“September 9–15. 2 Corinthians 1–7: ‘Be Ye Reconciled to God’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“September 9–15. 2 Corinthians 1–7,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Sometimes, being a Church leader means having to say some difficult things. This was true in Paul’s day just as it is today. Apparently a previous letter from Paul to the Corinthian Saints included chastening and caused hurt feelings. In the letter that became 2 Corinthians, he tried to explain what had motivated his harsh words: “Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you” (2 Corinthians 2:4). When you’re on the receiving end of some correction from a leader, it definitely helps to know that it is inspired by Christlike love. And even in those cases where it is not, if we’re willing to see others with the kind of love Paul felt, it’s easier to respond appropriately to any offenses. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled, “Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 94).
Given the tribulation that Paul faced in his ministry, it’s not surprising that he wrote a lot about the purposes and blessings of tribulation. Think about ways your trials can be a blessing as you read 2 Corinthians 1:3–7; 4:6–10, 17–18; and 7:4–7. For example, you might ponder how God “comforteth [you] in all [your] tribulation” and how you can, in turn, “comfort them which are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Or you might focus on the light of Jesus Christ that “hath shined in our hearts,” even when you are “troubled” and “perplexed” (2 Corinthians 4:6–10).
We don’t know much about the man Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:5–11—only that he had transgressed (see verses 5–6) and that Paul wanted the Saints to forgive him (see verses 7–8). Why do we sometimes fail to “confirm [our] love toward” someone who has offended us? (verse 8). How does withholding forgiveness harm others and ourselves? (see verses 7, 10–11). What does it mean to you that withholding forgiveness from others gives “Satan … an advantage of us”? (verse 11).
See also Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–11.
As much as anyone, Paul knew what it was like to become “a new creature.” He went from being a persecutor of the Christians to a fearless defender of Christ. He knew for himself how Jesus, who “knew no sin,” can take away our sin and give us His “righteousness,” restoring us to unity with God. As you read these verses, think about what it means to be reconciled to another person. How does this help you understand what it means to be reconciled to God? Ponder what might be separating you from God. What do you need to do to be more completely reconciled with Him?
See also 2 Nephi 10:23–25.
We don’t usually think of sorrow as a good thing, but Paul spoke of “godly sorrow” as a necessary part of repentance. What do you learn about godly sorrow from the following? 2 Corinthians 7:8–11; Alma 36:16–21; Mormon 2:11–15; and Gospel Topics, “Repentance,” topics.lds.org. When have you felt godly sorrow, and what effect did it have in your life?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Have members of your family ever asked someone to write a letter of recommendation for them, such as for a job or school application? Ask them to talk about this experience and what the letter said about them. Paul taught that the lives of the Saints were like letters of recommendation for the gospel from Christ Himself, “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” As you read 2 Corinthians 3:1–3 together, discuss how our examples are like letters of recommendation for the gospel that can be “known and read of all men.” Perhaps each family member could write a letter or “epistle” explaining how another family member has been a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ. They could read their letters to the family and give them to the family member they wrote about. Why is it important to understand that our lives are “epistle[s] of Christ”?
What does it mean to “walk by faith, not by sight”? What are we doing to show that we believe in things we can’t see?
Can your family think of—or find—examples in nature of things that go through remarkable transformations and become new creatures? (see the pictures that accompany this outline). What do these examples teach us about how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change us?
According to these verses, what does it mean to be “ministers of God”?
How can we follow Paul’s counsel, “Come out from among [the unrighteous], and be ye separate,” while also being good examples to those around us?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.