2 Corinthians

Paul the apostle


2 Cor 1.1-2; Introduction; Paul and Timothy greet the Corinthians with grace.

2 Cor 1.3-11; Assurance; Acknowledging their suffering and perhaps their shared issues Paul says God comforts us in all our affliction.

2 Cor 1.12-14; Dialogue; Paul boasts in the testimony of his and Timothy’s conscience. Jesus will boast of them as they will boast of the Corinthians.

Paul travels with the Corinthians in mind

2 Cor 1.15-17; Dialogue; Pauls plans to visit them to give them more grace.

2 Cor 1.18-22; Teaching; The promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has put his seal on them, the Holy Spirit as a guarantee.

2 Cor 1.23-2.4; Dialogue; Paul did not come earlier because he did not want to make another painful visit. Paul wrote to them so they may know of his love for them.

Their shared painful history

2 Cor 2.5-11; Instruction; Paul says their punishment of some man has been enough. (Presumably the man who had his Father’s wife 1 Cor 5.1-5) Now they should turn, forgive and comfort him, or else he will be overwhelmed with sorrow.

2 Cor 2.12-13; Dialogue; Paul says he chose some locations to go because he wanted to travel with Titus.

Paul defends his gospel ministry and tries to reconcile

2 Cor 2.14-17; Dialogue; Paul speaks about his gospel ministry. They spread the aroma of Christ wherever they go. To some it is life, for others death. In the sight of God they speak in Christ.

2 Cor 3.1-18; Defense; Paul defends himself saying they, the Corinthians are proof of their new covenant ministry and the Spirit. He compares his ministry with that of Moses and the old covenant. The Jews minds are hardened because they have not turned to the Lord.

2 Cor 4.1-6; Defense; They sincerely proclaim God’s word. It is veiled to those who are perishing because they are blinded by the god of this world. They proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. God shone in our hearts to give knowledge his glory in Jesus Christ.

2 Cor 4.7-18; Dialogue; The apostles have the treasure of the knowledge of God in Jesus in them. They experience sufferings, but persevere. They believe God raised Jesus from the dead and they to will be raised, therefore they speak and look onward with hope.

2 Cor 5.1-10; Teaching; The apostles know if their early home, their bodies, are destroyed. God has prepared for them a new building, resurrection body. The Spirit is the guarantee. Therefore they walk courageously by faith. They make it their aim to please the Lord. Because they know we must all appear before Christ in his judgment and receive what is due in the body, whether good or evil.

2 Cor 5.11-15; Dialogue; Knowing they will be judged they continue in their gospel ministry. Paul is giving the Corinthians reason to boast about them. The love of Christ controls the apostles because they have died and now live for Christ who died and rose for them.

2 Cor 5.16-6.2; Exhortation; God reconciled the apostles and now makes his appeal through them in their ministry. Paul implores the Corinthians to be reconciled to God (=them as his ministers). For the apostles sake God gave Christ to be a sin offering, so now being reconciled to God, God works through the apostles in their gospel ministry. Now is the day of the Corinthians salvation.

2 Cor 6.3-13; Exhortation; Paul commends himself and the apostles talking about their hardships. Paul asks the Corinthians to open their hearts to them.

Remove defiling influences

2 Cor 6.14-7.1; Instruction; Paul instructs them not to put themselves under the negative influence of unbelievers. The Corinthians are meant to be the Temple of the living God. Therefore they should be separate from them and the Lord will be their Father. They should cleanse themselves from defilement bringing holiness to completion.

Their shared painful history and Paul’s encouragement

2 Cor 7.2-9; Dialogue; Paul asks them to open themselves up to him and the others again. He defends the apostles ministry saying they have wronged no one. They care for the Corinthians. In their travels he has heard of the Corinthians feelings, for them and in their current grief.

2 Cor 7.10-16; Dialogue; Paul says their godly grief will produce repentance that leads to salvation. They have proved themselves in this and Paul is comforted. Paul was encouraged by their reception of Titus.

Paul encourages them to give to needy brothers

2 Cor 8.1-8; Instruction; Paul encourages them to give like the Macedonians. Titus can collect their money and in doing so they can show that they do care for the needy.

2 Cor 8.9-15; Instruction; Using the example of Christ he encourages them to give. He notes the difference between obligation (work) and desire (readiness). Their offerings are accepted by God according to what they have and with fairness between parties.

2 Cor 8.16-24; Dialogue; Paul is sending Titus to them and he will be accompanied by a famous gospel preacher (Billy Graham?). Another brother will accompany them both. They should give their offering to them.

2 Cor 9.1-7; Instruction; Paul wants them to be prepared to give when they come around to collect for the Christians in Jerusalem. What one gives now will be repaid to them later. But they are instructed to give as they decide appropriate. The Lord loves a cheerful giver.

2 Cor 9.8-15; Teaching; God will provide so you will be able to give. God working through peoples giving is showing his righteousness. They will be enriched in every way so they may be generous in every way. So when the Corinthians give, the people who receive will acknowledge the provision of God that enabled them to give in the first place.

Paul defends his gospel ministry against the super apostles

2 Cor 10.1-6; Defense; Paul addresses their comments that he is humble when present with them, but bold when he is away. He glorifies his ministry describing their combat and intention to bring them to obedience.

2 Cor 10.7-18; Defense; Paul says he is just as much Christs as they are. He affirms that his letters are just the same as if they were present. He considers whether he needs to boast about their ministry so the Corinthians may value them more. Paul hopes as their faith grows, he and the apostles may broaden their ministry with their support. The one who the Lord commends is approved.

2 Cor 11.1-11; Defense; Paul is afraid they will accept another Spirit, Christ and gospel. Because there are ‘super-apostles’ around deceiving people. Paul wonders if they think less of him because he didn’t charge them for it and was supported by others. Paul did not want to burden them in his gospel ministry.

2 Cor 11.12-15; Defense; Paul will continue to commend himself and preach the gospel in order to undermine the efforts of these false apostles. They are servants of Satan, disguising themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Cor 11.16-12.10; Defense; Paul boasts a little. Like the ‘super-apostles’ he is a Hebrew, an Israelite, an offspring of Abraham, and a servant of Christ. He works harder and has suffered more. But he will boast of his weakness. If he must go on boasting, he will talk about the visions and revelations of the Lord he has received. To keep him humble he was given a ‘thorn in the flesh’. When Paul is weak the Lord is strong.

2 Cor 12.11-13; Defense; Even though he is nothing, he is not inferior to these ‘super-apostles’. The signs of a true apostle were performed among them. Paul asks forgiveness for not charging them for his ministry.

Paul plans to visit them and gives them some final instructions

2 Cor 12.14-21; Dialogue; Paul mentions his plans to visit them again. He will not burden them. He wants to build them up spiritually. He has not taken advantage of them. Paul has been speaking in Christ for their upbuilding. He fears he will encounter problems when he arrives.

2 Cor 13.1-10; Instruction; Charges of sin must be verified by two to three witnesses. If those who sinned before keep on doing so Paul will not spare them. Christ works through him powerfully. They should test themselves to see of they are in the faith. Paul seeks their restoration.

2 Cor 13.11-14; Conclusion; Paul summarises his main aims and greets them farewell.