"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter One OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To understand the source and proper use of our comfort 2) To appreciate the value of prayer in working with God, and in producing thanksgiving in others 3) To see what are proper grounds for "boasting" SUMMARY Paul is joined by Timothy as he begins this epistle with greetings to the church in Corinth, and to all the brethren in Achaia (1-2). A feature common in Paul's epistles is to start with a few words of praise and/or thanksgiving, and in this epistle he includes both. He first praises God for the comfort offered through Christ in the midst of tribulation, and expresses his confidence that both the sufferings and comfort he receives because of Christ can work to the benefit of the brethren at Corinth (3-7). He then informs them of the wonderful deliverance God provided in Asia (perhaps referring to the "Diana incident" in Acts 19:23-41), telling them their prayers were instrumental as well, and that this will lead many people to give thanks (8-11). Paul's first order of business after his salutation and thanksgiving is to offer a defense of his integrity. He begins with a profession of sincerity and simplicity, both in his conduct and his writing, and then reminds them that they will have good reason to "boast" in each other when Christ comes (12-14). Evidently his sincerity had come in question because Paul had made a change of plans concerning his visit to them. Therefore he explains that his change was not due to fickleness, but as God and His promises in Christ are trustworthy, so is Paul, for God has anointed and sealed him with the Holy Spirit (15-22). With God as his witness, Paul states that his change of plans was an effort to spare them. This is not to suggest Paul exercises some sort of domination over them, for he considers himself as a fellow worker for their joy (23-24) OUTLINE I. SALUTATION & THANKSGIVING (1-11) A. SALUTATION (1-2) 1. From Paul and Timothy (1a) 2. To the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints in Achaia (1b) 3. Grace and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2) B. THANKSGIVING (3-11) 1. For comfort in the midst of affliction (3-7) a. From the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (3) b. So that we may comfort others in their trouble (4) c. Which like the sufferings of Christ, our comfort abounds through Christ, and both work for our salvation (5-7) 2. For deliverance in Asia (8-11) a. Burdened beyond measure, Paul had despaired of life, and was left with only his trust in God (8-9) b. But with the help of their prayers, God delivered him from death, resulting in much thanksgiving (10-11) II. PAUL DEFENDS HIS INTEGRITY (12-24) A. HIS PROFESSION OF SINCERITY (12-14) 1. In good conscience he has conducted himself with simplicity and godly sincerity toward them, and continues to do so in his writing to them (12-13a) 2. He hopes they understand that they have reason to boast in each other when the Lord returns (13b-14) B. THE CHANGED PLAN (15-22) 1. His original plan was to visit them on his way to Macedonia, and to return on his way to Judea (15-16) 2. His planning was not done lightly (17-22) a. It was not done according to the flesh, in an unreliable manner (17) b. But as God is faithful, and the promises of God in Jesus are reliable, so were his words to them (18-20) c. Indeed, Paul (along with Silvanus and Timothy) has been... 1) Established with them in Christ and anointed by God (21) 2) Sealed by God, and given the Spirit in their hearts as a deposit (22) C. REASON FOR THE DELAYED VISIT (23-24) 1. To spare them, as God can confirm (23) 2. This is not to suggest an attitude of domination over them, for he views himself as one working for their joy, and he acknowledges that they stand on the basis of their faith (24)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) Who joins Paul in writing this epistle? (1) 3) What two groups of people does Paul address in his salutation (1) 4) How does Paul describe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? (3) 5) What is the proper use of comfort we receive from God? (4) 6) What two things abound in Christ? (5) 7) Where had Paul experienced some trouble? How serious was it? (8-9) 8) What had worked together with God in providing deliverance? What other effect did it have? (11) 9) In what could Paul "boast"? (12) 10) What could Paul and the brethren in Corinth look forward to boasting in when Christ comes again? (14) 11) What appears to be the reason Paul's integrity was in question? (15-17) 12) Paul professes that his word is as faithful as what two things? (18-20) 13) What assurances does Paul offer that he is faithful? (21-22) 14) Why had Paul changed his plans about coming to Corinth? (23)