2 Corinthians

Paul of Tarsus or Paul the ApostleThe Second Epistle to the Corinthians, commonly referred to as Second Corinthians or in writing 2 Corinthians, is a Pauline epistle of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The epistle is attributed to Paul the Apostle and a co-author named Timothy, and is addressed to the church in Corinth and Christians in the surrounding province of Achaea, in modern-day Greece.

While there is little doubt among scholars that Paul is the author, there is discussion over whether the Epistle was originally one letter or composed from two or more of Paul's letters.

Although the New Testament contains only two letters to the Corinthian church, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four and the church replied at least once:

  1. 1 Corinthians 5:9 ("I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators", KJV) refers to an early letter, sometimes called the "warning letter" or the "previous letter."
  2. 1 Corinthians
  3. The Severe Letter: Paul refers to an earlier "letter of tears" in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 and 7:8. 1 Corinthians does not match that description, so this "letter of tears" may have been written between 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.
  4. 2 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 7:1 states that in that letter Paul was replying to certain questions regarding which the church had written to him.

The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10-13 has led many to infer that chapters 10-13 form part of the "letter of tears" which were in some way appended to Paul's main letter. Those who disagree with this assessment usually say that the "letter of tears" is no longer extant. Others argue that although the letter of tears is no longer extant, chapters 10-13 come from a later letter.

The seemingly sudden change of subject from chapter 7 to chapters 8-9 leads some scholars to conclude that chapters 8-9 were originally a separate letter, and some even consider the two chapters to have originally been distinct themselves. Other scholars dispute this claim, however.

Some scholars also find fragments of the "warning letter", or of other letters, in chapters 1-9, for instance that part of the "warning letter" is preserved in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, but these hypotheses are less popular.

View the Chapters of 2 Corinthians:
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