In this section of scripture, Paul is forced to defend himself against the accusation of being fickle and unreliable. This stems from his unfulfilled plan to visit Corinth as stated in 1 Cor. 16:5-7. The NKJV Study Bible has this to say about Paul’s intended visit:
Paul had hoped to leave Ephesus soon to visit Corinth, perhaps even to spend the winter with them. Travel by sea in the winter was hazardous (see Acts 27:9-44). Paul did eventually make it to Corinth, but not according to the schedule planned here. This failure to come caused him trouble later with the Corinthians (see 2 Cor. 1:15-2:1).

Read 2 Cor. 1:12-14 – Defending the Ministry

1. The word “boasting” here means confidence, assurance, rejoicing, glorying. It does not have the sense of bragging. So Paul is saying: “We have confidence in this”, or “ We are assured of this”, or “We rejoice knowing this to be true”. Paul’s enemies have used his failure to return to Corinth as evidence of his lack of sincerity, but Paul had a clear conscience before God. He says in verse 12 that they had conducted themselves in the world in the following ways:

a. in simplicity and godly sincerity,
– define simplicity: (the opposite of simplicity is duplicity)

– define godly sincerity:

b. not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God,
– Fleshly wisdom refers to selfish interest. What does Paul tell us in Phil. 2:3-4?

– James 3:13-17 compares fleshly, or worldly, wisdom with wisdom that is available to us by God’s grace. What do you see?

c. and more abundantly toward you – The Corinthians had spent enough time with Paul that they should have known his character. According to Acts 18:11, how long had Paul ministered in Corinth?

2. Paul meant what he wrote. There were no hidden agendas. It is thought that the Corinthians had been dealing with ministers who were calculating and manipulative. This had caused them to become cynical, believing that all ministers had selfish motives and were out for personal gain.
They transferred this mindset to Paul who is now forced to defend himself. What things in the church might cause us to become cynical? This “broad brush” view of ministers is unfair and damaging. How can we guard against this?

3. What does verse 14 tell us? What does this mean? (for help see 2 Cor. 5:12, Phil. 2:16, 1 Thess. 2:19)

Read 2 Cor. 1:15-22 – False Accusations

1. In verses 15-17 Paul continues to defend himself. What did Jesus say in Matt. 5:37?

a. Why was it important that Paul be known as an honest, reliable man?

b. Why is your reputation important? What kinds of things tarnish your reputation?

c. Consider Eph. 5:15. – What does circumspectly mean? What is the opposite of circumspectly?

2. In 2 Cor. 1:18, to what does Paul compare the reliability of his words?

3. What is Paul saying in verses 19-20?

a. How are God’s promises described in 2 Pet. 1:4?

b. Are there specific promises of God that you depend on, knowing that all His promises are true and trustworthy? Name a few.

4. In 2 Cor. 1:21, Paul is acknowledging that the work he does is the work of God.

a. Define “establishes” and “anointed”.

b. Using these definitions, reword verse 21.

5. Verse 22 speaks of two works of the Holy Spirit. What are they and what do they mean?
(See Eph. 4:30 and 2 Cor. 5:5)

Read 2 Cor. 1:23-24 – By Faith You Stand

1. What reason does Paul give for not going to Corinth as planned? (vs 23)

2. What does it mean to have dominion over something? (vs 24) What is Paul saying?

a. Who does have dominion over your faith?

b. In verse 24 Paul also states that “by faith you stand”. How does 1 Cor. 15:1-2 add to your understanding of this verse?

c. Thoughts about verse 24 by Chuck Smith: “I don’t want to have dominion over your faith. I want to just share in the joys. Great position to be in, for by faith you stand. I just want to help you to experience the full joy in the Lord.” The wonderful heart of a pastor!

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