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Final Greetings March 2, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 2 Corinthians 13:11-14.

Summary: Paul begins by exhorting the Corinthians – as fellow Christians – to:

  • rejoice in the Lord
  • reform themselves
  • exhort one another
  • exhibit a common faith
  • stop quarreling

so that God will dwell with them, producing love and peace. He tells them to greet one another in a way that expresses Christian communion and love. Also, all of the believers where he currently resides wish them salvation. Paul concludes by praying that they will receive the unmerited favor of Jesus Christ, the love of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts: Reading through 2 Corinthians was an interesting experience – to say the least – and I definitely gained a greater appreciation for Paul in the process. I’ve now blogged about three of Paul’s epistles; the first two were:

  • Romans – which is a masterful exposition of Christian theory and practice
  • 1 Corinthians – where Paul briefly talks about himself, but mainly consists of a series of instructions and corrections.

2 Corinthians, though, is an intensely personal epistle; to me, it has two themes:

  • Paul’s acute awareness of his unity with Christ
  • Paul’s ardent desire to completely live out this unity – despite the attendant difficulties that beset him from within and from without.

Hodge describes the personal aspect of this epistle at the outset of his commentary:

Though it is perhaps the least methodical of Paul’s writings, it is among the most interesting, bringing out the man to the reader and revealing his intimate relationship with the people for whom he labored.

Yet we cannot forget that while Paul – to his repeated mortification – threatens to overshadow this epistle with his need to justify himself in the eyes of his opponents, he repeatedly glories in Christ. This is characteristic of all of his letters, and J.I. Packer puts it quite nicely in the introduction to Hodge’s commentary:

Second Corinthians is a Christ-centered letter, and what sticks in the reader’s mind most vividly is Paul’s celebration of divine sovereign grace and supernatural empowering. This overarches all his references to the hazards and headaches of his apostolic service.

I’m definitely looking forward to meeting Paul and the Corinthians in the next life and learning how they responded to this letter.

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