Change of Plans


Picture this scenario: You bump into an acquaintance at the grocery store and, following a few exchanges of pleasantry, wrap up a quick conversation with, “Let’s grab lunch or coffee!” Before you know it, you’ve added an item to your calendar with no real confidence that it will actually happen. The intent is benevolent, but oftentimes that “yes” to a meeting is really a “no.”

By contrast, Paul sought to assure the Corinthians that when it came to his promise to preach the Word of Jesus Christ, his “yes” actually meant “yes”—even though it meant at a later time.

  • When has God’s timing put you on hold, only to reveal a greater understanding of him at a later time?


12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 15-24.)

  1. What was Paul’s desire for the Corinthians, and what was his plan (vss. 15-16)? Why was that plan changed (vs. 23)?
  2. In verse 17, what did Paul mean when he said “make my plans according to the flesh”? How did he prefer to plan?
  3. What connection did Paul make regarding the character of God, and his own character and behavior as an apostle of Christ (vss. 18-21)? Why was it important for the Corinthians to understand this?
  4. In verse 22, what did Paul mean by “put his seal on us”? What does this say about God’s commitment to us as believers?
  5. In what situation are you being called to trust God and his timing? How are you responding to his plan for you?


We don’t often intend to make plans we can’t keep, or change plans once we’ve committed to them. But sometimes emergencies bubble up, and sometimes, as in Paul’s case in his second letter to the Corinthians, God makes alterations to those plans on our behalf. In this case, God’s change of plans was about timing and delivering his message to the Corinthians through Paul at a time that they could better receive it and respond accordingly as a church.

  • Spend a few moments committing to trust God’s timing with your life. Thank him for his faithfulness and his promise to guide you through his gift of the Holy Spirit.