Article Index

Second Epistle to the Corinthians

Christ, in Paul’s eyes, is the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega. That is why all his letters begin with Jesus. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ: grace be to you and peace … from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1: 1, 2)

This letter is characterised by the description of Paul’s participation in Christ’s sufferings. “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (1:5) However, Saint Paul remains firm unto death in faith, despite his sufferings. (1:9, 10) “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, …was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.” (1:18,19)

Paul “forgives in the person of Christ.” (2:1) He travels, going to one place after another (2:12) and going from one victory to another in Christ. (2:14) He is “a sweet savour of Christ” (2:15) and his trust even amid difficulties, is boundless. (3:4) All his strength and capability is in Jesus Christ. (4:4-6)

In this letter, especially in chapters three, four and five, Saint Paul expresses his passionate love for Christ and his experience of life in Christ, despite troubles and perplexities, persecutions, sufferings, pains, spiritual and bodily illnesses and betrayals. “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (4:10-12) But he is not, so to speak, limited; he does not fall into despair; he is never disappointed, despite troubles and persecutions. (4:8, 9) As he says, “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (4:16) “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” (5:14) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (5:17) “We are ambassadors for Christ” (5:20) and “ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.” (6:4-10)

There is an example of the experience of Paul in his life in Jesus Christ, but nothing destroys his will and enthusiasm, “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (10:4-6a) Again, Saint Paul describes all his toil with respect to life in Christ: (11:23-33) prisons, stripes, mortal perils, beatings with rods, stoning, shipwrecks, journeyings, floods, robbers, false brethren, weariness, painfulness, watchings, hunger, thirst, fastings, nakedness and from Damascus, escape down by the wall into the desert. (11:23-33)

But Jesus strengthens Paul and says to him in his temptations, “‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (12:9,10)

These are the great challenges and experiences of faith that Saint Paul has lived through in his Epistles, that he might live in Christ and Christ in him.

Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Holy Angels

O Supreme Leaders of the heavenly armies, * we, who are unworthy, ever beseech you, * that through your prayers you may surround us * with the shelter of the wings of your immaterial glory, * watching over us who fervently fall down and cry out: * “Deliver us from perils, * for you are the commanders of the Powers on high!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Supreme Leaders of the armies of God * and ministers of the Divine Glory, * princes of angels and guides of men, * ask for us what is expedient for us and for great mercy, * for you are the leaders of the Bodiless Hosts. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven