2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 1 identifies the author of the Book of 2 Corinthians as the Apostle Paul, possibly along with Timothy.
Date of Writing: The Book of 2 Corinthians was very likely written between 55-57 A.D.
Purpose of Writing: In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul returns to many of the same themes covered in his early letter. These include:
- Continued immorality between a brother and his step mother (1 Corinthians 5:1-6; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
- Paul's plans for a future visit (2 Corinthians 1:15--2:4)
- The giving of the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1-6)
- Divisions in the church created by Judaizers who attacked Paul’s authority (2 Corinthians 10:10-12).
Positively, Paul found the Corinthians had well received his “severe” letter. The Apostle encourages them for this in an expression of Paul’s genuine love (2 Corinthians 7:3-16). Paul also sought to vindicate his apostleship, as some in the church had likely questioned his authority (2 Corinthians 13:3).
Key Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 13:4, "For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you."
Brief Summary: The church in Corinth began in 52 A.D., when Paul visited there on his second missionary journey. It was then that he stayed one and a half years, the first time he was allowed to stay in one place as long as he wished. A record of this visit and the establishment of the church is found in Acts 18:1-18.
This second letter of Paul to the Corinthian church was occasioned by the report brought back by Titus, who informed Paul of their reception
of the first letter, and how they received the rebuke that letter contained (2 Corinthians 2:12-13; 7:5-9).
Titus' report was encouraging, but evidently it also brought troubling news that some at Corinth were questioning Paul's authority as an apostle. This doubt may have planted by "Judaizing teachers" who seemed to follow Paul and attempted to undermine his teaching concerning the Law. They appear to have questioned his veracity (2 Corinthians 1:15-17), his speaking ability (2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:6), and his unwillingness to accept support from the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:7-9; 12:13). There were also some people who had not repented of their licentious behavior (2 Corinthians 12:20-21).
He hopes that by writing in advance of his visit he can get all of the necessary rebuke out of the way (2 Corinthians 1:23-2:3; 13:10). He also uses the opportunity to encourage them to have the collection for the needy saints in Jerusalem ready when he comes (2 Corinthians 9:1-5; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Practical Application: This letter is the most biographical and least doctrinal of Paul's epistles. It tells us more about Paul as a person and as a minister than any of the others. That being said, there are a few things we can take from this letter and applies to our lives today. The first thing is stewardship. Not only of money, but of your time as well. The Macedonians not only gave generously, but “they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will” (2 Corinthians 8:5). In the same way, we should dedicate, not only all we have to the Lord, but all that we are. He really doesn't NEED our money. He is omnipotent! He WANTS our heart, one that longs to serve and please and love. Stewardship. Giving to God. It is more than just money. Yes, God does want us to tithe part of our income, and He promises to bless us when we give to Him. There is more though. God wants 100%. He wants us to give Him our all. Everything we are. We should spend our lives, living to serve our Father. We should not only give to God from our paycheck, but our very lives should be a reflection of Him. We should give ourselves first to the Lord, then give to the church.