Tradition Must Be Received, Kept, and Passed Along (Sun. Sept. 12)

The word of the day is “delivered.”  Where did Paul get the teachings that he so ardently preached?  Paul demonstrated what could distinguish between the Word of God and his own opinion.  For example, in Corinthians he commands, “Not I, but the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:10).  And soon after he offers his opinion saying, “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say” (1 Corinthians 7: 11).  However, in our reading of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul refers to doctrines that have the highest divine authority, He declares “…I delivered to you…that which I also received…” (vs. 3). Twice in his letters to the congregation, he emphasizes that what he shared with the church came from Holy Tradition. The first time…

The Cross Puts the Honor of This World to Shame (Sat. Sept. 11)

The word of the day is “shame.”  If we hope to sit at the table of the Kingdom to come, can we also seek to sit in the seats of wisdom, power, honor in the kingdoms of this world?  Today in our reading of 1 Cor 1:26-29,  Paul writes, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (OSB vs. 27).  Today, we consider the contrast between two kinds of honor and shame, and we find that we must decide which we will reject and which we will seek. In our reading, Paul defends…

Trust Builds and Restores Relationships (Fri. Sept. 10)

The word of the day is “confidence.”  Love creates relationship.  But the loving bond between us grows in the fertile soil of trust.  Paul affirms this insight in today’s reading of 2 Corinthians 7:10-16.  Paul has changed his feelings toward his congregation in Corinth.  He writes, “Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything” (vs. 16). The Greek word for “confidence” is a form of the word meaning “to show boldness” (Strong’s #2292).  That is, the apostle is now encouraged, heartened, and emboldened in his relationship with the Corinthians.  These feelings of secure affection toward another depend on mutual trust.  In a relationship of fidelity, no one needs to be hesitant, uncertain, and guarded–that is, distrustful.  But those who…

The Regret Goes Nowhere and the Sorrow that Leads to Repentance (Thurs. Sept. 9)

The word of the day is “sorrow.”  There are two kinds of regret for the wrong we have done.  In our reading of  2 Corinthians 7:1-10, Paul teaches the  distinction between these two kinds of remorse:  “worldly sorrow “and “godly sorrow.”  The first is feeling sorry for ourselves.  We regret that we have been found to be imperfect and liable to the consequences of our fault.  The second is the the grief of knowing that we have offended our God.  We will learn from our reading that “worldly sorrow” has no remedy, but “godly sorrow” leads to repentance and divine forgiveness. The background of our reading is that Paul had sent his co-worker Titus to check on the situation at…

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…