“Unit 23, Day 3: 2 Corinthians 1–3,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 23, Day 3,” New Testament Study Guide
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Saints in Corinth and explained how they would be able to comfort others. He also exhorted them to forgive a sinner who had been in their congregation. Paul taught the Saints that as they turned to the Lord, they would become more like God.
Think of a time when someone you know experienced a difficult trial or affliction. What did you do to help them?
Have you ever wanted to comfort someone who was experiencing a difficult trial in his or her life, but you didn’t know how?
As you study 2 Corinthians 1, look for a truth that can help you know how to comfort others in their trials and afflictions.
The Apostle Paul was in Ephesus when he wrote 1 Corinthians to the Church members in Corinth. A riot later broke out in Ephesus in response to Paul’s teachings there (see Acts 19:23–41; the Asia mentioned in these verses was a Roman province in modern-day Turkey). Paul left Ephesus and went to Macedonia, where Titus brought news that Paul’s earlier letter had been well received by the Saints in Corinth. Paul also learned that the Saints were experiencing tribulations and that some false teachers in Corinth were corrupting the true doctrine of Christ. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to comfort the Saints and to address the problems the false teachers had caused.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:1–5, looking for what Paul told the Saints in Corinth about their tribulations. Consider marking or noting in your scriptures what Paul said in verses 3–4 that might have helped comfort them.
From 2 Corinthians 1:4 we learn the following truth: Because Heavenly Father comforts us in our tribulations, we are able to help others receive His comfort.
In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you received God’s comfort during a trial. How do you think that experience helped you help someone else to receive His comfort?
In 2 Corinthians 1:6–8 we learn what Paul told the Saints in Corinth about the severe and life-threatening tribulations he and his companions experienced while preaching the gospel in Ephesus.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:9–11, looking for what helped Paul and his companions during their trials.
Based on verse 11, complete the following truth about how you can help people who are experiencing trials: can help those who are experiencing trials.
Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can your prayers help someone who is experiencing trials?
How have the prayers of others helped you during a trial you experienced?
In 2 Corinthians 1:12–24 we learn that Paul rejoiced in those who had received the counsel he gave in his first epistle. In verses 15–20 he responded to those who found fault with him when he changed his plans to come visit them. Some of Paul’s critics seemed to say that because Paul changed his travel plans, they could no longer trust him or his teachings. Paul declared that the message of the gospel was true, regardless of his change in plans.
Think of a time when a person hurt you or someone you love. Think about why it might be difficult to forgive that person.
As you study 2 Corinthians 2, look for truths that will help you understand why it is important to forgive all people.
In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he chastened them for their disobedience and lack of faith. Read 2 Corinthians 2:1–4, looking for what Paul hoped the Saints in Corinth would know about his chastening. Consider marking or noting in verse 4 the reason Paul gave for his chastening.
How can chastening or correction be evidence of someone’s love for us?
As recorded in 2 Corinthians 2:5–6, Paul wrote about a Church member who had sinned against other Church members and had caused them grief. As a result, the Church disciplined this man.
Even though this man had sinned, the worth of his soul is great in the sight of God (see D&C 18:10). Paul exhorted the Saints to forgive, comfort, and love this man to help him repent.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:9–11, looking for another reason why Paul said the Saints should forgive others.
According to what Paul taught the Saints in verse 11, we can identify the following truth: If we do not forgive others, then Satan will have an advantage over us. Consider marking or noting this truth in 2 Corinthians 2:11. In modern revelation the Lord commanded us to forgive everyone (see D&C 64:8–11).
Forgiving someone does not mean that the sinner should not be held accountable for his or her actions. Nor does it mean putting ourselves in situations in which people can continue to mistreat us. Rather, forgiving others means treating with Christlike love those who have mistreated us and harboring no resentment or anger toward them, which would affect our own spiritual progression (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Forgive,” scriptures.lds.org).
“If you have been a victim of abuse, know that you are innocent and that God loves you. Talk to your parents or another trusted adult, and seek your bishop’s counsel immediately. They can support you spiritually and assist you in getting the protection and help you need. The process of healing may take time. Trust in the Savior. He will heal you and give you peace” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 36–37).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do you think Satan has an advantage over us when we do not forgive others?
Think about someone you may need to forgive. (Remember that forgiving does not mean allowing yourself to be mistreated. It means forgiving the offender so that you can move forward in your own spiritual progression.) Set a goal to forgive that person so Satan will not have an advantage over you. Ask Heavenly Father for help as you seek to forgive others.
After the Apostle Paul left Corinth, some false teachers began to oppose his teachings and tried to discredit him by telling the converts that they still needed to follow the law of Moses. In 2 Corinthians 3:1, in response to those who tried to discredit him, Paul asked the Church members of Corinth a rhetorical question—a question he asked for its chastening effect on them, not expecting them to answer— about whether he needed to provide them with or receive from them a “[letter] of commendation” that testified of his character and his legitimacy as a true Apostle of Jesus Christ. (In Paul’s time, newcomers to a community would carry letters of commendation with them. These letters introduced newcomers and gave assurance of their good character.)
Read 2 Corinthians 3:2–3, looking for what Paul said served as his letter of commendation.
Paul taught that the Saints’ changed lives were like an epistle from Christ Himself that served as a letter of commendation of Paul’s character. The phrase “known and read of all men” in verse 2 means that many people would first come to know the Church and judge its truthfulness through the personal conduct and examples of Church members.
Consider marking or noting the phrase “not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” in 2 Corinthians 3:3. During Moses’s day the commandments had been written on stone tablets. Paul used this phrase to help the Saints in Corinth understand that through the power of the Holy Ghost the commandments had been written in their hearts.
In 2 Corinthians 3:5–13 Paul drew upon an Old Testament account to help the Saints understand the spiritual condition of their day. He reminded the Saints in Corinth that Moses wore a veil over his face when he came down from talking with the Lord on Mount Sinai because the children of Israel were afraid of the glory that emanated from his face.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:14–15, looking for how Paul compared the Israelites who were afraid of the glory that emanated from Moses’s face to the Jews in his day. Consider marking or noting what you find in your scriptures.
Just as the Israelites in Moses’s day could not bear the glory that came from Moses’s face because of their unworthiness, the Jews in Paul’s day could not understand the Old Testament prophesies of Jesus Christ because of their wickedness.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:16–18, looking for what Paul promised would remove the veil of misunderstanding from the hearts and minds of the people.
The Joseph Smith Translation modifies the phrase “when it shall turn to the Lord” in verse 16 to “when their heart shall turn to the Lord” (Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Corinthians 3:16; italics added).
According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, what happens to those who turn to the Lord and have the veil of misunderstanding taken away? Consider marking or noting the answer you find in your scriptures.
The phrase “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (verse 18) refers to the gradual change we receive through the Spirit that helps us become more like God. From these verses we learn that as we turn our hearts to the Lord, we will have the Spirit, which gradually changes us to become more like God.
Complete the following in your scripture study journal:
Explain what you think it means to turn our hearts to Jesus Christ.
Make a list of ways you could turn your heart to Jesus Christ.
Think about how the Spirit has changed you since the time you began your study of the New Testament this year. In your personal journal, write a goal that will help you more fully turn to the Lord so that you can receive the Spirit and become more like God.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Corinthians 1–3 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: