Every Saturday morning, as we are able, I meet with a group of guys at Starbucks to hang out, catch up, and talk theology…generally as it pertains to a book we’re presently reading. We’ve been meeting for several years now and have worked our way through a good number of books including:
Redemption Accomplished and Applied, by John Murray
Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen
Think, by John Piper
In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement, by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever
The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer
Recently, we decided to go in a bit of a different direction. We’re getting ready to begin going through different books of the Bible, all with the aid of a commentary of our own choosing. In effect, with every guy choosing a different commentary, we’ll be studying a book while bringing the voices of approx. 5+ commentators to the table. I think this is going to be particularly fun, challenging, encouraging, and edifying. To begin, we’ve selected 2 Corinthians. I am going to be using C.K. Barrett’s commentary as we study together.
As we get ready to begin our study this Saturday, I’ve been doing some additional reading on 2 Corinthians and came across Calvin’s commentary this morning. Spending time in his section on the overall argument of the letter and the opening verses, I thought a section of his comments on 1:4 were particularly convicting and heartening as they refer to blessing and generosity.
“…the Apostle lived not for himself but for the Church, so he reckoned, that whatever favors God conferred upon him, were not given for his own sake merely, but in order that he might have more in his power for helping others. And, unquestionably, when the Lord confers upon us any favor, he in a manner invites us by his example to be generous to our neighbours. The riches of the Spirit, therefore, are not to be kept by us to ourselves, but every one must communicate to others what he has received. This, it is true, must be considered as being applicable chiefly to ministers of the Word. It is, however, common to all, according to the measure of each. Thus Paul here acknowledges, that he had been sustained by the consolation of God, that he might be able himself to comfort others.”
How necessary it is to remember that one particular reason the Spirit of God blesses us is that we, as Calvin states, “might have more in [our] power for helping others.” The unconditional blessings we’ve received and continue to receive in the gospel are to be used for the good of our neighbor to the glory of God.