Introductory Notes for 2 Corinthians

Discussion Notes for 2 Corinthians

Introduction to Second Corinthians  (Prepared by Paul Adams)

  1. Review the background of the city of Corinth.
    • Largest city in southern Greece (Achaia).
    • Major crossroads, military center, and a seaport.
    • Center of idolatrous and immoral worship of Venus (Aphrodite) and other mythological gods.
    • Well known for ornate temples to idols, architecture and the arts. e. It was a center for athletic games.
    • [ER]: interestingly, according to Merriam-Webster online, “Corinthian” means 1) a resident of Corinth, and 2) a merry, profligate man (source)
  2. The Authorship
    • Paul, the Apostle (2 Corinthians 1:1. 10:1)
    • Written during the fall of 57 A.D.
    • Written from Macedonia
  3. Timeline (dates approximate) 
    • A.D. 50-51 – Paul established the church in Corinth  (Acts 18) while on his 2nd journey.  ([ER]: Possible point to “factor” here: in spite of what we know about Corinth as a worldly city, the Lord revealed to Paul, “I have many in this city who are my people.” [Acts 18:10] Indeed, the church included those who had been converted out the “Corinthian” lifestyle [1 Cor. 6:9-11]. The Lord sees what we cannot.)
    • A.D. 54-57 – Paul stays in Ephesus (Acts 19), has correspondence with the Corinthians, and writes First Corinthians near the end of the stay.  (Paul may have made a very brief visit to Corinth while at Ephesus).  [TT] He stayed in Ephesus for 2 years (19:10, 20:31- 3 years).  Point – he had plenty of time for the various interactions with Corinth while there (perhaps other letters and visitors, etc.)
    • [ER]: During this time Paul heard about the problems in the church there and wrote to correct them. He then anxiously awaited news of their response (2 Cor. 7:5-9)
    • A.D 57 (fall) – Paul departs for Macedonia (Acts 20), meets Titus and receives a report about the progress of the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:5-16).  [ER] This was apparently a change of plans. Paul had initially intended to go straight to Corinth, but decided to come to them after going through Macedonia. [1:16].  Paul then writes Second Corinthians and sends Titus back to them (2 Corinthians 8:6, 17).
    • A.D. 57 (winter) – Paul arrives and spends the winter (3 months) in Corinth (Acts 20:2-3).  Paul writes to the Romans from Corinth.
  4. Basic Outline of Second Corinthians (Mark A. Copeland)
    1. SALUTATION (1:1-11)
    2. PAUL EXPLAINS HIS MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION (Chapters 1-7)
      • HE DEFENDS HIS INTEGRITY (1:12-2:11)
      • HE DESCRIBES HIS APOSTOLIC MINISTRY (2:12-6:10)
      • HE MAKES HIS APPEAL TO THEM (6:11-7:16)
    3. THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS IN JERUSALEM (Chapters 8-9)
      • THE EXAMPLE OF MACEDONIA (8:1-5)
      • THE BASIS FOR HIS EXHORTATION (8:6-15)
      • THE MESSENGERS FOR THIS MINISTRY (8:16-9:5)
      • THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO GIVE LIBERALLY (9:6-15)
    4. PAUL DEFENDS HIS APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY (Chapters 10-13)
      • EXPLANATION CONCERNING HIS CONDUCT (10:1-18)
      • SOME FOOLISH BOASTING (11:1-12:13)
      • HIS FINAL WARNINGS (12:14-13:10)
    5. CONCLUDING EXHORTATIONS (13:11-14)
  5. Some Observations
    • This epistle is very personal.  Paul spends time speaking to them concerning the trial and joys of his work.  [TT] – (2 Cor. 6:11 – Our heart is wide open)   [ER: Perhaps it is the personal nature of this letter that causes it to not be preached from as much. It seems overlooked to me.]
    • We must never forget that these are words of inspiration.
    • There are some unique challenges when you are involved with people with so many problems and you are calling on them to change.
    • We will see more room for improvement and commendations.
    • Worldly influences are hard to resist, but it is essential that we do.
    • Wherever Paul is spreading the gospel there are Jews and Judaizing teachers who are making his work more difficult.
    • Paul’s care and deep concern for them becomes even more evident.

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