Place Written: Macedonia
Writing Completed: c. 55 C.E.
About 55 C.E., Paul wrote his first inspired letter to the Corinthians. He then sent Titus to Corinth to assist in the collection of relief funds in behalf of the holy ones in Judea. Paul may have been anxious to hear Titus’ observations about how the Corinthians were responding to the letter. (2Co 2:13; 8:1-6; 12:17, 18) Titus returned to Paul in Macedonia with a good report, and the apostle’s heart was filled to overflowing with love for his fellow believers. So just a few months after writing the first inspired letter, he now writes the second letter to the Corinthians. (2Co 6:11; 7:5-7) He commends them for accepting the counsel in his previous letter.—2Co 7:8-12.
Among the many topics that Paul discusses in his second letter are reminders that God comforts his people (2Co 1:3, 4), qualifies them to be ministers of a new covenant (2Co 2:16, 17; 3:5, 6), and gives them power for the ministry (2Co 4:1, 7-18). Paul also stresses that true Christians must remain spiritually, morally, and physically clean (2Co 7:1) and that God’s servants benefit from being generous.—2Co 9:6, 7.
One serious concern that moved Paul to write to the Corinthians again was the presence of those whom Paul calls “superfine apostles.” He also describes such men as “false apostles, deceitful workers.” (2Co 11:5, 13, 14) The spiritual welfare of the comparatively young congregation was in jeopardy, and Paul’s authority as an apostle was under attack. (2Co 12:11, 12) His second inspired letter to the Corinthians thus filled a great need.
As he did in many of his other letters, Paul fortified his arguments by use of the Hebrew Scriptures. For example, he showed what has always been God’s attitude regarding spiritual cleanness by quoting from or alluding to such scriptures as Le 26:11, 12; 2Sa 7:14; Isa 43:6; 52:11; and Ho 1:10. (2Co 6:14-18) He showed that God’s servants in the past had not overlooked the matter of material giving and that Jehovah is pleased with his servants who show generosity. (Ps 112:9; 2Co 9:9) Paul also referred to the principle in the Law that required the testimony of two or three witnesses to establish every matter, and he showed that the same principle applies in the Christian congregation. (De 19:15; 2Co 13:1) These and other references to the Hebrew Scriptures may expand our understanding of those verses and help us to see how best to apply the underlying principles.
There is no doubt that 2 Corinthians, along with 1 Corinthians and the other letters written by Paul, is an authentic part of the Bible canon.—See “Introduction to 1 Corinthians.”