2 Corinthians 2:5–11 (ESV)
Forgive the Sinner
5 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. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive
and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also
forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The goal of church discipline is the restoration of the person. Paul calls the Corinthians, who have been diligent in punishment, to be even more diligent in forgiveness. When disciplining another, we often are tempted to do so legalistically, as if
the person has to earn our forgiveness. Such an attitude actually destroys grace, both in the repentant believer and in us. To the one who is truly sorry for sin, we are to forgive as Christ forgives us and to remember the sin no more.
I pray: Dear Lord, give us wisdom to speak Your words of judgment or grace always for the sake of our fellow believer and not for our own satisfaction or self-righteousness. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1983.
2 Corinthians 1:12–2:4 (ESV)
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 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. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that
on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.
15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to
come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 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. 17 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? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been
Yes and No. 19 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. 20 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. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also
put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
23 But I call God to witness against me—it
was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
2 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one
whom I have pained? 3 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. 4 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.
Paul defends his
ministry to the Corinthians not according to the standards of the world but according to the gracious character of God’s message delivered through self-sacrificing servants. Sharing the Gospel message often exposes us as unworthy servants. In the midst
of the hardships that Gospel ministry brings in a sinful world, the confidence of Christ, His encouraging, sustaining, forgiving presence, is a constant blessing for those who trust Him (1:21).
I pray: Dear Jesus, even in the midst of the battles of life, Your love and Your grace not only sustain us, but they are also the solid ground from which we can always begin again. We trust in Your everlasting love. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The
Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1982–1983.
2 Corinthians 1:3–11 (ESV)
God of All Comfort
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 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. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our
sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly
burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 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. 10 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. 11 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.
Paul puts suffering in the context of God’s grace. Sharing the Gospel in the midst of a sinful world means that opposition is bound to come (Jn 15:20) and may even overwhelm God’s
people as they share the Good News with others. Christ Jesus promises that in the midst of carrying crosses, burdens, and even the abuses and persecutions of others, His burden will be light (Mt 11:28–30). He not only will sustain us as His people (Rm
5:1–5) but will refresh us and bring joy in the midst of such struggles (Mt 5:11; 2Co 12:9–10).
I pray: Lord Jesus, teach us to be open to the challenging experiences that loving others in Your
name brings, so we might trust in You all the more and rejoice exceedingly when others come to faith in You because they have known us as Your people. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1981–1982.
2 Corinthians 1:1–2 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s ministry to the Corinthians has been “painful” (2:1). As Christ’s representative, Paul calls them to repentance
(cf 1Co 5–6; 10–11) for their willful disobedience of the Gospel of Jesus. Yet, even for this Church there is grace and peace from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” which establishes and sustains them anew as God’s saints.
Like the Corinthians, we must also admit and repent of our misuse and neglect of the ministry of the Word. Too often, we trust in our own wisdom and strength to the detriment of our walk with God. Yet, Jesus is continually gracious toward us with a forgiveness
that is as real as Jesus Himself. Just as He was gracious to undeserving, even arrogant, people at Corinth and restored them as saints, He can reach each one of us right where we are.
I pray: Dear Lord, thank You for continually reaching me and renewing me in and through Your Church. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1981.
1 Corinthians 16:19–24 (ESV)
19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send
you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If
anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Paul’s bittersweet conclusion illustrates his passion for the Gospel and for the congregation. Likewise, the Lord calls us to passionate service and love. Jesus, too, forcefully denounced those who abused
God’s Word (Mt 23:1–36); yet He poured out His love for all sinners, so that all might know His grace.
I pray: Dear Jesus, fill me with sincere passion for
sharing the Gospel with those who have not yet heard of or believed in Your grace. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1978.