MacArthur doesn’t waste a word in this book. The book is less than 70 pages including the introduction. Each chapter would be a wonderful addition to your quiet time and could be read and re-read easily and with much profit.
I was introduced to the preaching ministry of John MacArthur when I was in college and was immediately hooked. Like many others, his life and preaching has helped shape my understanding of Christian ministry. After 50 years of pastoring in one church, he has more stories, anecdotes, examples, and life experience than most anyone else we we might meet. But, don’t expect to hear any of those personal stories in this book. True to form, this book is not about John MacArthur, Grace Community Church, or The Master’s Seminary. Instead this book is organized around nine biblical convictions for ministry that Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 4. That really isn’t surprising is it? After all, if we are going to be faithful in ministry, it is ultimately going to be fueled by God’s Spirit using God’s Word in and through us.
Anguish and Ministry
The vast majority of the introduction is an excellent explanation of the occasion and setting of 2 Corinthians. As MacArthur notes, 2 Corinthians often highlights Paul’s anguish and difficulties in ministry. Insightfully, he comments:
The false teachers were doing their best to destroy Paul’s reputation. They were aggressively trying to undermine his influence in that church. Because the teaching of these men was a corruption of the gospel, it posed a serious threat to the spiritual health and testimony of the Corinthian church. The false apostles had focused their attack on Paul personally. Both his character as well as the content of his teaching were under relentless assault. So he was forced to defend himself. He does so in an interesting way—never boasting of his own accomplishments or otherwise trying to elevate himself, but by exalting Christ in a way that exposed the hypocrisy and self-serving falsehoods of the false teachers (14–15).