform way of life. And Paul's goal is that his life and ministry imitates the cross. So although his apostolic career, it's been marked by humility, suffering by poverty, it was all to serve the Corinthians. And so when they disapprove of Paul's poverty and suffering, they disapprove of Jesus to Paul's way of life. And leadership is actually the proof that he authentically represents the crucified and risen Jesus. Paul really wants to reconcile with the Corinthians, but he won't let things lie until they've been transformed and embrace this upside down paradox of the cross after this passionate appeal. Paul moves on to. Address the topic of forgotten generosity. So the Jewish Christians back in Jerusalem, they had fallen into poverty due to a famine, and Paul was raising money among the new churches that he started full of mostly non-Jews. They would all send a relief gift as a symbol of their unity in the Messiah Jesus and so many of his churches they were thrilled to give. But the Corinthians, in the midst of all this conflict with Paul, hadn't saved up for the gift. And for Paul, this isn't just about money. It's another sign that the Corinthians have not been transformed by the Gospel about Jesus, which at its heart is a story of generosity. Paul says, You know, the generous grace of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, that even though he was rich for your sake, he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich. He's telling the story of the Gospel through financial metaphors. Jesus gave up his glorious honor or wealth, and he lowered himself to die like a poor slave so that other people who are impoverished through sin and death can be exalted and become wealthy through the riches of God's grace. To be a Christian is to let this story sink deep into your mind and heart, letting it transform you into someone who's more generous, more willing to share your life and resources to help others. In the final section of the letter, Paul focuses on the main source of his conflict with the Corinthians. That group of impressive leaders that he sarcastically calls super apostles. So they came to Corinth promoting themselves and badmouthing Paul as a poor, unsuccessful leader. And at the risk of sounding self-promoting, Paul says these guys really want to compare credentials. He can totally take them on. Are they Jewish Bible experts? Well, so as Paul, he was a Pharisee, for goodness sakes. He has the whole Bible memorized. Do they want to brag about their superior knowledge of Jesus? Paul has actually seen and hung out with the risen Jesus. He's actually had visions of Jesus heavenly throne room. But more importantly, Paul has given his entire life to the mission of Jesus. He's sacrifice, comfort and stability. And he never asked the Corinthians for money. Unlike the super apostles who charged a lot, Paul earned his own living. But Paul says he refuses to brag about these accomplishments because these aren't the things that really matter as a Christian. Instead, what he'll brag about is how flawed and how weak he is because it's in those inadequacies that he discovers the love and mercy of Jesus. Whereas Jesus once told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect through weakness. Paul concludes the letter with a sober warning to the Corinthians. They need to check themselves their contempt for Paul, his way of life, their love for the super apostles. It all shows that they don't grasp who Jesus is on a fundamental level. They're not living like transformed followers of Jesus. And so He invites them once again to humble themselves before the love of Jesus. Second Corinthians gives us a really unique window into the life of Paul and the paradox set before us by the Cross of Jesus. The Cross challenges our values, our ways of seeing the world We value success, education, wealth. But God values humility and weakness because His love and power were made known through the suffering, death and the resurrection of Jesus. The cross also unleashes the transforming power and presence of the Spirit to empower Jesus followers to take up his cruciform way of life and make it their own. And that's what Second Corinthians is all about.