by Norman Grubb
Norman begins by describing 2 Corinthians as one of Pauls intimate lettersa love letter in which Paul runs from one point to another without any sense of it being prepared more speaking from the heart. Those same words could equally apply to Normans talk. He advises us to follow the scriptures as we listen to him, since hes just dodging around, picking out here and there. As always with Norman, his dodging around in the scriptures unearths many gems. Those of you who are familiar with Norman will know that his gems are not some pretty little trinkets to be taken out and admired on occasionsmore like pearls that bring great delight, may irritate at times, will certainly challenge and can produce untold wealth.
Through the two tapes Norman captures the intimacy of the relationship between Paul and the Corinthians. Paul was passionate about these people and was glad to spend and be spent for them. Yet, he is also prepared to deal harshly with them when necessary. Where sin had been left unchallenged, Pauls concern was to turn people back from the casualness of allowing loosened standards in the church. Thus, the letter demonstrates discipline through lovethe only true love.
2 Corinthians is a letter written to a church in crisis. The church was under fire as personal assaults were made on Paul, accusing him of being an unreliable apostle. In the letter Paul addresses these attacks on him, which could seriously damage their faith. However, as Norman points out, the attacks only bothered Paul in so far as they affected the Corinthians. His hurt was only because they were hurtthe mark of a true intercessor. Norman reminds us that as intercessors our interests cease to be around ourselves because our needs have been met now we can be what were meant to bea person for others.
Norman explores instance after instance of how Paul saw everything as an opportunity to benefit others. This letter begins by Paul reaffirming the total sufficiency of God in the midst of his many sufferingssufferings that were greater than most of us can imagine. Yet as the God of all comfort comforted Paul, we learn that his comfort was really for the benefit of the Corinthians. Norman emphasises that the only way we can transmit anything to others is in so far as we have it ourselves.
One of the many challenges of these tapes is a sort of underlying assumption on Normans part that Pauls life as an intercessor parallels ours. There is no room for thinking of Paul as some higher being involved in lofty exploits beyond the reach of us mere mortals. The same Lord lives in all of us. Once we settle into the fact that were only vessels and Hes the deity living in us life becomes free and often fun. Yet Norman doesnt beat about the bush. We are reminded that the life of an intercessor will cost physically, mentally and psychologically. But we are also reminded that the inner man is renewed. In Normans words, Theres a bounce in a Christiana quality of glory, peace and victory in the midst of trials. The life of an intercessor involves a hidden dyingagain and again accepting things we dont like. However, the end result is that the life of God shines through and as death works in me, life works in you (2 Cor. 4:12).
These tapes are not for you if you are looking merely for some gentle exposition of the scriptures that leaves you refreshed and comfortedand sitting at ease in your armchair. But if you want to accept the challenge as well as reap the benefits of spiritual insights that touch the very core of life, then I recommend them thoroughly. Norman describes Pauls letter as a marvellous presentation of how a servant of Godor anybodyany one of you must live, if were keen edges for Christ. These tapes help bring home that message.
Irene is a teacher in County Kildare, Ireland. She and her husband, Richard, are Zerubbabel Contacts for Europe and are actively involved with the UK fellowship.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 18 No 1
- Sunday School
- Humans Have No Nature of Their Own
- Editors Note
- A Look at a Book
- Another Moment with Meryl
- To the Soldiers of God Going or Gone to the Heart of Africa
- Tape Talk
- BIBLE STUDY: Unconditional loveshould Christians just accept each other the way they
- The First Intervarsity Conference
- Book Review Left Behind: A Warning for Mankind
- Verily Thou Shalt Be Fed
- One Womans Answer: What To Do When Your Life Resembles Alphabet Soup!