In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been behind on my #30daysofPaul challenge.
It started 4th of July weekend, when I took two days off to visit family in Kansas…and then just never made those days up. Since then, I’ve been working two to five days behind, and scrambling to make it all up.
Tonight, that’s what I’m doing.
These three selections from 2 Corinthians – 1:1-2:13; 7:5-16; 8-9 – all make up one letter, broken up by a couple others. They are known collectively as the “letter of reconciliation,” and appear to be written in response to Corinth’s reception of his “letter of tears,” which we tackled earlier in chapters 10-13.
So I just want to touch on the “letter of reconciliation” here, and get us caught up and ready to jump back in tomorrow.
The letter of reconciliation is a lot like the letter of tears: light on theology, more concerned with Paul’s relationship to the church at Corinth. He writes to them here to commend them for their response to his previous letter. It seems a single individual – a member of the church at Corinth – was responsible for the charges Paul answered in his earlier letter.
Although they were first angry and then grieved at his letter, Paul indicates they used it as an opportunity to grow. He says in 7:11,
“For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what earnestness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in this manner.”
Paul’s love for the church at Corinth shines through in his words to them here. He also encourages them to forgive and love the individual who caused this rift, just as he has committed to forgive and love him.
Finally, in chapters 8 and 9, he encourages them to give out of their abundance to the impoverished churches at Macedonia, commends Titus and other workers to them as they travel to Jerusalem, and then reminds them of their duty to take a collection for the church at Jerusalem to send with Titus.
In light of the previous letter in 10-13, I found this one very interesting, to see Paul making amends after his outburst. He seems almost embarrassed by the way he acted previously, making excuses for not visiting them in the meantime that seems to be covering up the shame he feels and his desire to not have to confront them face-to-face. The personal side of Paul we get in these letters is so fascinating for exploring him as a human being, and not some otherworldly Saint.
Thanks for tolerating my tardiness. Now, we are caught up! I promise to keep it that way over the final 11 days of #30daysofPaul.