On Associating with Those Who Are Outside the Circle of Faith (Wed. Sept. 8)

The word of the day is “yoked.”  Despite our intentions, others influence us.  Relationships involve “give and take.”  Thus, if we engage with others who have different beliefs, values, attitudes, and habits than we have, we must be on guard that their outlook will affect us, even unwittingly.  On the other hand, it may be that by our association with them, we might find that we can influence them. Today in our reading of 2 Corinthians 6:11-16, St. Paul admonishes his congregation, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (vs. 11).  Paul’s directive may be  unpopular in our “pluralistic society.”  Yet, he had a point for us to consider as we seek to live faithfully amid the diversity of…

Living in the New Order of the Resurrection (Tues. Sept. 7)

The word of the day is “new.”  We live in an old world whose days and months, and years keep spinning around like a top.  But like the child’s toy, the earth’s rotations will eventually come to an end.  Today in 2 Corinthians 5:15-21, St. Paul speaks of the results of Christ’s death and resurrection.  He writes, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (vs. 17).  The Greek word for creation is derived from the word “kosmos” (Strong’s #2889, 144).  This familiar word refers to the harmonious order of the universe that God has fashioned.  In this sense, the apostle writes that those who are “in…

We Can Have the Same Conviction as Paul (Mon. Sept. 6)

The word of the day is “all.”  Many say that  Christ died “for me.”  But that thought does not compel those who are assured that they are saved to seek salvation for anyone else.  It is content with the conviction that the  promise of eternal life is “for me.”  But in our reading of 2 Corinthians 5:10-15, Paul writes, “We judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all (OSB vs. 14-15).  Today we examine Paul’s motives for his zealous  preaching of the Gospel.  And we find that its root is his absolute certainty of the divine judgment to come and of the love of God who desires the salvation of all.  We then…

What Does not Hinder the Gospel but Advances It (Sun. Sept 5)

The word of the day is “hinder.”  We are social creatures.  What we do influences others and what they do influence us. Today in our reading of 1 Corinthians 9:2-12, Paul reveals is his single-minded motive for his labor among the Corinthians.  He insists “I endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.  Today, we consider what it means to “hinder the Gospel.”  We  learn from Paul the wisdom of modesty that does not pose a stumbling block to faith of others. In today’s passage, Paul defends his right to be called an apostle.  Some at Corinth are saying that he is not an apostle because he does not act like the others.  Further, they claim that Paul…

How Faith Is Confirmed (Sat. Sept. 4)

The word of the day is “confirm.”   When the apostle Thomas surrendered his doubt and confessed the Risen Christ to be his Lord and God, Jesus responded, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).  This blessing from the Risen Christ comes to us who believe through the Word of His disciples (John 17:12) who were eyewitnesses to the events of our salvation (Luke 1:2 and 2 Peter 1:16). Today in 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, St. Paul assures the Corinthians that Christ “will confirm you to the end, so that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (OSB vs. 6).  Today we will consider what this…

The Inner Man and How It Is Renewed Day after Day (Fri. Sept. 3)

The word of the day is “inner.”  In the rough stretches of our spiritual journey, we need a reason for our hope.  Otherwise, we will give up in despair.  In today’s reading of 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, Paul explains why he does not lose heart. Just before this passage, the apostle recounts how he is persevering through countless ordeals.  Now the apostle writes that he is “hard-pressed on either side, yet not crushed; …perplexed but not in despair; …persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).  But then he discloses the secret of his endurance.  He writes, “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (OSB vs. 16).  Today, we will describe our…

The Veil That Obscures Spiritual Sight (Thurs. Sept. 2)

The word of the day is “veil.”  The Son of God came down from heaven to bring “light to those who sit in darkness” (OSB Luke 1:79).  For that reason, the Lord Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12).  And in today’s reading of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, Paul declares, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (OSB vs. 6). Why the Light of Christ Does Not Give Everyone Spiritual Sight So why doesn’t everyone gain spiritual sight by the Light of Christ?  When the sun rises,…

Nothing More Glorious in All of History (Wed. Sept. 1)

The word of the day is “glory.” The root of the Greek word “glorious” involves opinion and estimation (Strong’s #1391, 71-21).  Thus, what is glorious is esteemed to be exceptionally honorable and worthy of a good opinion.  What is “glorious” to us today?  The Grand Canyon in Arizona?  Niagara Falls in New York and Ontario?  The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.?  Or is it Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople)?  St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome?  Or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem? Most Glorious in All History When we gaze at the beauty of any of these, we cannot help but be overtaken with a sense of awe, admiration, and wonder.  Yet in today’s reading of 2 Corinthians…

Triumph In and Through Our Tribulations (Tues. August 31)

The word of the day is “triumph.”  Often, we do not understand the Almighty’s reason for permitting the trials that we face.  Amid our struggles, it is hard to give thanks for the goodness of God.  Yet when we look back at our troubles, we often see that God was working in the ordeals that seemed without explanation at the time. The Tone of Victory Replaces the Mood of Anguish Today our reading of 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:3 has a tone of victory that replaces the previous mood of anguish in Paul’s letter to Corinth.  The apostle had received some good news.  He had sent his co-worker Titus to check on the situation in Corinth (vs. 12) while he took advantage of…

The Healing Oil of Forgiveness (Mon. August 30)

The word of the day is “forgive.”  One thing is crucial to human interactions.  Without it, our relationships would soon devolve into hurts, conflicts, and resentments.  Since not one of us is without flaws and failings, we are bound to offend one another.  In today’s study, Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians to forgive an errant member reminds us that when others injure our feelings, we need the oil of forgiveness to heal our souls and our bonds with one another. Our reading of 2 Corinthians 2:3-15 takes us back to the case of gross immorality in the congregation of Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).  In the letter of 1 Corinthians, St. Paul was dismayed that the Corinthians were tolerating a man who…