Pray Together, October 6 – December 3 2020
Readings from 2 Corinthians
A Brief Introduction to 2 Corinthians
Quick recap: Corinth was a major cosmopolitan city known for idolatry and immorality. Paul had established the church, which was largely made up of gentiles, on his second missionary journey.
He had already written three letters to the Corinthians (two are now lost). In 1 Corinthians (the second of these letters) he used strong words to correct and teach and most of the church seem to have responded in the right spirit; however, there were those who were denying Paul’s authority and questioning his motives. Paul wrote this fourth letter from Macedonia between 55 and 57 AD, after he had visited Corinth for the second time, in order defend his ministry and authority and to refute the false teachers. From the introduction it seems that Timothy was a co-author.
It must have been a difficult letter to write as Paul had to list his credentials as an apostle. However, because of his love and concern for the Christians in Corinth, he felt it was important to tackle the issues head-on.
He starts by reminding readers of his relationship with them, his planned itinerary and his previous letter before moving directly to the subject of false teachers. He then devotes about half of the letter to –
- summarising his ministry among the Corinthians to demonstrate the validity of his message and
- urging and encouraging them not to turn away from the truth.
Next he addresses the issue of collecting money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem and he exhorts them to show their love by giving as others have done. After defending his authority, he concludes by expressing his concern for them but also by warning that he will take a tough line on those who “sinned earlier”.