BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 3: 2 Corinthians 3-4

Summary of passage:  2 Corinthians 3:  Paul tells the Corinthians they themselves are his letter or recommendations, meaning what better proof of God’s omnipotence than His work in changing lives, written with the Spirit of the living God on their hearts.  God has made them (apostles) competent as ministers of the Spirit (bringing the Holy Spirit through the acceptance of Jesus Christ) which gives life.

Paul says if the ministry that brought death (Old Covenant) was so glorious no one could look at Moses’ radiant face will not the ministry of the Spirit (New Covenant) that brings life and righteousness be even more glorious?  How much greater is this glory that is ever-lasting!

Our hope in the New Covenant gives us boldness.  A veil remains when the Old Covenant is read and only Jesus can take it away, meaning until one accepts Jesus and the New Covenant they are unable to see the glory.  The Lord is the Holy Spirit and since we have the Holy Spirit we have the freedom to relate to God.

When we reflect Jesus and obtain the Holy Spirit we reflect the Lord’s glory and are transformed from the inside-out into His likeness a little bit every day (with ever-increasing glory).

2 Corinthians 4:  Through God’s mercy Paul does not lose heart.  He never distorts the word of God or uses deception.  He spoke truthful words before God.  The gospel is veiled only to those perishing (unbelievers).  The god of this age (the Devil) has blinded unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel.  God made his light of knowledge shine in our hearts through his son, Jesus Christ.

We have this treasure (Jesus Christ and God’s glory) in us (mere humans) to show that we and our work is from God and not ourselves.  We carry around in our body the death of Jesus (sufferings) so that we may reveal the life of Jesus to others. We suffer so others may live.

We have faith that the one who raised Jesus from the dead (God) will raise us as well and present us in His presence.  Be grateful for the glory of God.

Outwardly we are wasting away (our physical body is slowly dying) but inwardly we are growing with the Spirit of God.  Our troubles bring us glory so we must fix our eyes on the unseen (Heaven and rewards) which is eternal.

Questions:

7a)  The letter is the law of the Old Covenant which without the New Covenant “kills” us (meaning we cannot be saved)

b)  The Spirit (or Holy Spirit) is the law written our our hearts.  The Spirit gives us life as it is what fulfills God’s “letter” or laws.  We are born again or alive when we receive the Spirit so we are better able to life out the “letter” or fulfill God’s laws.

c)  I see this as those who have not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  Here, Paul was referring to the Jews who still abide by the Old Covenant.  So those who have not accepted Jesus into their hearts are reading the Bible with a veil over their heart.

d)  The veil is taken away only when Jesus is accepted and the Holy Spirit is indwelt.

e)  When we accept the Holy Spirit, we are transformed little by little into Christ’s likeness.  But it is a process, one we must work towards every day by reading God’s word, coming to God in prayer, and living as Christ would.  Otherwise, we stagnate and growth ceases.

f)  The Lord who is the Spirit

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am inspired because every day I fail.  This reminds me that God lives inside of me; He is there always, helping and supporting me, and when I fail He is there to pick me up.  Those who are believers see the glory of the Lord and reflect Him.  We are ultimately able to reflect God to others and inspire them to lift their veil.  This message is full of encouragement for all that God is there.  We must only choose to see!

9a)  The god of this age (the Devil) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel.

b)  The perishing are those who are blinded and their hearts are veiled to God’s glory, truth, and gospel

c)  Jesus Christ whom God sent

d)  We are only capable because we have God’s glory.  If we do something great, it is because of Him and never us.

e)  Our goal in life is to be Christ-like and grow in Christ every day.  So since Christ suffered we must suffer.  There is something (whatever you want to call it) and is born in us and grows when we suffer that we can only get when we do suffer.  Through our suffering we reflect to others our faith and ultimately Jesus as well.  Thus when we suffer, life is produced in others.

f)  Although our physical body is dying our spiritual body is growing and being renewed as each day we get closer and closer to God (through spiritual growth).

g)  If we look to God and see the good in our afflictions we will gain eternal benefits.  Through affliction we receive glory.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Reiterates that through suffering and trials we grow in a way we couldn’t otherwise and everything is from God.  I must find the good in the bad.  My rewards are eternal and I must look past the temporal hardships and keep in mind the end goal.

Conclusions:  I loved this lesson!  I wish BSF would do more of this word for word analysis in question form.  Besides the eternal truths conveyed, it really makes you sit down and think “Ok.  What is this passage really saying?”  Great stuff!