The Letters of Paul
This is part of ‘the epistles*’. The word epistles* means ‘letters’.
A leader of the new church*, named Paul, wrote these letters. These letters tell the readers how to live as God’s people. The letters remind them that God will keep his promises.
THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE LETTERS OF PAUL
PEOPLE TO KNOW
PLACES TO GO
God was the God of all comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:1-12
We have riches in jars of mud.
2 Corinthians 4
God gave generous grace*.
2 Corinthians 8-9
Paul took a ride in a basket.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Paul had a vision* and a difficulty.
2 Corinthians 12
Second Corinthians is a letter. Paul wrote this letter to the church* in Corinth. Paul wrote about some of the things in his first letter. Some of the bad things that the church* was doing before were better now. But now, the church* had a new problem. Now there were false teachers in the church*. Some of those teachers spoke against Paul. They said that he did not speak for God. They said that he was not a true apostle* of Jesus. So Paul wrote this letter to talk about this.
Paul said many hard things in this letter. But his letter is also filled with words of love. Paul loved God. Paul loved the people in Corinth too. So he wrote to help them. He did not want them to be fooled by these false teachers. He wasa very sad that some people did not trust* him. Some of his letter talks about how sad he was. Parts of his letter say hard things against the false teachers. But he was careful with his words. He wanted them to understand the good news – the gospel*. And he wanted them to know that he cared for them. He said,
‘We do not preach* about ourselves. We preach* about Jesus Christ. We say that he is Lord*. And we serve you because of him.’
Paul began by asking them to remember how hard he worked for them. Many times he suffered so that he could help them. But they did not remember this. He was happy that they did some of the things that he told them in his first letter. They helped a man stop doing wicked things. Now he stopped doing those things. So Paul asked them to be kind to him.
Paul suffered many times when he tried to help the Corinthians. He wanted them to remember this. He was not asking them to pity him. He knew that God was in control. Even when he suffered, God had used him. Paul was the one who taught them about God’s good news. God had used Paul to bless* them. If they remembered this, they would not doubt him any more.
Paul was sad that some of them forgot what the good news was about. The good news brought people together. But the false teachers were pulling people away from each other. That was one way that the Corinthians could tell that they were not telling the truth.
Paul also wanted them to remember God’s new covenant*. When Jesus came, he brought them a new promise – a new covenant*. Paul told them about these new promises when he was with them. This new covenant* was a promise to change their hearts. It was a promise to give them a new life. It was a promise that they would live again after this life is over. It was a promise to change them from the inside and make them more and more like Jesus.
These promises helped Paul not to be sad. He knew that he was weak. But God’s message was not weak. And God had appointed him to carry that message. He was like a jar made of mud. But the message he carried was a gift of great value from God.
Paul sounded sad in some parts of this letter. He talked about the problems that this life brought. He talked about how our bodies were like a house that got old and worn out. He told many stories about how much he had suffered. But, in all of these things, Paul did not lose hope*. He knew that God had given him a message of peace*. He knew that God was using this message to bring people back to God. He knew that God would keep his promises.
He also had hope* because he believed the Corinthians would listen to him. They would turn away from the false teachers. They would return and follow the way that Paul showed them.
Parts of this letter are hard to understand. Some parts are very personal. Paul told us many things about his own life. He talked about the way he suffered. He told about the way he felt. He talked about what made him sad. He talked about what gave him hope*. Paul showed us that it could be difficult to follow God. But God promised to bless* those who followed him. Troubles here would only last for a short time. God’s blessings* would last for ever.