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friends hug November 30 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Corinthians 16; 2Corinthians 1:1- 2:11

Comradery

Things we share bring us together in a common bond. Sometimes people come together by choice and become friends. Sometimes people are brought together in times of war or disaster as neighbors seek to help neighbors in times of crisis. People, who would not otherwise become acquainted, become friends. People help each other, people sacrifice for each other, and bonds are formed.

In the early church, Christ was the common bond between believers of different cultures. Not only did they share the same faith, but they also shared the same experiences of suffering for his name. Jews hated Christians and would not do business with them. Because of the love of Christ in believers, however, the Apostle Paul was collecting money to meet the needs of poor believers in the church of Jerusalem (1Corinthians 16:3). The Galatian church had already committed to help, and now Paul wanted the Corinthian church to help, too. Paul did not just want their money, however; when he next came to visit he wanted to be an encouragement to them. What is our motive for our dealings with people? Do we seek to help them or use them? Do we just hold our hand out for money or favors, or do we give people a hand up by encouraging them?

Before Paul ended 1Corinthians, he sent along greetings from other believers. He then left them with an exhortation. The Corinthians faced idolatry and sexual temptations, deceiving doctrines, and division. In some ways Paul’s exhortation sums up the message of the letter: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love,” (16:13-14, NIV). In our churches and personal lives we share similar challenges and temptations. By following Paul’s exhortation we can obtain the victory over them.

Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthians by naming people who have been helpful to the Corinthians and to Paul. He urged the Corinthians to “submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it, “ (1Corinthians 16:16, NIV). We should recognize, as Paul did, that there are people who are making sacrifices for us. In some ways they are contributing to our welfare, and perhaps that of the whole church. No matter how small the contribution may seem, they still deserve some recognition. Paul gave thanks and remembered them by name. We should do the same.

2Corinthians is really Paul’s fourth letter to the Corinthians. Though we have just finished 1Corinthians, it was probably his second letter; it is so named 1Corinthians because it is the first letter to that church that we have in the Bible cannon. The first and third letters were somehow lost and not included in the sacred Scriptures (1Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Corinthians 2:3-4). 2Corinthians is a response to a painful visit he made to them and is a defense for his apostleship (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the N.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, pp. 551-552)

In chapters 1:1- 2:11 Paul talks about the common bond of suffering which he shared with the Corinthians. Knowing that we are not alone in our suffering is an encouragement, not only to Paul and the Corinthians, but to us as well. When we suffer we are able to encourage others. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 he writes,

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (NIV)

Suffering teaches us to rely on God, to set our hope in him, and to give thanks to those who bare our burdens in prayer. As Christians we are all in this together; we are comrades in the faith. We need to support each other. Do you wish to be a Christian? God offers you forgiveness, peace, spiritual life, and the comradeship of fellow believers (more...).

Lessons to live by: Because of our common bond as Christians

  • Let us love each other and show it by helping and encouraging each other.
  • Let us give materially to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have genuine needs.
  • Let us give due honor and loyalty to those who are ministering servants.
  • Let us pray for each other as we labor together in the work of the Lord.

Today’s Bible memory verses: 2Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (NIV)

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