Read 2 Cor. 2:12-13 – An Open Door for Ministry

1. Paul speaks of a door being open to him. We often ask God to open and close doors according to His will. What does this mean? How might this occur?

2. Read Acts 16:6-10. What do you see? How do these verses relate to 2 Cor. 2:12-13?

3. (vs 13) Paul’s lack of “rest in his spirit” was not about the open door from the Lord. What was he concerned about?

a. Though Titus had not yet arrived, what did Paul do? Why? How might this speak to us?

b. Eventually Titus caught up with Paul in Macedonia. What do we learn from 2 Cor. 7:5-7?

Read 2 Cor. 2:14-17 – Led inTriumph

These verses begin an extended digression, and the story from verses 12 and 13 is not picked up again until the verses we just read in Chapter 7. In this interruption of thoughts, Paul gives a long account of his ministry. It begins with triumphant praise.

1. Paul gives thanks to God for 2 specific reasons. What is the first one?

a. Paul says that God always leads us. How might this speak to the accusations against Paul that we studied in previous lessons?

b. God always leads us in triumph in Christ. Consider this quote: Here, Paul takes an image from the Roman world, seeing Jesus as the victorious, conquering general in a triumphal parade. A Roman triumphal parade was given to successful generals as they returned from their conquests. – Guzik Apply this to our discussion of 2 Cor. 2:14.

c. Why are the words “in Christ” so important in this phrase?

d. Standing on the promise that God always leads us in triumph requires us to be “in Christ”. Think this through. Your thoughts?

2. (vs 14b) What is the 2nd reason for Paul’s giving of thanks?

a. What does the word “diffuse” mean?

b. What does vs 14 tell us is being diffused?

c. Where is it being diffused?

d. Who is used as a diffuser? (Your response?!?!)

3. (vs 15) What are we to God?

a. Describe “fragrance”. How might a person respond to different fragrances?

b. How would you describe being the fragrance of Christ?

4. In the Roman triumphal parade referenced above, the leader of the triumph was followed by priests who were dispensing incense, then came the officers and soldiers, and then finally the captives. The aroma of the incense was to some the aroma of life and of victory, but to the captives it was the aroma of death. How is this a picture of 2 Cor. 2:15-16?

5. (vs 16) The gospel message gives life to those who accept it, but it represents death and judgment to those who reject it. As those who are the fragrance of Christ, we have been given a huge responsibility. What is Paul’s response to this at the end of verse 16?

a. Much to our relief, Paul answers his own question in 2 Cor. 3:5-6. What is his answer?

b. What is the Holy Spirit called in John 14:16?

c. What other verses remind you that you’re not on your own to be the fragrance of Christ?

6. (vs 17) The word peddling has the idea of “adulterating” or “watering down” for gain, and was especially used of a wine seller who watered down the wine for bigger profits. Paul was not like others who watered down the gospel for gain. – Guzik

a. How might the gospel message be adulterated or watered down?

b. Remember in previous lessons we learned that the Corinthians didn’t trust Paul’s sincerity because others had come through Corinth with less than godly motives. Here Paul speaks of them. Is this still happening today? Explain.

7. (vs 17) Paul shared that his ministry was from a sincere heart and from God Himself. Sincerity here means pure or transparent. There were no hidden motives or agendas. How might hidden agendas sneak into the church? How would this affect the church?

8. (vs 17) Consider this quote: Paul was always aware that his first audience in ministry was God Himself. Every word he spoke, he spoke in the sight of God. – Guzik How does this apply to you?