Bible Book Summary
2 Corinthians Summary
by Jay Smith
The book of 2nd Corinthians is a Pauline Epistle (letter from Paul). The Apostle Paul wrote it about 56 A.D. The key personalities of this book are the Apostle Paul, Timothy, and Titus. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth to defend and protect his Apostleship, and to teach and warn against false teachers who were spreading heresy.
• In chapters 1-7, Paul describes the characteristics of an Apostle. He explained that his ministry was to preach Jesus Christ alone and not himself, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (4:5).
Paul then explains that Christians will suffer. "we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed". It is promised to followers of Christ that they will suffer. Paul states that compared to eternity with Christ the sufferings of this world are temporary and have a purpose for us: "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
• In chapters 8-9, He urges the Corinthians to give the offering to the believers in Judea, as they had promised. He taught that if they gave generously they would also “reap generously” (9:6).
• Chapters 10-13 Paul defends his ministry and responds to attacks about his Apostleship. They had been questioning his authority and opposing him. Paul declares that if anyone preaches a different Gospel or a different Jesus, other than what Paul and the Apostles were preaching, they are false teachers and deceitful workers and should not be accepted.
In chapter 12 7-10, Paul explains a theology of his own suffering. He asks God to remove a suffering from His life but God refuses. God responds to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness". Paul understood that God is sovereign and in control over even his sufferings. Therefore, Paul embraces his suffering because God allows them into his life for a purpose regardless of how difficult they may be. In times of calamity, he understood that these were times when he depended on God's strength and mercy the most. Paul responds, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with
distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong”. Paul knew he was the strongest when he felt the weakest because he depended on God, the one who has infinite strength.
The last thing Apostle Paul teaches in 2ndCorinthians is how to test yourself. If you want to know if you are a Christian, if you want to know if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, than you must test yourself, “to see if you are in the faith”; examine yourself with Scripture (13:5).