Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 12

How Christians show love

2 Corinthians 12:15

In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Paul explained what he meant by ‘love’. He described there the perfect love that Christians should always show. We want to know how that kind of love showed in Paul’s own life. For example, how did Paul show love to Corinth’s Christians; and how did he expect them to show love to him?

The first part of the question is perhaps easier to answer. Paul showed his love for Corinth’s Christians by the way that he looked after them. When they first became Christians, most of them knew nothing about the right way to serve God*. Paul prayed for them constantly; he taught them carefully; he advised them patiently. No task to help them was too hard, if God gave Paul strength. No person was too weak or unimportant to receive Paul’s full attention*. Paul did all this for no personal advantage. He did it because of the love that God had given him for them.

Then we ask how Paul expected Corinth’s Christians to show their love for him. Love must not be a selfish attitude: Paul did not love them so that they would love him. However, it seems natural that they should love him too*.

Clearly, Paul did not expect Corinth’s Christians to show love by their gifts to him. He had just said that he would refuse such gifts*. Rather, Paul wanted to have the right effect on their lives*. He was so eager for them to have a sincere and right relationship with Christ*. When they were not serving God properly, that upset Paul very much*. Paul did not want to receive honour, importance, money or anything else from them. He simply wanted them to develop in their relationship with Christ and to serve Christ loyally. If they did those things, then they would be showing love to Paul as their leader, teacher and helper.

Next part: Paul asks the Christians to say whether he dealt wrongly with them (12:16-18)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.