Paul’s Apostleship

“You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? –Romans 2:23

Scripture: 2 Corinthians

Doctrinal Emphasis: Overview and Themes of 2 Corinthians

A significant theme of the second letter to the Corinthians is Paul’s defense of his apostleship. His credentials are defined throughout the epistle. He was appointed by God (1:1).

False teachers and false doctrine are addressed by Paul. Not one to shy away, he takes this issue head on and full steam ahead. False teachers were undermining Paul’s work in the church (11:4). Paul answers his accusers in Chapters 10-12:13. Paul withstood personal attacks on his character, bravery, and speaking skills. He offers a defense which is motivated by his love for Christ (10:1, 10:17) and concern for believers (Chapter 11).

Paul addresses the issue of money in Chapters 8 and 9. In short, fund raising should be completed with a sense of purpose, organization, and accountability. As Christians, we should give cheerfully (9:7). We are to be mindful and generous of fellow believers and their needs in other parts of the world.

Suffering is a hallmark of Paul’s apostleship. To say he had “a thorn in his flesh” is putting it mildly. He was persecuted and jailed many times over. He escaped with his life on many occasions. Paul was expelled from cities and left for dead. Riots resulted because of his belief in Christ and the stance he took. He received 39 lashes five times, was beaten with a rod three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, and nearly drowned. He faced dangers from robbers, fellow countrymen, foreigners, false teachers, wildlife, and sea life. Paul was often hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, weary, and suffered pain (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

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