Today we’re starting a new study series in the book of 2 Corinthians! For now, we’ll just be looking at the first two verses as a brief introduction with three key observations:
- Who wrote 2 Corinthians?
- Who is it to?
- What’s inside it?
Don’t think that this is simply a formality. The introduction to these New Testament letters are way more than that. This is like God scooting His chair up close to you and saying, “I have something to give you.”
Who Wrote 2 Corinthians?
In the very first part of 2 Corinthians 1:1, we learn who this letter is from:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother …
In this opening sentence, Paul lets the Corinthian Christians know that this letter carries the full weight of apostolic authority. Paul wasn’t a guru or someone just trying to give grandfatherly advice – he was an apostle. That means he was a messenger, sent from Christ with Christ’s authority with these words.
In Acts 9:15, God says that Paul was “a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” The problem was, the Corinthians questioned Paul’s authority. They didn’t see him as a natural leader and were tempted to abandon him for “super-apostles.”
When this letter arrived, it may have been tempting for these Christians to disregard it because they mistook who it was from. You might be tempted to disregard it for the same reasons.
2 Corinthians isn’t just from Paul – it’s from God Himself. And He wants us to receive it as such.
Who Is 2 Corinthians To?
Who is this letter to? Reading on, we find out:
To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia …– 2 Corinthians 1:1b
The church of God is the assembly of God’s people. It can refer to all Christians everywhere throughout history as well as local churches like us. Specifically, Paul was writing to “the saints” in Corinth, and by extension, all of us.
Interestingly, those in Corinth were not exemplary Christians. They were messed up with all kinds of problems like lawsuits and embraced sexual immorality. Still, though, God inspired Paul to call them “the church of God” and “saints.”
The good news of Jesus Christ is that even really sinful people get to be saints. Jesus paid for our sins on the cross so that anyone who repents and believes are welcomed as saints into the church. And that’s how God looks at us now.
Like the Corinthians, we might be tempted to disregard the Bible because we forget who we are. Many Christians don’t see themselves as saints. And so they might also think that Scripture is only for the “super-Christians” to read and live out.
You are part of the most powerful and important movement in all of human history. If you trust and follow Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are part of the church and a saint.
What’s Inside 2 Corinthians?
What is in this letter from God through Paul to the church? What can we expect to receive by being attentive to it?
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.– 2 Corinthians 1:2
When we pay attention to Scripture, we receive grace and peace. “Grace” is the unearned favor that God shows us. “Peace” is the rest and tranquility that comes from being made right with God and people through Christ.
It’s important to realize that we won’t find just information about grace and peace in this letter. Grace and peace is actually delivered to us through God’s Word. Just by reading this and listening to the sermon, you are receiving grace and peace.
Don’t disregard Scripture because you think, “This is just a boring old letter that has nothing to do with me.” God wants to give you grace and peace through His Word.
To wrap things up . . .
These first two verses of 2 Corinthians should leave us with a feeling of anticipation.
Every time you get ready for devotions or gather with the church, there’s a box waiting for you. It’s from God to you as one of His saints. What’s inside? In this case, it is grace and peace.
God’s Word doesn’t go out without accomplishing His purpose (Isaiah 55:11). It’s awe-inspiring and produces real spiritual results in His people. Don’t disregard it because you mistake who it’s from, who you are or what it’s about. Get into the Bible this week and unbox the gift God has waiting for you!
- Why is it important to realize that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians as an apostle?
- Why is it important to realize who you are in Christ?
- What is there to receive from reading the Bible?
- What tempts you to not pay attention to God’s Word?
- This week, what will you do to make sure you’re in the Word?