Copr. 1998, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to

the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984

International Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations

from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes

the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: We ended our discussion last week with Paul’s plea

for fairness.  He said to the Corinthian church, we have opened

heart to you, we have given our all to you, isn’t it fair that you

open your heart to us?  This week Paul continues with a discussion

of the reason why all the Corinthians may not be opening their

hearts to God.  Let’s dive in to see what we can learn about

keeping our own hearts open to God!


     A. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.  We have
a very famous phrase
here: “Do not be yoked with unbelievers….”
The KJV says
“unequally yoked with unbelievers….”

          1. When we talk
about “yokes” today, we are generally
referring to
eggs. What yoke do think Paul is talking
about? (The
kind of yoke that harness animals wear. For
example, you
have oxen “yoked” together.)

          2. When Paul
says do not be “yoked” with an unbeliever,
what kind of
relationships do you think he has in mind?

          3. Keep your
finger in 2 Cor. 6, and turn with me to 1
5:9-12. Read.  When I was studying this
lesson I put
the 1 Cor. 5 text up on my computer screen
with the 2 Cor.
6 text so I could look at them at the
same time. 
I wish I could do that here to let you look
at these two

a. Does Paul tell us in 1 Cor. 5 that we can (and

must) associate with unbelievers? (Yes — as long

as they are not pretending to hold the same values

we hold.)

b. In 2 Cor. 6, however, we are told not to be yoked
with unbelievers. How can you reconcile these two
texts? How do you draw the line between being
“yoked” and “associating?”

     B. In the verses that follow 2 Corinthians
6:14 we find some
hints.  Let’s go through the questions
that Paul asks to see
if we can understand the “problem areas” for

          1. 6:14: What
do righteousness and unrighteousness have
in common? Does
this focus on an area? (This is pretty
broad, but seems
to ask, “Is there any spiritual area or
goal that you
have in common with an unbeliever?”)

2. 6:14: What
fellowship can light have with darkness?
What do you
think “fellowship” refers to? Would
refer to spare time, recreation?

          3. 6:15: What
harmony is there between Christ and Belial
(Satan)? In
what context would you need to have harmony
with someone?
Marriage? Close business relationships?

4. 6:15: What
does a believer have in common with an
This seems to apply to everything. We
normally seek
a friendship with those with whom we have
something in
common.  Do we have things in common with
Should we?

          5. 6:16: What
agreement is there between the temple of
God and idols?
What context does this question raise?

          6. After going
through this list, does this help us to
understand what
Paul means when he tells us not to “yoke”
with unbelievers,
but to “associate” with them? (We
clearly see
a worship and recreation context. The most
intimate relationships,
such as marriage seem to be out.
(But see, 1
Corinthians 7:13-16.)

a. How about deep friendships?

b. How about business relationships?

c. How about schooling for our children?

d. How about entertainment?

e. How about clubs? Unions?

     C. Does this advice seem difficult to accept?

          1. Compare your
“work” friends with your “church”

     D. Let’s remind ourselves of why we are looking
at this. Paul
says that these relationships with the world
can prevent you
from opening your heart to God.

          1. Do you find
this to be true?

          2. Look at the
each of these relationships in your life
and ask yourself,
“Is this relationship going to draw me
closer to God
or further away from God?”

a. What do you find?

b. Asking yourself this question will give you a

pretty reliable guide as to which relationships

should be out of your life.

     E. In v.17, when Paul recites Isaiah 52:11,
of what are you
reminded?  What do you think of when
we are told not to
“touch” an “unclean thing?” (It sounds like
the list of
unclean food in Leviticus 11.)

          1. Do you think
Paul is talking about food here? (The
context tells
us that he is talking about people.)

          2. Do you remember
the story of Cornelius, the sheet and
unclean animals
in Acts 10:10-28?  Doesn’t that story end
with Peter saying
(v.28) “God has shown me that I should
not call any
man impure or unclean?”

a. Do Paul and Peter disagree (once again)? (I do
nothing think Paul and Peter disagree here.  In
Leviticus 11:44 we find God telling us that the
whole basis for this discussion about “unclean”
animals is because our God is Holy and He wants us
to be holy. 1 John 1:7 tells us that the blood of
Jesus “purifies” (cleans) us from sin and that we
should “walk in the light.” The last of the verses
that we read, 2 Cor. 7:1, explains that we are
“purifying” ourselves from what contaminates. Paul
is telling us is that we should take care about our
relationships so that we can walk with God and be
His “sons and daughters.” (2 Cor. 6:18)  However,
the Acts 10 story about Peter and Cornelius clearly
shows us that mingling with unbelievers who are
interested in the gospel is not condemned.  Quite
the opposite, bringing the gospel to those who do
not know is part of walking in the light.)


     A. Read 2 Corinthians 7:4-7. Paul tells us
in verse 5 that he
felt harassed “at every turn” by “conflicts
on the outside,
fears within.”  What do you think Paul
means by:

          1. “Conflicts
on the outside?” (People were giving him a
hard time.)

          2. “Fears within?”
(The conflicts were getting to him. It
made him fearful.)

     B. Have you heard people say that if you are
a Christian you
should have no fear? “Perfect love drives
out fear…” (1 John

          1. While I was
still in law school I interned with the
Department of
Justice, in the U.S. Attorney’s office.  We
were prosecuting
federal crimes.  As a result, we had to
appear before
federal judges and magistrates.  The first
time I had to
argue before the court the assistant U.S.
attorney I worked
with told me, as we were walking to the
argument, that
I would do the argument! Talk about
instant fear!
(I think a couple of DEA agents would have
liked to have
shot me after the argument.)  This
assistant that
I worked with told me something that I
will never forget. 
He said (about these court
“Everything makes me nervous.” What an
it was to me to know that he got nervous
about these
things too!

a. Are you encouraged by the fact that Paul tells us
that the conflicts in his life caused him to feel

     C. Let’s read on to see what good can come
out of conflict and
fear. Read 7:8-10.

          1. What came
of Paul’s conflict and worry? (Joy.)

          2. Why did joy
come out of conflict? (There seem to be
two angles to
this. First, conflict can bring us closer
to God. In Paul’s
case he experienced conflict because he
was standing
up for God’s will. The outcome of this
conflict was
positive.  Second, Paul seems to say he was
creating conflict
in the lives of those who needed to
Because they repented, the outcome of that
conflict brought

          3. Notice in
v.10 the reference to “Godly sorrow” and
“worldly sorrow.”

a. What is the result of each? (Godly sorrow leads
to repentance, salvation and joy. Worldly sorrow
brings death.)

b. How would you describe “worldly sorrow” versus
“Godly sorrow?” (Read 2 Corinthians 7:11 for a
better idea of “Godly sorrow.”  Worldly sorrow is
the unhappiness that comes from sin.)

(1) Can “worldly sorrow” bring about “Godly

     D. Read 2 Corinthians 7:12.  Why did Paul
write those things
to the Corinthian church that caused “Godly

          1. Was it for
the benefit of the sinner? (Paul says,

          2. Was it for
the benefit of the “victim” of the sinner?
(Paul says,

          3. So for whose
benefit did he write? (Paul seems to say
that his letter
was a test of the membership as a whole
to see if they
really were faithful to God. When they
arose to the
occasion by seeking repentance, joy was the

     E. Sometimes we hate to let go of our sins. 
Paul tells us
that letting go of sin and sinful relationships
will result in

III. NEXT WEEK: “The Ministry of Generosity.” Study 2 Corinthians


bsp;         result.)

     E. Sometimes we hate to let go of our sins. 
Paul tells us
that letting go of sin and sinful relationships
will result in

III. NEXT WEEK: “The Ministry of Generosity.” Study 2 Corinthians