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2 Corinthians Bible Companion
The Christian life can feel like taking one step forward, then two steps back. In 2 Corinthians, the church is challenged to “grow up” in Christ, and we are reminded of God’s unfailing grace, even in the face of sin and failure. These eight lessons from Dr. J. Vernon McGee will encourage you to keep walking forward in the right direction as you grow in your faith.
The author of the epistle is Paul. Paul had written First Corinthians from Ephesus where he had been engaged in a great ministry. He had written, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9). I believe that Paul had his greatest ministry in Asia Minor—Ephesus being the springboard and the sounding board for the gospel. I believe that the gospel covered that area in a manner that was probably more effective than it has ever been in any other place at any other time. That is what Paul meant—“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me.”
Because of that ministry, Paul just couldn’t leave and go over to Corinth. In Corinth was that baby church which he had started. That church was filled with carnal Christians. They acted like babies. They wanted Paul to come, because they wanted attention. They wanted food and they wanted a change of garments—I guess you could say they were all wet. They were crying as babies cry. Paul couldn’t come, and they were a little miffed and a little hurt by it. So Paul had written his first letter and had told them that he would be coming later.
Paul remained in Ephesus approximately three years. He didn’t get to Corinth, and the Corinthians were still disturbed. He had sent Titus to Corinth because he could not personally go there at that time. Timothy had been with Paul in Ephesus, and these two left Ephesus and proceeded to Troas to wait for Titus to bring word from Corinth (see 2 Cor. 2:12–13). When Titus did not come, Paul and Timothy went on to Philippi. It was there that Titus met them and brought Paul word about the Corinthians. He brought good news from Corinth—that the Corinthians were obeying the things that Paul had told them to do in his first answer to their questions; that is, in First Corinthians.
At Philippi Paul sat down to write this second epistle. The Corinthians still wanted the great apostle to come and be with them. However, any breach between Paul and the Corinthian church was healed. In this epistle Paul opens his heart in a very wonderful way. To tell the truth, Paul lets us come to know him better personally in this epistle than in any other letter.
Second Corinthians deals with conditions of the ministry within the church. (First Corinthians dealt with conditions and corrections in the church.)
(McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 45: 2 Corinthians. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.)