2 Corinthians 10 Lesson

Meekness and gentleness

2 Timothy 3:12 states:

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

This certainly applied to The Apostle Paul.

At the time Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians people were saying:

  • “Paul is walking according to the flesh.” – 2 Corinthians 10:2.
  • “Paul’s presence is unimpressive.” – 2 Corinthians 10:10a.
  • “Paul’s speech is contemptible.” – 2 Corinthians 10:10b.

Paul defended himself with these words:

  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
  • “Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.” – 2 Corinthians 10:18.

Why would people seek to harm someone like Paul? The same reason they crucified Jesus. Some of the people in Corinth had allowed their hearts to become hardened. They were jealous, power hungry, and willing to harm others if it meant more power for them.

Paul’s writings provide us with an incredible example of strength, meekness, and humility; just as Jesus did before him.

In the first verse of Chapter 10, Paul wrote that he was coming to them with, “The meekness and gentleness of Christ.”

Meekness is defined as, “Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; being able to patiently endure.” It should not be confused with weakness. It takes strength to remain meek under fire.

It is useful to consider the following fundamental differences between Paul and those that were attacking him:

  • Paul was first and foremost a servant of Jesus (Romans 1:1). As a servant of Jesus, Paul worked tirelessly to please God and to follow His commandments.

  • His attackers were seeking to glorify themselves and were seeking personal gain.

  • Paul was guided by the Spirit, and his attackers were guided by the flesh.

Like Paul, we will all be persecuted at some point in our lives.

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us this:

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

However, God has not left us to suffer alone. He has given us two precious gifts:

  1. The Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work. ” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
  2. The Holy Spirit. While the Bible teaches us WHAT God wants us to learn, the Holy Spirit lets us FEEL it.

Between the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we are prepared to handle whatever adversity may come our way.  Instead of focusing on the temporary suffering, we should focus our attention on the eternal joy that awaits the faithful in heaven! 

In the book of Romans, Paul wrote:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ” – Romans 8:18.

What then, can we take away from today’s lesson? Consider these four points:

  1. When our time comes to suffer persecution (it is not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of “when”), we can draw on the example of Paul and respond with, “The meekness and gentleness of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:1.
  2. We can choose to follow God and not the world.
  3. We can allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit and not the flesh.
  4. In all things, we can strive to be more like Jesus, who while dying on the cross said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23-34.

We will end today’s lesson with the following encouraging words found in John 1:12:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Comments

Joe R

I find this passage to be a powerful reminder that persecution is a by-product of embracing a life built around following the example of Jesus Christ. Personally, it challenges me because I have not experienced such persecution for my beliefs and perhaps this reflects failure to be more outspoken regarding my faith and responsibility to spread the Gospel to the people around me. It is also a great reminder of the need to embrace humility and follow Jesus' example when it comes enduring such persecution. If Jesus could remain silent when people persecuted him and sentenced him to death on a cross for my sins, how much more should I be able to remain humble when I experience challenges associated with being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Finally, I find it essential to remain aware that boasting is not appropriate unless boasting in the name of Jesus Christ. While all of these points are easy to understand and agree with, they can be challenging to put into practice. However, the lesson is helpful in highlighting the need to stay close to the Word and embrace the Holy Spirit working in us.

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Dan W

Paul had to deal with a lot of criticism from Christians, yet he loved them and helped them.
Today, criticism can be devastating to a minister and/or his family. It renders one powerless because relationships are so important. It would be a blessing to let it just roll off one’s back.

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