- After a formal greeting and introduction Paul opens his letter on a note of praise.
What particular aspects of God’s character does Paul give praise for?
Why do you think these should be particularly singled out in this letter?
Can we learn from Paul’s experiences any new lessons about the Christian in his personal relationship with God?
- What reasons does Paul give in this passage for wanting the Corinthians to be fully aware of the extent of his sufferings?
What spiritual gain would they get from his suffering (verse 6)?
What part are they to play, and with what result (verse 11)?
How faithful are we in our support of those whose Christian lives entail more than a usual amount of suffering?
- Compare the formal greeting of this letter with similar ones in other epistles (e.g., Gal. 1:1). On what ground does Paul rest his claim to apostleship? How does he describe the church in Corinth in spite of its defects? What blessings does he ask for its members? How far are these blessings real to you?
Note. Verses 8-10. ‘To be uninformed’: in the sense of ‘to underrate’. The Corinthians knew of the affliction, but not of its gravity ‘I absolutely despaired of life.
Yes, and when I asked, what shall be the end?
The whispered answer of my heart was, Death.
This taught me to rely no more on my own strength, but upon God alone, for He can raise up men actually dead’ (way).