12. Why did Paul rejoice at the report from Corinth?
12 Paul states further: “I am filled with comfort, I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.” (7:4) Why? Not only because of the presence of Titus but also because of the good report from Corinth, that of their longing, their mourning, and their zeal for Paul. He realizes that his first letter caused temporary sadness, but he rejoices that the Corinthians were saddened for repentance to salvation. He commends them for cooperating with Titus.
13. (a) What examples of generosity does Paul cite? (b) What principles does Paul discuss in connection with giving?
13 Generosity will be rewarded (8:1–9:15). In connection with contributions for the needy “holy ones,” Paul cites the example of the Macedonians, whose generosity despite deep poverty was really beyond their ability; and he now hopes to see the same kind of giving on the part of the Corinthians as a demonstration of the genuineness of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ, who became poor that they might be rich. This giving according to what they have will result in an equalizing, so that the one with much will not have too much, and the one with little, not too little. Titus and others are being sent to them in connection with this kind gift. Paul has been boasting about the generosity and readiness of the Corinthians, and he does not want them put to shame by any failure to complete the bountiful gift. Yes, “he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Let it be from the heart, for “God loves a cheerful giver.” He is also able to make his undeserved kindness abound toward them and to enrich them for every sort of generosity. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.”—9:1, 6, 7, 15.
14. What points does Paul make in support of his apostleship?
14 Paul argues his apostleship (10:1–13:14). Paul acknowledges that he is lowly in appearance. But Christians do not war according to the flesh; their weapons are spiritual, “powerful by God” for overturning reasonings contrary to the knowledge of God. (10:4) Some, seeing things just at their face value, say that the apostle’s letters are weighty but his speech contemptible. Let them know that Paul’s actions will be just the same as his word by letter. The Corinthians should realize that Paul is not boasting about accomplishments in someone else’s territory. He has personally carried the good news to them. Furthermore, if there is to be any boasting, let it be in Jehovah.
15. (a) With what illustrations does Paul speak out against the false apostles? (b) What is Paul’s own record?
15 Paul feels his responsibility to present the Corinthian congregation to the Christ as a chaste virgin. Just as Eve was seduced by the Serpent’s cunning, so there is danger that their minds may be corrupted. With force, therefore, Paul speaks out against the “superfine apostles” of the Corinthian congregation. (11:5) They are false apostles. Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder that his ministers do the same. But as to being ministers of Christ, how do they compare with Paul’s record? He has endured much: imprisonment, beatings, shipwreck three times, many dangers, going often without sleep or food. Yet through it all he never lost sight of the needs of the congregations and always felt incensed when someone was stumbled.
16. (a) Of what might Paul boast, but why would he rather speak of his weaknesses? (b) How has Paul produced proofs of his apostleship?
16 So if anyone has reason to boast, it is Paul. Could the other so-called apostles at Corinth tell about being caught away into paradise, to hear unutterable things? Yet Paul speaks about his weaknesses. That he might not feel overly exalted, he was given “a thorn in the flesh.” Paul entreated that it be removed but was told: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you.” Paul would rather boast in his weaknesses, that “the power of the Christ” may remain over him like a tent. (12:7, 9) No, Paul has not proved inferior to the “superfine apostles,” and the Corinthians have seen the proofs of apostleship that he produced among them “by all endurance, and by signs and portents and powerful works.” He is not seeking their possessions, just as Titus and his other fellow workers whom he sent did not take advantage of them.—12:11, 12.
17. What final admonition does Paul give the Corinthians?
17 All things are for their upbuilding. However, Paul expresses fear that when he arrives in Corinth, he will find some who have not repented of works of the flesh. He warns the sinners in advance that he will take appropriate action and spare none, and he advises all in the congregation to keep testing whether they are in the faith in union with Jesus Christ. Paul and Timothy will pray to God for them. He bids them rejoice and be restored to unity, in order that the God of love and peace will be with them, and concludes by sending greetings from the holy ones and his own best wishes for their spiritual blessing.
18. What right view should Christians take of the ministry?
18 How stimulating and encouraging is Paul’s appreciation for the Christian ministry as expressed in Second Corinthians! Let us view it as he did. The Christian minister who has been adequately qualified by God is no peddler of the Word but serves out of sincerity. What recommends him is, not some written document, but the fruitage he bears in the ministry. However, while the ministry is indeed glorious, this is no cause for his becoming puffed up. God’s servants as imperfect humans have this treasure of service in frail earthen vessels, that the power may plainly be seen to be God’s. So this calls for humility in accepting the glorious privilege of being God’s ministers, and what an undeserved kindness from God it is to serve as “ambassadors substituting for Christ”! How appropriate, then, was Paul’s exhortation “not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose”!—2:14-17; 3:1-5; 4:7; 5:18-20; 6:1.
19. In what various ways did Paul provide an outstanding model for Christian ministers today, especially for overseers?
19 Paul certainly provided a splendid example for Christian ministers to copy. For one thing, he valued and studied the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, repeatedly quoting from, alluding to, and applying them. (2 Cor. 6:2, 16-18; 7:1; 8:15; 9:9; 13:1; Isa. 49:8; Lev. 26:12; Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:41; 2 Sam. 7:14; Hos. 1:10) Moreover, as an overseer, he displayed deep concern for the flock, saying: “For my part I will most gladly spend and be completely spent for your souls.” He gave himself entirely in behalf of the brothers, as the record clearly shows. (2 Cor. 12:15; 6:3-10) He was untiring in his labors as he taught, exhorted, and set things straight in the Corinthian congregation. He warned plainly against fellowship with darkness, telling the Corinthians: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers.” Because of his loving concern for them, he did not want to see their minds become corrupted, “as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning,” and so he heartily admonished them: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are.” He stirred them to Christian generosity, showing them that “God loves a cheerful giver,” and he himself expressed the most appreciative thanks to God for His indescribable free gift. Truly his brothers at Corinth were inscribed in love on the fleshly tablet of Paul’s heart, and his unstinted service in their interests was everything that should mark a zealous, wide-awake overseer. What an outstanding model for us today!—6:14; 11:3; 13:5; 9:7, 15; 3:2.
20. (a) How does Paul set our minds in the right direction? (b) To what glorious hope does Second Corinthians point?
20 The apostle Paul sets our minds in the right direction in pointing to “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort” as the real source of strength in time of trial. He it is that “comforts us in all our tribulation” in order that we may endure for salvation into his new world. Paul points also to the glorious hope of “a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens,” and says: “Consequently if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, look! new things have come into existence.” Second Corinthians does indeed contain wonderful words of assurance for those who, like Paul, will inherit the heavenly Kingdom.—1:3, 4; 5:1, 17.
Bible Book Number 48—Galatians
Place Written: Corinth or Syrian Antioch
Writing Completed: c. 50–52 C.E.
1. Which congregations are addressed in Galatians, and how and when were they organized?
THE congregations of Galatia addressed by Paul at Galatians 1:2 apparently included Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe—places in different districts but all within this Roman province. Acts chapters 13 and 14 tells of the first missionary journey of Paul with Barnabas through this area, which led to the organizing of the Galatian congregations. These were made up of a mixture of Jews and non-Jews, no doubt including Celts, or Gauls. This was shortly after Paul’s visit to Jerusalem about 46 C.E.—Acts 12:25.
2. (a) What resulted from Paul’s second tour in Galatia, but what followed thereafter? (b) In the meantime, how did Paul proceed with his journey?
2 In the year 49 C.E., Paul and Silas started out on Paul’s second missionary tour into the Galatian territory, which resulted in ‘the congregations being made firm in the faith and increasing in number day by day.’ (Acts 16:5; 15:40, 41; 16:1, 2) However, hot on their heels came false teachers, Judaizers, who persuaded some in the Galatian congregations to believe that circumcision and observance of the Law of Moses were essential parts of true Christianity. In the meantime Paul had journeyed on past Mysia into Macedonia and Greece, eventually arriving in Corinth, where he spent more than 18 months with the brothers. Then, in 52 C.E., he departed by way of Ephesus for Syrian Antioch, his home base, arriving there in the same year.—Acts 16:8, 11, 12; 17:15; 18:1, 11, 18-22.
3. From where and when may Galatians have been written?
3 Where and when did Paul write the letter to the Galatians? No doubt he wrote it as soon as word reached him concerning the activity of the Judaizers. This could have been in Corinth, Ephesus, or Syrian Antioch. It could well have been during his 18-month stay in Corinth, 50-52 C.E., as information would have had time to reach him there from Galatia. Ephesus is unlikely, as he stayed there only briefly on his return journey. However, he then “passed some time” at his home base of Syrian Antioch, apparently in the summer of 52 C.E., and since there was ready communication between this city and Asia Minor, it is possible that he received the report concerning the Judaizers and wrote his letter to the Galatians from Syrian Antioch at this time.—Acts 18:23.
4. What does Galatians disclose as to Paul’s apostleship?
4 The letter describes Paul as “an apostle, neither from men nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.” It also discloses many facts about Paul’s life and apostleship, proving that, as an apostle, he worked in harmony with the apostles in Jerusalem and that he even exercised his authority in correcting another apostle, Peter.—Gal. 1:1, 13-24; 2:1-14.
5. What facts argue for the authenticity and canonicity of Galatians?
5 What facts argue for the authenticity and canonicity of Galatians? It is referred to by name in the writings of Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen. Moreover, it is included in the following important Bible manuscripts of rank: Sinaitic, Alexandrine, Vatican No. 1209, Codex Ephraemi Syri rescriptus, Codex Bezae, and Chester Beatty Papyrus No. 2 (P46). Moreover, it is entirely in harmony with the other Greek Scripture writings and also with the Hebrew Scriptures, to which it frequently refers.
6. (a) What two points does the letter of Galatians establish? (b) What was unusual about the writing of this letter, and what does it emphasize?
6 In Paul’s powerful and hard-hitting letter “to the congregations of Galatia,” he proves (1) that he is a true apostle (a fact that the Judaizers had sought to discredit) and (2) that justification is by faith in Christ Jesus, not by the works of the Law, and that therefore circumcision is unnecessary for Christians. Though it was Paul’s custom to have a secretary write down his epistles, he himself wrote Galatians in ‘large letters with his own hand.’ (6:11) The contents of the book were of the greatest importance, both to Paul and to the Galatians. The book emphasizes appreciation for the freedom that true Christians have through Jesus Christ.
CONTENTS OF GALATIANS
7, 8. (a) What does Paul argue concerning the good news? (b) How was Paul confirmed as apostle to the uncircumcised, and how did he demonstrate his authority in connection with Cephas?
7 Paul defends his apostleship (1:1–2:14). After greeting the congregations in Galatia, Paul marvels that they are being so quickly removed to another sort of good news, and he firmly declares: “Even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed.” The good news that he has declared is not something human, neither was he taught it, “except through revelation by Jesus Christ.” Previously, as a zealous exponent of Judaism, Paul had persecuted the congregation of God, but then God called him through His undeserved kindness to declare the good news about his Son to the nations. It was not until three years after his conversion that he went up to Jerusalem, and then, of the apostles, he saw only Peter, as well as James the brother of the Lord. He was unknown in person to the congregations of Judea, though they used to hear of him and “began glorifying God” because of him.—1:8, 12, 24.
8 After 14 years Paul went up to Jerusalem again and explained privately the good news that he was preaching. His companion Titus, though a Greek, was not even required to be circumcised. When James and Cephas and John saw that Paul had entrusted to him the good news for those who are uncircumcised, just as Peter had the good news for those who are circumcised, they gave Paul and Barnabas the right hand of sharing together to go to the nations, while they themselves went to the circumcised. When Cephas came to Antioch and failed to walk straight “according to the truth of the good news” for fear of the circumcised class, Paul rebuked him before them all.—2:14.
9. On the basis of what is the Christian declared righteous?
9 Declared righteous by faith, not by law (2:15–3:29). We Jews know, argues Paul, “that a