2 Corinthians Introduction

I’ve long wanted to study this book, but haven’t tackled it due to the lack of commentaries from a dispensational point of view. But I feel a strong need for some Pauline truth, so here goes.

Resources I’m using include:

The New Scofield Reference Bible KJV, notes by C. I. Scofield (Oxford University Press, 1967)

2 Corinthians, by C.R. Stam (Berean Bible Society, 1992

Complete Bible Commentary, by George Williams (Kregel Publications, 1994)

The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, by Kenneth S. Wuest (William B. Eerdmans, 1961)

And, of course, biblegateway.com and biblehub.com. I may dig for other online resources as I go.

The second epistle to the Corinthians was written within a year of the first letter to the same church. Paul’s spiritual burden was great; for in addition to the problems with which the the apostle had to deal in his first letter, a wave of distrust in relation to Paul himself had now swept through the church. Some said he was not sincere; others even questioned whether he had apostolic authority. Consequently, Paul here defends his authority by placing before the church the overwhelming evidence of his sincerity in serving God. Thus this Epistle is very personal and autobiographical. — Scofield, page 1252.

Titus was sent to Corinth with the First Epistle and directed to return to Troas where Paul planned to meet him. His non-arrival at Troas made the Apostle so anxious about the condition of the Corinthians that he crossed over to Macedonia where he met Titus, who gladdened him with the news that his letter had produced the happiest results. The Apostle then wrote his second letter, which, like the first, dealt with departure from the moral teaching of the Epistle to the Romans. — Williams, page 896.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, they were rent asunder by all sorts of divisions mainly involving, not heresy but carnality.  Thus while the letter contains much doctrine, even this is made to bear upon their unchristian behavior, especially their permissiveness.

Corinthian carnality also manifested itself in their infatuation with Greek wisdom and eloquence, with which the apostle dealt wholly from God’s perspective.

But Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, written so soon after the great uproar at Ephesus, finds the apostle still suffering the effects of that great crisis in his life when he was “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that [he] despaired even of life” (1:8).

Still reeling from this ordeal, he also had to bear, and daily, “the care of all the churches” which, by God’s grace, he had founded (2 Corinthians 11:28). This especially now that the Jewish legalists were attacking him and his ministry so aggressively on every hand. How concerned he was that these assemblies should stand fast in grace!—and some were beginning to waver.

but another of Paul’s concerns was the lack of confidence many of the Jewish Christians had in Paul himself and in his ministry. Some of them claimed that if he were truly a qualified Christian leader he would have brought them “letters of commendation” from the apostles and elders at Jerusalem—whom they considered the overseers of the church.

This was easy for Paul to answer, but the attitude was not easy to overcome, even in a church founded by Paul himself. — Stam, page x.

The apostle was cheered … not only to see his beloved Titus again, but even so to hear the good news Titus brought from Corinth. The Corinthians believers still had great affection for Paul. The incestuous brother had been excommunicated from the assembly, and this discipline had done its appointed work. The guilty man had mourned deeply and was no partly back in fellowship with the other believers—who likewise had mourned their former permissive attitude toward his behavior. (See 2 Corinthians 7:7.) This, and more good news encouraged Paul to write a second letter to the Corinthian church. As Paul travelled among the cities of Macedonia, giving the believers “much exhortation,” he could do so more vigorously now with this good news in his heart and Titus at his side.

It must not be too hastily assumed, however, that 2 Corinthians was written, or wholly written, at Philippi. There is too much evidence that Titus, wishing to spare the beleaguered apostle, broke the more disheartening aspects of his report to him gradually, one sad item at a time. Thus it is quite possible that the second letter to the Corinthians was written largely as the two journeyed through Macedonia, and/or in Greece.

This would account for the fact that as 1 Corinthians is probably the most systematic of Paul’s epistles and the easiest to analyze, 2 Corinthians is the least systematic and the most difficult to analyze. This would be the natural result as the apostle learned more and more of what was really going on at Corinth.  — Stam, pages 19-20.

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