How important is it to defend the gospel against distortions and redefinitions? Is it too far fetched to think that servants of Satan could disguise themselves as Christian leaders? Why are warnings against false teachers fairly common in the New Testament? What is the best way to prepare ourselves to be discerning as we can be exposed to so many voices claiming to speak truth? Out of love for Christ and his Bride, Paul here takes aim at those who would preach "another Jesus" (11:4).
What does Paul mean by “a pure and sincere devotion to Christ?” How can I tell if I have that? If I’ve lost it, how can it be recovered? Why does Paul compare becoming a Christian to getting engaged?
Paul is answering critics who were saying God couldn’t use him because he was nobody special. We also struggle with thinking God can’t use us to reach people. But he does!
What do you think about when you have nothing in particular to think about? When your thoughts wander, where do they wander? In this text Paul famously says we are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." What does that mean? Christians often use the word "worldview." What is that, and why is this text often used to support the idea? Grace changes not only our status and future destiny, but also our thinking. What does that look like in daily life?
The ESV heading over this text is "The Cheerful Giver," a phrase that can easily be misused to guilt people into giving. But the much more important question is why? This text is about our motivation for all the Christian life, not just stewardship. Why should Christians be the most cheerful people on the earth? Why are we so often not?
This section continues Paul's discussion of generosity as one of the fruits of grace. The backstory is the collection of a financial gift for impoverished Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Will the Corinthians participate? Why should they? What are the right and the wrong motivations for generosity?