Introduction to 2 Corinthians

Pleas of a concerned father

Paul bares his heart in a desperate attempt to win back a wandering church

How to read 2 Corinthians

Cell phone conversations go on around us all the time; you can tell how someone feels about what they’re talking about, even though you can only hear one side of the conversation! Reading 2 Corinthians is something like that. We may not know all the details, but the feelings come through loud and clear as Paul lays out his joys, sorrows, ambitions, and frustrations for the believers at Corinth. His vulnerability gives us deep insight for our own relationships with God.

The letter divides nicely into three sections. In the first seven chapters, Paul describes both the glory of the gospel message and his experiences as a minister of Jesus Christ. In the next two chapters, Paul undertakes a fund-raising campaign for the poverty-stricken church in Jerusalem. In the last four chapters, he defends himself against church members who refused to recognize his authority as an apostle and leader. In the midst of it all, a powerful lesson shines through: In your weakness, you discover God’s power!

Be especially alert for practical examples and advice on resolving conflict: personality conflicts between church members, theological conflicts over false teachings, and cultural conflicts between the church and the world.

Who wrote this book and why?

The apostle Paul wrote it approximately AD 55. Inner strife had plagued the church at Corinth. Paul wrote to calm the disagreements, to restore unity to the body of believers, and to reestablish his role as leader.

How does it fit in the big story?

Even this early on, churches like Corinth had problems running smoothly. Paul’s instructions on handling dissension within the church, false teaching, and church leadership were given to help resolve these recurring problems. He also draws believers’ attention outward by seeking their help for the poorer believers in Jerusalem.

SourceView Insights

All the SourceView text is black because this letter contains only one side of Paul’s dialogue with the church at Corinth. The letter is displayed in a cursive script, recreating the original handwritten feel of this personal document.

World English Bible (WEB)
a Public Domain Modern English translation
of the Holy Bible.

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