The Bible Book by BookThe 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.
I. Paul's Trials, Principles and Consolation as a Preacher, 1:8-7:16.
II. The Collection for the Poor Saints, Chs. 8-9.
III. Paul's Apostolic Authority. 10:1-13:10.
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.
THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK: A MANUAL:
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
1916 BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESS Waco, Texas