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Scripture reading – 2 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 4

The previous chapter closed on a note of thanksgiving and praise, when Paul declared victory in Christ, as he had opportunity to proclaim the Gospel “in every place” (2:14). As God’s messenger, he had known the privilege of proclaiming the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ “in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2:15).

The apostle’s privilege was to be used as God’s minister (2:17). Though many men corrupted the Word of God with their false doctrines (2:17a), Paul was committed to teach the sincere, unadulterated Word of God (2:17b). His motive was pure, untainted by any purpose that was not of the Lord. As God’s man (2:17c), he was conscious everything he did was “in the sight of God” (2:17d), and he had one message, “Christ” (2:17e).

2 Corinthians 3

Paul’s letter was not meant to “commend” or praise himself, nor did he come with letters of commendation from others to laud his ministry (3:1). In fact, he needed no other commendation for his life and ministry than the believers in Corinth (3:2). Paul wrote, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (3:2-3).

Essentially, Paul suggested, look at the believers in the church at Corinth, and judge him by their lives and testimonies. Though, in his first letter he had admonished them for their sins; in his second letter he commended them. They had humbled themselves, repented, and obeyed God’s Word.

Yet, Paul realized the work that was accomplished in the hearts of the believers in Corinth was the work of God (3:4-5). He was not able to change the hearts of men. He confessed he was not “sufficient [or qualified]…to think any thing as of [himself]; but [his] sufficiency,” his power “[was] of God” (3:5).

Closing thoughts – The calling of those who teach God’s Word is to point men to Jesus Christ. Yet, a faithful minister and teacher knows it is God who equips, and makes “us able ministers of the new testament (renewed covenant)” (3:6). It does not matter how many degreed letters follow your name, or the references others might give you (3:1). Like Paul, a pastor and teacher’s ministry should be judged by examining the lives of those to whom he has ministered (3:2-3).

No one who ministers the Word of God should think he is sufficient or able to minister apart from God’s power (3:5-6).

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