Who Wrote 2 Corinthians in the Bible?
The Christian letter 2 Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul. Paul was writing to encourage the Christians in Corinth to submit their lives to God. He reminded them of God’s promises and the way they had comforted him. Paul was encouraged by the actions of the Corinthian Christians, who showed that they wanted to serve God and to care for Paul.
Paul’s appeal to Corinth’s Christians
Paul’s appeal to the Christians of Corinth is a rebuke of the opponents’ theology. This practical theology, which was probably based on personal beliefs about the nature of Christ, was reminiscent of the assumptions that underlay the philosophy of the Hellenistic “divine-men” and the Jewish exorcists. In fact, both Paul and his opponents had connections to these people.
The Christians in Corinth, like the hare in Aesop’s fable, had preconceived notions about their own spiritual and earthly prosperity. They thought that God had blessed them with special spiritual gifts. This false notion, however, led to a disastrous state of affairs in the Corinthian church.
Corinth was a city with a large population and an ancient history of commerce and culture. The majority of the people were Greek, but the city had Roman influences as well. Many people of the city had Roman names, like Gaius, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. The city was also a major commercial center, and there were a number of Phoenicians and Phrygians living in Corinth. Paul was aware of these influences and tried to create interest in Christ in every step of the way.
In his appeal to the Corinthians, Paul repeatedly stressed the need for faith. His readers had lost sight of Christ as their Savior and Lord, and their devotion to Christ was lacking. They missed out on the fact that only through union with Christ could they receive the rewards of the age to come, including spiritual gifts and honor.
The letter of Paul is a devotional address, in which the apostle is speaking to the Corinthians in the presence of God. Because he is addressing them in the presence of God, Paul is not a man-pleaser. His ministry, however, is to build the Corinthians up. As such, a rejection of Paul’s apostleship will be devastating to their spiritual lives.
The letter structures itself around two themes: grief over the loss of Titus’ mission and relief that Paul is not alone. After a presentation of his apostolic ministry, Paul makes a direct appeal to the Corinthians. He describes himself as the apostle of Christ and God’s agent to bring salvation to the Corinthians.
Paul’s defense of himself
In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul defends himself as an apostle. He has been facing many difficulties and questions from the Corinthians. The next challenge will come from his superiors in the church. In this letter, he explains that he does not want to be associated with false teachers.
As an apostle, Paul has been accused of being a fraud and a fake, but he does not indulge in this trait. Paul’s defense is a necessary part of the gospel message, and he uses the opportunity to set the record straight. Paul is forced to make this declaration, because he has faced many false accusations from those in the Corinthian church.
The first seven chapters of the book are written by Paul. In them, he expresses his gratitude to God and to the Corinthians. He also models the importance of transparency, attention to relationships, integrity, service, and reliance on God. Moreover, he exhorts the Corinthians to help the Christians in Jerusalem.
The second half of the letter deals with Paul’s response to the critics in Corinth. They accuse him of being a coward, even though he is bold when writing his letters, and mild when he is in person. He expresses disgust at the accusation of cowardice, and he tries to show that he is a Christian rather than a false apostle.
In Corinth, Paul’s credibility was threatened by false apostles who were using false testimony to manipulate the church’s thoughts. They posed as “angel of light,” “messenger of Christ,” and “servant of righteousness.” They attempted to discredit Paul’s message and undermine the integrity of his message. These false teachers were trying to destroy his credibility, which made it necessary for him to defend himself.
Moreover, he exposes the motives of his opponents. Despite his personal exploitation of the Corinthians, he is the servant of the church. His proclamation includes Jesus as Lord. Ultimately, Paul defines the apostolic nature of the church. Ultimately, his apostolic ministry is liberating. Paul’s apostolic ministry liberates the called minister from introspection and human judgment, and teaches him the fear of God.
One of the arguments against Paul is that his letters are strong but he is unimpressive in person. In 2 Corinthians, however, Paul warns the Corinthians not to test his boldness. Unlike false apostles, he will not trade boasts. His aim is to make them come to Christ through his ministry.
Paul will not claim to be inferior to the most important apostles. Rather, he will show them how he is superior to them. Throughout the letter, Paul makes use of primary sources to back up his claims. In this way, he makes it clear that he is superior.
Paul’s self-defense in 2 Corinthians is as revealing as it is admirable. The reader will be left wondering how he is capable of such lofty ambition. His ability to be a champion of Jesus Christ is no doubt an awe-inspiring attribute. However, he must be careful to make his boasts too grand to be true.
The final unit of the letter returns to the theme of apostle legitimacy. As an apostle to the Corinthians, Paul must prove himself to be worthy of their trust. He has already spoken about himself frequently in the body of the letter, so this appeal to the Corinthians is even more personal. This change of tone is understandable in more ways than one.