GodSpeak for the Week of September 15
We wrap up our brief, school-year-start sermon series by looking at a final (and, arguably most common) “School Tool” – the book.
Day 1…Read 2 Corinthians 3:1
this – it was common practice in Paul’s day for people to carry letters of
recommendation with them, if they were someone prominent/influential and were
travelling to a town where people did not know them.
- As Paul and others reference elsewhere in Scripture, it was common in those days for “false teachers” to offer soaring and convincing arguments, but to lead people astray.
- As such, these letters would provide credibility that the bearer was legitimate and had elsewhere accomplished the kind of work he had proclaimed.
- Paul begins this passage by asking aloud (i.e., rhetorically) if he needs to provide this kind of reference.
- Answer this – where else in Scripture and history (particularly in the book of Acts) can you point to where Paul has been a conduit through which amazing things have been done?
Day 2…Read 2 Corinthians 3:2
this – rather than ever offering a “letter” as in a reference written on paper,
Paul notes that the PEOPLE are the letter “…written on our hearts, known and
read by everyone.”
- Of particular interest is this Greek word translated “read” – which means: to know accurately, to acknowledge, to distinguish between…therefore, to be “read.”
- Answer this – how do the people Paul has preached to and who have been converted to faith in Jesus Christ act as a “letter” READ by others? How do these people help others to: know accurately, to acknowledge, to distinguish between – truth and falsehood in the world?
Day 3…Read 2 Corinthians 3:3
this – in this verse, Paul continues developing what he’s just said in v. 2 –
that these saints “show” that they are a “letter” from Christ…the result of
Paul and company’s ministry (which, Paul would be the first to admit is solely
by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit).
- Again, the Greek is helpful here – the word translated as “show” means: make visible/known that which has previously been unknown.
- Answer this – what kinds
of things would these people be inclined to do and say which would specifically
and overtly show someone else that they were believers in Christ?
- Be thoughtful, here – anyone can show “love” for another, for example. So, what does the Christian say and do – SPECIFCALLY – that shows their love comes from and is mandated by Jesus Christ?
Day 4…Read 2 Corinthians 3:3 (again)
- Consider this – Paul notes that, as letters from Christ, these folks are not “written” with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; they are not written on stone tablets (i.e., which would be permanent enough!), but on human hearts.
- Answer this…think about Paul’s comparison between chiseling something in stone against the Spirit’s writing on the human heart – why is/how can the Spirit’s writing be more permanent than chiseled stone?
Day 5…Read 2 Corinthians 3:6
- Consider this – Paul makes a very important note that we are MADE competent (i.e., sufficient, able to do anything) by God.
- Answer this – what does Paul say we are made competent by God to do? What does that privilege look like in everyday ways?
Day 6…Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
- Consider this – one of
the greatest resources we have access to are BOOKS; written, visible, tangible
witnesses to history, understanding, vision (and, more) for the world around
- As we have seen through this passage, God has not only equipped us to be His “recommendation letters,” but He has given us the Bible AND His Son…all incarnations of Him and His will.
- Answer this – in what ways are the Bible and our Spirit-written witness greater than any other book that has been written? Why is this the case?