2 Corinthians
The Bible Book by Book
The Occasion and Purpose of the Letter. From suggestions found here and there in these two epistles it appears that much communication passed between Paul and the church and that the two letters that have come down to us are only some of a series. He suffered much perplexity and grief because of the conditions of the church. He met Titus in Macedonia on the third missionary journey (he had hoped for him with news from Corinth while he was at Troas). He wrote this letter in response to the messages brought by Titus. He expresses solicitude for them, defends himself against the charges of his enemies, warns them against errors, instructs them in matters of duty and expresses joy that they have heeded his former advice.

The Character and Content. It is the least systematic of all Paul's epistles. It abounds in emotion, showing mingled joy, grief and indignation. It is intensely personal and from it we, therefore, learn more of his life and character than from any other source. This makes it of great value in any study of Paul himself. Section one has as its great topic tribulation and consolation in tribulation, and has in it an undercurrent of apology, darkened by a suppressed indignation. Section two is colored by a sorrowful emotion. Section three everywhere teems with a feeling of indignation. Through the whole letter there runs an undercurrent of self-defense. The "key-note" of this book, as well as of First Corinthians, is loyalty to Christ.

Date. It was written from Macedonia (probably Philippi) fall of A.D. 57.


Introduction, 1:1-7.

I. Paul's Trials, Principles and Consolation as a Preacher, 1:8-7:16.

1. His interest in the Corinthian church. 1:8-2:11.

2. His service both to God and men, 2:12 end.

3. His appointment by the Holy Spirit, Ch. 3.

4. His power given by God, Ch. 4.

5. His hope of future blessedness, 5:1-19.

6. His exhortation and appeal to the church. 5:20-7:4.

7. His joy at their reception of the word, 7:5 end.

II. The Collection for the Poor Saints, Chs. 8-9.

1. The appeal for liberality, 8:1-15.

2. The sending of Titus and two other brethren, 8:16-9:5.

3. The Blessedness of liberality, 9:6 end.

III. Paul's Apostolic Authority. 10:1-13:10.

1. He vindicates his apostolic authority, 10:1-12:13.

2. He warns them that his coming will be with apostolic authority, 12:14-13:10.

Conclusion, 13:11 end.

For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul's reasons for not going to Corinth, 1:15-2:4. (2) The glory of the gospel ministry, 4:1-6. (3) His affectionate injunction, 6:11-18. (4) The grace of liberality, Chs. 8-9. Make a list of (a) ways of cultivating this grace, (b) the blessings it will bring to the possessor, to others and to the whole church. (5) Paul's boasting, 11:16-12:20. (a) Of what things did he boast? (b) When is boasting justifiable? (6) Paul's self-defense? When should we defend ourselves? (7) The vision of the third heaven, 12:1-4. (8) The thorn in the flesh, 12:7-9. (9) The personal attacks on Paul. Note the hints in 2:17; 4:3; 5:3; 10:8; 10:10; 11:6.

For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
2 Corinthians 1. God Comforts All; Paul's Change in Plans

1. Paul salutes the Corinthians;
3. he encourages them against troubles,
5. by the comforts and deliverances which God had given him,
8. so particularly in his late danger in Asia.
12. And calling both his own conscience and theirs,
15. he excuses his not coming to them, as proceeding not of lightness,
23. but of his care for them.

2 Corinthians 2. Reaffirm Your Love for the Sinner; We speak in Christ

1. Having shown the reason why he came not to them,
6. he requires them to forgive and to comfort that excommunicated person,
10. even as he himself upon true repentance had forgiven him;
12. declaring why he departed from Troas to Macedonia,
14. and the happy success which God gave to his preaching in all places.

2 Corinthians 3. Ministers and Glory of the New Covenant

1. Lest their false teachers should charge him with vain glory,
2. he shows the faith of the Corinthians to be a sufficient commendation of his ministry.
6. Whereupon entering a comparison between the ministers of the law and of the gospel,
12. he proves that his ministry is so far the more excellent,
17. as the gospel of life and liberty is more glorious than the law of condemnation.

2 Corinthians 4. Treasures in Jars of Clay

1. Paul declares how he has used all sincerity and diligence in preaching the gospel,
7. and how his troubles and persecutions did redound to the praise of God's power,
12. to the benefit of the church,
16. and to the apostle's own eternal glory.

2 Corinthians 5. Walk by Faith, and Not Sight; Christ's Love Compels us to Ministry

1. That in his assured hope of immortal glory,
9. and in expectation of it, he labors to keep a good conscience;
12. not that he may boast of himself,
14. but as one that, having received life from Christ,
17. endeavors to live as a new creature to Christ only,
18. and by his ministry of reconciliation, to reconcile others also in Christ to God.

2 Corinthians 6. Paul's Sufferings; Do Not be Unequally Yoked

1. That he has approved himself a faithful minister of Christ by his exhortations,
3. and by integrity of life,
4. and by patiently enduring all kinds of affliction and disgrace for the gospel.
10. Of which he speaks the more boldly amongst them because his heart is open to them,
13. and he expects the like affection from them again;
14. exhorting them to flee the society and pollutions of idolaters,
17. as being themselves temples of the living God.

2 Corinthians 7. We have opened our hearts to you; Godly Sorrow Brings Repentance

1. He proceeds in exhorting them to purity of life;
2. and to bear him like affection as he does to them.
3. Whereof lest he might seem to doubt, he declares what comfort he took in his afflictions
6. by the report which Titus gave of their godly sorrow,
8. which his former epistle had wrought in them;
13. and of their loving-kindness and obedience toward Titus, answerable to his former boastings of them.

2 Corinthians 8. Great Generosity; Titus Sent to Corinth

1. He stirs them to a generous gift for the poor saints at Jerusalem, by the example of the Macedonians;
7. by commendation of their former forwardness;
9. by the example of Christ;
14. and by the spiritual profit that shall redound to themselves thereby;
16. commending to them the integrity and willingness of Titus, and those other brothers.

2 Corinthians 9. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift; Those who Sow Generously will Reap Generously

1. He yields the reason why he sent Titus and his brothers beforehand.
6. And he proceeds in stirring them up to a bountiful alms, as being but a kind of sowing of seed,
10. which shall return a great increase to them,
13. and occasion a great sacrifice of thanksgivings unto God.

2 Corinthians 10. Paul Defends His Ministry

1. Against the false apostles, who disgraced the weakness of his person and bodily presence,
4. he shows the spiritual might and authority with which he was armed against all adverse powers;
7. assuring those who at his coming he will be found as mighty in word as he is now in writing;
12. and encouraging them to reach out themselves beyond their compass.

2 Corinthians 11. Paul Defends His Apostleship; Paul's Sufferings

1. Out of his jealousy over the Corinthians, he enters into a forced commendation of himself,
5. of his equality with the chief apostles,
7. of his preaching the gospel to them freely, and without any charge to them;
13. showing that he was not inferior to those deceitful workers in any legal prerogative;
23. and in the service of Christ, and in all kinds of sufferings for his ministry, far superior.

2 Corinthians 12. Paul's Vision, Thorn, and Concern for Corinthians

1. For commending of his apostleship, though he might glory of his wonderful revelations,
9. yet he rather chooses to glory of his infirmities;
11. blaming the Corinthians for forcing him to this vain boasting.
14. He promises to come to them again; but yet altogether in the affection of a father;
20. although he fears he shall to his grief find many offenders, and public disorders there.

2 Corinthians 13. Test yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; Final Greetings

1. Paul threatens severity, and the power of his apostleship, against obstinate sinners.
5. And, advising them to a trial of their faith,
7. and to a reformation of their sins before his coming,
11. he concludes his epistle with a general exhortation and a prayer.
1 Corinthians
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