Commented Bible Passages

These Bible meditations are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group of 3 to 10 people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.

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2 Corinthians 5:14 -21

A brother who lives in Brazil comments on this text as seen from his vantage-point:

At the beginning of the Church, Christians of Jewish background leapt over the wall that separated them from those from other backgrounds. This meant for them giving up some strict dietary and behavioral rules; it broadened the way they conceived their relationship with God. During the following two millennia, in their practice and teaching, Christians did not always show such boldness in integrating cultural differences.

In Brazil, a powerful trend over the past fifty years has caused the Pentecostal churches to grow to the detriment of the traditional denominations. Most of the converts come from a poor background. After their conversion, they willingly witness to their faith by saying, “I used to be this and that, now I am a new man (or woman) because I have accepted Christ.” And they tell you about the features of this “new self” (v.17) that can be seen and verified by all: “I no longer drink. I no longer smoke. I respect my spouse. My children go to school. I am learning to read and write. I go to church all the time…”

In these communities, strong bonds of fellowship unite the members. They help one another, materially as well as morally, to stay on the right road. And yet their attitude towards other churches tends to be one of suspicion, or even of hostility and contempt, as if the work of reconciliation stopped at the door of their own community.

In society and between different countries, as well as among Christians, the natural tendency is to take sides, to accept some and to exclude others. It is difficult not to have any prejudices, “no longer to look at anyone in a human way” (v.16). For that involves becoming aware of one’s own limits, realizing that some aspects of my own personality can be difficult for others to accept.

- What prejudices remain in me, in spite of everything?

- Who it is hard for me to be reconciled with? What makes it difficult?

- What experiences of reconciliation have I had?

Other bible meditations:

Last updated: 1 June 2024