Join us as we study through 2 Corinthians verse by verse. Our discussion questions, teaching points, and applications can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 Online Bible Study Lesson With Discussion Questions
I. Now is the day of salvation (1-2)
II. Servants of God need great endurance (3-7)
III. The irony of serving God (8-10)
I. Now is the day of salvation (1-2)
- Who is the “him” in verse 1?
- How do we work together with Christ in the ministry of reconciliation?
- What would it look like if someone received the grace of God in vain?
- Why is it important to know that now is the day of salvation? What does that mean?
- How might people act differently if they knew that there wasn’t another chance in the future?
- How should this urgency affect us as we are responsible for sharing the gospel?
Isaiah 49:8 – This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you.
Romans 13:11 – Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
John 9:4 – We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.
Proverbs 1:32 – For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.
1. Working together with him – In verse 21 “him” refers to Jesus who took on sin on our behalf. Christ reconciled us to God and also gave us the ministry of reconciliation. So we have the privilege of “working together with him.”
This reminds us that by our own efforts we cannot bring salvation to anyone. No matter how slick your arguments are, you cannot change anyone’s heart. That is the work of God.
And yet, He still expects us to work. We are not to be Christian couch potatoes. Knowing that Christ changes hearts should in no way keep us from giving our full effort to share the gospel.
2. We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain – Receiving the grace of God in vain could refer to individuals within the larger church community who are led astray or never become truly saved. They taste of the grace of God since they are part of the community of believers. Such people see God answering prayer, witness testimonies, have Christian friends, receive the true Word, and taste of God’s blessings as those blessings overflow from the believers around them.
But within the larger group, the majority of which is saved, they never come to salvation.
It is similar to the case in Hebrews 6.
Hebrews 6:4-6 – For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
An unbeliever can taste of the heavenly gift and the goodness of the word of God just as he can receive grace from God. All of those blessings are in vain unless the person repents and embraces the gospel.
Application: Evaluate your own spiritual condition. Are you just going to church as a tradition because you have always done it? Have you truly repented of your sins and placed your trust in Jesus? Being a “good” person, going to church, and reading the Bible won’t save you.
3. Now is the day of salvation – Now is the favorable time. The exhortation for those on the fence is clear. Don’t delay!
One of Satan’s most effective tactics to keep people from the kingdom of God is delay. He tempts people to wait using some of the following ideas:
- You have plenty of time. What’s the rush?
- Enjoy yourself first. Taste what the world has to offer. Satisfy your curiosity. There is always time to come to God to repent later. After all, doesn’t God forgive?
- It is a tough decision. Is God really there? Is He real? Maybe you should wait to see a sign before fully committing.
- You are not really good enough to be a follower of Jesus now. Your life is a mess. Get your life in order first and then you can be worthy enough to come to God.
- It’s good to follow God. Just do it tomorrow.
God’s message in response to these temptations is clear: now is the day of salvation! Today is the best time! There is no better time to repent and begin following God than now.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed. You do not know that you will have a chance to turn to God in the future. At any moment a heart attack, brain aneurysm, or stroke could take you. Waking up in the morning is not a certainty.
And the longer a person delays the harder their heart will become and more difficult it will be to turn to God. Bad habits become more ingrained and pride grows. Do not assume that you will have a soft heart and even be willing to repent or turn to God in the future.
But even if you could guarantee that you would be alive and be willing to turn to God ten years from now, waiting ten years is waste of your life!
One day you go to the store to purchase a candle. One has been mostly burned up and only the very stub remains. The other is fresh and new and has many hours of flame ahead. Which would you buy? You would take the brand new candle because it could burn for longer.
In the same way, it is better for us to come to God earlier. The earlier we come to God the more flame we have left to burn for Him. Living life without God is lost, wasted, filled with guilt and shame.
Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait to trust in Jesus. Don’t wait to serve Him.
Application: Perhaps you are called to serve God in a specific mission or ministry. Maybe you have been planning to start a Bible study, share the gospel with a friend, or write a Christian book. Why are you waiting? Now is a favorable time! Do it while you still have the chance. (John 9:4)
Share: What is one thing that perhaps you have been delaying which you should do for God?
II. Servants of God need great endurance (3-7)
- What is an obstacle that some ministers may intentionally put in someone’s way to receive the gospel?
- What are some unintentional gospels?
- Why does Paul again commend himself (4)?
- What does this list of difficulties teach you about doing the ministry of reconciliation?
- How can you be better prepared for facing these or other difficulties?
- What quality did they need to go through all of these challenges?
- How might God work to build up your endurance? How can you work to build up your endurance?
- In verses 6-7, what qualities did they need as they ministered for the gospel?
- Pick one and explain why it is essential for servants of God sharing the good news.
- Share a difficulty you have experienced as a result of serving God.
1 Peter 2:8 – A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for.
1 Corinthians 9:19 – To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way – There are already many obstacles in the way for people to come to Christ: pride, Satan, the world’s system, and love of sin. Ministers of reconciliation should not add unnecessary ones! False teachers do sometimes put obstacles in the way for people to come to faith.
One of these is works based salvation. They tell people that they must earn their salvation through works. This not only confuses and misleads people, but it burdens them with things they cannot carry. Many of the early church false teachers did this, teaching people that they must be circumcised or follow the Old Testament law. Such works based requirements could include many additions to the gospel which require converts to observe the traditions of man.
Other times ministers unintentionally put obstacles in the way. Often times this is their own sin or poor testimony. People shout “hypocrites” or claim that Christians are unloving. Then they spurn the gospel.
Application: While Christ already offends people (1 Peter 2:8), our attitudes should not. Be sure that you do not add or take away anything from the gospel. And strive to maintain an upright testimony that will attract people to the Lord.
2. We commend ourselves in every way – As we have seen throughout 2 Corinthians, Paul did desire to commend himself and his team to the Corinthians. He disputed the false teacher’s accusations against them. And he did these things because he didn’t want a loss of credibility on their part to make the gospel to lose credibility in their sight. In short, if the Corinthians believed the messenger, they would believe the message. If they respected the messenger, they would respect the message.
3. The difficulties of the work – Paul lists out many of the difficulties that they faced in taking the gospel to the Corinthians and others. He does so to remind the Corinthians of their motivations so that they will have a deeper appreciation for the gospel message and a stronger desire to obey it. And at the same time, by seeing what Paul went through they could be prepared in turn to face similar challenges when sharing.
The list Paul shares is a reminder to us that being a minister of the gospel is no easy task. It is hard work. And those who dedicate themselves to it will face many difficulties. There is a high cost to be paid. Most of these difficulties could be avoided by not engaging in the work of God.
If you are looking for a life of ease, look elsewhere. If you are looking for the affirmation and appreciation of man, look elsewhere. If you are looking for pleasure and worldly security, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for an abundant and meaningful life which will impact others for eternity, look no farther. There is no more abundant life than the one lived in complete dedication to God. There is no more meaningful life than the one lived in reconciling others to Him.
Are you willing to pay the cost? And if so, when will you start?
4. The attitude toward the work – In verses 6-7, we see the correct attitude of those who are ministers of the gospel.
Each one of these is so important.
- Purity – So many ministries have been derailed because leaders let temptation in the door, had lax standards, and took advantage of their position. Ministers of the gospel must maintain complete purity in thought and action toward those they minister to.
- Knowledge – Do not speak on what you do not know about. Knowledge of the word and the true gospel is necessary to accurately divide the word of truth.
- Patience – Fruit always comes slower than hoped. The farmer must patiently wait for the crops to grow because it does not happen overnight. Ministers must also be patient with people because the ministry is to people. Some will have many problems. Others may perhaps be annoying or have grating personalities. Maybe they don’t listen to counsel or respect you. Patience is key.
- Kindness – Love is not harsh or rude. Be kind, thoughtful, and caring toward those you serve as Jesus was kind.
- The Holy Spirit – Without Him, your ministry can accomplish nothing. He is the power who changes lives. He is the strength which can sustain you through those sleepless nights and afflictions. He anoints the words and causes them to have spirit giving life.
- Genuine love – As it says in 1 Corinthians 13, without love all the ministry in the world is useless, a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love will keep you working even when it is hard.
- Truthful speech – Candy coating the gospel will not help anyone. Wise counsel is true. We must always speak the truth in love.
The power of God – We do not labor on our own. We are working with Him. A ministry devoid of God’s power will fall flat and will not change lives. The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16).
- With weapons of righteousness – God gives us weapons to fight on His behalf. we have spiritual armor and the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6). He sends us into battle fully equipped with what we need to overcome.
Reflect: Think through this list and consider if any is lacking in your life. If so, then pray to God to help you in this area. Be conscious of it moving forward and continually pray that God would make you strong when you are weak.
III. The irony of serving God (8-10)
- What is the danger of facing honor as a minister of the gospel?
- What is the danger of facing dishonor?
- How might slander discourage someone from doing the work?
- How might praise adversely affect them?
- What does Paul mean “as unknown and yet well known?”
- What kind of sorrows may Paul have faced? How can you rejoice in the midst of sorrows?
- How do believers possess everything?
- How can remembering these truths give you endurance in the face of similar hardships?
Proverbs 11:28 – Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
Ephesians 1:7-8 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.
Romans 5:3-4 – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
1. The irony of serving God – Many of the following list show us that God has a sense of irony. He has designed many things to confound the wise. For example, you get happiness by not pursuing your own (it is more blessed to give than to receive), honor will be given to the one who does not seek it, etc. In one ironic moment in Esther, Hamman is hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai.
Though serving God means that you may be poor and unknown, living a difficult and afflicted life, know that God sees and is constantly in the business of flipping the script.
2. Potential pitfalls –
Some of the things Paul mentions could discourage or hinder ministers from doing the work:
- Honor/praise – A leader who receives much honor may become prideful. He also may begin to seek honor or abuse his position.
- Dishonor/slander – Someone who serves God may expect to be appreciated for their work. When they are instead dishonored it could discourage them and cause them to give up.
3. Be encouraged by the truth – It is true that the world may dishonor you. They may slander you. They may persecute you. You may be afflicted. You may go through life poor, perceived by the world around you to be a failure. But they are looking though a faulty lens. Their perception is twisted, an illusion fed by lies.
God’s perspective is the true one. And if you serve Him, He is on your side. You may be poor in this world, but you are rich in God’s kingdom, a recipient of His abundant blessings (Ephesians 1). You may be persecuted, but your life is in God’s hands. It will not end one second before He allows it. You may be insignificant in the sight of your neighbors or family, but you are well-known to God. He knows your name (Isaiah 43:1). He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). You may face afflictions. But in Him, you can still rejoice.
God is good. He has a good plan for you. If you dedicate yourself to serving Him, He will give you a full and meaningful life. And He will make your ministry for Him fruitful.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
2 Corinthians 1:12-24
2 Corinthians 2:1-11
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
2 Corinthians 3:1-6
2 Corinthians 3:7-18
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
2 Corinthians 5:11-15
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
2 Corinthians 6:1-10
2 Corinthians 6:11-18
2 Corinthians 7:1-5
2 Corinthians 7:6-16
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
2 Corinthians 8:8-15
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
2 Corinthians 9:1-7
2 Corinthians 9:8-15
2 Corinthians 10:1-6
2 Corinthians 10:7-18
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
2 Corinthians 12:11-21
2 Corinthians 13
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