Sometimes, we all require self-examination.
On April 30, 1961, Dr. Leonid Rogozov did a self-examination of the pain in his abdomen. The self-exam confirmed that he had an infected appendix. The problem was, he was stationed at the Soviet Research Station in Antarctica, and he was the only physician on staff. Dr. Rogozov was forced to remove his own appendix. The operation lasted one hour and 45 minutes. He later reported on the surgery in the Information Bulletin of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition.
Dr. Jerri Nielsen was the sole physician on duty at a U.S. Antarctic research station in 1999 when she did a breast self-exam. She found a lump. She was forced to biopsy the lump herself. The lump was found to be cancerous, so she self-administered chemotherapy. Her experience made international news and was the basis for her autobiography, Ice Bound.
In A.D. 56, the Apostle Paul did some self-examination too. He was being accused of indecision, trickery, pride and dishonesty. His accusers said he was unimpressive in appearance and speech, unqualified and weak. They were trying to destroy everything he had worked so hard for in Corinth. They were tearing that church apart.
So Paul wrote at least his third letter to that church — what we now call 2 Corinthians. Most of the letter is a self-examination of his philosophy of ministry, his motivations and his authority. But he found no infection. No cancer. When he was done, he turned the mirror around. He challenged the Corinthians: “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves” (13:5). We don’t know whether or not the Corinthians did this, but for 2,000 years 2 Corinthians has challenged Christians and churches throughout the world to examine their faith, their ministries, their motivations and their lives.
We invite you to take this self-exam by reading 2 Corinthians for yourself. Even better, read it with others.
We recommend reading and discussing 2 Corinthians in at least three sections:
- Week 1 — God of All Comfort: 1-2 (worksheet) (article) (podcast)
- Week 2 — Ambassadors for Christ: 3-7 (worksheet) (article) (podcast)
- Week 2 — A Cheerful Giver: 8-9 (worksheet) (article) (podcast)
- Week 3 — Examine Yourselves: 10-13 (worksheet) (article) (podcast)
After you finish reading Second Corinthians together, we recommend continuing on with Paul’s other letters.