Corinthís Christians very much wanted to see the power of God. For a time, they confused it with the actions of powerful men who wanted to control them*. Probably, the Christians made that mistake because they had not really understood Godís power in their own lives. They considered Paul weak; they even doubted that he really had brought Christís message to them.
Their error was to concentrate too much on the things that they could see and feel. Their problem with Paul was simply that he did not impress them enough*.
Paul, on the other hand, believed that church leaders should normally be humble, gentle and patient*. He understood that God is working powerfully inside his people* - nobody can see that power, but it is real.
However, there is a situation where church leaders must be firm and powerful. They must sometimes deal with strong people who have firmly chosen to do wrong things. In such circumstances, even the most gentle church leader has a duty to be strong and bold. An extreme example is how Samuel carried out Godís punishment against the wicked King Agag in 1 Samuel 15:33.
Paul knew that soon he might have to act firmly against some of the church members at Corinth. He would not deal with them by physical force, but by prayers and decisions. However, in those actions, they would see the power of Christ. It was not how Paul wanted them to know Christís power - but perhaps at the present time, it was necessary. If they returned to God, they would then know Christís power in a different way. Christ would be working in and through their lives, and so they would carry out his work powerfully in the world.
Next part: Human weakness and the power of God (13:4)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.