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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

2 Corinthians

- 2 Corinthians

by Rhoderick D. Ice

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND CORINTHIANS

Paul had written First Corinthians in the spring of 55 A.D. This Letter was written a few months later from somewhere in Macedonia, as he visited the churches before going to Corinth. After writing First Corinthians, Paul sent Timothy to Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:10-11), probably with that Letter. Timothy returned with a gloomy report of what the false apostles were doing to undermine Paul’s work. Paul hurried to Corinth by boat, but his visit was painful (2 Corinthians 2:1)! He then returned to Ephesus. Since he had told the Corinthians he would return to Corinth before going to Macedonia, he wrote a letter to substitute for his planned visit. This letter was written with “a greatly troubled and distressed heart” (2 Corinthians 2:4). Paul sent Titus to Corinth with it. After the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:23-25), Paul went to Troas (this would still be spring, 55 A.D.). Titus was supposed to meet Paul there, but did not arrive (2 Corinthians 2:12-13). Paul went ahead to Macedonia and Titus met him there with an improved report on Corinth. Paul, and Timothy, then wrote Second Corinthians, which was delivered to Corinth by Titus and two others. They were to collect the contribution from Corinth (2 Corinthians 8:16-23; 2 Corinthians 9:4) before Paul got there, and he planned to visit Corinth soon (2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1).

Paul writes to answer the slander by which the false apostles tried to undermine his authority. In doing this he mentions facts which prove him to be an apostle, given authority by Christ to direct the faith and practice of all the members of the church. He also explains the general principles of religion and morality, in such a way that they form a guide for ourselves. But note that Paul wrote to different groups in the church, and that not all the things which he said apply to everyone! Paul writes as one who expects to be in Corinth shortly. He was able to do this, as Acts 20:3 shows us (see notes there).