Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2 Corinthians 2

The deep pastoral nature of 2 Corinthians comes out in chapter 2. Paul has been in a struggle with certain elements in the Corinthian church. This struggle has caused him to speak harshly (see 1 Corinthians for some of the harshness -- it is likely that the harshest conversation was in the missing Corinthian letter and is lost to us) to those who were causing the disruption in the church and to those who were not responding to disciplinary action.

Beginning in 2:5 Paul has apparently extended mercy and forgiveness to one particular offender in the church. The tone of these verses suggests that the leadership in Corinth has been less quick to extend this same grace. Paul is encouraging them to extend mercy where his mercy has been extended. It is frequently true that churches in places where there is much chaos and excessive or wanton living often develop a hardness and almost legalistic response to the freewheeling sinfulness around them. It may be that the church in Corinth, though profoundly permissive in some matters, treats its "backsliders" with severe judgement.

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