2 Corinthians

Introduction to II Corinthians

Paul’s second canonical epistle to the church he founded at Corinth (there probably were at least two other letters he wrote to Corinth, but these have not been preserved—see I Corinthians 5:9 for a specific reference to one of them) was probably written less than a year after the first. It is uncertain whether it was written while he was still at Ephesus (Acts 19:10) or later at Philippi (Acts 20:1-6).

In any case, there is almost complete unanimity among scholars that II Corinthians was indeed written by Paul. Like I Corinthians, it is cited by numerous church leaders in the second century (Clement, Irenaeus, Polycarp, etc.).

After Paul’s departure from Corinth, the church had been injured spiritually, not only by the divisions and immorality discussed by him in I Corinthians but also by certain of the “Christ party” (I Corinthians 1:12), who were now falsely claiming to be apostles of Christ (II Corinthians 10:7; 11:13), and trying to undermine Paul’s teachings. They were corrupting God’s Word (II Corinthians 2:17), and Paul was forced both to defend himself and to rebuke these false teachers with great severity (II Corinthians 10:7–12:13).

The epistle also notes with approval that the immorality condemned in the first epistle had been effectively disciplined (II Corinthians 2:1-11). Paul’s definition and defense of the ministry and true ministers of God in II Corinthians 3–6 is especially noteworthy, as is his discussion of the Christian grace of giving in II Corinthians 8–9.

In summary, the two Corinthian epistles are filled with rich spiritual and doctrinal truths and also with stern rebuke against sin and heresy, and also as abundant instruction for practical Christian living.

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