Saturday 1 June 2024

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (v. 13)

2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Saturday 1 June 2024

Psalm 8

This passage forms the final part of Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Corinth. This Christian community had often given Paul a headache – they fell out with one another, followed rival leaders ands sometimes did not even want to welcome Paul when he planned to visit them.

So this short passage is a heartfelt plea from Paul that the people of Corinth re-order their communal life on the basis of love and peace.

Then we come to the final sentence, the sentence shown at the beginning of today’s study. There will be scarcely any Christian who is not familiar with these words. Many will be able to recite them by heart. They have become a regular prayer, especially a blessing given at the close of a worship service. Yet most Christians do not realise that they come from Paul’s writings and certainly could not place them in the New Testament.

These 22 words sum up what being a Christian is all about. They are trinitarian – God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are held together here.

At the heart of God’s character is love – a deeply personal quality emanating from a God who seeks a personal relationship with God's people. There was no other religion in the world around first-century Palestine where the primary characteristic of the divine was love.

Paul, emphasising his common theme that Christians are interlinked with one another, as many parts but one body, ends by stressing the fellowship of all believers through the work of the Holy Spirit.

To Ponder:

  • Do you think that the Christian Church has always emphasised love as the primary characteristic of God?
  • The final sentence of this passage uses the word, ‘grace’. It is a particularly Christian term. How would you explain the word to a non-Christian or to a new Christian?

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Bible notes author: The Revd Jennifer Potter
Jennifer is a supernumerary minister living in the Croydon Circuit. She works as a part-time chaplain at the local MHA (Methodist Home for the Aged). She was previously a minister at Wesley’s Chapel in London.

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