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    2 Corinthians

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    Corinth was a very important commercial center which made it easy for it to be a place for all sorts of vice and evil. Also, its closeness to Athens added the problem of intellectualism. Greece was known for its philosophers and philosophy. St. Paul established the church of Corinth during his second missionary trip. Unfortunately, the immoral environment found in the city adversely affected the church. Reports of the problems within the church reached St. Paul's ears, and so he wrote an earlier letter (1 Corinthians) to answer these reports, correcting sinful practices and refuting false doctrine. In this second letter, written only a few months after the first, St. Paul, as a caring father, wanted to make sure that his rebukes in the earlier letter were received positively, and that it actually encouraged them to repent. He also focuses his letter on defending his apostleship, rebuking ungodly behavior that still persisted in Corinth, and to encourage them to collect money for the needy in Jerusalem. This letter is one that is quite beneficial to those serving others for God, as it explains how service should be, as we learn from the example of St. Paul.  This Orthodox Christian commentary is derived from a series of sermons given by His Eminence Metropolitan Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, where His Eminence has been serving since the early 90s. 
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    Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians

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    COLOSSIANS: THE SURVIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY IN COLOSSE The budding congregation of Christians in the city of Colosse was threatened by the temptation to relapse to paganism. St. Paul steps in by writing this letter to warn them against apostasy, as well as other philosophies of men (such as Judaistic ceremonialism, angel worship, and an improperly harsh form of asceticism). The singular message St. Paul wanted to impress upon them was: Christ is the fullness of God and is the all-sufficient Savior. 1 THESSALONIANS: KEEPING THE SECOND COMING IN MIND St. Paul tries to remind the Thessalonians about the need to maintain their steadfastness in the faith, and he instructs them on how to live a holy life, worthy of their calling. He brings to their mind the Second Coming of Christ as a means of motivation and also comfort in light of the persecutions they had been facing. 2 THESSALONIANS: THE SECOND COMING—NOT JUST YET Having brought to their minds the Second Coming of Christ, some Thessalonians thought that the persecution they were enduring meant Christ was coming now (as in, in their lifetime), to the point that people quit their work! St. Paul corrects their misunderstanding and motivates them for continued spiritual progress.
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