A Loving Correction


The apostle Paul once wrote to a community of Christians, “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8). Keeping this in mind will help you better understand what Paul communicated to the Corinthian Christians in today’s passage. Paul’s authority, love, instruction, and ministry had been called into question. He went on the defensive because of his love for them, and not for his own sake, but for theirs, so they wouldn’t be led off course.

  • Do you have someone in your life who cares for your spiritual well-being? Who do you care for spiritually?


11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.


  1. What do you notice about Paul’s attitude in these verses?
  2. Why do you think Paul did not want to be a burden to them (vss. 14-15)?
  3. In verse 19, what was the goal of Paul’s defense?
  4. What was Paul’s fear (vs. 20)? What was the root cause of the Corinthians being so off-track (vs. 21)?
  5. Whose “upbuilding” in the Lord are you concerned about today? How can you come alongside them in their journey with the Lord?


Paul knew the danger false teachers presented to the church in Corinth. He knew that they could lead people away from the purity of the gospel message of Jesus, resulting in the believers falling into sin (vs. 20). Because of this, Paul affirmed his authority as an apostle of Jesus and as a biblical teacher, so that the Corinthians wouldn’t listen to the false teachers, and instead would accept Paul’s message of the gospel.

  • Thank the Lord for those people who care for your spiritual well-being, and ask him to give you someone to care for spiritually.
  • Ask the Lord to make his Word powerful in your life so that you can discern false teaching.