Survey of the Bible - II Corinthians
Text: II Corinthians 3:1-6
I. The second letter to the Corinthians is written a little over a year after the first letter.
A. Written about AD 56.
B. Because of events, this letter gives us more information into Paul’s character, his motivations, and his desires.
1. We learn about hardships not recorded in Acts - II Corinthians 11:23-27
2. Details about his escape from Damascus - II Corinthians 11:23-33
3. His vision - II Corinthians 12:1-7
4. His thorn in the flesh - II Corinthians 12:7-10
A. Paul had some difficulties in Asia, which is where Ephesus is located - II Corinthians 1:8-9
1. He is probably referring to the riots in Ephesus - Acts 19:21-20:1
B. Paul has left Ephesus, where he wrote the first letter and went to Troas - II Corinthians 2:12-13
1. Paul had hoped to find Titus in Troas, but not finding him went to Macedonia
C. From there he journeyed on to Macedonia - II Corinthians 7:5-7; 9:2-4
1. Titus probably is the one who had delivered the first letter to Corinth and Paul was likely anxious to hear how the letter was received
2. It is II Corinthians 9:2 that leads us to believe Paul has been in Macedonia for a year
D. Several times Paul mentions that he has been in Corinth twice and this next visit will be his third - II Corinthians 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-2
1. Some take II Corinthians 2:1 as a hint that his last visit was unpleasant, but a better view is that he is saying he doesn’t want an unpleasant time when he comes again.
2. Some speculate that Paul made a brief visit between the first and second letter
a. But Paul explains why he wasn’t able to stop in Corinth as he had planned - II Corinthians 1:15-17
b. A better explanation is that Paul had a second visit to Corinth prior to the first letter being written
E. Since the first letter
1. Timothy was expected to visit Corinth, but we don’t know if that visit took place - I Corinthians 16:10-11
2. The man who was committing fornication was withdrawn from - I Corinthians 5:1-5; II Corinthians 2:6
3. Titus has visited Corinth and has since reported to Paul - - II Corinthians 7:13-16
a. Progress has been made in Corinth
4. Paul sent Titus, along with two other brethren, back to Corinth - II Corinthians 8:16-24
a. Notice that Titus had volunteered to go.
b. Likely Titus carried II Corinthians to the church.
F. Paul eventually does get to Corinth and stays with Gaius - Acts 20:3-6
1. It is from here that he wrote Romans - Romans 16:23
A. Greetings - II Corinthians 1:1-2
B. The Past - Paul’s joy and afflictions - II Corinthians 1-7
1. Paul’s comfort in affliction - II Corinthians 1:3-11
2. Paul’s change in travel plans - II Corinthians 1:12-2:13
3. Paul’s service - II Corinthians - II Corinthians 2:14-7:4
4. Paul’s affliction in Macedonia and his comfort from Titus - II Corinthians 7:5-16
C. The Present - The collection for the saints - II Corinthians 8-9
1. The Macedonians’ gift - II Corinthians 8:1-9
2. The Corinthians’ gift - II Corinthians 8:10-15
3. Delivery of the gift - II Corinthians 8:16-24
4. The impact of the gift - II Corinthians 9
D. The Future - II Corinthians 10-13
1. Paul’s defense against detractors - II Corinthians 10:1-12:13
a. Paul’s authority - II Corinthians 10
b. Differences between true and false apostles - II Corinthians 11:1-15
c. Paul’s boasting
(1) His suffering - II Corinthians 11:16-33
(2) His visions - II Corinthians 12:1-6
(3) His Lord - II Corinthians 12:7-10
d. Signs of a true apostle - II Corinthians 12:11-13
2. Paul’s next visit - II Corinthians 12:14-13:10
E. Benedictions - II Corinthians 13:11-14
IV. More on Paul’s writing style
A. We’ve mentioned that Paul uses the Hebrews poetic style of chiasmus extensively even though he was writing in the Greek language.
1. A chiasmus is when ideas are nested like Russian dolls one inside the other.
2. Realizing this explains why there are so many seeming repeats in Paul’s writings
B. Example from II Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord
the Father of mercies
and God of all comfort,
us in all our affliction
so that we will be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction
with the comfort with which we are
comforted ourselves by God.
For just as abounds the sufferings
so through Christ
also abounds our comfort.