Monday, June 30, 2014

The Sermons on Chapters that Seem to Have Nothing to Say (2 Cor. 10)

One of the great challenges of reading the Bible is discovering why the parts that have nothing to say to me are there.  For example, many people attempt the "I am going to read the entire Bible-straight through" pilgrimage.  To their dismay, Leviticus and Numbers seems to have little for them so they usually just give up.  There is not enough information "for me."

I have a friend, Sidney Bonvallet, who just walked the El Camino de Santiago in Spain.  500 miles in five weeks.  She walked the same route the Apostle James walked almost 2,000 years ago to take the Good News to Spain.  Her trip was filled with many interesting places.  (You can read, listen and see her experience on  The truth behind the journey is that there is a lot of walking between the interesting stuff.  The only way to get the compostela (proof that you walked the entire 500 miles) is to walk the entire 500 miles-interesting parts and boring monotonous parts.

Reading the Word is very similar.  One understands and values the interesting parts to the degree that they wade through the less interesting, less personally connective parts.  I would assert that it is in the discipline of reading the stuff "not for me" that I better understand the stuff "for me."

This sermon is going to be great when I figure out exactly what God wants me to say about Paul's defense of his ministry.

2 Corinthians 10 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

10 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
You are judging by appearances.[a] If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ,they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[b] 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.


  1. 2 Corinthians 10:7 Or Look at the obvious facts
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:17 Jer. 9:24
New International Version (NIV)
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