The Uniform Series text we are studying for Sunday, August 12 is 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, a portion of Paul’s encouragement of the Christians in Corinth in the matter of collecting funds for the church in Jerusalem. Here are some questions on the text that we might or might not want to consider in class:
In verse 7, Paul tells the Corinthians they excel in (literally, have a superabundance of) “faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness …” Is Paul “flattering” the Corinthians, do we think? Or is something else going on? What? Why do we think that? How have the Corinthians come to have this superabundance, do we think?
Is there a relationship between the superabundance Paul describes in verse 7, the “gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ” in verse 9, and the reference to manna in the wilderness in verse 15? What relationship do we see? Is Paul suggesting something with these examples? What, do we think?
In verse 8, Paul says he is “testing the genuineness of your love against the eagerness of others.” What is our response to this statement? Why? Have we ourselves ever drawn conclusions about people’s sincerity or affection from their behavior? When? What conclusions did we draw, and why? What do we think Paul is looking for here? Why would he be looking for that? Why do we think that?
In verse 8 and verse 10, Paul notes that he is giving advice, not a command. Have we ever been in a situation where we had to or wanted to offer advice rather than to command or tell people what to do? What were the characteristics of that situation? (E.g., what was our relationship to the other person or people? What were our motives?) Does that experience give us any insight into what Paul might be doing here? What insight is that?
Would it make a difference if the Corinthians completed their offering in obedience to a command, or in response to advice or encouragement? What difference? Why? Do we feel similar to the Corinthians here, or different from them? How?
What does “a fair balance” seem to mean in verses 13 & 14? What does it include – that is, what is the “fair balance” a fair balance of? What gives us that impression? Does this fair balance have anything to do with the “gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ” in verse 9? With the manna in the wilderness in verse 15? What is that? Why do we say that? What would this fair balance have to do with us, do we think? Why do we think that?