Welcome to our summer series, “All in All!” As a church, we’re taking the summer to dive into the book of 2 Corinthians and find out how Jesus, through His work on the cross and His activity in our life today, truly can be our “All in All.” We invite you to join us on Sunday mornings as we walk through this book, and in your own Bible reading throughout the week. Follow along with us as we go through this reading plan together.
THE “BOOK” OF 2 CORINTHIANS
It’s strange we call 2 Corinthians a “book” because it’s actually a letter – written to a specific people at a specific time and for specific reasons. In this case, the apostle Paul wrote this letter to a church located in the ancient Greek city of Corinth. Paul started this church and as he continued on his missionary travels, he would write letters to this and other churches to instruct and encourage them from afar. Letters like this one would’ve been received by leaders of the church and read out loud to the congregation, saved and passed around to other churches in the future. This is what Acts 2:42 refers to when it says that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings.”
It’s also funny that we call this “book” 2 Corinthians because there are several, small clues in the letter that make it clear this was not the second thing Paul ever wrote to the church.
THE STORY OF 2 CORINTHIANS
The story of how Paul started this church is recorded in Acts 18. After Paul left Corinth he received a report of major problems in the church (see 1 Corinthians 1:11). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to address these problems. But as we see in both the letters to the Corinthians, many people in the church rejected Paul’s leadership.
Paul followed up 1 Corinthians with a “painful visit” and then another letter written with “anguish and tears” (see 2 Corinthians 2:1-4) to confront these tough issues. It seemed that after all of this most of the Corinthians were ready to repent for turning against Paul. He wrote 2 Corinthians to affirm his love for the church, give some basic instructions and defend his own legitimacy as an apostle.
THE LESSON OF 2 CORINTHIANS
At the time of writing this letter, it had been a rocky road for Paul. He had traveled the known world and planted churches, but also suffered greatly as we’ll see in 2 Corinthians 11. We get a close look at Paul’s sufferings, hard relationships and personal weaknesses in this book, and we get a deep look at the things he learned from those hardships. The more Paul goes through the more he learns about not only God’s comfort, but God’s grace and strength in the midst of weaknesses.
2 Corinthians is an invitation for us to consider our own challenges not as something that detract from our faith but as something that gives depth and meaning to our relationship with Jesus. Jesus’ love and power were shown most in His own suffering and death. Wouldn’t it seem that God wants to show us His love and power in our weakness and hardship as well?
Paul had an encounter with Jesus that changed him forever. Jesus’ words to Paul are true for us today, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Join us this summer as we journey through this letter, and find out how Jesus truly is and will be our “All in All.”
In writing this introduction I used the following resources, which I highly recommend for a deeper study of Biblical books:
By Chase Moore – Young Adult Pastor