After leaving Ephesus, Paul went through the northern regions of Greece, encouraging the believers with many messages (293). Then he came to the southern regions of Greece, where he stayed for three months in Corinth.
During his stay in Macedonia in northern Greece, Paul wrote again to his friends in Corinth. It’s unclear if he wrote one more letter or two; but only one letter is available & it’s known as 2nd Corinthians (294).
In it, Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to take Jesus as their model for individual service. Our loving service to one another is what proves to the world that we are Christians. Only when each member of the body is faithfully following Jesus, can the entire body faithfully witness to the world around us.
Paul encouraged the Corinthians not to become overwhelmed by personal trials. The Holy Spirit allows believers to go through trials in life for two reasons, he said: that we will find our comfort in him, and that we will share our comfort with others when they are experiencing similar trials.
Paul also encouraged the Corinthians to forgive repentant sinners. Discipline is often necessary, but when it’s effective in leading to repentance, discipline must give way to love. (In this part of the letter, it’s unclear as to which specific member of the Corinthian church Paul is referring. In any case, the principle remains the same.)
Certain unbelieving Jews in Corinth continued to teach that people needed to become good Jews in order to become good Christians. Paul continued to oppose this teaching, describing the law of Moses as a veil between us & God. Jesus effectively removes that veil; now believers – both Jews & Gentiles — can look directly at God in the person of Jesus. And, amazingly, the more we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the more we become like him.
Paul explained that we come to Jesus as imperfect people. The light of Christ shines in our hearts, and we see how imperfect we are. Over time, the light of Christ gradually overcomes our natural darkness. This process is completed in the next life, but it begins in this life, from the moment we begin to trust & serve in Jesus. The more we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the more we become like him.
(293) Acts 20:2-3a
(294) 2 Corinthians 1-4