What did Paul write in the second epistle to the Corinthians?

  • Salutation and Explanation (2 Cor. 1:1-2:13)
  • Paul's Ministry (2 Cor. 2:14-7:4)
  • Liberal Giving (2 Cor. 7:5-9:15)
  • Paul's Apostleship (2 Cor. 10-13)


  • Salutation and Explanation (2 Cor. 1:1-2:13) back to top

    Paul begins by greeting the Corinthians with joy and an important section of thanksgiving to God for them. We see the Pastoral side of Paul here as he is both affirming and encouraging the Corinthians in their faith. He speaks of the reciprocal nature of God's comfort and compassion among believers. As we share in the sufferings of Christ and the gospel, we are moreover encouraged by sharing in the sufficiency of His comfort, not merely comfort that is adequate for ourselves, but an abundance that overflows to encourage others as well. He challenges them to take refuge in this and to press on enduring the despair through their hope in Christ. Due to his promise in the previous letter the Corinthians had been expecting him. Therefore at this point, he offers an explanation of the unforeseen change in his travel plans. Paul did not want to come to them in grief again over the labors of the ministry Christ had called him to. Paul uses this to transition to indicate the importance of forgiving those who have wronged you.


    Paul's Ministry (2 Cor. 2:14-7:4) back to top

    Paul then begins to praise God and offer a lengthy account of the nature of his ministry. He reminds them that he was ordained by God, that he has received this commission by the mercy of God, and that he is committed to integrity in proclaiming the gospel. In contrast, this ministry is not about him. He is not concerned with his own pleasure or the applause of men, but rather his ultimate motivation is pleasing Christ for it is he who suffered as a sacrifice for his sins. He challenges them to endure hardship as he has and to avoid being bound in any sort of covenant with unbelievers, for this is a hindrance to their relationship with God. He finally appeals to them to have open heart toward he and his faithful partners for he takes great joy and encouragement in them that has risen above all their troubles.


    Liberal Giving (2 Cor. 7:5-9:15) back to top

    Paul explains further that this encouragement comes through the report of Titus that they had received his first letter well. He takes great joy in the eagerness of their hearts as displayed in their response to its instruction as they were moved to Godly sorrow and repentance. He tell them of the confidence that he now has in them after they had confirmed his image of them as he had boasted to Titus of their faith. He extends to them his desire to have them found equally faithful in playing their part in generous giving toward the collection for the church in Jerusalem, just as the Macedonians gave - beyond their ability. He informs them that he is sending Titus in preparation for his coming. They should receive him in love as an example of the unity of the body to the whole church. This section concludes by instructing themof the results of their generous hearts. They are not merely meeting the needs of God's people, but their gifts overflow in praise to God as others rejoice of their obedience and partnership in the gospel.


    Paul's Apostleship (2 Cor. 10-13) back to top

    This final section is a stern response by Paul to some of the opposition that had surfaced in the church, not only to him, but to progress of the gospel. He took great offense in this opposition and was ready to take it head on. He first wants to establish the importance of faith obedience by the Corinthians in the midst of these new 'apostles' who were boasting in themselves and slandering him. They have exposed themselves as false apostles in their actions as this not the way of service and allegiance to Christ. While they boast in their own strength, Paul responds ironically by boasting in his weakness. For it is through the weak that the power of the gospel operates. He turns to the Corinthians and their responsibility for taking action. He appeals to them to reevaluate their position toward these offenders and forewarns them of the action he will take if necessary upon his visit.