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2 Corinthians 2:1-17 Study Guide


2 Corinthians 2

Chapter 2 in a Nutshell

Paul related another episode from his recent experiences that led him to deal with an accusation of pride and self-centeredness. He responded that he had not exulted in his experiences for prideful reasons, but because these experiences revealed the glory of Christ. Paul began to discuss more details of his ministry experiences, then turned aside to talk about how wonderfully God had provided for him. Praising God led the apostle into a lengthy explanation that he was not promoting himself, but the grace of God in Christ.[1]

Discussion: Read aloud chapter 2

  • Look at verse 4: “For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.” What does this reveal about Paul’s heart for the Corinthians?
  • In verses 5-11 Paul writes about forgiveness. What are the lessons we can take way from this passage?
  • Read verse 11. How does Satan outwit us? What are his schemes? What ways have we seen Satan’s schemes play out this past year? How can we resist getting caught up in his schemes?
  • After Paul talks about his heartache, his grief, his tears, the chastisement of a divisive person and the need to forgive him, he then moves on to his own lack of peace and desperate search for Titus in order to get word on the situation in Corinth. He launches into this interesting and poetic paragraph of praise. “14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”
    • What did Paul mean by “we are God’s aroma”? What is the difference between the “smell of death” and the “fragrance of life”?
    • What was Paul saying to the Corinthians?
    • In verse 16, Paul asks, “…who is equal to such a task?” What’s Paul’s reason for asking this question?

Conclusion: “Who is up to such a task?”

We certainly are not, but as we will see next week, we are not competent in ourselves, Though we are not competence in ourselves, our confidence comes from God.

We think if only I had more time, opportunity, health…if only I had more of something, I could live my life more fully, more victoriously.

No. If only God continually had more of us, then we could live more victoriously. We have all of Him in Christ; it remains, continually, for Him to have more of us.


[1] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 319). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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