The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 38 of 185
Index | Zoom
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
1: 1 - 13.
pp. 41 - 47
In the introduction to the first epistle we pointed out that the Corinthian letters were
the most personal of all Paul's writings. Especially is this true of the second epistle
where we find a deeper revelation of Paul the man than anywhere else.  W. R. Inge
writes: "Of all the epistles, the second to the Corinthians is one which contains the most
intimate self-revelations, and few can read it without loving as well as honouring the
author". It has been called `the most letter-like of all the letters of Paul', yet it is difficult
to interpret, largely owing to the fact that we can only ascertain its background
approximately. In order to bring this before the reader, we think it wise to quote from the
study we gave in The Berean Expositor, Volume XLV, pp 4 and 5:
"Both external and internal evidences point strongly to the Pauline authorship of the
letter. Clement of Rome wrote an epistle to the church at Corinth about 95A.D. and
refers I Corinthians to `the blessed Paul, the Apostle'. This is the earliest instance of the
quotation of a N.T. writer identified by name. Other external evidence is provided by
Ignatius and Polycarp. The characteristics of style, vocabulary and content harmonize
with what is known of Paul and Corinth.
The Apostle wrote the letter from Ephesus and the date many conservative scholars
give is 55A.D., though 100: K. Barrett suggests early 54 or the end of 53. It will be helpful
to reconstruct the background to the writing of the Corinthian epistles, derived from the
Acts and from the epistles themselves. Some of these points may be debated and there is
no unanimity among Bible scholars here, but we believe the following will not be far
from the true facts.
We have already mentioned Paul's visit to Corinth described in the Acts and referred
to in I Cor. 2: 1. After this visit he wrote them a letter which has not been preserved
(5: 9). We need have no concern that any part of inspired Scripture has been lost. The
Apostle must have written letters which do not form part of Holy Scripture and this is one
of them. Disturbing news came from believers in contact with the Corinthian assembly
and also a communication from them requesting information on certain problems. In
order to meet these needs Paul wrote I Corinthians.  Apparently this did not solve all
the difficulties, and in consequence Paul was forced to pay them a hurried painful visit
(II Cor. 2: 1; 12: 14; 13: 1, 2). Following this the Apostle wrote them a third letter of
very severe character (II Cor. 2: 4). His anxiety for the church there concerning their
condition and also how they would receive this severe epistle was so great that he could
not wait in Troas for Titus, the bearer of the severe letter, but hurried on to Macedonia
where he met him and learned with great relief that the letter had produced the needed
results and all was well. From Macedonia Paul then wrote the canonical II Corinthians
(II Cor. 2: 13; 7: 5-16).  After this he paid his last visit to the Corinthian church
(Acts 20: 1-4).
Some modern scholars hold that the `severe letter' is contained in II Corinthians and
that this epistle is not a unified work. They claim that 6: 14 - 7: 1 is an interpolation,
because it breaks the sequence of thought, that chapter 9: largely duplicates what is in