This is the most personal and revealing of Paul’s NT letters. In it he opens his heart to the believers of Corinth, many of whom are still critical of him. But he must share openly to communicate the attitudes and principles which are at the heart of Christian ministry. This is a vital letter for all who seek to serve and build others.
Date and Author. The letter was written by Paul to the believers at Corinth. They have his first letter. A report of the church’s reaction to the letter of A.D. 57 has stimulated this follow-up letter, written from Macedonia in A.D. 58.
Background. Paul’s first letter dealt graciously but bluntly with issues tearing at the unity of the Christian community in Corinth. In general the response to his letter was heartening. But there were still pockets of hardness and antagonism. In this warm letter, Paul wants to communicate his love to those who were hurt by what seemed to them the harsh tone of the earlier letter, and also to warn those who still rebel against his authority. In the process, Paul gives us all a clear picture of the principles on which his, and all spiritually effective ministry under Christ’s new covenant, is based.
Structure and Outline. Paul’s thoughts are organized around the principles of ministry on which he was operated for so many years.
Values. This NT book is exceptionally important. It opens our eyes to the nature of Christian ministry and shows us how to minister. It also teaches us vital truths about the transformation we experience under the new covenant, and about the way that spiritual authority is to be exercised in the church of Jesus Christ.