2 Corinthians | Bible Book Overview

Who? | Author & Audience

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth.

When? | Dates

Paul wrote this letter in approximately the Fall of 56 AD, only a few months after writing 1 Corinthians.

Where? | Setting

Paul wrote 2 Corinthians while traveling Macedonia revisiting churches he had established.

What & Why? | Outline & Purpose

  1. Clarification of Paul’s Ministry (2 Cor. 1-6)

  2. Repentance and Reconciliation of the Corinthians (2 Cor. 7)

  3. Encouragement, Management and Results of Generosity (2 Cor. 8-9)

  4. Paul’s Authority versus False Apostles (2 Cor. 10-12)

  5. Conclusion and Benediction (2 Cor. 13)

How? | Application

  • After writing the letter of 1 Corinthians, a strong appeal for the Corinthians to correct their immoral conduct, the Corinthians were swayed by false apostles to reject Paul, who later wrote to rebuke them. This letter of 2 Corinthians is in response to their repentance after having rejected him.

  • Reaffirms Paul’s authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

  • Teaches correct intentions and motives for serving Jesus Christ.

  • Teaches that obedience to Christ includes respecting and submitting to His messengers;

  • Teaches how to discern between true and false messengers of the Lord.

  • Teaches the importance of generous giving.


2 Corinthians is an incredibly autobiographical, personal, and harsh letter from Paul to the Corinthian church as he is traveling in Macedonia revisiting the churches he had established. After Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians to the Corinthian church, Paul made a second trip to Corinth. Some of the Corinthians rebelled against and rejected Paul, who then left Corinth discouraged, humiliated and sorrowful. Paul mentions another letter sent to the Corinthians between the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians that was disciplinary in nature regarding the rebellion and misconduct of the Corinthian church. After sending this letter with Titus to the church at Corinth, Paul later met back up with Titus who confirmed that most of the Corinthians were repentant but that some still opposed Paul.

His third letter, 2 Corinthians, was sent in response to Titus’ update and to prepare the Corinthians for Paul’s third visit to the church. He begins his letter in love and abruptly changes tone to an uncomfortable and harsh rebuke stressing the intention was to win their affection and devotion for Christ. He spends much of the letter defending his conduct, teaching correct motives for following Christ, stressing his example as a faithful servant, reminding about obedience to Christ, and driving home the importance of selfless giving and generosity.


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