Many of us are familiar with the verse in 2 Corinthians which says:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 2:9)
To understand this verse more deeply, let’s study it in context.
The context of this verse begins with 2 Corinthians 10:1 and goes through 2 Corinthians 12:13.
In these verses, as well as other verses in 2 Corinthians and even 1 Corinthians, Paul is verbally attacked and slandered.
People have varying opinions about Paul's thorn in the flesh.
However, Paul tells us exactly what his thorn was:
"...a messenger of Satan sent to torment me."
(2 Corinthians 12:7)
So we know from Paul's own words the thorn was a messenger of Satan sent to torment him.
The question is:
Who is the messenger of Satan and how did this satanic messenger torment Paul?
The messenger of Satan may be the false apostles whom Paul referred to as servants of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).
It is possible they were seeking to destroy Paul's message and mission wherever he went.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ”
The word gospel means good news.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, the good news he teaches about is the good news of God’s grace that God has freely given to us in Jesus for the purpose of giving us the gift of righteousness - a gift we receive simply by faith - and reconciling us to himself in a love relationship where we know God as Father.
I have seen over the past few years some people say that doctrine is not important.
They say what is important is love for others and respect for the doctrines of others.
So the question is…
Does doctrine matter?
Let’s define the term doctrine.
Doctrine is a set of truths people learn, are taught, and believe which influences how they view God, how they treat others, how they live, choices they make, etc…
Even though some may say that doctrine is not important, is that what the Bible says?
Does the Bible say that doctrine is unimportant.
2 Timothy 1:7 is a widely known and often quoted verse among
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and
even though it is widely known and quoted often, most believers do not know the
meaning of this verse as it relates to the context.
understanding its context, we can have a deeper understanding of the verse and
a greater appreciation for it.
take a look at its context.
Timothy was written by Paul to Timothy.
was Paul’s missionary companion whom Paul poured his heart and mind into.
1 One of the most beloved set of verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
It is known and quoted by many people.
It is widely read in wedding ceremonies.
It is used in many sermons.
Yet most people do not know the context of this set of verses.
Let’s take a look at the context.
In 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paul writes to the Corinthian church concerning spiritual gifts, especially tongues.
The Corinthian church became consumed with the gift of tongues, which was the ability to speak in the earthly languages of other people for the purpose of sharing the good news about Jesus with unbelievers.
According to Jesus, the power of Satan grips the person who has not received God's forgiveness.
This person lives in the darkness, guilt, and shame of their sin.
The heart of Jesus is to see people freed from the powerful grip Satan has upon their lives and from the miserable darkness they live in daily, and start living in the light of God's love, forgiveness, and grace.
When people receive God's forgiveness, they are released from the power of Satan that grips them and the darkness that torments them.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says,
“Do you not know that in a
race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as
to take the prize. Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict
discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown
that is imperishable. Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I
am beating the air. No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that
after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified
1 Corinthians 9:19-22 says,
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:18, writes about “the message of the cross.”
To Paul, the message of the cross was the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17).
The message of the cross, the gospel, is powerful...it is the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).
It is the message Paul was sent by Jesus to proclaim (1 Corinthians 1:17).
The context of 1 Corinthians 1:17 was that believers in Corinth where boasting about and aligning themselves with certain teachers (1 Corinthians 1:12).
Consequently, they were arguing with one another about which teacher was the best communicator (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).