Introduction To The Second Episptle Of Paul To The Corinthians
This was actually Paul's third letter to the Corinthian (see note 1 at Ac 18:1) believers. However, this is only the second letter of which we still have a copy (see Life for Today Study Bible Notes, Introduction to 1 Corinthians). Paul wrote 2 Corinthians during his third missionary journey (see note 2 at Ac 18:23), probably from Macedonia (see note 1 at Ac 16:9). Paul mentioned in 2Co 2:12-13 that he had already left Ephesus and traveled through Troas into Macedonia. In 2Co 7:5, he again mentioned being in Macedonia.
It was while Paul was in Macedonia that he met up with Titus. Titus had been to Corinth, and he brought Paul word about how the Corinthians had received his previous letter (2Co 7:6-8). Perhaps Titus was the messenger Paul used to carry that letter. In 2Co 8:6 and 16-17, Paul revealed that he had commissioned Titus to minister to the Corinthians about giving.
Paul believed that this letter was needed for several reasons. First, he used this letter to explain his delay in returning to them as he had promised in 1Co 16:5-9. He didn't want to come to them until all differences were reconciled (2Co 1:23-2:3), and that wasn't complete yet. He wanted the Corinthians to forgive and restore the brother whom Paul said in 1Co 5 to turn over to Satan (2Co 2:5-11).
Paul also defended his apostleship to these Corinthians again (2Co 3:1-3; 4:1-15; 10:10-14; 11:4-6, 13-15; and 13:3). Last, Paul wanted to give further instruction about the collection that was being taken for the poor saints at Jerusalem, lest the Corinthians be embarrassed (2Co 9:1-11).
Having founded the Corinthian church during his second missionary journey, Paul and the Corinthians had frequent contacts thereafter because of problems in the church (see Life for Today Study Bible Notes, Introduction to 1 Corinthians). The following is the sequence of these contacts and the setting for writing 2 Corinthians: (1) After some initial contacts and correspondence with the church, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. (2) Paul made a trip across the Aegean Sea to Corinth to deal with further problems in the church. This visit was a painful one (2Co 2:1-2). (3) After his visit, reports reached Paul that antagonists were still attacking his apostolic authority at Corinth, almost persuading a portion of the church to reject him. (4) In response (along with the reasons listed above), Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia. (5) Paul soon traveled to Corinth again (2Co 13:1), where he stayed for about three months (Ac 20:1-3).
Paul was clearly the author of this letter to the Corinthians, as he identified himself twice by name (2Co 1:1 and 10:1). Unger states, "Evidence that Paul is the writer and that the letter is genuine is strong. Polycarp, Irenaeus, Theophilus of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Marcion and the Muratorian Canon all testify of Pauline Authorship" (Unger's Bible Handbook). A brief history of Paul's life can be found in note 1 at Ac 9:1. Numerous notes about the Apostle Paul are scattered throughout the book of Acts (e.g., further information about his conversion - note 4 at Ac 22:6, note 5 at Ac 22:8, note 6 at Ac 22:9, note 7 at Ac 22:11, and notes 8-9 at Ac 22:13; his life and death - note 1 at Ac 28:30).
The Recipients Of The Book Of 2 Corinthians
Corinth was a Greek metropolis that was morally corrupt and notoriously sensual (see Life for Today Study Bible Notes, Introduction to 1 Corinthians, Background; see note 1 at Ac 18:1). At the time of this writing, there were three categories of people in the church at Corinth: the majority who remained faithful to Paul as their spiritual father, the false apostles who tried to undermine Paul's authority and distort his message, and the minority who were being influenced by the false apostles and were resisting Paul's authority.
Date And Place Of Writing
Ac 18:1-17 speaks of the establishment of the Corinthian church by Paul. The letter of 1 Corinthians was written before the completion of his third missionary trip and after his second (see note 1 at Ac 18:22 and note 2 at Ac 18:23). From an examination of 1Co 16:1-11; 2Co 2:13, and 7:5, we conclude that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (1Co 16:8) sometime before Pentecost and that 2 Corinthians was written not many months later from Macedonia (2Co 2:13 and 7:5), probably around A.D. 57 or the spring of A.D. 58.