We Don’t Give Up Because We Know . . . (2 Corinthians 4:18-5:10)

May 11, 2022

A Keynote Address for Harbor, Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, on May 6, 2022 Influenced by both their Greco-Roman culture and egged on by the intruders Paul called the “super-apostles,” the Corinthians apparently thought the ministry of a celebrity pastor like Paul should be characterized by thrilling and brilliant rhetoric about his visionary experiences, triumphant […]


2 Corinthians 11:21b-29: Enduring Hardship for the Sake of the Gospel

April 9, 2022

Finally, after preparing his readers for twenty-one verses, Paul begins his foolish boasting. Paul’s boasting matches, in some way, the “super-apostles” (hyperlian apostolōn; 2 Corinthians 11:8; 12:11). Whatever boasts they may have boldly announced, Paul can match them and more. Just as the “super-apostles” are apparently Hebrews, Israelites, descendants of Abraham, and ministers of Christ, […]


2 Corinthians 10:7-18 – Boasting in Ministry

March 6, 2022

In this third part of the letter, Paul confronts the Corinthians regarding the reception of the “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11) on the part of some in the congregation. In preparation for his third visit to Corinth, Paul lays the groundwork for a potentially tension-filled encounter. He promises that he will deal with his opponents […]


2 Corinthians 6:1-10 – Paul’s Ministry Resume

January 8, 2022

The message of new covenant ministry is, “Be reconciled to God.” This ministry of reconciliation proclaims the work of God in Christ and appeals to hearers (including the Corinthians) to accept God’s grace. This ministry is a cooperative effort between God and Paul (and other ministers of reconciliation). God and Paul are co-workers, though Paul […]


2 Corinthians 5:11-21 – The Love of Christ Compels Us

January 6, 2022

Given our resurrection hope in Christ and because we know judgment awaits everyone, Paul seeks to persuade people for the sake of their reconciliation to God and each other. We persuade others because the love of Christ—what Christ has done for our sakes—compels us, and this love was revealed through Christ’s death and resurrection for […]


2 Corinthians 4:7-15 — Hardships and the Spirit of Faith

November 20, 2021

If the ministry of the new covenant mediates the glory of God in the face of Jesus the Messiah, why is Paul’s ministry so filled with suffering? The gospel, epitomized in the death and resurrection of Jesus, calls its ministers—all believers—to give themselves for the sake of others. When we follow Jesus into his ministry, […]


2 Corinthians 4:1-6 — Don’t Give Up!

November 13, 2021

The ministry of the new covenant—the ministry of reconciliation—is worth the struggle, heartache, and conflict as long as we have renounced deceitful and manipulative practices and focused on the proclamation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Therefore, “we do not lose heart” but rest in the work of God who […]


2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6 — Who is Sufficient for Ministry?

October 28, 2021

Paul asks, who is sufficient (competent, qualified, or adequate) for the ministry of reconciliation? This question begins a lengthy digression (if that is an appropriate description; 2 Corinthians 2:14-7:4) where Paul describes the significance, practice, and meaning of the ministry of reconciliation in which he is engaged for the sake of the Corinthians and others. […]


2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4 – Why Did Paul Change His Plans?

October 2, 2021

Some Corinthians thought Paul was fickle and unreliable because he changed his plans and did not show up in ways they expected or Paul had intimated. Paul responded that his decisions—his plan changes—were  rooted in God’s faithful grace rather than human wisdom. There was more, however, to the situation than simply the rearrangement of Paul’s […]


On Reading 2 Corinthians

September 8, 2021

Reading 2 Corinthians, we find ourselves in the middle of a conversation about which we are largely ignorant. The Conversation We were not there when Paul founded the congregation at Corinth or his subsequent two visits. We don’t have access to two other letters Paul wrote to Corinth; we only have two of four (and […]