Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures Everett's Study Notes
- 2 Corinthians
by Gary H. Everett
STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Using a Theme-based Approach
to Identify Literary Structures
By Gary H. Everett
THE EPISTLE OF 2 CORINTHIANS
January 2013 Edition
All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.
All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed., Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c1925, morphology c1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author’s daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.
© Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.
Foundational Theme The Doctrines of the New Testament Church
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Structural Theme The Sanctification of the Holy Spirit (His Comfort)
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 a
Imperative Theme Our Sufferings for Christ Offer Comfort to Others
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us,
so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5
For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong:
and this also we wish, even your perfection.
2 Corinthians 13:9
How Do We Let Our Lights Shine?
And how do we let our light shine,
That others may see the way?
It’s only through the reflection of the Cross
that we carry. And yet we pray,
“Oh Lord, take away this burden from me,
And give me my this and my that.”
But it all belongs to You,
the whole earth
And the fullness thare of.
And what we have is only lent to us,
For naked we came into this world
And naked we shall return.
And so, iff any one has this world’s goods
And sees his brother have need,
Thare is a woe passed upon him.
The whole world is looking to see the Cross.
Let it be seen in me.
(Flossie Powell Everett 1910-1987)
INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE OF 2 CORINTHIANS
Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
The Message of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians - The epistle of 2 Corinthians has tended to be one of the more neglected of the Pauline epistles throughout the years because of its difficult language, its lengthy digressions, and its emotional presentation. As we read about his travel plans and personal experiences with the Corinthians, we are left trying to fit the pieces of his life and activities into an organized order of events. These details, which the Corinthians knew about, are sometimes not so clear for us to follow. Because it is perhaps the most personal letter that Paul wrote, we find more of an emotional presentation than a systematic presentation. Nonetheless, 2 Corinthians is a very important letter for our Christian doctrine and lifestyle. Some of its more popular passages are about Paul’s hardships, his teachings of giving, and his thorn in the flesh.
The epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians share the same theme, as they give us a visual picture of the process of sanctification through the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The first epistle reveals the process of the sanctification that every new believer must go through, which is not always a pretty sight. For example, when we are raising our children, there are times of misbehavior which we do not want our friends and family to see. Growing up spiritually is difficult, and we also have our bad days of misbehaving. Our God is loving and patient with us, just as we are to be with our own children. Now the second epistle reveals what the process of sanctification looks like at full maturity. Because this epistle is the most autobiographical of the Pauline epistles we are shown mature sanctification in the life of Paul the apostle. When we would think it is a beautiful sight, we read instead in these chapters a lifestyle of suffering and sacrifice for Christ.
An amazing thing happens to balance such a sanctified life of Christian sacrifice and service. When sanctification progresses to a level of great sacrifice for our Lord Jesus, then God’s grace is imparted into that particular person in the form of gifts and anointings and divine encounters. You see, Paul the apostle spent years evangelizing the regions of Syria and Cilicia with Barnabas as a young Christian before God separated him and sent him forth as an apostle in Acts 13:0. It was Paul’s great sacrifice that he willingly chose that gained God’s attention and eventually a calling as well as divine impartations.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of Paul’s message in this Epistle that we have in modern day is seen in the life of Arthur Blessitt. He began as a young man sharing Christ Jesus on the streets of Sunset Boulevard in California. He opened a night club just to evangelize the sinners who walked these depraved streets. One day God spoke to him to take the wooden cross off of the wall of this night club and walk with it around the world.  As a young Bible student I remember his personal testimony in our evangelizing class of how sickly he was at the time of his calling. In faith, he flushed his medicine down the toilet, took the cross, and began to walk. At first, his body was weak, but the longer he walked the stronger he became. With this anointing he has walked in every nation on earth over a period of thirty years.
 Arthur Blessitt, interviewed by Matthew Crouch, Behind the Scenes, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, 2008), television program.
Another good example of this level of sanctification is seen in the life of Kathryn Kuhlman, whose healing minister touched the world during 1960’s and 1970’s. Her services were marked by the distinct presence of the Holy Spirit, being manifested by divine healings, people shaking, and being slain with the Holy Spirit. She tells of the heavy price she paid to have this anointing, which involved leaving an unscriptural marriage with a man she dearly loved. She came to a place and time when she died to her own will and yielded totally to the will of God. Her “thorn in the flesh” was carrying the pain of walking away from an earthly love affair in order to be in God’s perfect will.  She said, “Any of you ministers can have what I have if you’ll only pay the price.” She described the price that she paid as costing her everything. She said about a lifestyle of prayer, “If you find the power, you’ll find heaven’s treasure.”  Benny Hinn discusses this level of sanctification and anointing in his book The Anointing. He talks about an experience that exceeds the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or speaking in tongues, or other normal aspects of the Christian life. It involves a lifestyle of a deep and intimate communion with the person of the Holy Spirit. This is level of sanctification that Paul demonstrates in 2 Corinthians. 
 Benny Hinn, The Anointing (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), 63-4.
 Kathryn Kuhlman, “I Believe in Miracles,” on This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, 28 January 2008), television program.
 Benny Hinn, The Anointing (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), 46.
When we hear about these testimonies of divine revelations and supernatural interventions and miracles in mighty servants of God, we get excited and want to be like Paul, or Arthur or Miss Kuhlman. When we realize price that each of them had to pay to order to walk with this anointing, we tend to back down and compromise our lifestyle. Thus, most believers do not walk with the anointing on a regular basis because they are not willing to pay this price. They have never crossed over into this realm of daily dying to self.
The difference in the lives of Arthur Blessitt, Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, and others who have experienced a lifestyle of the anointing and revelations is that they have the sentence of death on themselves, which Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 1:9. In other words, Arthur Blessitt was going to walk with his wooden cross even if he died trying. Miss Kuhlman was going to serve the Lord even if it broke her heart. This is the life that moves the heart of God and draws out of Him impartations and anointings and revelations in the Spirit. This is the theme of 2 Corinthians. This may be the real reason that this Epistle is less popular than some of the others that Paul has left for us.
Introductory Material - The introduction to the epistle of 2 Corinthians will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework.  These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God’s message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.
 Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel’s well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalms: (1) “a common setting in life,” (2) “thoughts and mood,” (3) “literary forms.” In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses “Form/Structure/Setting” preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalms: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol. 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).
Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the epistle of 2 Corinthians will provide a discussion on its historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that the apostle wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians from Macedonia, perhaps Philippi, around A.D. 54-56 towards the end of his third missionary journey occasioned by the arrival of Titus from Corinth.
I. Historical Background
“We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture
if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible.”
(J. Hampton Keathley) 
 J. Hampton Keathley, III, “Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah,” (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23 May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.
Most scholars date Paul’s letter of 1 Corinthians during his ministry in Ephesus from the fall of A.D. 52 to the spring of A.D. 55 and 2 Corinthians shortly after his departure from this 3-year ministry. This was a wonderful time of tremendous evangelistic activity for Paul and his companions. It was also a challenging time in which he confronted long-term problems within the church at Corinth. As a result, we find evidence of much activity with this congregation. Paul made three visits and wrote at least four letters to this troubled church, the second and fourth being preserved for us as 1 and 2 Corinthians.
Corinthians A - It was from Ephesus that Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, which scholars call the “previous” letter, (1 Corinthians 5:9). It seems from 1 Corinthians 5:10-11 that the Corinthians misunderstood his message in this early letter. The document is now lost, a letter of which we can only speculate as to its contents. (However, some speculate that a portion of it may be found in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1.)
Corinthian B - Soon after, while still in Ephesus, Paul received a report from the household of Chloe about divisions within the church at Corinth, perhaps through Timothy. About this time he also received a delegate from the church in Corinth with questions and reports about the situation there. Some scholars date these visits towards the end of Paul’s stay in Ephesus (early A.D. 55), but others date it in the midst of this 3-year period (early A.D. 54) in order to give Paul time to make his “painful visit” and returning to Ephesus before his final departure from this city. The delegate from Corinth, which consisted of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17), brought good news from the church at Corinth, an offering to Paul and his companions, some unsettling news of additional misconduct, as well as a list of questions regarding practical conduct (1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1Co 12:1 ; 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:12). It was this meeting that compelled Paul to take the time to write the epistle known as 1 Corinthians, with the intent of visiting them soon afterwards. He mentions spending a little more time in Ephesus before this visit, at least until Pentecost. He would then pass through Macedonia in the summer our autumn and spend the winter with them. He later modified these plans and promised a double trip to Corinth.
Corinthians C - Neither of these two letters to the Corinthians solved all of the problems. Paul was forced to continue his efforts to bring this church back under his authority and leadership. Some opposition persisted and turned what was supposed to be a pleasant experience into a painful one; for we know that Paul did make this first promised visit to the Corinthians in what is called the “painful visit” (2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1), a visit that seems not to be recorded in the book of Acts, and one in which he suffered insult and humility. This visit was prompted because of the church’s poor response to his earlier letters that were sent by the hand of Timothy (1 Corinthians 4:8-13, 1 Corinthians 16:10), and perhaps by a rebellious church faction opposing Paul’s authority. Paul seems to have cut this visit short and returned to Ephesus rather than making his promised second visit. Soon after his return to Ephesus from this “painful visit” Paul wrote his third letter to them, which scholars call the “sorrowful letter”, one written “out of much affliction and anguish of heart…with many tears,” (2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:8-9), a letter which seems to have given the Corinthians certain injunctions to carry out, and which may have been carried to them by Titus ( 2Co 2:12-13 ; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7; 2 Corinthians 7:13-15; esp. 2 Corinthians 12:18). It becomes evident from 2 Corinthians 2:1 that Paul’s “painful visit” to them left him disappointed; for he states here that he “determined this with himself that he would not come again to them in heaviness.” There appears to be certain members of the church at Corinth that rejected Paul’s position of authority over them. Titus was sent with this sorrowful letter in order to correct certain abuses and to get them ready for the collection for the saints at Jerusalem.
Corinthians D - This was a difficult time in Paul’s missionary journeys. In addition to the pressure upon Paul from the revolt of the Corinthian church, the uprising at Ephesus had made Paul’s departure necessary as he made his way to Troas in anticipation of meeting Titus, who was returning from Corinth with news of how they had responded to his recent letter. Also at this time the Judaizers were bringing “another gospel” to the churches of Galatia. He describes himself as being “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). Never had he felt so helpless and dependent upon God for strength and divine intervention. His victory came through his “sentence of death,” a decision that many Christians make. It is a decision that moves a child of God from the natural into the supernatural. It is such an attitude of selfless sacrifice that ushered in an abundance of divine revelations and heavenly consolation, as Paul will refer to in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
After leaving Ephesus Paul traveled to Troas and preaching the Gospel because a “door was opened of the Lord” for him there (2 Corinthians 2:12). However, Paul became restless in his spirit because he has not yet heard from Titus, who had been sent to Corinth. He then hurried on to Macedonia, perhaps Philippi, where he met Titus (2 Corinthians 2:5 ff; 2 Corinthians 7:5-13). Evidently, Titus brought Paul a good report; for it was at this time that Paul wrote his fourth letter, which we call 2 Corinthians, in which he responses in gratitude to their obedience and rejoices in this reconciliation (2 Corinthians 1-7). Titus reported to Paul of how he was received by them in fear and trembling (2 Corinthians 7:15), of their genuine sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9), of how he was refreshed by them (2 Corinthians 7:13) and of how the offender had been punished (2 Corinthians 2:6-8).
This report of reconciliation was not the only news. Titus must have also reported on a small group who still rejected Paul’s authority over them because he addresses this rebellion in his final epistle (2 Corinthians 10-13). They seem to have found fault in Paul because of his failure to make a promised visit to Corinth, and accused Paul of many other weaknesses, and they boasted in their fleshly achievements. What Paul lacked in speech and appearance he well made up for it in divine authority. Although Paul did not care for such boasting, he launched into a defense of his apostolic ministry. There was a third issue at hand, in which he also needed to organize the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8-9), Finally, 2 Corinthians is sent to prepare the church for an additional visit by Paul; for we have evidence in Acts 20:2-3 and 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2 that Paul later visited this church a third and last time. It is during this visit to Corinth that he most likely wrote his epistle to the Romans before departing for Jerusalem with his collection for the saints (Romans 16:23). He spent the winter in Corinth before proceeding by way of Macedonia to Jerusalem with this offering (1 Corinthians 16:6). Thus, scholars believe that Paul made at least three visits and wrote four letters to the Corinthians.
The Church of Corinth After the Time of Paul - We have a fleeting reference to the church at Corinth in 2 Timothy 4:20 after Paul’s first imprisonment where Paul informs Timothy that Erastus was left there, perhaps because of his position of authority over the church and his civil influence in the community. We also have an epistle written to the church of Corinth by one of Paul’s fellow labourers named Clement, who became bishop of Rome, writing to them around A.D. 95.  In this epistle, Clement of Rome commends their conduct and virtues as was being testified by those who visited this church. However, their tendency towards divisions and factions was still a problem that Clement had to address. Later in A.D. 170 the church’s bishop named of Primus received a visit from Hegesippus, who commended them for their faithfulness to the truth.  Their next bishop was named Dionysius, who seems to have brought out the best in them as they gave generously to the impoverished believers in other churches.  He notes in his writing that the church of Corinth occasionally read the epistle of Clement on the Lord’s Day. 
 See Clement of Rome, The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians ( ANF 1).
 Hegesippus writes, “And the church of the Corinthians continued in the orthodox faith up to the time when Primus was bishop in Corinth. I had some intercourse with these brethren on my voyage to Rome, when I spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were mutually refreshed by the orthodox faith.” ( Hegesippus in ANF 8) Eusebius cites Hegesippus, saying, “His word are as follows: ‘And the church of Corinth continued in the true faith until Primus was bishop in Corinth. I conversed with them on my way to Rome, and abode with the Corinthians many days, during which we were mutually refreshed in the true doctrine.’” ( Ecclesiastical History 4.22.2)
 Eusebius writes, “And first we must speak of Dionysius, who was appointed bishop of the church in Corinth, and communicated freely of his inspired labors not only to his own people, but also to those in foreign lands, and rendered the greatest service to all in the catholic epistles which he wrote to the churches.” ( Ecclesiastical History 4.23.1)
 Dionysius writes, “We passed this holy Lord’s day, in which we read your letter, from the constant reading of which we shall be able to draw admonition, even as from the reading of the former one you sent us written through Clement.” ( Dionysius 2 in ANF 8)
2 Timothy 4:20, “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.”
When the Roman Empire fell, the city of Corinth became a part of the eastern empire. It was held by the Venetians until 1715, at which time this area was conquered by the Turks during the Ottoman Venetian War (1714 1718),  and it remained under their control until the recent revolution in Greece.
 George Finlay, The History of Greece Under Othoman and Venetian Domination (London: Willliam Blackwood and Sons, 1856), 265-268.
II. Authorship and Canonicity
In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the epistle of 2 Corinthians: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1 st and 2 nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2 nd century thru 3 rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4 th century).
A. Apostolic Authority - Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which “the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice.” He says the “elements of the Catholic faith” were established during this period in Church history.  At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke, the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude, the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book’s apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D. 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, “The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time.” ( Fragments of Caius 3.3) ( ANF 5); Corey Keating says, “In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority’ was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing.” See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ ChurchHistory/Criteria for Development of the NT Canon in First Four Centuries.pdf; Internet.
The fact that Paul declares himself the author of the epistle of 1 Corinthians, along with its internal characteristics that are distinctly Pauline, with its historical illusions that coincide with the book of Acts and other Pauline epistles, and with the fact that all of the church fathers universally accepted this epistle as genuine together make a case for Pauline authorship that no one has been able to tear down in the last two thousand years. Thus, internal and external evidence gives strong support to Pauline authorship for 2 Corinthians.
1. Internal Evidence - Internal evidence overwhelmingly supports Pauline authorship of the second epistle to the Corinthians. Its contents are so natural and vivid with its biographical material that few critics argue against it. There are three traditional arguments for its authenticity to be found within its internal evidence: its declaration, its style, and its theology.
a) The Author Reveals His Identity - The author’s identity is clearly identified within the second epistle to the Corinthians.
i) His Name is Paul - The opening salutation and an additional passage within the body of the epistle declare Pauline authorship.
2 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:”
2 Corinthians 10:1, “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:”
The salutation is typical of Paul who introduces his name in every one of his New Testament epistles and ascribes his apostolic authority over them in most of them (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1).
ii) His Indirect Identity The second epistle to the Corinthians is full of first person statements that indirectly identify the author as Paul. The author claims apostolic authority, of which few people in the New Testament could claim (2 Corinthians 1:1). He worked with Timothy in the mission field (2 Corinthians 1:1). He speaks with authority over the Corinthians throughout this epistle; to restore the individual whom they had punished (2 Corinthians 2:8-9), to ask them to repent (2 Corinthians 7:8-9), to give a sacrificial offering to the poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15), to punish wrongdoers ( 2Co 10:1-6 ; 2 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Corinthians 13:10), to present them to Christ as a pure church (2 Corinthians 11:2), to examine their personal lives (2 Corinthians 13:5) and all within the context of a loving parent for his children (2 Corinthians 12:14-15). He had suffered much in the mission field while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( 2Co 1:4-6 ; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 2Co 6:4-10 ; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). He mentions Asia as one place where he was persecuted (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). His missionary itinerary took him into Macedonia and Judea (2 Corinthians 1:16), and Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12). He ministered with Silvanus and Timotheus (2 Corinthians 1:19), and Titus (2 Corinthians 2:13). The Corinthian believers served as a testimony of his work in the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:1-3). He was conversant with the Mosaic Law and other Old Testament Scriptures (2 Corinthians 3:6-16; 2Co 4:13 ; 2 Corinthians 6:2; 2Co 6:16-18 ; 2 Corinthians 8:15; 2Co 9:9-10 ; 2 Corinthians 10:17; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 13:1). He oversaw the sacrificial offerings of the churches of Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1-6) and of Achaia (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). He considered his ministry of equal importance to the apostles of the Lamb (2 Corinthians 11:5). He received love offerings from the Macedonian churches while he laboured in Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:7-9). He was a Jew facing opposition from Jews (2 Corinthians 11:22). He escaped from Damascus as Luke described about Paul in Acts 9:23-25 (2 Corinthians 11:32-33). He experienced many visions and revelations from the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). His ministry as an apostle was confirmed with the miraculous signs accompanied those early apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12).
All of these indirect references fit the profile of Paul’s life and ministry as we know it from the book of Acts and the other Pauline epistles. In fact, there is nothing in 1 Corinthians that contradicts what we know about Paul historically.
b) Its Style and Structure is Pauline - The style of 2 Corinthians appeals to Pauline authorship.
i) The salutation, thanksgiving, doctrinal exposition, application of that doctrine, closing remarks and benediction are all typical of the other Pauline epistles.
ii) As mentioned above, he often uses the first person singular throughout his letters with many personal references to events that he shares in common with the recipients of his epistles.
iii) The Pauline epistles have the characteristic parenthetical digressions. This is where Paul is discussing a thought and elaborates on a particular word or idea before returning back to the main thought.
iv) There are many words and phrases that are clearly Pauline in the book of 2 Corinthians. There are enough vocabulary words and phrases within this epistle to mark it as distinctly Pauline.
v) This epistle contains the distinctive citations from the Old Testament as well as marks of adaptations of Old Testament language.
We can therefore conclude that the epistle of 2 Corinthians has a distinct Pauline style and structure when comparing it to non-Pauline epistles of this period in history.
c) Its Doctrinal Themes are Pauline - The doctrinal positions taught within the epistle of 2 Corinthians are clearly Pauline. Although it contains some unique insights into the doctrines of the Church, there are sufficient references common to other epistles to distinguish it from the other New Testament writers. Thus, the logic, the thoughts, the theology, the history, the Jewish flavor, and the concepts found within the epistle of 1 Corinthians are Pauline through and through.
d) Its Obscure Passages and Biographical Material Deny Forgery - In addition, there are a number of reasons that deny this Epistle the status of forgery. (1) Alfred Plummer argues that a forger would have naturally attempted to make a number of details more clear, whose obscure statements were only understood by Paul’s hearers. His obscure allusions and insinuations were understood by the Corinthians whose who were familiar with the circumstances surrounding his statements. A forger would have found it difficult to imitate such a composition as is found in 2 Corinthians. (2) Also, this epistle’s biographical material has links to three other New Testament writings, which find no contradiction with one another. This would have been almost impossible for a forger to orchestrate within a single composition. (3) Finally, a forger would not have portrayed the urgent issue of Paul being in danger of losing his position of leadership over his churches. 
 Alfred Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburg: T. & T. Clark, Ltd., c1915, 1985), xii-xiii.
2. External Evidence The Church fathers were in universal agreement as to the Pauline authorship of the thirteen epistles New Testament epistles authored under his name. Thus, external evidence supports Pauline authorship of the book of Romans without exception.
It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to Pauline authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2 Peter , 2 and 3 John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing’s apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.
B. Church Orthodoxy - The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, “To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment.”  The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church’s Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth.  This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2 nd century thru 3 rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co., 1875), 12.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co., 1875), 331.
1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy - Although external evidence for 2 Corinthians does not begin as early as it does for 1 Corinthians, it is still nonetheless strong in support of Pauline authorship. For example, although Clement of Rome quotes frequently from the first epistle, he shows no indication that he had ever heard of the second epistle in the sixty-five chapters of his epistle to the Corinthians.
Ancient testimony from the early Church fathers favors Pauline authorship of 2 Corinthians. The early Church fathers make direct statements declaring Pauline authorship, as well as direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. Testimony of it is found in the earliest writings of the Church fathers. Although 2 Corinthians is not referred to by Clement of Rome, it is quoted by Polycarp and Irenaeus. Also, Athenagoras and Theophilus of Antioch show knowledge of this epistle. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, and Gregory Nazianzen quote from it. It is further attested to in the letter to Diognetus. By the end of the second century it was well attested to by the early Church fathers, as were all of the Pauline epistles. It was not until the eighteenth century that its authorship was brought into question by a liberal school of scholars. Thus, the epistle of 2 Corinthians was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.
Here are a few of the earliest quotes from the epistle of 2 Corinthians. 
 There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221 vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161 vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).
a) Polycarp (A.D. 69 to 155) - Polycarp quotes from or alludes to the epistle of 2 Corinthians.
“He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him. But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also , if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness;” ( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 1:0)
2 Corinthians 4:14, “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”
“And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always “providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man;” ( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 6)
2 Corinthians 8:21, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”
“…for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and “we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself.” ( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 11)
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
b) Athenagoras (2 nd century) - Athenagoras, the Athenian, alludes to 2 Corinthians 5:10.
“the result of all this is very plain to every one,--namely, that, in the language of the apostle, “this corruptible (and dissoluble) must put on incorruption,” in order that those who were dead, having been made alive by the resurrection, and the parts that were separated and entirely dissolved having been again united, each one may , in accordance with justice, receive what he has done by the body, whether it be good or bad .” ( On the Resurrection of the Dead 18) ( ANF 2)
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
c) The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (2 nd century) The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus alludes to the epistle of 2 Corinthians.
“They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless;” ( The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus 5) ( ANF 1)
2 Corinthians 10:3, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:”
2 Corinthians 6:9-10, “As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 4:12, “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”
d) Theophilus of Antioch (late 2 nd c.) - Theophilus of Antioch makes several allusions to the epistle of 2 Corinthians.
“When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily.” ( Theophilus to Autolycus 1.7)
2 Corinthians 5:4, “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
“For though yourself prudent, you endure fools gladly.” ( Theophilus to Autolycus 3.4)
2 Corinthians 11:19, “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.”
e) Irenaeus (A.D. 130 to 200) - Bible scholars say that Irenaeus quotes from chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 13 of 2 Corinthians.  He refers to it by name when he declares that it is an epistle of Paul the apostle.
 Nathaniel Lardner writes, “Thirteen epistles of Paul are expressly quoted as his by Irenaeus, and most of them frequently, except the epistle to Philemon, which is not quoted at all. The quotations of Paul s epistles are so numerous, that they must be acknowledged by all who but cast an eye upon this father’s writings.” See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol. 2 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 175.
“As to their affirming that Paul said plainly in the Second [Epistle] to the Corinthians, ‘In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not,’ and maintaining that there is indeed one god of this world, but another who is beyond all principality, and beginning, and power, we are not to blame if they, who give out that they do themselves know mysteries beyond God, know not how to read Paul.” ( Against Heresies 3.7.1)
f) Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria quotes from 2 Corinthians or alludes to it.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the demolition of fortifications, demolishing thoughts, and every high thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ.” ( The Stromata 4.7)
Corinthians 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
“…that ‘not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.’ So far the apostle respecting knowledge; and in the second Epistle to the Corinthians he calls the common ‘teaching of faith’ the savour of knowledge. “For unto this day the same veil remains on many in the reading of the Old Testament…” ( The Stromata 4.16)
2 Corinthians 1:12, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”
2 Corinthians 3:14, “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.”
“Wherefore also Paul rejoices for Christ’s sake that he was ‘in labours, more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft’.” ( The Stromata 4.20)
2 Corinthians 11:23, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”
“Those, who have entertained the wish whose purpose is equal, share in the same honour with those who have the ability, although others have the advantage in point of resources.” ( The Stromata 4.5)
2 Corinthians 8:12, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”
g) Tertullian (A.D. 160 to 225) - Tertullian refers to 2 Corinthians as Pauline and quotes a lengthy passage from it.
“We know plainly at this point, too, the suspicions which they raise. For, in fact, they suspect the Apostle Paul of having, in the second (Epistle) to the Corinthians, granted pardon to the self-same fornicator whom in the first he has publicly sentenced to be ‘surrendered to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh,’--impious heir as he was to his father's wedlock; as if he subsequently erased his own words, writing: ‘But if any hath wholly saddened, he hath not wholly saddened me, but in part, lest I burden you all. Sufficient is such a chiding which is given by many; so that, on the contrary, ye should prefer to forgive and console, lest, perhaps, by more abundant sadness, such an one be devoured. For which reason, I pray you, confirm toward him affection. For to this end withal have I written, that I may learn a proof of you, that in all (things) ye are obedient to me. But if ye shall have forgiven any, so (do) I; for I, too, if I have forgiven ought, have forgiven in the person of Christ, lest we be overreached by Satan, since we are not ignorant of his injections.’” ( On Modesty 13)
Also, in his book Against Marcion, Tertullian uses the phrase “Father of mercies” a number of times, which is found only in 2 Corinthians 1:3.
“Now, if the title of Father may be claimed for (Marcion's) sterile god, how much more for the Creator? To none other than Him is it suitable, who is also ‘the Father of mercies,’ and (in the prophets) has been described as ‘full of compassion, and gracious, and plenteous in mercy.’” ( Against Marcion 5.11)
He quotes from part of 2 Corinthians 3:6, and launches into a lengthy discussion of Moses veil out of 2 Corinthians 3:7-11.
“Even if ‘the letter killeth, yet the Spirit giveth life;’ and both belong to Him who says: ‘I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal.’…He alludes to Moses' veil, covered with which ‘his face could not be stedfastly seen by the children of Israel.’ Since he did this to maintain the superiority of the glory of the New Testament, which is permanent in its glory, over that of the Old, which was to be done away,’ this fact gives support to my belief which exalts the Gospel above the law and you must look well to it that it does not even more than this. For only there is superiority possible where was previously the thing over which superiority can be affirmed. But then he says, ‘But their minds were blinded’--of the world; certainly not the Creator's mind, but the minds of the people which are in the world. Of Israel he says, ‘Even unto this day the same veil is upon their heart;’ showing that the veil which was on the face of Moses was a figure of the veil which is on the heart of the nation still; because even now Moses is not seen by them in heart, just as he was not then seen by them in eye.” ( Against Marcion 5.11)
Tertullian continues to make many references to 1 and 2 Corinthians in his writing Against Marcion 5. In fact, he quotes from chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, and 13 of 2 Corinthians.
h) Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258) - Cyprian of Carthage quotes from the epistle of 2 Corinthians.
Nathaniel Lardner gives the following translation: “In the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians; ‘Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud.’ Likewise in the second epistle to the Corinthians; Their minds are blinded unto this day.” ( Testimony Against the Jews 1.4) (Philippians 4:0; Philippians 4:0 cols. 709D-710A) 
 See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol. 3 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 36.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14, “And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.”
i) Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 329 to 389) - Gregory Nazianzen, one of the Cappadocian fathers, supported Pauline authorship and quotes 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:8.
“Hear at least how the inspired Ezekiel discourses of the knitting together of bones and sinews, how after him Saint Paul speaks of the earthly tabernacle, and the house not made with hands, the one to be dissolved, the other laid up in heaven, alleging absence from the body to be presence with the Lord, and bewailing his life in it as an exile, and therefore longing for and hastening to his release.” ( Orations 7.21)
He also quotes from 2 Corinthians 2:7.
“But Paul confirmed love towards him when he saw his amendment, and gives the reason, ‘that such an one be not swallowed up by overmuch sorrow,’ being overwhelmed by the excess of the punishment.” ( Orations 39.18)
He also quotes from 2 Corinthians 6:2.
“With Paul I shout to you with that loud voice, ‘Behold now is the accepted time; behold Now is the day of salvation;’ and that Now does not point to any one time, but is every present moment.” ( Orations 40.13)
2. Manuscript Evidence Paul’s epistles are found in numerous early Greek manuscripts. One of the earliest manuscripts, the Chester Beatty codex (p46), which was probably written in Egypt near the end of the second century, contains eight Pauline epistles (Romans , 1 & 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1 Thess) and the epistle of Hebrews.  It probably contained the entire Pauline corpus in its original collection. There are a number of third century manuscripts that contain portions of the Pauline corpus, and a number of fourth century manuscripts that originally contained the entire New Testament (Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Sinaiticus). These ancient manuscripts containing the collective body of Pauline epistles testify to the fact that the Church at large circulated these writings as a part of its orthodox faith.
 Philip W. Comfort, and David P. Barrett, eds., The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., c1999, 2001), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), “P46 (P. Chester Beatty II + P. Mich. Inv. 6238).”
3. Early Versions - The earliest translations of the New Testament, written when the canon was being formed, included the Pauline epistles;  the Old Latin (2 nd to 4 th c), the Coptic (3 rd to 4 th c), the Peshitta (4 th c), the Armenian (5 th c), the Georgian (5 th c), and the Ethiopic (6 th c).  The Pauline epistles would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.
 Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Oxford: University Press, 1968), 69-86.
 The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts, Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis (Acts, Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome’s Vulgate (beginning A. D. 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.
C. Catholicity - The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, “The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church.”  This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 12.
1. Early Church Canons The thirteen Pauline epistles are found within the earliest Church canons and versions. Thus, they support the epistle of 1 Corinthians as a part of the body of Pauline epistles. It is listed in the two earliest canons. Tertullian (A.D. 160-225) tells us that Marcion the heretic accepted it in his Instrumentum (A.D. 140),  and it is found in The Muratorian Canon as one of Paul’s thirteen New Testament epistles (A.D. 180) ( Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 2) ( ANF 5). It is found in every canonical list thereafter. Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) includes them in his list of “acknowledged books.”  Athanasius gives us a canonical list includes them (c. 367).  Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-386) includes them in his list. 
 See Against Marcion 5.17.
 See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.3.1-7; 3.24-25.
 Athansius, Festal Letters 39.5 (Easter, 367) ( NPF2 4)
 See Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4.36 ( NPF2 7)
2. Early Church Councils - The earliest major Church councils named the Pauline epistles as authentic writings; Nicea (c. 325-40), Hippo (393), Carthage (397), and Carthage (419). This would not have been done unless the church at large believed them to be canonical.
During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures.  The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 422-426.
III. Date and Place of Writing
A. Internal Evidence - It is commonly presumed that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians towards the end of his third missionary journey while in Macedonia, most likely in Philippi. Scholars date this epistle during the fall of A.D. 54 to 56 while making his way through Macedonia towards Corinth in order to spend the winter with the believers there. He most likely wrote it within one year after his letter of 1 Corinthians, according to 2 Corinthians 9:2.
2 Corinthians 9:2, “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”
He sent this second epistle by the hand of Titus and two companions (2 Corinthians 8:17-18; 2 Corinthians 8:22).
2 Corinthians 8:17-18, “For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
2 Corinthians 8:22, “And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.”
It is the traditional view that Paul had intended on visiting Corinth after writing 1 Corinthians in order to organize the collection for the saints. He would have departed from his ministry post in Ephesus by passing thru Achaia to Macedonia and back through Achaia and spend the winter with them (1 Corinthians 16:5-6, 2 Corinthians 1:16). At some point, a group of Jewish emissaries arrived in Corinth with the motive of bringing this church under their jurisdiction. Paul had sent Timothy ahead of him in order to prepare for his own arrival (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10). It is possible that Timothy returned to Paul with disturbing news about this contentious group. Evidently, during Paul’s visit that followed he was confronted by this group who had embedded themselves within the believers in Corinth and had persuaded many to abandon Paul’s leadership and follow them. There must have been a public confrontation, and many sincere believers were left confused by such a harsh exchange of words within their congregation. Thus, Paul altered his plans by heading into Macedonia and back to Ephesus, without returning through Corinth, as he had promised. He felt it better to avoid further strife amongst a young congregation and settled back in Ephesus after this “painful visit.” Another visit may have done more harm than good at this time. He then wrote what is described as the “sorrowful letter” and sent it by the hand of Titus. It was a difficult letter to write, and accompanied with much tears. It is always difficult to punish your own children, but its rewards outweigh the pain. Titus set off from Ephesus for Corinth leaving Paul with considerable anxiety as to the outcome of this tense situation. With conditions in Ephesus reaching an explosive point when certain citizens caused a riot over the loss of income from their craft of selling idols, Paul departed with Timothy (2 Corinthians 1:1) for Troas to meet Titus, where he found an open door for evangelism. His anxiety was stronger than his passion for church planting at this particular time, and with no word from Titus, Paul moved on to Macedonia hoping to find him there and hear a detailed account of his visit with the Corinthians. It is there that Titus met him with a mixed report of good news as well as some troubling reports. Thus, Paul sits down and writes 2 Corinthians and sends it by the hand of Titus and two other companions.
In order to establish this date, we must examine the information that is available to us. We have two verses that refer to the day of Pentecost during his third missionary journey. We do know that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians during the spring before the Passover festival (1 Corinthians 16:8).
1 Corinthians 16:8, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.”
We can also conclude from Acts 20:6 that Paul ended his third missionary journey and was making his way through Philippi and heading for Jerusalem after the days of Pentecost.
Acts 20:6, “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.”
We see from Acts 20:2-3 that Paul had indeed spent the previous winter in Greece, very likely spending most of his time in Corinth.
Acts 20:2-3, “And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.”
We know from 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1 that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians shortly before his journey into Greece, because he mentions his travel plans to them in this epistle.
2 Corinthians 12:14, “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”
2 Corinthians 13:1, “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
Paul could have written 1 and 2 Corinthians in the spring and fall of the same year; but some scholars believe it was two separate years, making an eighteen month gap between their dates of writing. The logic behind this is to give time for Paul to make his painful visit (2 Corinthians 2:1) and write his severe letter (2 Corinthians 2:4) in between these two New Testament epistles. Also, we must give Paul time to evangelize the region of Illyricum (Romans 15:19), which scholars believe took place between his departure from Ephesus and his entrance into Greece (see Acts 20:1-2). However, it is also possible to date these two epistles in the same year. Very likely, all of these events would need eighteen months rather than six months to take place. This leads many scholars to the conclusion that 1 Corinthians was written in the spring of A.D. 55 and 2 Corinthians written in the fall of A.D. 56, though these dates vary slightly among scholars.
As to the place of writing, scholars are certain that he wrote 2 Corinthians from the province of Macedonia after meeting Titus, who had just returned from Corinth. We read in 2 Corinthians 9:2 that Paul was “boasting” of them to the churches of Macedonia. The verb is present tense, implying that Paul was in the process of boasting to the Macedonians when writing 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 9:2, “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”
We also find external support from several ancient manuscripts whose subscriptions say that Paul wrote this epistle from Philippi (B 2 , Syr-Pesh. Syr-Hark. Copt).  In 2 Corinthians 11:9 Paul refers to gifts that he received from Macedonia. Philippians 4:15 makes it clear that the church in Philippi was the only one giving to Paul at the time. Thus, Paul makes a reference to Philippi while writing 2 Corinthians. However, there were Macedonian churches planted in Thessalonica and Berea, from where Paul may have also written this epistle.
 Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer Edinburgh (United Kingdom: T & T. Clark, last impression 1985), xix.
B. External Evidence The early Church fathers support the tradition that Paul wrote the epistle of 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, with one tradition saying he wrote from the city of Philippi in Macedonia.
1. Theodoret of Cyrrus (A.D. 393-466) Theodoret writes, “And the second to the Corinthians after this I think he wrote; for indeed according to the promise reaching them, and while living a short time in Macedonia, there he wrote, and this he made clear again in the same epistle. ( PG 82 Chronicles 4:0 0A) (author’s translation)
2. Euthalius (5 th c.) - In his argument to the second epistle of Corinthians, Euthalius writes, “This one he sent from Macedonia.” ( PG 85 col. 756D) (author’s translation)
3. Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis of Sacred Scripture) (4 th -6 th c.) - In the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture, Pseudo-Athanasius (4 th -6 th c.) begins his summary of 2 Corinthians by saying, “And this one to the same [Corinthians] he writes from Macedonia.” ( PG 28 col. 417A) (author’s translation)
4. Ebedjesu (d. 1318) Ebedjesu, the Syrian bishop, reflects medieval tradition by saying Paul wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians from the city of Philippi of Macedonia. 
 Ebedjesu writes, “Besides these there are fourteen epistles of the great Apostle Paul…the Second to the Corinthians, written from Philippi of Macedonia the Great, and sent by the hands of Titus.” See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol. 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 321; George Percy Badger, The Nestorians and their Rituals, vol. 2 (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), 363.
5. The Authorized Version (1611) - Euthalius, an unknown deacon of the fifth century, is believed to have provided the testimonies for the subscriptions to the Pauline epistles found in the Authorized Version (1611).  However, not all of these subscriptions match the comments of Euthalius (compare the differences in 1 and 2 Corinthians and 2 Thessalonians). Thus, the committee of the Authorized Version probably relied on various sources for their subscriptions. A subscription attached to this epistle of 2 Corinthians in the Authorized Version (1611) reads, “The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippos a citie of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.” 
 Matthew George Easton, “Subscriptions,” in Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, c1897), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).
 The Holy Bible: A Facsimile in a reduced size of the Authorized Version published in the year 1611, ed. Alfred William Pollard (Oxford: The University Press, 1911).
The topic of recipients is discussed thoroughly in the introduction to 1 Corinthians. There is nothing new to add in our discussion on 2 Corinthians.
It is clear from reading 2 Corinthians that the arrival of Titus from Corinth occasioned Paul to write this epistle. Paul tells us that he had sent Titus to Corinth from Ephesus with the “severe letter.” In the meantime, Paul left Ephesus and made his way to Troas. Because of a delay in his return, Paul crossed over into Macedonia because he was restless and anticipating Titus’ return. When they did finally meet up in Macedonia, Titus brought Paul a positive report of reconciliation. It was at this time many scholars believe Paul sat down and wrote the epistle of 2 Corinthians, if not immediately, then shortly thereafter.
LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)
“Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.
If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew.”
(Thomas Schreiner) 
 Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c1990, 2011), 11.
Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the New Testament epistles chose to write to various groups of believers using the literary style of the formal Greco-Roman epistle, which contains a traditional salutation, the body, and a conclusion. Thus, the New Testament epistles are assigned to the literary genre called “epistle genre,” In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison will be made of the Pauline epistles, as well as a brief look at the grammar and syntax of the epistle of 2 Corinthians.
VI. Comparison of the Pauline Epistles
The epistle of 2 Corinthians has a number of recognizable and unique characteristics.
A. Comparison to 1 Corinthians Shows a Common Unity When we compare the biographical material of 2 Corinthians to 1 Corinthians, we find several passages that have a common unity.
1. Paul’s Trip From Asia into Macedonia In the first epistle Paul refers to his intention of departing Ephesus and passing through Macedonia when he makes his way to Greece to visit the Corinthians. He says, “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia… and there to winter” (1 Corinthians 16:5-6). He wanted to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8). In the second epistle he refers to the dangers he faced in Asia which led to this departure (2 Corinthians 1:8-11), and he explains how this trip referred to in 1 Corinthians 16:5-7 was delayed (2 Corinthians 1:13-17; 2 Corinthians 1:23). In 2 Corinthians 2:13 he says that he has gone into Macedonia looking for Titus. Also in his second epistle he refers to the recent giving of the churches of Macedonia (2 Corinthians 9:2-4), which implies his presence there. It becomes obvious from reading these two epistles that Paul had initial plans of visiting the Corinthians by a certain route that took him directly from Asia to Corinth, into Macedonia and back to Corinth before departing back to Asia. However, these plans were changed at some point in time, because he left Asia and entered Macedonia before spending the winter in Greece. So, there is clearly a reference to the same events surrounding Paul’s travel plans in both epistles.
2. Paul’s Censure Against Incest In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Paul deals with a particular case of incest within the church at Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 2:5-10 many scholars believe that Paul is referring to this same situation, and mentions that the punishment has been executed and the offender punished. He now asks them to restore this person in love lest he be overcome with grief. He refers to this incident again in 2 Corinthians 7:7-12 when he refers to one person doing wrong and the other suffering wrong. However, many scholars would debate the unity of these passages.
3. Paul’s Instructions for the Collection of the Saints In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 Paul gives instructions to the Corinthians regarding the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. He picks up this topic again at length in 2 Corinthians 8-9. Again, these are references to the same event.
B. Comparison to Acts When we compare the narrative material in the book of Acts to the biographical material of Paul in 2 Corinthians, we do find some material in one book that is exclusive of the other book. For example, we find no reference to Titus in the book of Acts, but he is often referred to in 2 Corinthians. Most of Paul’s list of hardships in 2 Corinthians 11:24, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep,” cannot be found in the book of Acts. However, we can find one of Paul’s stonings at Lystra in Acts 14:19 and one of his beatings at Philippi in Acts 16:22.
Much of this biographical material is confirmed between the two books, such as Paul’s founding of the church at Corinth (Acts 18:1-17), and Paul’s daring escape from Damascus (Acts 9:23-25, 2 Corinthians 11:32-33). We also have a reference in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 to the uprising in Ephesus recording in Acts 19:23 to Acts 20:1 which led to Paul’s departure. None of the passages contradicts the other book. Also, it certainly appears that neither book borrowed material from the other.
C. Comparison of Style: Autobiographical The epistle of 2 Corinthians is the most autobiographical of all Paul’s epistles, in which we see his personality brought forth more than in any other epistle. There is no other Pauline epistle that allows us to see so deeply into his heart and mind. It contains many references to his hardships and struggles that he endured as an apostle. He opens the deep emotions of his heart to reveal his sincere love for the Corinthians, as well as his agitation and self-defense of a wounded and loving spirit for those who are ungratefully causing him trouble. He makes numerous autobiographical references to the events related to his ministry to them. He speaks as a father to his children, as well as an apostle with a divine charge. We see the darker side of his ministry when he felt “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.” (2 Corinthians 1:8) He feels provoked to describe hardships that he otherwise would have kept to himself. It is intensely personal, full of Paul’s explanations, protests, apologies, appeals, thankfulness, and threats with an undertone of parental and apostolic care for the readers. No other writer of Scripture becomes so personal and reflective upon his ministry than does Paul in this second epistle to the Corinthians.
D. Comparison of Style: Its Unity is Highly Debated No other Pauline epistle has been the subject of debate regarding the issue of unity as has 2 Corinthians. This view is supported by the fact that the second epistle is the least systematic of all of the Pauline epistles; that is, there are numerous distinct breaks in the progression of thought (2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 10:1). Because of its abrupt changes of thought and numerous digressions before returning to a previous statement, many scholars suspect that this epistle is a composition, rather than a single letter. Although they believe that Paul has authored all of the text, they make numerous conjectures as to when some portions were composted. There are a number of passages in 2 Corinthians whose content suggest that they were portions of previous Pauline letters to the church at Corinth.
1. 2 Corinthians 2:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:4 If we read Paul’s account of his departure from Ephesus into Macedonia up to 2 Corinthians 2:13, we find what seems to be a change of thought, which narrative material he does not return to until 2 Corinthians 7:5. It is apparent that 2 Corinthians 7:5 naturally follows 2 Corinthians 2:13. For this reason many scholars believe that 2 Corinthians 2:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:4 is part of a separate letter to the Corinthians. However, this is not necessarily so. For example, it is possible in 2 Corinthians 7:5 “For, when we were come into Macedonia” that Paul is simply repeating his statement in 2 Corinthians 2:13 “I went from thence into Macedonia,” and picking up where he left off. Thus, it is very possible that Paul is picking up an earlier though by restating his arrival in Macedonia. In addition, there are a number of Greek words used in 2 Corinthians 7:4 that are immediately repeated in 2 Corinthians 7:5-7, such as “ paraklesis, “comfort”; chara, “joy”; thlipsis, “affliction,” suggesting the same flow of thought.
2. 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 Some scholars suggest that 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 is the “lost letter” to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9) for a number of reasons. First, these six verses appear to intrude themselves rather awkwardly into the text of 2 Corinthians. They have a self-contained unit of thought unrelated to the rest of the epistle, of which topic Paul focuses on uncleanness. In addition, this topic seems related to the theme of fornication that Paul refers to in his “lost letter” in which Paul said, “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.” It is conceivable that there was a misunderstanding of thinking when Paul was telling them in his earlier letter to have nothing to do with nonbelievers, which was corrected in 1 Corinthians. Secondly, 2 Corinthians 6:13 (“open wide your hearts”) provides an excellent connection to 2 Corinthians 7:2 (“make room in your hearts for us”). Thirdly, these verses contain six Greek words that are used only once in the entire New Testament.
Some go so far as to deny this questionable passage Pauline status. However, other scholars argue that this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with unbelievers in general, rather than misconduct within the church and that this is a digression, which is typical of the Pauline epistles, rather than a passage inserted at a later date. Furthermore, manuscript evidence supports the entire unity of 2 Corinthians, as do the early Church fathers. Every ancient manuscript has this passage in the same place. This view takes the position that Paul placed it in this position for some reason that is not so clear.
3. 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15 Some scholars see disunity between chapters 8 and 9. They have suggested that 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 is a separate letter from chapter 8 for a number of reasons. First, 2 Corinthians 9:1 begins with an introductory statement, “for as touching the ministering to the saints…,” which begins as if there had been no previous mention of it in the preceding chapter. Secondly, they see what appears as repetitious material between chapter 8 and 9. Thirdly, they feel that each chapter has an independent, self-contained character of its own. For example, in 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 Paul appeals to the Macedonian example of giving, while in 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 Paul appeals to the Corinthian example. However, most commentators argue that they rightly belong together as a part of 2 Corinthians.
4. 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:14 Of the four principle critical problems listed, 2 Corinthians 10-13 has gained the most attention and discussion. The abrupt change of tone from gentleness and thanksgiving in 1-9 to bold and confrontational in 10-13 have led many scholars to suggest that 10-13 is part of another Corinthians letter. There are three views as to how these two sections are different but related.
a) The Sorrowful Letter (Corinthian C) - First, many scholars suggest that 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:14 contains a part of an earlier letter that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth called the “sorrowful letter”, or “severe letter”, mentioned in 2Co 2:4 ; 2 Corinthians 7:8-9. There are several key arguments for this position.
(1) Its Change of Tone - They suggest that this portion of 2 Corinthians is out of place with the first nine chapters because it is filled with criticism and abuse, while 2 Corinthians 1-9 is characterized by gratitude for a restored relationship with Paul and deep affection for the Corinthians. They argue that such a harsh ending would have had a negative effect on this church.
(2) A Comparison of Statements Between the 1-9 and 10-13 - Much of this argument is based upon a comparison between statements made between these two sections that appears to contradict the Epistle’s unity. They suggest that certain statements made in the first nine chapters point to previous statements made in the last four chapters. The three main passages that are contrasted are 2 Corinthians 2:3 referring to an earlier statement in 2 Corinthians 13:10; 2 Corinthians 1:23 to 2 Corinthians 13:2; and 2 Corinthians 2:9 to 2 Corinthians 10:6.
(a) 2 Corinthians 13:10 with 2 Corinthians 2:3 (“This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh”; “I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed”);
(b) 2 Corinthians 13:2 with 2 Corinthians 1:23 (“on my return I will not spare them”; “it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth”);
(c) 2 Corinthians 10:6 with 2 Corinthians 2:9 (“once your obedience is complete”; “I wrote you to see if you would be obedient in everything”). [Daniel B. Wallace, Biblical Studies Foundation]
(3) Paul’s Attitude of Self-Commendation Changes in 10-13 A third major argument states that Paul’s attitude in 1-9 is to avoid self-commendation, while in 10-13 he strongly uses this approach to defend his apostleship.
b) Corinthians as a Unified Letter (Corinthian D) - Second, many take the conservative view that the epistle of 2 Corinthians is a single, unified letter to the Corinthians, the first part being addressed to the submissive majority while the last part is addressed to the rebellious minority. There are many strong arguments for this view. Those who support the unity of this epistle argue that: (1) if 10-13 was the severe letter, why does it exclude Paul’s demand to punish the offender, as seen in 2 Corinthians 2:5-6; 2 Corinthians 7:12, when this is the central feature of the severe letter? In fact, there is no reference made in the last four chapters to such an offender. (2) and, why does 10-13 promise an imminent visit (2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1) when the severe letter was sent instead of a visit (2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:1)? (3) and, does the tone of 10-13 reflect a letter written from “great distress and anguish of heart…with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:4)? Many scholars feel that it is more of an angry letter than one written with many tears. (4) and, how could Paul boast about them in 2 Corinthians 7:14 if he had just written the harsh letter in 10-13? (5) and they also point out the fact that Paul targeted his Jewish opponents in these four chapters rather than the Corinthians themselves. In the sorrowful letter Paul targeted the entire congregation. (6) and, scholars agree that Paul did not write the entire letter at one sitting. Thus, the change of tone in the last section could reflect a change in Paul’s mood at a later time. (7) and we must note 2 Corinthians 2:6 that Paul speaks of the obedience of “the majority,” implying that there was a minority that still needed discipline. (8) finally, manuscript evidence and early Church tradition strongly support the unity of 2 Corinthians.
c) A Fifth Letter (Corinthian E) - Third, others say that 2 Corinthians 10-13 forms a fifth letter written after the four traditional letters that Paul is believed to have written to this church. The first view and this third view find support in the arguments that 10-13 has separate tones and that 1-9 gives no threat of an impending visit as does 2 Corinthians 12:14 and 2 Corinthians 13:1. F. F. Bruce points out that the reference to Titus’ previous visit to deliver the sorrowful letter in 2 Corinthians 12:18 confirms that these chapters could not have been written prior to 2 Corinthians 1-9 because there is no evidence that Titus had a friendly visit to Corinth earlier than Paul’s references in 1-9. He believes that these chapters were written immediately after the first nine chapters, and perhaps sent to Corinth with or shortly after them.  However, other scholars argue that if 10-13 was a fifth and later letter, instead of the earlier “severe letter”, why does it not contain references to a deteriorating condition after the friendly tone of 1-9? What caused the Corinthians to relapse from 1-9 into the worse condition mentioned in 10-13?
 F. F. Bruce, “Introduction,” in I & II Corinthians, in The New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publ. Co., 1971, reprint 1990), 169.
5. 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 Some scholars believe that Paul’s testimony of his escape from Damascus in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 comes abruptly within a passage of lofty language. They suspect that it may be out of position, or a fragment of another lost letter, or previously omitted and reinserted in the wrong location of 2 Corinthians, or added by Paul after the letter was written.
We must remember that all of the arguments for disunity within 2 Corinthians are based solely upon internal evidence. These arguments have arisen during the recent centuries with the rise of higher criticism; for there are no ancient manuscripts, versions or writings of the early Church fathers provide any evidence of disunity.
VII. Grammar and Syntax
E. Grammar and Syntax: Frequently Used Words - There are a number of frequently used words in 2 Corinthians which helps identify its theme. The noun “comfort” ( παράκλησις ) occurs eleven times, while its accompanying verb ( παρακαλέω ) occurs eighteen times. The noun “tribulation” ( θλι ̂ ψις ) occurs nine times, while its accompanying verb ( θλίβω ) occurs three times. The noun “boasting” ( καύχημα ) occurs two times, while its accompanying verb ( καυχάομαι ) occurs twenty-one times. The noun “ministry” ( διακονία ) occurs twelve times and its accompanying verb ( διακονέω ) occurs three times. Thus, we see speaking often about tribulations and divine comfort, and about boasting in his ministry.
“Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework.”
(Andreas Kösenberger) 
 Andreas J. Kösenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.
Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the epistle of 2 Corinthians, an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the epistle of 2 Corinthians for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.
The fundamental purpose for the nine Church Epistles is doctrinal, for God used Paul to lay down the doctrines for the New Testament Church, as he built upon the foundational teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to a doctrinal purpose, Paul’s epistles give practical instructions on how to apply the teachings of the New Testament Church to the believer’s daily conduct.
A. Practical: To Defend His Ministry and Prepare the Church for the Collection of the Saints (2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 ) - Although the fundamental purpose for the nine Church Epistles is doctrinal , Paul’s epistles give practical instructions on how to apply the teachings of the New Testament Church to the believer’s daily conduct.
The epistle of 2 Corinthians contains more practical material than doctrinal. We can divide the epistle of 2 Corinthians into three major practical sections. Each one serves a different purpose.
1. Hortatory: Paul Explains His Conduct and Ministry (2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 ) The Muratorian Fragment gives us a clue as to the reason Paul followed his first letters to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians. This late second century document is the earliest catalogue of New Testament books found to date. In it, a comment is made that Paul wrote a second epistle to these two churches in order to correct some issues that needed to be dealt with. Note:
“Although he wrote one more time to the Korinthians and to the Thessalonikans for their correction, it is clearly recognizable that one assembly has spread across the whole land.”
The first section of Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians is to express his relief and joy from their positive response to his “severe letter,” which had recently been delivered to them by Titus. He shows his deep love and concern for their well-being. He expresses gratitude for their obedience in responding to his previous letter in judging a certain individual, and now asks that they forgive him. He explains his reasons for failing to visit them as promised.
2. Occasional: Paul Organizes the Collection for the Saints of Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15 ) Another purpose of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is to exhort them to fulfill their promise of collecting an offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem. He does this by giving them some biblical principles of how and why they are to give.
3. Polemical: Paul Prepares Them for his Final Visit (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 ) One important and final reason for Paul writing 2 Corinthians is to prepare the believers at Corinth for his third and final visit. He first vindicates his apostleship over them and responds to the objections of certain Judaizers against him. After vindicating his apostleship over them, he encourages them to examine themselves and also to judge his apostleship as genuine and authoritative. He does this in order to spare them from the pain of having to be disciplined upon Paul’s arrival.
Conclusion - The practical purpose of the epistles to the Corinthians reflects the secondary and third themes of the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believer in divine service.
B. Doctrinal: To Establish them in the Faith Concerning the Believer’s Maturity in Sanctification (2 Corinthians 13:9-10 ) Paul’s additional purpose in writing his first letter to the Corinthians was to establish them in the faith in issues regarding their sanctification in the Holy Spirit.
Paul closes this second epistle to the Corinthians with a purpose statement that reflects the underlying theme. He tells them in 2 Corinthians 13:9-10 that he is glad when he is weak and they are strong, and he wishes their perfection, or maturity. Then he says that this is why he writes these things being absent, lest he comes and find them lacking. We will see in the next section of this introduction that the underlying theme of 2 Corinthians is the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing the Church to a mature level of sanctification.
2 Corinthians 13:9-10, “For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.”
Conclusion - The doctrinal purpose of the epistles to the Corinthians reflects the foundational theme of establishing the doctrines of the New Testament Church.
IX. Thematic Scheme
Introduction - Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central “claim” made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly.  The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader’s response.
 For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).
A. Primary Theme (Foundational) of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians: The Establishment of Church Doctrines - Introduction - The central theme of the Holy Bible is God’s plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God’s divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD,” to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures.
This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.
1. The Central Themes of the New Testament Epistles: Sanctification of the Believer - There are twenty-one epistles in the New Testament, which the early Church recognized as having apostolic authority so that they were collected into one body, circulated among the churches, an eventually canonized. While the Gospels emphasize the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the process justification of the believer, New Testament epistles emphasize the redemptive plan of the Holy Spirit as He works in the process of sanctification for each believer. Thus, the work of sanctification serves as the underlying theme of all twenty-one epistles. In addition, each one emphasizes a different aspect of this divine process of sanctification and they are organized together so that the New Testament is structured to reflect the part of our spiritual journey called sanctification In order to express this structure, each of these epistles have different themes that are woven and knitted together into a unified body of teachings which will bring the believer through the process of sanctification and ready for the rapture of the Church into a place of rest in the glorious hope revealed in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the New Testament epistles were collected together by topic by the early Church.
Of the twenty-one epistles, there are thirteen Pauline epistles and eight designated as General, or Catholic, epistles. We can organize these twenty-one epistles into three major categories: (1) there are epistles that emphasize Church doctrine, which are the nine Pauline epistles of Romans to 2 Thessalonians; (2) there are those that deal with Church order and divine service, which are 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon;  and (3) there are those that stress perseverance in the Christian faith, which are Hebrews and the seven General Epistles.  Within Hebrews and the General Epistles, we note that the first three epistles exhort the believer to persevere under persecutions, which come from without the Church (Hebrews, James, 1 Peter), while the other five epistles emphasis perseverance against false doctrines, which come from within (2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John, Jude).
 For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Philemon will be grouped with the Pastoral Epistles as did the Church fathers.
 For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Hebrews will be grouped with the General Epistles, although many of the early Church fathers followed the tradition of grouping it with the Pauline epistles.
2. The Central Theme of the Church Epistles: The Establishment of Church Doctrines Of the thirteen Pauline epistles, nine are addressed to seven particular churches. By the third century, the early Church fathers testified as to the emphasis that Paul placed upon church doctrine in his epistles. For example, Gregory of Nazianzus (A.D. 329 to 389) says that Paul wrote the Church epistles in order that the doctrines of the Church are “beyond question.”
“At this point of my discourse I am truly filled with wonder at the wise dispensation of the Holy Spirit; how He confined the Epistles of the rest to a small number, but to Paul the former persecutor gave the privilege of writing fourteen. For it was not because Peter or John was less that He restrained the gift; God forbid! But in order that the doctrine might be beyond question, He granted to the former enemy and persecutor the privilege of writing more, in order that we all might thus be made believers.” ( Lectures 10.18) ( NPF2 7)
Isidore of Pelusium (A.D. d. 450) calls Paul “the expounder of the heavenly doctrines.” ( Epistolarum 1.7) ( PG 78 col. 184C). In his preface to his commentaries on the Pauline Epistles, Theodoret of Cyrrus (A.D. 393-466) writes, “I know to be sure how I cannot escape the tongue of the fault-finders when attempting to interpret the doctrine of the divine Paul.” (author’s translation)  These nine “Church” epistles establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. Thus, we may call the first nine Pauline epistles “Church Epistles.” In these epistles Paul builds his Church doctrine upon the foundational teachings laid down by Christ Jesus in the Gospels. We acknowledge that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Thus, every book of the Bible will contain doctrine, but these other books do not “add” to Church doctrine; rather, they support the doctrine laid down in the Gospels by Jesus Christ and in these nine Pauline epistles. For example, in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul tells Timothy and Titus to teach sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1), a doctrine that is not contained within the Pastoral Epistles themselves. Therefore, Paul must be referring to doctrine that he taught to the churches, and most certainly doctrine that is contained within the Church epistles. Another example can be found in Hebrews 6:1-2, which refers to the six foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church, doctrines that are not contained within the epistle of Hebrews. This epistle, rather, exhorts us to persevere in the divine doctrine that has previously been laid down, and a doctrine that is most certainly contained within the Church epistles.
 Theodoret, Preface to Interpretation XIV Epistolarum Sancti Pauli Apostoli ( PG 82 Chronicles 3:0 6A).
In order to identify this New Testament doctrine, we must first go to the six foundational doctrines mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2 in order to identify this doctrine. This passage tells us that everything Jesus Christ said and taught in the Gospels can be summed up in the six foundational doctrines of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2.
Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
Here we find the six foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church, which were first laid down by Christ in the Gospels.
1. repentance from dead works
2. faith toward God
4. laying on of hands
5. resurrection of the dead
6. eternal judgment
If one were to go through the four Gospels, he would find that all of Christ’s teachings could be placed under one of these six doctrines. Later, the Heavenly Father used Paul to build upon these foundational doctrines through the Pauline epistles in order to establish the Church doctrinally. Before His departure, Jesus Christ told His disciples that He had many things to teach them, but they were not yet ready (John 16:12).
John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
John 16:12 tells us that the message of the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught His disciples was still incomplete at the time of His departure. This implies that we should look to the Epistles to find its fullness. Therefore, it is upon these six foundational doctrines of Christ that Paul lays down the doctrines of the Church. Paul builds upon the two doctrines of repentance from dead works and faith toward God by teaching on the justification of the believer through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Paul builds upon the two doctrines of baptisms and of the laying on of hands by teaching on the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Paul builds his eschatology that Jesus began in the Gospels in the two doctrines of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment by teaching on the future glorification of the Church, which falls under the divine foreknowledge and election of God the Father. Thus, the Church epistles can be grouped by the three-fold office and ministry of the Trinity.
B. Secondary Theme (Structural) of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians The Office of the Holy Spirit (Sanctification) - The Spirit-Led Life of the Believer - Introduction - The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central “claim” of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.
The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.
The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind’s depravity and God’s plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2 Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.
The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2 Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.
The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1 Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2 Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God’s Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3 John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.
The Apocalypse of John, though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.
1. The Secondary Theme of the Church Epistles - Within the nine Pauline “Church” epistles there are three epistles that serve as witnesses of the doctrine of justification through Jesus Christ (Romans, Galatians, Colossians); three serve as witnesses of the doctrine of sanctification by the Holy Spirit (Romans , 1 and 2 Thessalonians , 1 and 2 Corinthians); and three testify of the doctrine of glorification by God the Father (Romans, Ephesians, Philippians). Note that the secondary epistles of Thessalonians and Corinthians can be considered as one witness because they share the same theme with their primary epistles. Noting that the epistle of Romans reflects all three aspects of Church doctrine in his exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the early Church fathers recognized the doctrinal preeminence of the epistle of Romans. For example, Theodoret of Cyrrus writes, “The epistle to the Romans has been placed first, as containing the most full and exact representation of the Christian doctrine, in all its branches; but some say, that it has been so placed out of respect to the city to which it was sent, as presiding over the whole world.” ( PG 82 Chronicles 4:0 4B)  In the same way that the Gospel of John serves as the foundational book of the Gospels as well as the entire New Testament, the epistle of Romans serves as the foundational epistle of the Church epistles because it carries all three themes that the other eight epistles will build upon.
 See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol. 5 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 17.
As mentioned above, Paul’s church doctrine builds upon the six-fold doctrine of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2. This means that all of the Pauline church doctrine can be grouped within one of these six foundational doctrines of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. This is what Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 and Ephesians 2:20 when he said that he was laying the foundation of Church doctrine in which Jesus Christ Himself was the foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 2:20, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”
Thus, Paul’s doctrine can be placed into three groups of doctrine: (1) the foreknowledge, calling and glorification of God the Father, (2) the justification by Jesus Christ His Son, and (3) the sanctification of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29). In fact, the six foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-2 can also be placed under the same three-fold office and ministry of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit by placing two doctrines under each one. Therefore, we will find that the themes of each of the Pauline “Church” epistles finds itself grouped under Paul’s three-fold grouping of justification, sanctification and glorification, and this three-fold grouping is laid upon the six-fold foundation of:
1. Repentance from dead works Justification Jesus Christ
2. Faith toward God Justification Jesus Christ
3. The doctrine of baptisms Sanctification Holy Spirit
4. Laying on of hands Sanctification Holy Spirit
5. Resurrection of the dead Glorification God the Father
6. Eternal judgment Glorification God the Father
The doctrine of faith towards God builds upon the doctrine of repentance from dead works, which is the doctrine of Justification; for we must first repent of our sins in order to receive Christ’s sacrificial death for us. The doctrine of the laying on of hands builds upon the doctrine of baptisms, which is the doctrine of Sanctification. After partaking of the three baptisms (baptism into the body of Christ, water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit), we move into our calling and anointing through the laying on of hands. The doctrine of eternal judgment builds upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is the doctrine of Glorification. These are the three parts of our redemption that are addressed by the six foundational doctrines that Jesus Christ laid down in the Gospels and Acts. Thus, Paul builds upon these three foundational doctrines of Christ within his nine “Church” epistles.
The epistle of Romans plays a key role in the Church Epistles in that it lays a foundation of doctrines upon which the other eight Epistles build their themes. A mediaeval proverb once said, “All roads lead to Rome.”  This means that anywhere in the ancient Roman Empire, when someone embarked on the Roman road system, if one traveled it long enough, it would lead him to the city of Rome. In a similar way, as all roads lead to Rome, so do all of Paul’s Church Epistles proceed from the book of Romans. In other words, the themes of the other eight Church Epistles build upon the theme of Romans. Thus, the epistle of Romans serves as a roadmap that guides us through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and into the process of sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit and finally into the Father’s eternal plan in the lives of mankind through His foreknowledge and divine election, which themes are further developed in the other eight Church Epistles. However, the epistle of Romans is presented largely from the perspective of God the Father divinely orchestrating His plan of redemption for all mankind while the other eight epistles place emphasis upon the particular roles of one of the God-head: the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. The systematic teachings laid forth in the book of Romans serves as a foundation upon which the other eight epistles to New Testament churches are built. For example, the letter to the Ephesians places emphasis upon the Father’s divine election and equipping of the Church in order to fulfill the purpose and plan of God the Father upon this earth. Philippians emphasizes partnership as we give ourselves to God the Father in order to accomplish His will on this earth. The epistle to Colossians emphasizes the preeminence of Christ Jesus over the Church. Galatians emphasizes the theme of our deliverance and justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone. The theme of 1 and 2 Thessalonians emphasizes the sanctification of the whole man, spirit, soul, and body in preparing us for Christ’s Second Coming. 1 and 2 Corinthians take us to the Cross and shows us the life of sanctification as we live in unity with one another so that the gifts of the Spirit can manifest through the body of Christ, which serves to edify the believers. Paul deals with each of these themes systematically in the epistle to the Romans. Thus, these other eight Church epistles emphasize and expand upon individual themes found in the book of Romans, all of which are built upon the three-fold office and ministry of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For this reason, Romans serves as a foundation of the doctrine of Christ Jesus upon which all other New Testament epistles are built.
 The Milliarium Aureum was a monument erected in the central forum the ancient city of Rome by Emperor Caesar Augustus. All of the roads built by the Romans were believed to begin at this point and transgress throughout the Empire. The road system of the Roman Empire was extraordinary, extending east to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and west to the British Isles, and north into central Europe and south into northern Africa. See Christian Hülsen, The Roman Forum: Its History and Its Monuments, trans. Jesse Benedict Carter (New York: G. E. Stechert & Co., 1906), 79; Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Ireneaus, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), 1.
a) The Doctrine of the Office and Ministry of God the Father - The epistle of Ephesians is built upon the theme of God the Father’s office and ministry of orchestrating a divine plan of redemption for mankind. While Romans takes a broad view of the Father’s redemptive plan for all of mankind, Ephesians focuses entirely upon the role of the Church in this great plan. And in order for the believer to partake of this divine plan, the Father provides His spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3) so that we, the Church, might accomplish His divine purpose and plan on earth. Man’s role is to walk worthy of this calling (Ephesians 4:1) and to fight the spiritual warfare through the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-13). The epistle of Philippians, which also emphasizes the work of God the Father, reveals how the believer is to serve God the Father so that He can fulfill His divine purpose and plan on earth. In this epistle the believer is to partner and give to support God’s servants who are accomplishing God’s purposes (Philippians 1:5) and in turn, God will provide all of his needs (Philippians 4:19). While Ephesians places emphasize upon the Father’s role in the Church’s glorification, Philippians emphasized the believer’s role in fulfilling the Father’s divine plan of redemption. Ephesians reveals how it looks in Heaven as the Father works redemption for the Church, and Philippians reveals how the Church looks when it is fulfilling the Father’s redemptive plan. Reading Ephesians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Father’s role in redemption, while reading Philippians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Father’s role in redemption. Thus, the epistle of Philippians is a mirror image of Ephesians.
b) Jesus Christ the Son - The epistle of Colossians reveals the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the Church and His preeminence over all Creation. Man’s role is to fulfill God’s will through the indwelling of Christ in him (Colossians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 4:12). The epistle of Galatians, which also emphasizes the work of Jesus the Son in our redemption, teaches us how Jesus Christ has delivered us from the bondages of this world (Galatians 1:4). Man’s role is to walk as a new creature in Christ in order to partake of his liberties in Christ (Galatians 6:15). While the epistle of Colossians emphasizes the role of Jesus Christ our Lord in our justification, Galatians emphasizes our role in having faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Colossians reveals how it looks in Heaven as Jesus the Son works redemption, while Galatians reveals how the Church looks when it is walking in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and giving Him preeminence in our daily lives. Reading Colossians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Son’s role in redemption, while reading Galatians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Son’s role in redemption. Thus, the epistle of Galatians is a mirror image of Colossians.
c) God the Holy Spirit The epistles of 1 and 2 Thessalonians teach us the office of the Holy Spirit, which is to sanctify the believer in spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23) in order to prepare him for the Second Coming of Christ Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:10). The epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians, which also emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit in our redemption, reveals how the believer is to live a crucified life of walking in love and unity with fellow believers (1 Corinthians 16:13-16) in order to allow the gifts of the Spirit to work in and thru him as he awaits the Second Coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7). While the epistles to the Thessalonians emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification, the epistles to the Corinthians emphasize our role in this process. 1 and 2 Thessalonians reveal how it looks in Heaven as the Holy Spirit works redemption, while 1 and 2 Corinthians show us how the Church looks when it is going through the difficult process of sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit. Reading 1 and 2 Thessalonians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Holy Spirit’s role in redemption, while reading 1 and 2 Corinthians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Holy Spirit’s role in redemption. Thus, the epistles of Corinthians are a mirror image of the epistles of Thessalonians.
Finally, the epistle of Romans deals briefly with all three doctrines in systematic order as Paul the apostle expounds upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17) in order to establish the saints in the Christian faith (Romans 16:25-27).
d) Illustration of Emphasis of Two Roles in the Pauline Epistles We find a discussion of the important of the two-fold aspect of the writer and the reader in Booth-Colomb-Williams’ book The Craft of Research.  These three professors explain that when a person writes a research paper he must establish a relationship with the intended reader. He does this by creating a role for himself as the writer and a role for the reader to play. This is because conversation is not one-sided. Rather, conversation, and a written report, involved two parties, the reader as well as the writer. Thus, we see how God has designed the Pauline epistles to emphasize the role the writer, by which we mean divine inspiration, and the reader, who plays the role of a believer endeavoring to become indoctrinated with God’s Word.
 Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003), 17-25.
Perhaps a good illustration of this two-fold aspect of the Trinity’s role and perspective of redemption being emphasized in Ephesians, Colossian and 1 and 2 Thessalonians and man’s role and perspective being emphasized in Philippians, Galatians , 1 and 2 Corinthians is found in a dream that the Lord gave to me in the mid-1990’s. I was serving in my church Calvary Cathedral International in the ministry of helps as an altar worker. This meant that during each altar call we were to follow those who responded to the altar call back into a prayer room and pray with them. One Sunday morning the Lord gave me a dream in which I found myself in my local church during an altar call. As people responded and began to step out into the aisle and walk forward I saw them immediately transformed into children of light. In other words, I saw this transformation taking place in the spiritual realm, though in the natural we see nothing but a person making his way down the aisle. However, I saw these people transformed from sinners into saints in their spirits. I later made my way to church that morning, keenly aware of my impressionable dream a few hours ago. During church the altar call was made, people responded and I followed them into the prayer room along with the associate pastor and other altar workers. Suddenly, the associate pastor, Tom Leuther, who was over the altar work, received an emergency call and had to leave the prayer room. He looked at me and quickly asked me to lead this brief meeting by speaking to those who had responded and turn them over to prayer ministers. As I stood up and began to speak to these people I remembered my dream and was very aware of the incredible transformation that each one of them had made. Thus, Ephesians, Colossian and 1 and 2 Thessalonians discussion redemptive doctrine from a spiritual perspective while Philippians, Galatians , 1 and 2 Corinthians discuss doctrine from a natural, practical perspective, which we see being worked out in the daily lives of believers. In the natural we see a dirty sinner weeping before the altar, but with our spiritual eyes we see a pure and holy saint clothed in white robes.
2. The Secondary Theme of the Epistle of 1 and 2 Corinthians - The theme of each Pauline epistle is revealed in its opening verses. The major theme of 1 Corinthians is the sanctification and maturity of the believers, which is the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The underlying theme of 2 Corinthians is the mercy and comfort of God that is given to those who will follow the Cross and fulfill the sufferings of Christ. It carries the same foundational theme of 1 Corinthians, but with an emphasis upon a particular aspect of the work of sanctification in the life of a believer. So follows the theme that we must we take up our Cross daily in order to grow into maturity. Thus, the second epistle closes with a comment of Paul’s desire for their perfection.
2 Corinthians 13:9, “For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.”
One way to contrast the emphases of 1 and 2 Corinthians is to compare it to a lesson that you taught to a class. As you return home and begin to mediate upon this lesson, you realize that there were several things that you wish you had said or pointed out in greater detail. This greater detail and important aspect of sanctification as we take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ is emphasized in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
As we begin to grow into maturity, many blessings will come into our lives, such as the gifts of the Spirit, which are so thoroughly discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14. But we cannot continue in these blessings without correction and discipline to keep us on the path of righteousness. For example, we find in Proverbs 3:1-10 a list of blessings followed by two verses of discipline and correction (2 Corinthians 3:11-12). For a child cannot be given only sweet things without also being led into a life of discipline. As a child grows older, he will learn to exercise discipline in how to manage the good things that has been given to him. Otherwise, an unruly behavior will lead him on a path of losing his blessings and falling into utter ruin and loss.
Thus, Paul tells the church at Corinth that God’s graces are for us all, but we must grow up into maturity in order to maintain these blessings. This is done by taking up our Cross daily to follow Him. For it is in the life of the Cross that these graces abound, as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 that this is the reason they abound in his life.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
The major theme of 2 Corinthians is the mercy and comfort of God that is given to those who will follow the Cross and fulfill the sufferings of Christ. As the major theme of 1 Corinthians is guidelines for walking in the gifts and grace of the Lord, so follows the theme that we must we take up our Cross daily in order to continue in those graces. Thus, Paul tells the church at Corinth that God’s graces are for us all, but we must remember to discipline ourselves in order to maintain these blessings by taking up our Cross daily for Him. For it is in the life of the Cross that these graces abound, as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
C. Third Theme (Supportive) of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians - The Crucified Life of the Believer A Believer’s Life is a Testimony of God’s Intervening Grace Amidst Endurance of Hardships Introduction - The third theme of each book of the New Testament is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one’s Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God’s children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.
1. The Third Imperative Theme of the Church Epistles - Thus, the nine Church Epistles emphasis the office and ministry of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. Each of these epistles also reveals a central truth about our Christian life, or a secret truth, or a divine guiding principle, by which we can walk victorious in this life.
a) God the Father. According to Ephesians, the way that God the Father fulfills His divine plan through the Church is by our submission to one another (Ephesians 4:1-2; Ephesians 5:21) and praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18); thus, the enemy of our divine destiny is putting on the old man and walking like the Gentiles in their futile minds (Ephesians 4:17). Philippians expands upon this central truth by explaining the secret to God supplying all of our needs when we take care of God’s servants first (Philippians 2:20); thus, the enemy to having our needs met is selfishness (Philippians 2:21).
b) Jesus the Son. According to Colossians the secret of walking in the fullness and riches and completeness of Christ is by setting our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2); thus, the enemy of a full life in Christ is minding these earthly doctrines (Colossians 2:20-23). Galatians expands upon this central truth by telling us the secret to walking in liberty from the bondages of this world is by being led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16); thus, the enemy of our freedom is walking in the flesh, which brings us back into bondage (Galatians 5:17).
c) God the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians reveals to us that the way we are motivated and encouraged to go through the process of sanctification is by looking for and waiting expectantly for the Second Coming of Christ; thus, the enemy of our sanctification is being ignorant of His Second Coming and pending judgment. 1 Corinthians expands upon this central truth of sanctification by telling us that the secret to walking in the gifts of the Spirit is by walking in unity within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10); thus, the enemy of walking in the gifts is strife and division (1 Corinthians 1:11).
d) Summary - All three of these doctrines (justification, sanctification and glorification) reveal the process that God is taking every believer through in order to bring him from spiritual death and separation from God into His eternal presence, which process we call divine election. God’s will for every human being is justification through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on Calvary as He serves as our Great High Priest at the right hand of the Father, into sanctification by the Holy Spirit and into divine service through the laying on of hands, until we obtain glorification and immortality by the resurrection from the dead and are judged before the throne of God. If God be for us, who can be against us? Thus, the nine Church Epistles emphasis the office and ministry of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.
2. The Third Imperative Theme of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians - The third theme of each of Paul’s church epistles is an emphasis on how to apply the doctrinal truths laid down in the epistle to the Christian life. Each epistle emphasizes one aspect of the life of crucifying the flesh and taking up our Cross daily to follow Him. The manifestation of a person living a crucified life in 2 Corinthians is seen in the sufferings that one endures for Christ’s sake. With such sufferings also comes God’s abundance of grace manifested in the form of divine revelations as the Lord works mightily through such a believer’s life. If the manifestations of walking in the truths that Paul laid down in 1 Corinthians are a person who walks in unity and love with his brethren so that the gifts of the Spirit will operate in their lives, then the manifestation of walking in the truths of 2 Corinthians will be a lifestyle of suffering for Christ and receiving an abundance of divine revelations. For those who offer their lives as a daily sacrifice, as Paul illustrates from his personal experiences, there is the privilege of special graces, comforts and anointings from the Lord; for there is much mercy and comfort from God that is given to those who will follow the Cross and fulfill the sufferings of Christ. So follows the third theme that we must we take up our Cross daily in order to grow into maturity. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The epistle of 2 Corinthians emphasizes one aspect of this conformity through the crucified life of faith and obedience in Him.
Figure 1 The Themes of the Pauline Church Epistles
X. Literary Structure
The literary structure of the epistle of 2 Corinthians must follow the thematic scheme of the book. It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book of the Holy Bible was not necessarily intended by the original author, but it is being used as a means of making the interpretation easier. It is hoped that this summary and outline can identify the underlying themes of the book, as well as the themes of its major divisions, sections and subsections. Then individual verses can more easily be understood in light of the emphasis of the immediate passages in which they are found.
The epistle of 2 Corinthians is structured like one aspect of our spiritual journey. It explains our journey of foreknowledge, justification, sanctification and glorification, but from the perspective of the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. This Epistle reflects a deeper walk of sanctification by showing the journey of a servant of God who has accepted the call of reconciling the world unto Christ.
I. Salutation (2 Corinthians 1:1-2 ) The passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians 1:1-2 is called the salutation and is found in all thirteen of Paul’s New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity (2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).
2 Thessalonians 3:17, “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”
In 2 Corinthians 1:1-2 we have the opening salutation in which Paul introduces himself and Timothy to the Corinthian church.
II. Paul’s Spiritual Journey: His Ministry of Reconciling the World to Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 ) 2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 forms the first major division of this Epistle. In these seven chapters we have the testimony of Paul’s ministry of reconciling the world unto Christ. It reflects the work of the foreknowledge of God the Father (2 Corinthians 1:3-11), justification through Jesus the Son (2 Corinthians 1:3-11), and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 4:16) at work in the life of a mature servant, then God’s role in bringing him to his eternal home in Glory (2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul then calls the Corinthians to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16).
A. Paul’s Testimony of Comfort from the Father: The Father Foreknew and Predestined Comfort and Hope for His Servants (2 Corinthians 1:3-11 ) In 2 Corinthians 1:3-14 we get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the Heavenly Father’s role in this mature level of sanctification. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. He has endured suffering. The office and ministry of God the Father through His divine foreknowledge is now to comfort such servants in the midst of their sufferings. Paul will first explain the Father’s ministry of comfort to His servants (2 Corinthians 1:3-7), then give an illustration of the Father’s comfort in his own life (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). Only those who have suffered affliction can understand the feelings of others who are cast down. Therefore, Paul will open his heart to the Corinthians and describe some of his afflictions later in this epistle.
1. Explanation: The Father’s Predestined Ministry of Comfort and Hope to His Servants (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ) In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Paul explains the ministry of the Father in comforting His servants in the midst of their tribulations and sorrows (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). In this passage, Paul expresses his steadfast assurance of the Father’s willingness through His divine foreknowledge to comfort all who suffer for His name sake.
2. Illustration: Example of the Father’s Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ) In order to illustrate the comfort that only the Heavenly Father can bring to those who suffer, Paul gives the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 an example of one of his most stressful experiences as a servant of Christ and the divine comfort that certainly followed. After Paul sets the theme of the second epistle of Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:2-7 by telling them the purpose of their sufferings and consolations in Christ, he then gives them perhaps his greatest example of a hardship that he endured for their sake on the mission field in the following passage of 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.
At the time Paul wrote 2 Corinthians he felt pressure on all sides. This was a difficult time in Paul’s missionary journeys. He had just escaped the city of Ephesus with his life. The Corinthian church had been in revolt up until recently, which occasioned this second epistle to them. Judaizers were bringing “another gospel” to the churches of Galatia. He describes himself as being “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life.” Never had he felt so helpless and dependent upon God for strength and divine intervention. However, his victory came through his “sentence of death,” a decision that many Christians make. It is a decision that moves a child of God from the natural into the supernatural. It is such an attitude of selfless sacrifice that ushered in an abundance of divine revelations and heavenly consolation, as Paul will refer to in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
In the natural it appeared as if Paul and his co-workers were going to be killed unless there was a divine intervention (2 Corinthians 1:8). As a result they had to make the decision to obey the Lord and preach the Gospel even if it cost them their lives, for their hope was in the resurrection of the saints and not in this life (2 Corinthians 1:9). Then Paul declares that God did faithfully intervene and delivered them, and that he will continue to deliver them (2 Corinthians 1:10). We find this same situation taking place when the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-30). They, too, made the decision to obey the Lord even if it cost them their lives. God miraculously delivered them also. This verse illustrates Revelation 12:11.
Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death .”
B. Paul’s Testimony of Justification Thru Jesus Christ: He Offers His Pureness of Heart (2 Corinthians 1:12-20 ) In 2 Corinthians 1:12-20 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. We must note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of Jesus Christ in this mature level of sanctification. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. He has been saved and transformed by the blood of Jesus and serves the Lord with a pure heart (2 Corinthians 1:12-14). He then gives us an example of his efforts to proclaim the Gospel without vacillating in its message (2 Corinthians 1:15-20).
1. Explanation: The Son’s Ministry of Coming Again to Receive His Servants (2 Corinthians 1:12-14 ) - In 2 Corinthians 1:12-14 Paul is attempting to explain how a true servant of the Lord is marked with the outward manifestation of favor with God because he serves with pure motives in anticipation of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. This passage of Scripture serves as the testimony of his conversion and justification through Jesus Christ.
2. Illustration: Example of Proclaiming Christ (2 Corinthians 1:15-20 ) Having explained the testimony of God’s favor in his life as he anticipates the Second Coming of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:12-14) Paul then gives the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:15-20 an illustration of his right standing with God through Jesus Christ by explaining how with pure motives and godly sincerity he has proclaimed to them the Gospel without vacillating in its message (2 Corinthians 1:15-20).
C. Paul’s Seal of the Holy Spirit: His Anointing (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 4:16 ) In 1 Corinthians 1:21 to 1 Corinthians 4:16 Paul explains the role of the Holy Spirit in his spiritual journey of serving the Lord. This passage will open with the statement that he has been sealed with the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of his inheritance (2 Corinthians 1:22) and his discussion on his glorification will close with the same statement (2 Corinthians 5:5). Paul will explain how his has been called to indoctrinate them in the faith (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:17), and how the calling of the Gospel excels over that of Moses (2 Corinthians 3:1-18), and how he is determined to persevere (2 Corinthians 4:1-16) in order to reach his eternal home in Glory.
1. Indoctrination: The Gospel as an Aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:17 ) - In 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:17 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of the Holy Spirit as He uses God’s servants to indoctrination believers in this sanctified lifestyle. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. He is attempting to impart a blessing upon God’s children through the knowledge of Christ. His role is to establish them in the faith. Paul first explains how they are established by faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:4), then he illustrates his efforts to establish them by charging them to forgive the offender and receiving him back into fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). Paul then compares the ministry of teaching the doctrines of Christ with the analogy of a sweet-smelling fragrance being dispersed abroad. It brings life to those who received it and death to those who reject it (2 Corinthians 2:12-17).
a) Explanation: Establishing the Corinthians in the Faith (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:4 ) In 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:4 Paul explains to the Corinthians that God had anointed him and established them and sealed them with the Holy Spirit. They stand by faith in God’s Word. He explains why stayed away from Corinth in order to avoid damaging their faith in Christ.
b) Illustration: Reconciling the Offender and the Aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:5-17 ) In 2 Corinthians 2:5-17 Paul illustrates his testimony of working to establish the Corinthians in the faith and doctrines of Christ. He gives an example of his divine calling in this area by showing his love for them and his concern that they be established in the faith by charging them to forgive the offender and receiving him back into fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). Paul then compares the ministry of teaching the doctrines of Christ with the analogy of a sweet-smelling fragrance being dispersed abroad. It brings life to those who received it and death to those who reject it (2 Corinthians 2:12-17).
i) Restoration for the Offender (2 Corinthians 2:5-11 ) In 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 Paul refers to an unnamed individual that needed to be restored back into fellowship with the congregation at Corinth. As to the identity of this person there are two commonly held views. Many scholars feel that this passage of Scripture corresponds to the fornicator that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. In this passage Paul commanded the Corinthian church “to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5). The contents of this passage in 2 Corinthians fit well into a story of judgment, followed by restoration, with references to Satan in both places. However, other scholars take the view that this offender is one of the Jewish emissaries who led in the revolt against Paul’s oversight of this church in an attempt to bring it under a different jurisdiction. Then, we would have to assume that the instructions of judgment referred to in this passage in 2 Corinthians would have been written previously in Paul’s “sorrowful letter,” which preceded this epistle by a few weeks. Paul may have commanded the church to judge this offender who was leading an attack against him. The church’s apparent reconciliation and obedience to Paul moves him to now protect this offender lest they overwhelm him with discipline.
ii) The Fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:12-17 ) In 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 Paul compares the ministry of teaching the doctrines of Christ with the analogy of a sweet-smelling fragrance being dispersed abroad. It brings life to those who received it and death to those who reject it.
2. Paul’s Divine Calling: The Gospel Ministry Excels that of Moses (2 Corinthians 3:1-18 ) - In 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of the Holy Spirit as He calls God’s servants to a ministry of reconciling the world back to God. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. In 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 Paul explains how he needs no commendations from men to carry out his duties, for he has been divinely qualified by God. Paul illustrates the importance of his calling by referring to the story of Moses as he ministered the Law and statutes to the children of Israel in the wilderness. He explains the glory of his ministry over that of Moses who taught the Law in order to reconcile the Jews unto God. Such a high calling given to Paul far outweighs that given to Moses, whose face shown with God’s glory while delivering the Laws (2 Corinthians 3:7-18).
a) Explanation: Paul’s Letter of Commendation (2 Corinthians 3:1-6 ) In 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 Paul explains how he needs no commendations from men to carry out his duties, for he has been divinely qualified by God. His letter of commendation is read in the hearts of those believers at Corinth.
b) Illustration: Comparing His Ministry to that of Moses (2 Corinthians 3:7-18 ) In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 Paul illustrates the importance of his calling by referring to the story of Moses as he ministered the Law and statutes to the children of Israel in the wilderness. He explains the glory of his ministry over that of Moses who taught the Law in order to reconcile the Jews unto God. Such a high calling given to Paul far outweighs that given to Moses, whose face shown with God’s glory while delivering the Laws (2 Corinthians 3:7-18).
The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has been written in our hearts, bringing about righteousness, resulting in eternal life. In contrast, the Law of Moses was written upon stone, bringing transgression and condemnation, which Law was fulfilled in Christ.
3. Perseverance of the Saints: To Persevere (2 Corinthians 4:1-16 ) - In 2 Corinthians 4:1-16 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of Holy Spirit in helping God’s servants to persevere in this sanctified lifestyle. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. In this passage of Scripture Paul is relating his determination to persevere and not lose heart in his calling. In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 Paul explains his life of perseverance as he commends himself to every man’s conscience. Yet, the Gospel is not accepted by all because Satan has blinded the hearts of many. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-16 Paul illustrates his perseverance by showing his steadfast hope in the fact that the hardships in carrying out his duties are only momentary, light afflictions when compared to the exceeding weigh of glory that is awaiting him.
a) Explanation: He Does not Faint With Such a Glorious Ministry (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ) In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 Paul explains his life of perseverance as he commends himself to every man’s conscience. Yet, the Gospel is not accepted by all because Satan has blinded the hearts of many.
b) Illustration: Comparing His Hardships to Eternal Glory (2 Corinthians 4:7-16 ) In 2 Corinthians 4:7-16 Paul illustrates his perseverance by showing his steadfast hope in the fact that the hardships in carrying out his duties are only momentary, light afflictions when compared to the exceeding weigh of glory that is awaiting him. His ministry is a lifestyle that is given over to death on a daily basis. Such a lifestyle is seen by God’s grace reaching greater numbers that resound in more and more thanksgiving unto God. Paul says that with such an excellent ministry he never loses heart as he bears the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
D. Paul’s Hope of Glorification (2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10 ) - In 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of the Godhead in bringing God’s servants into glorification after this sanctified lifestyle. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. In 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:4 Paul weighs the troubles of this life with the eternal glory that awaits him. Such a lifestyle is manifested by a person who appears to be wasting away outwardly, but being renewed with an inner anointing day by day. Paul explains that he is looking not at things that are seen, but things that are not seen and eternal, while earnestly desiring to be with the Lord. Paul concludes this description of his divine ministry by telling the Corinthians that he labours so earnestly because we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:5-10).
E. Paul’s Call to the Corinthians for Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 ) In 2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 Paul calls all of the Corinthians back to reconciliation with God and himself. He first launches into a lengthy explanation of his ministry of reconciliation as he serves as an ambassador of Christ reconciling the world unto God (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). He then beseeches the Corinthians not to receive God’s grace in vain, and he exposes the purity of his plea by showing them his hardships (2 Corinthians 6:1-13). One way to ensure their reconciliation was to come out from among the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), and to receive Paul as their spiritual father (2 Corinthians 7:1-4). Then, as a father, Paul illustrates his fervent love for them, both by his anxiety over the report of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:5-7), and by the “sorrowful letter” that was sent to by the hand of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:8-16).
III. Paul Offers Reconciliation to the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 ) Having explained his ministry of reconciliation in the previous section (1-7), Paul now tests the obedience of the Corinthians after calling them to be reconciled unto God. For those who answer his call, Paul gives them an opportunity to prove their loyalty to him by participating in the collection of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15). For these church members Paul’s words are a sweet savour of Christ resulting in life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) resulting in their edification (2 Corinthians 13:10). For those who reject his call, Paul launches into an apologetic message to defend his right as an apostle over the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10). He then warns them of his upcoming visit in which he is ready to use sharpness according to the power which the Lord had given him for edification and for destruction (2 Corinthians 13:10). So, for the rebellious, Paul’s words are “the savour of death unto death” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
A. The Collection for the Saints (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15 ) 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15 forms the second division of this Epistle. In this section Paul challenges them to fulfill their commitment and make a sacrificial offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Now, for those in Corinth who will be reconciled to Paul as their spiritual authority, he gives them a charge of giving an offering to the poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15). This is their opportunity to prove their loyalty to Paul (2 Corinthians 8:8). For those who are still rebellious, Paul will execute his divine authority over them (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10). This lengthy passage on giving begins with the example of the Macedonians giving out of their deep poverty. It ends with a promise from God’s Word that giving generously will cause all of God’s grace to abound so that they have an abundance to give on every good occasion. The Corinthian believers had experienced the grace of salvation, the gifts of the Spirit operating in their lives, understanding in God’s Word through the teachings of Paul and Apollos, as well as various miracles and healings. Now, God wanted them to experience financial blessings. In other words, financial sowing reaps financial blessings. Although they may begin their efforts of sacrificial giving out of poverty, it will lead them down a road of financial prosperity.
1. The Example of Christian Giving by the Macedonian Churches (2 Corinthians 8:1-6 ) In 2 Corinthians 8:1-6 Paul provokes the Corinthians to jealousy by telling them about the sacrificial giving of the churches of Macedonia. In this passage he exhorts the church at Corinth to give as the churches of Macedonia had done. The underlying theme of 2 Corinthians is about mature sanctification. Throughout this Epistle Paul reveals his life of sufferings and perseverance as an example of spiritual maturity. Therefore, Paul calls the Corinthians into this mature walk by asking them to make similar sacrifices. He will later provide them a reason and motive for such sacrifices through God’s promises to reward those who sow financially into the Kingdom of God.
The sacrificial giving of the Macedonia Churches out of their poverty may seem far removed from our comfortable lifestyles in a developed nation, but many mission fields today could use a little Macedonian-type giving from a blessed America.
2. The Exhortation to Give (2 Corinthians 8:7-15 ) In 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Paul exhorts the Corinthians to give out of a willing heart in order to prove their love for him. He explains that sacrificial giving does not mean to ease others and burden themselves, but rather, to find an equality so that everyone has enough. He uses the example of the child of Israel in the wilderness as they gathered manna for one another.
3. The Arrangement to Give (2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5 ) In 2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5 Paul explains to the Corinthians how he has made arrangements to collect their offering. He is going to send Titus along with another brother whom they knew well, perhaps Timothy or Erasmus or another close companion of Paul (2 Corinthians 8:16-23). He asks them to give in order to prove their love and Paul’s boasting of them (2 Corinthians 8:24). Paul then reminds them of their willingness a year ago to give when this project was first presented to them (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). He will send the brethren ahead of his coming in order to prepare the offering for his arrival (2 Corinthians 9:3-5).
4. The Benefits of Christian Giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-15 ) In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 Paul explains to the Corinthians the benefits and divine laws of giving. He explains that manner in which they are to give unto the Lord, that it is better to give bountifully rather than sparingly (2 Corinthians 9:6), to give cheerfully rather than grudgingly (2 Corinthians 9:7). God would make His grace abound in their lives (2 Corinthians 9:8). He then quotes from the Old Testament in order to support his claim of God’s blessings (2 Corinthians 9:9-10). Their bountifulness will cause thanksgiving towards God (2 Corinthians 9:11) as others glorify God for their sacrificial giving (2 Corinthians 9:12-14). Paul closes by thanking God for His unspeakable gift of grace (2 Corinthians 9:15).
B. Paul Defends and Exercises His Apostolic Authority (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 ) 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 forms the third and last major division of the epistle of 2 Corinthians. In this section Paul defends and exercises his apostolic authority over the churches he had founded. Now, for those in Corinth who will be reconciled to Paul as their spiritual authority, he gives them the charge of giving an offering to the poor saints in Jerusalem in order to prove their sincerity (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15). However, for those who are still rebellious Paul will execute his divine authority over them in these last four chapters of his epistle (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10). In this section Paul will declare his apostolic authority (2 Corinthians 10:1-18), then boast in his credentials (2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:13), then execute his office as an apostle and set those who are rebellious in order (2 Corinthians 12:14 to 2 Corinthians 13:10).
1. Paul Declares His Authority (2 Corinthians 10:1-18 ) In 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 Paul declares his rightful apostolic authority over the Corinthian church. He will defend himself against false charges brought on by a rebellious faction within the church (2 Corinthians 10:1-11), then stake his claim as the rightful apostle over this region (2 Corinthians 10:12-18).
a) Paul’s Defense Against False Charges (2 Corinthians 10:1-11 ) In 2 Corinthians 10:1-11 Paul opens this argument as an apostle over the Corinthians by first defending himself against false charges of being weak and of poor speech. He boasts that his confidence is not in fleshly appearance, but in the power of God.
b) Paul’s Claim to Apostleship over the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:12-18 ) In 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 Paul declares that his boastings of spiritual matters extends unto the Corinthians. Another way to state this is to say that the fleshly boastings from his opponents have encroached upon his spiritual domain. His minister went into new regions and territories not claimed by other Christian ministers. Now, these “false apostles” have encroached into his territory and claimed their right to be the true spiritual leaders. This reminds us of a story in the book of Genesis when Jacob uncovered his father’s wells, which had been covered up by the local people (Genesis 26:18-22). Each time he uncovered a well his adversaries would come and claim it as their own. He relocated and dug until he found a place where his adversaries did not follow. There he found enough space between himself and his enemies.
2. Paul Boasts of His Credentials as an Apostle (2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:13 ) In 2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:13 Paul strengthens his argument as the rightful apostle over the believers in Corinth and all of Achaia by boasting in his credentials, or qualifications. His opponents had probably boasted before the Corinthian by bragging on their qualifications as men of God. So, if they have chosen boasting as a weapon, then boasting Paul will bring. The amazing part of this passage of Scripture is that Paul makes his boasts in his earthly weaknesses in a way that reveals his divine authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He makes three essential boasts, which reflect his mental, physical and spiritual levels of maturity in the Lord. His godly lifestyle reflects his character and decision making (2 Corinthians 11:1-15). He then boasts in his Jewish ancestry and physical sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:16-33). His final boast is in the divine revelations and miracles and have accompanied his apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). It is important to understand that none of Paul’s opponents could equal Paul in any of these three boastings; for in each of these three boasts, Paul emphasizes the sacrifice and hardships that he endured as an apostle to the Gentiles. His mental maturity as an apostle of Jesus Christ is demonstrated by him choosing to deny himself the privilege of taking wages from them, but rather, robbed other churches (2 Corinthians 11:1-15). In his physical qualifications as an apostle of Jesus Christ he boasted in his Jewish ancestry, yet his maturity is seen in the physical realm when he endured persecutions and hardships (2 Corinthians 11:16-33). In his spiritual maturity of receiving an abundance of divine revelations he suffered the thorn in the flesh, which from a spiritual perspective is understood to be messengers of Satan to buffet him (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Thus, Paul is boasting in his mental, physical and spiritual qualifications as an apostle, while showing the Corinthians the sufferings and hardships he endures to maintain those qualifications. Thus, he was boasting in an area that his adversaries had not boasted, which was in the hardships and persecutions that accompany a true apostle of Christ. He concludes with a final plea for the Corinthians to accept his apostolic authority over them.
a) Paul’s Boast of a Godly Lifestyle Lived Before the Corinthians: Mental Testimonies (2 Corinthians 11:1-15 ) In 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Paul presents his credentials as an apostle of Christ by first showing them his godly lifestyle. He lived among them for eighteen months, and they had well observed his sincere devotion to Christ and to their well-being. His apostleship over them is expressed in his character by him being jealous over them with a godly jealously (2 Corinthians 11:1-3). The Corinthians had been patient with others, so they should be patient with him (2 Corinthians 11:4-6). He now boasts in the fact that he took wages from other churches in order not to burden them (2 Corinthians 11:7-9). He made this sacrifice so that no one would have an occasion to accuse him of any wrong doing, especially these false apostles who are opposing him at this time (2 Corinthians 11:10-15). Thus, Paul is boasting about his character by discussing his lifestyle lived before them, always making decisions for their well-being, so that the proof of his apostleship over them is manifested in the mental realm by the many decisions he made to sacrifice his personal interests in order to care for those whom he is jealous over.
b) Paul’s Boast of Jewish Ancestry and Christian Suffering: Physical Testimonies (2 Corinthians 11:16-33 ) In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 Paul asks the Corinthians to patiently bear with him as he continues in his boasting (2 Corinthians 11:16-21). His next boast is in his ancestry as a Jew and in the amount of sufferings he has endured for Christ (2 Corinthians 11:22-33). These physical sufferings for their sake and for the ministry are the outward manifestations in the physical realm of his apostleship over the Corinthians.
c) Paul’s Boast of Divine Revelations and Miracles: Spiritual Testimonies (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 ) In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul makes his third boast to the Corinthians in the fact that he has experienced many divine revelations and miracles as a true apostle of Jesus Christ. The context of this passage of Scripture falls within the topic of Paul defending his apostolic authority over the Corinthian church against a certain group of Jewish emissaries. These “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:13) claim this same authority by attacking and belittling Paul personally. In response, Paul presents three areas of his life that qualify him as their apostolic leader, listing qualifications these Jews could not match. Paul first reminds the Corinthians of his godly character while living among them for eighteen months (2 Corinthians 11:1-15), reflecting Paul’s mental qualifications. He then boasts in his Jewish ancestry and physical sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:16-33), reflecting Paul’s physical qualifications as their spiritual leader. His final boast is in the divine revelations and miracles and have accompanied his apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:1-10), reflecting Paul’s spiritual qualifications. Again, it is important to understand that none of Paul’s opponents could equal Paul in any of these three areas of boastings.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul will first reflect upon one particular revelation in which he was caught up into Heaven and heard things unspeakable and glorious (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). It is not a reference to the revelations cited in Acts 9:1-6 where the Lord appeared to him on the Damascus Road bringing about his conversion, or in Acts 22:17-22 where Paul refers to his trance while in Jerusalem, or in Galatians 1:15-17 where Paul refers to his divine calling, or in Acts 16:8-10 when he received his Macedonian call, or in Acts 18:9-10 when the Lord spoke to Paul in a night vision while in Corinth, or in Acts 23:11 when the Lord stood by him on night when he was arrested in Jerusalem, or in Acts 27:22-25 when the angel appeared to him while at sea during a storm. Instead, it is very likely that Paul is referring to one of his earliest and perhaps most glorious revelations that he had ever received of having been taken into Heaven itself. He would have chosen one of his more dramatic revelations not wanting to give his opponents any opportunity to match his boasting in the area of visions and revelations. Yet, there accompanied such glorious revelations some infirmities, which Paul will refer to as a thorn in the flesh, lest he should be exalted above measure by others (2 Corinthians 12:5-10). These revelations testify to Paul’s apostleship from the perspective of the spiritual realm.
i) Paul Describes His Divine Revelations (2 Corinthians 12:1-4 ) The third testimony of Paul’s superiority to his accusers, whom he called “false apostles,” were the many divine revelations and visitations that he experienced while serving the Lord. Thus, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 serves as his third witness that he was a true apostle of Jesus Christ. None of his adversaries could measure up to such qualifications. If we contrast this spiritual testimony to his previous mental testimony in 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 we find Paul referring to his “knowledge” in the mysteries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 11:6). We know that this “knowledge” came through a number of divine revelations and visitations. He uses the word knowledge in 2 Corinthians 11:6 because of his emphasis in the mental realm of serving Christ as an apostle.
ii) Paul Boasts in His Sufferings (2 Corinthians 12:5-10 ) In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul has just given a testimony of a divine encounter he experiences many years earlier. This divine encounter serves as a testimony of his calling as an apostle of Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 Paul will provide another event that testifies of his calling as an apostle, which places him in the earthly, demonic oppressions of this world. This second testimony stands in direct contrast to his heavenly vision. Paul’s afflictions by the demonic realm are placed alongside his exaltation in the heavenly realm. He was exalted into heaven’s majesty in the divine realm (2 Corinthians 12:1-4); but now he is humbled upon earth by the demonic realm (2 Corinthians 12:5-10). Both serve as testimonies from the spiritual realm of his apostolic calling.
d) Final Plea (2 Corinthians 12:11-13 ) In 2 Corinthians 12:11-13 Paul makes a final plea for the Corinthians to accept his apostleship. He summarizes the qualifications of the office on an apostle of Jesus Christ by saying, “the signs of an apostle were wrought (through Paul) among (the Corinthians) in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds,” (2 Corinthians 12:12).
3. Paul Executes His Authority (2 Corinthians 12:14 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 ) In 2 Corinthians 12:14 to 2 Corinthians 13:10 Paul executes the authority of his office as an apostle to the Gentiles. Having boasted enough in his credentials (2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:21) Paul now turns the topic to his upcoming visit in which exercise whatever divine authority was necessary to put things in order. He promises not to become a financial burden to them, but rather, to edify them (2 Corinthians 12:14-19). On this trip he expects those who have sinned to have repented, lest he use the power that the Lord entrusted him with for destruction rather than edification (2 Corinthians 12:20 to 2 Corinthians 13:10).
IV. Conclusion (2 Corinthians 13:11-14 ) In 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 Paul concludes his Epistle with his customary exhortation, greetings and benediction.
XI. Outline of Book
The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the epistle of 2 Corinthians: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the epistle of 2 Corinthians. This journey through 2 Corinthians will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians for a lifestyle of suffering for Christ and receiving an abundance of divine revelations; for those who offer their lives as a daily sacrifice, as Paul illustrates from his personal experiences, there is the privilege of special graces, comforts and anointings from the Lord.
I. Salutation 2 Corinthians 1:1-2
II. Paul’s Ministry of Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 7:16
A. Paul’s Testimony of the Father’s Comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
1. Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
2. Illustration 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
B. Paul’s Testimony of Jesus Christ 2 Corinthians 1:12-20
1. Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:12-14
2. Illustration 2 Corinthians 1:15-20
C. Paul’s Seal of the Holy Spirit (His Anointing) 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 4:16
1. Indoctrination 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:17
a) Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:4
b) Illustration 2 Corinthians 2:5-17
i) Restoration of the Offender 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
ii) The Fragrance of Christ and of Death 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
2. Calling 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
a) Explanation 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
b) Illustration 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
3. Perseverance 2 Corinthians 4:1-16
a) Explanation 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
b) Illustration 2 Corinthians 4:7-16
D. Paul’s Hope of Glorification 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10
E. Paul’s Call for Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16
III. Paul Offers Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10
A. The Collection for the Saints 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15
1. The Example of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 8:1-6
2. The Exhortation to Give 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
3. The Arrangement to Give 2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5
4. The Benefits of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
B. Paul Defends & Exercises His Apostolic Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10
1. Paul Declares His Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
a) Paul’s Defense Against False Charges 2 Corinthians 10:1-11
b) Paul’s Claim to Apostleship 2 Corinthians 10:12-18
2. Paul Boasts of His Credentials 2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:13
a) Mental: A Godly Lifestyle 2 Corinthians 11:1-15
b) Physical: Jewish Ancestry & Christian Sufferings 2 Corinthians 11:16-33
c) Spiritual: Revelations & Sufferings 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
i) Paul Describes His Divine Revelations 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
ii) Paul Boasts in His Sufferings 2 Corinthians 12:5-10
d) Final Plea 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
3. Paul Executes His Authority 2 Corinthians 12:14 to 2 Corinthians 13:10
IV. Conclusion 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
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