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2Co 2:1-4     In the last chapter Paul was forced to defend his change of plans about coming to Corinth; what do we learn from these verses about why he had done so?  What does he mean by “again” in 2Co 2:1: Had he made a sorrowful trip not recorded in Acts, or does he mean that he didn’t want to visit them again, this time in sorrow?  To what does Paul refer in 2Co 2:3 and 4 that he had written to the Corinthians?  See 1 Cor 4-6, esp. 1Co 4:14,18-21, 5:1-6,13, 6:1,7-8.

2Co 2:5-11   Who does Paul have in mind in these verses as having been the source of the spiritual sorrow experienced in the Corinthian church?  See 1 Cor 5:1-5.  What effect had the discipline Paul ordered evidently had upon the offender?  See also 2Co 7:9-10.  What further action did Paul therefore recommend?  What does this teach us about the purpose of church discipline and the importance of forgiveness to those who are penitent?  What does 2Co 2:11 teach us about the way Satan may scheme against a group of believers?

2Co 2:12-13 Paul began this letter with a burst of praise to the “God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction” before describing the afflictions God had comforted him in: the affliction that came to him in Asia (see 2Co 1:8), as well as the affliction of his soul out of concern for what was happening in the Corinthian church (see 2Co 2:4).  He has already been forced to defend his change of travel plans and through much of his discourse will continue to defend himself against those in Corinth who were still challenging his authority.  However, he has been greatly comforted that the tide has turned and the majority of those in Corinth support him.  In the immediately preceding verses he began to express the comfort he felt for their repentant attitude.  How do these verses continue to describe his affliction in regard to the concern he felt for the Corinthians, and also set the stage to describe how God had comforted him in regard to it?  See 2Co 7:5-7.

2Co 2:14-16 These verses begin a long digression before Paul picks up his train of thought again in 2Co 7:5.  What is it that prompts this thanksgiving and subsequent digression?  See again 2Co 7:5-7.  The picture Paul is painting is of a triumphant Roman procession that was heralded by bearers of incense and fragrant flowers.  What is the aroma Paul pictures himself as dispensing in God’s triumphant procession?  See 2Co 2:14.  What was the triumph he felt God had given him?  The aroma of such a triumphant procession represented different things for those who were victorious and those who were vanquished; how does Paul also use this to picture the different responses evoked from those among whom he spread the knowledge of God?

2Co 2:17        Although Paul does not feel that he is adequate in himself to be used of God in spreading the gospel truths (see 2Co 3:5), what attitude/spirit had God put into him that made him adequate?  Peddlers or hucksters are known as those who sell their wares for profit often by subtle deception, such as putting the best fruits on the top of the basket or as otherwise presenting their product in such a way as to hide anything their customers might find displeasing.  How does this describe many religious leaders today?  Note: the Greek word used also carries the idea of adulterate or water down.  See Isaiah 1:22 where the same root word is used in the LXX for huckster wine merchants who watered their product down in order to make a larger profit.

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