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 Book of 2 Corinthians Introduction

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PostSubject: Book of 2 Corinthians Introduction   Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:24 am


Introduction:

Poised in Macedonia, about to travel to Corinth for a third visit, Paul prepared for his coming by sending this letter. The name of the writer and its recipients followed by a greeting conforms to the usual style of letter writing in the first century (cf. Act_23:26).

Salutation and description of writer and readers:

Though Paul’s description of himself as an Apostle was not unusual in a letter it was more controversial than this one. A defense of the fact that he was an apostle of Christ Jesus occupied the heart of this letter. Unlike the false apostles who opposed him in Corinth, Paul was sent by Christ Jesus (Act_9:15). Not a station of his own choosing, apostleship was pressed on him by God (Act_22:14).

One of Paul’s much-loved associates in the ministry was Timothy. He is also mentioned in the opening verses of other epistles: Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Timothy joined him near the beginning of the second journey (Act_16:1-3) and proved to be an invaluable colleague (cf. Php_2:19-22). Timothy also had experience ministering at Corinth (Act_18:5; cf. 1Co_16:10-11; 2Co_1:19), so his association with Paul in the greeting was more than a formality. Though Timothy was a protege of Paul, the apostle considered him a brother (as also in Col. and Phile.).

While there was room for concern about the immediate destiny of the church of God in Corinth (cf. 2Co_11:3), Paul was confident that those who composed it belonged to God (cf. Act_18:10) and no power could wrest them from Him (Rom_8:38-39). This was true not only of the Corinthians, of course, but also of all Christians living in the region surrounding the capital of Achaia. They too were saints, set apart by God for service to Him, but they were not immune to the controversy in Corinth or its consequences. Second Corinthians is written to the assembly that was founded on Paul’s first visit to that city. Since his departure and subsequent ministry in Ephesus, the apostle has learned a great deal about the serious problems fermenting in this assembly. Problems with worldliness, internal wrangling and doctrinal defections continue to fester in spite of Paul’s efforts in the first epistle.

In this letter to the church at Corinth, we will see Paul trying to prove to these people his right of apostleship. There were some in this church at Corinth who believed Paul did not have this right. Paul says more about himself and his ministry in this letter, than he does in all of the others. Some people today would call this Paul's testimony.

The main lesson that we can find in this for ourselves, is that ministering carries with it a great deal of suffering. This suffering takes many forms, the greatest of which is not being believed by fellow ministers. Paul's intentions are questioned, and he answered them. In this book, we will see a list of many of the things that Paul suffered to be able to minister. His afflictions were many and not just from the world, but from within the church, as well. In this book, we can see that there were times of joy with Paul, but there were also times of great sorrow. They were mingled together like seasoning on a food dish, some salt, some pepper.
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