It was the apostle Paul who said to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 4:
“For you can have 10,000 instructors in Christ, but you can’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Paul had sacrificed and labored so they could be saved. And now, in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, they are demanding appropriate letters of reference from Paul. “How do we know we can trust you? Who is endorsing your ministry?” Unbelievable! They are forcing him into a place he does not want to go, so he treads carefully as he edges on boasting about his ministry. He is careful to get the attention off of the pastor (himself) and on to Christ.
Sometime the church can be guilty of the same thing today. Have you ever been at a church when they were searching for a new pastor? Have you been on a “search committee”? What were you/they looking for? The best seminary? A master’s in divinity? A graduate of church growth seminars? A PhD? What good is any of that unless the pastor is clearly a Spirit-filled man? All the education and training in the world cannot produce something spiritual. Only the Spirit of God can do that!
In chapter three, Paul addresses these topics. We can get so caught up trying to “sell ourselves” and what we can do and our abilities. If you have ever padded a resume or lied on a letter of recommendation to make yourself look better, you will appreciate the next section of 2 Corinthians! And pastors are some of the chief offenders. Oh, the need for the power of the Spirit and not the wisdom of man!