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- 2 Corinthians
by E.W. Bullinger
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE EPISTLE AS A WHOLE.
2 Corinthians 1:12. CHARACTER OF PAUL""S MINISTRY.
. THE PRESENT EPISTLE.
. PROPOSED VISIT.
; 2 Corinthians 2:1-2. VINDICATION OF HIS ACTION.
. FORMER EPISTLE. OBJECT.
. NO REST IN SPIRIT.
2 Corinthians 2:13. MACEDONIA. JOURNEY.
2 Corinthians 3:1 - 2 Corinthians 7:4. CHARACTER OF PAUL""S MINISTRY.
. NO REST IN FLESH.
. FORMER EPISTLE. EFFECT.
2 Corinthians 8:19; 2 Corinthians 8:15. MACEDONIA. ASSEMBLIES.
2 Corinthians 10:1 - 2 Corinthians 12:13. VINDICATION OF HIS ACTION.
2 Corinthians 12:14 - 2 Corinthians 13:1. PURPOSED VISIT.
. THE PRESENT EPISTLE.
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS. INTRODUCTORY NOTES.
1. From various passages we learn that the apostle Paul wrote this Epistle under much pressure of spirit. The personal part of his first letter to the Corinthians had its effect upon the obedient members of the church (see ch. 2 and 7), and he wrote a second time to comfort such, as well as to warn a disobedient element (2 Corinthians 13:2, 2 Corinthians 13:10). It is plain that certain altogether denied his authority, and in ch. 10:13 he once more powerfully vindicates his apostleship, especially in connection with false teachers, against whom he earnestly warned Corinthians. The specific claim of authority as proceeding from his Lord and Master alone occupies a large part of this Epistle. Hence, also, the admonition that if he came he enforce that authority. There is much to indicate Paul""s anxiety for all the churches, while in the doctrinal portions occur some unsurpassed presentations of the Divine love in Christ.
2. Not only was this church burdened with internal trouble (ch. 1), but they had trials also from without (2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Corinthians 11:15), just as the Lord Himself had foretold in Matthew 24:9 Matthew 24:12. In consolation, Paul held out before them (2 Corinthians 4:14) the same hope of resurrection as he proclaimed in his first letter.
3. Timothy had been sent to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17) and had no doubt returned bearing news of the unhappy condition of the church. Titus delivered the first letter and, there being some delay in his return, Paul passed from Troas to Macedonia, where, later Titus brought from Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:7, 2 Corinthians 7:16) such reports as only partially assured the apostle, and led him to send the Second Epistle by the same fellow worker.
4. Various explanations have been proposed with regard to the conditions under which the Epistle was written. Some think that, prior to its transmission, the apostle had sent by the hand of Timothy a severe letter which has been lost. Another suggestion is that Paul, hearing of the confusion in the church, made a hasty visit to Corinth from Ephesus, and finding that he availed nothing but rather was set at naught, withdrew to another part of Achaia or to Macedonia, where he penned the Second Epistle. Still other views on a similar lines are put forward, but all that can be said is that they are suppositions of which there is no hint in the Epistle. Connecting 1 Corinthians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 13:2, the apostle had not been back on account of the disorders in the church, whatever may be meant by "the third time"in 13:1. in 2 Corinthians 1:15-16 he is minded to come to them as a second benefit, and passing to Macedonia, to return to them, which would have been a third time.
5. Written from Macedonia not long after Paul""s leaving Asia (2 Corinthians 1:8), it would not be many months after the dispatch of the First Epistle. This was probably in A. D. 57 (winter) or spring of 58. See Appdx-180.
the Sixth Week after Easter