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The Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians, often written as 2 Corinthians, is a Pauline epistle
Pauline epistle
and the eighth book of the New Testament
New Testament
of the Bible. Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle
and "Timothy our brother" wrote this epistle to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia".[2Cor.1:1]

Contents

1 Composition 2 Structure 3 Background 4 Content 5 Uniqueness 6 Scholars 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Composition[edit] While there is little doubt among scholars that Paul is the author, there is discussion over whether the Epistle
Epistle
was originally one letter or composed from two or more of Paul's letters.[1]:8 Although the New Testament
New Testament
contains only two letters to the Corinthian church, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four and the church replied at least once:

1 Cor 5:9 ("I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people", NIV) refers to an early letter, sometimes called the "warning letter"[2] or the "previous letter." 1 Corinthians The Severe Letter: Paul refers to an earlier "letter of tears" in 2 Corinthians 2:3–4 and 7:8. 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians
does not match that description, so this "letter of tears" may have been written between 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians

1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians
7:1 states that in that letter Paul was replying to certain questions regarding which the church had written to him. The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10–13 has led many to speculate that chapters 10–13 form part of the "letter of tears" which were in some way tagged on to Paul's main letter.[3] Those who disagree with this assessment usually say that the "letter of tears" is no longer extant.[4] Others argue that although the letter of tears is no longer extant, chapters 10-13 come from a later letter.[5] Some scholars also find fragments of the "warning letter", or of other letters, in chapters 1–9,[6] for instance that part of the "warning letter" is preserved in 2 Cor 6:14–7:1,[3] but these hypotheses are less popular.[7] Structure[edit]

The first page of II Corinthians from a 1486 Latin Bible
Bible
(Bodleian Library).

The book is usually divided as follows:[4]

1:1–11 – Greeting 1:12 – 7:16 – Paul defends his actions and apostleship, affirming his affection for the Corinthians. 8:1 – 9:15 – Instructions for the collection for the poor in the Jerusalem
Jerusalem
church. 10:1 – 13:10 – A polemic defense of his apostleship 13:11–13 – Closing greetings

Background[edit] Paul's contacts with the Corinthian church can be reconstructed as follows:[4]

Paul visits Corinth
Corinth
for the first time, spending about 18 months there (Acts 18:11). He then leaves Corinth
Corinth
and spends about 3 years in Ephesus
Ephesus
(Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). (Roughly from AD 53 to 57, see 1 Corinthians article). Paul writes the "warning letter" in his first year from Ephesus
Ephesus
(1 Corinthians 5:9). Paul writes 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians
from his second year at Ephesus. Paul visits the Corinthian church a second time, as he indicated he would in 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians
16:6. Probably during his last year in Ephesus. 2 Corinthians 2:1 calls this a "painful visit". Paul writes the "letter of tears". Paul writes 2 Corinthians, indicating his desire to visit the Corinthian church a third time (2 Cor 12:14, 2 Cor 13:1). The letter does not indicate where he is writing from, but it is usually dated after Paul left Ephesus
Ephesus
for Macedonia (Acts 20), from either Philippi or Thessalonica
Thessalonica
in Macedonia.[8] Paul presumably made the third visit after writing 2 Corinthians, because Acts 20:2–3 indicates he spent 3 months in Greece. In his letter to Rome, written at this time, he sent salutations from some of the principal members of the church to the Romans.[8]

Content[edit] In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, he again refers to himself as an apostle of Christ
Christ
Jesus
Jesus
by the will of God and reassures the people of Corinth
Corinth
that they will not have another painful visit, but what he has to say is not to cause pain but to reassure them of the love he has for them. It is shorter in length in comparison to the first and a little confusing if the reader is unaware of the social, religious, and economic situation of the community. Paul felt the situation in Corinth
Corinth
was still complicated and felt attacked. Some challenged his authority as an apostle, and he compares the level of difficulty to other cities he has visited who had embraced it, like the Galatians. He is criticized for the way he speaks and writes and finds it just to defend himself with some of his important teachings. He states the importance of forgiving others, and God’s new agreement that comes from the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), and the importance of being a person of Christ
Christ
and giving generously to God’s people in Jerusalem, and ends with his own experience of how God changed his life (Sandmel, 1979). Uniqueness[edit] Easton's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
writes,

This epistle, it has been well said, shows the individuality of the apostle more than any other. "Human weakness, spiritual strength, the deepest tenderness of affection, wounded feeling, sternness, irony, rebuke, impassioned self-vindication, humility, a just self-respect, zeal for the welfare of the weak and suffering, as well as for the progress of the church of Christ
Christ
and for the spiritual advancement of its members, are all displayed in turn in the course of his appeal." —Lias, Second Corinthians.[8]

Scholars[edit]

George H. Guthrie – professor at Union University
Union University
in Jackson, Tennessee Larry Welborn – Professor at Fordham University
Fordham University
in The Bronx, New York

See also[edit]

Textual variants in the Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians First Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians Third Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians 2 Corinthians 11:19 Authorship of the Pauline Epistles Come-outer

References[edit]

^ Harris, Murray J. (2005). The Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-7126-8.  ^ 1 Cor. 5:9 ^ a b THE SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, from "An Introduction to the New Testament" by Edgar J. Goodspeed, 1937 ^ a b c 2 Corinthians: Introduction, Argument, and Outline, by Daniel Wallace at bible.org ^ B. J. Oropeza, Exploring Second Corinthians: Death and Life, Hardship and Rivalry (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 2-15; Victor Paul Furnish, II Corinthians (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984). ^ New Testament
New Testament
Letter Structure, from Catholic Resources by Felix Just, S.J. ^ "An Introduction to the Bible", by John Drane (Lion, 1990), p.654 ^ a b c Corinthians, Second Epistle
Epistle
to the, in Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: 2 Corinthians

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians

 "Corinthians, Epistles
Epistles
to the". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 150–154. 

Online translations of Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians:

Online Bible
Bible
at GospelHall.org 2 Corinthians public domain audiobook at LibriVox
LibriVox
Various versions

Commentary articles by J. P. Meyer on Second Corinthians, by chapter: 1–2, 3, 4:1–6:10,

6:11–7:16, 8–9, 10–13

Second Epistle
Epistle
to the Corinthians Pauline Epistle

Preceded by First Corinthians New Testament Books of the Bible Succeeded by Galatians

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