A milestone, the 500th Gem! It surprises me how quickly they keep ticking over. Twitter tells me I have sent 6,725 Tweets. Amazing. It amazes me that I have created 200 Gems for 1 Corinthians alone. I never imagined I would do that many. The reason is there is much to comment on and I have only commented on the more important stuff. I have left the little nitpicking details behind. God’s Word is truly amazing because it is so deep.
Ha ha I know some of you have been chaffing at the bit over this last week because you have been Gemless. I know that because some of you have told me. Others of you have not read your last few Gems well enough and missed the fact that I would start gemming 2 Corinthians in a fortnight's time. Because you asked what had happened to the Gem.
That of course makes me wonder if you have been doing anything in preparation for 2 Corinthians. As I told my church’s Sunday School teachers last weekend, those who do the work get the most out of it. You will have more and more confidence to work with the Biblical text as you work with the Biblical text. Funny that. Whenever we finish a book I give you some time before starting the next book to look back in retrospect and pull understanding together. The next thing to do is read and re-read the next book we will focus on to ensure we have a good grasp of the flow. Even more so with the connection between 1st and 2nd Corinthians.
With these two books more than any others you need to read between the lines (even though Paul tells us “Our letters have been straight forward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can't understand.” 2 Cor 1:13. You still have to read between the lines and you have to take into account what is not said.
I suggested that you pay attention to the order of contact between Paul and the Corinthians and go back to Bible Gemz 306 and 307. It is clear from a straight reading of 2Cor 2:1-4 and 2Cor 7:8 that the painful visit and the letter of tears has taken place between Paul’s 1st and 2nd letters.
Paul visits Corinth for the first time,
There is regular contact between Paul and the people from Corinth via Chloe’s homegroup, Timothy, Apollos, Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus]
Paul writes the "warning letter"
The Corinthians send a letter to Paul.
Paul writes 1 Corinthians
Paul makes a “painful visit” to the Corinthians as he said would (1 Cor 16:6)
Paul writes the "letter of tears".
Paul writes 2 Corinthians
Paul presumably made the third visit after writing 2 Corinthians, (2 Cor 12:14, 2 Cor 13:1)
Did you pick up the fact that the visit we talked about in Gemz 493–495 has now happened at the start of 2 Corinthians? That has happened between the two letters. Paul it seems has visited them himself and has also written a letter of tears to them as well. Much has happened since we were reading 1 Corinthians. Be aware of this as you read 2 Corinthians so you can pick up on the cues more easily.
There is even a “3rd Corinthians”. It is found in a collection called “The Acts of Paul” but no one believes this to be original Paul. It is part of the Pseudepigrapha, the false writings from the 2nd Century. It is reported by Tertullian to have been written by an elder in the church in honour of Paul. He was removed from his position in the church for his efforts and was excommunicated by the church. The Armenian Orthodox Church included it in their canon for a while. It is not genuine Paul and doesn’t warrant our interest. I just thought I would tell you. There is all sorts of stuff out there.
Life doesn't happen TO you.. It happens IN you! Brian Houston
God doesn't say: "Change your life and I will accept you." He says "I accept you - now let's change your life." Max Lucado