Focus Scripture – 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NKJV)
This is the second of a multi-part series on the church in Corinth. The Corinthian church had a history of transgressions. For example, there was dissension among the members to the point that the congregation was being torn apart by factions. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he said, “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” Paul had to admonish the parishioners because, from all indications, they spurned his message of unity.
Not only that; individual members of the congregation were arrogant and self-righteous. They were tempted by the cultural and religious influences all around them. In 2 Cor. 12:20, Paul points out that based on reports he has heard, he is afraid he will find the church engaged in “quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior.” In verse 21, he says, “I am afraid … I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins.” As a result, many of them started treating other members of the church as inferior. And their actions were tearing the church community apart.
But, not only were they mistreating each other, when their teacher admonished them, they turned on him with hurtful and vicious attacks on Paul’s character and credentials. In chapter 10, for example, Paul felt the need to defend his ideas against the teachings of the so-called “super-apostles” (11:5, 11). While he was on his second visit to the church, someone in the congregation publicly insulted him and challenged his authority, demanding proof that Christ was [indeed] speaking through him (13:3). The Church was in a state of chaos. As founder and leader of the congregation, Paul took on the task of evaluating their performance by setting out goals for change.
The next article examines some of those performance goals.