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The Scriptorium

This Is a Test

But not only a test. 2 Corinthians 2.8-11

2 Corinthians 2 (3)

Pray Psalm 11.5, 6.
The LORD tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind
Shall be the portion of their cup.

Sing Psalm 11.5, 6.
Tidings: O Zion, Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling)
God tests the righteous as He tests the wicked;
see how His soul all evildoers hates.
He will rain coals; with fire will He afflict them.
Brimstone and burning wind shall ne’er abate.
Refrain v. 7
LORD, You are righteous, loving the just;
all will behold Your face who on Your mercy trust.

Read 2 Corinthians 1.1-11; meditate on verses 8-11.

1. Why did Paul say he had written 1 Corinthians?

2. Why was it necessary to forgive the repentant sinner?


If you’re like me, when you think back on your years in school, one word will cause a chill to climb your shoulders.


Of course, we knew we were going to have them. What were they for? So the teacher could see whether we’d learned anything. I dreaded tests, and I hated taking them. What I liked about tests was getting one back with a decent grade on it, one that said, “You passed!”

Paul—acting for the Lord—put the Corinthians to the test in his first epistle. Would they learn anything? Would they take the next steps of faith and do what they must? They would and they did: “You passed!”

Ah, but there is always another test. Here as well. Would they truly forgive this man who had repented of his sin? Paul said that he had, and he urged the Corinthians to do so as well. And they needed to pass this test because if they didn’t, the next test might find them snared by the wiles of the devil (v. 11). They should do the hard work on this test by sincerely forgiving their brother, so that they might grow and be stronger to face the next test their loving heavenly Father was preparing for them.

Because all such tests are from the Lord. By these tests, big and small, daily and moment-by-moment, He helps us learn and grow and become more like Jesus. So don’t dread the Father’s tests. Prepare well—in the Word and prayer—and you can expect to receive a passing grade.

And don’t worry, when the Final Exam comes, Jesus has already passed it for all who believe in Him.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul wrote that true forgiveness and love needed to be re-established “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2.11). If only we were—truly not ignorant of his wily ways.

God stepped directly into the life of Cain to warn him of the same; but alas, he too, wasn’t paying attention to the adversary. God said to him, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Gen. 4.6, 7). Alas, he did not pay attention to God’s warning, he did not do well, and he did not rule over his murderous rage, and killed his brother Abel (Gen. 4.8).

When Jesus first began His public ministry, He got things straight with Satan from the get-go.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4.1).
And in each instance, He quoted Scripture to vanquish him:
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matt. 4.4, 7, 10).

If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 8.11), then we can vanquish the adversary in the very same way Jesus did, by: Being in the Word of God and knowing the Word well enough to use it against the devil whom we are not ignorant of.

And by putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6.11). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Pet. 5.8, 9). When we are aware—not ignorant of his desire to destroy—then we will successfully stand against him whatever, whenever, and however he chooses to befuddle us.

So, do we love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, and mind? (Matt. 22.37)
And do we love others as we love ourselves? (Matt. 22.39)
And are we aware of the devil’s desire to trip us up? (2 Cor. 2.11)
Most importantly, do we know where the power to accomplish this comes from? (Rom. 8.11).

As John Chrysostom stated, “This is the test of true disciples; if they obey not only when ordered to do something but on their own as well.”

“Whoever heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he” (Prov. 16.20).

For reflection
1. How should you prepare each day for the tests you will certainly face?

2. God sends tests to help us grow. What are the keys to growing through these tests?

3. When others are being tested, how should you try to encourage them?

Paul needs to see that the Corinthians are as obedient in restoring the sinner as they had been in punishing him. For the punishment might have proceeded in part from envy and malice, but if they now proceed to restore him in love, that will show that their obedience is pure. This is the test of true disciples: if they obey not only when ordered to do something but on their own as well. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 4.5

Pray Psalm 11.1-4.
What tests of your faith are you facing today? Call on the Lord to watch over you, prepare you, and empower you to pass every test He sends your way with joy and praise.

Sing Psalm 11.1-4.
Tidings: O Zion, Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling)
I trust You, LORD, my great eternal refuge!
How can you say: “Friend, flee now like a bird!
Haste to the hills! The wicked would destroy you!”?
Would you cast doubts on God and on His Word?
Refrain v. 7
LORD, You are righteous, loving the just;
all will behold Your face who on Your mercy trust.

See how the wicked bend their bows to kill you;
now, even now, they take their deadly aim!
Shall you escape? Shall darkness deep conceal you?
What shall they do who lean upon God’s Name?

Know that the LORD is in His holy temple;
firmly His throne is fixed in heav’n on high.
His eyes behold the mighty and the simple,
His eyelids test, the sons of men they try.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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