II Corinthians



Place and Time of Writing


Literary Character






Opening II Corinthians Up

Before we move on, let me briefly discuss people in Paul’s life.  We have discussed some of these already,  and others we will discuss in future lessons:


Why did Paul write the letter?

Paul wrote I Corinthians to address problems with the Christians in Corinth.  From that letter we can see that Paul was very concerned with their problems and with their spiritual state.  After writing that letter he apparently made a second visit, which was unpleasant.  We know this from his reference to a third trip in the first part of 12:14:  “Now I am ready to visit you for a third time.”  After that Titus visited the Corinthian Christians and realized that they had changed and were accepting of Paul’s authority.  Titus finds Paul in Macedonia and informs him of the change of heart in the Corinthian Christians.  Paul then writes this letter in which he focuses on several personal matters and encourages them to make a collection of money for the Jerusalem Christians.


Paul describes those who were against him and defends his Apostleship

Who were they? 

Paul’s defense on his authority as an Apostle


The longest discussion of the principles and practice of giving in the NT

Note:  when Christians give money to God it is called a “tithe.”

    Paul collected money from the Christians in Macedonia for the relief of Christians in Jerusalem, and he wanted to continue that in Corinth.  He collected money from them in the past and wanted to continue that practice.

He planned to make a third trip to visit them, and he expected to collect the money so he could send it to Jerusalem.  This part of the letter was preparation for that collection.

    In addition, Paul describes the attitude that each Christian should have toward giving to God:


Outline of II Corinthians



1:1-2:  Greetings

1:3-3:6:  Paul describes his reasons for writing the first letter and in not visiting a third time immediately.  (He had visited a second time but it was unpleasant)

3:7-7:16:  Paul describes his ministry; or another way of looking at it, Paul describes why he does what he does

chapters 8 & 9:  Paul encourages them to make a collection of money for the Christians in Jerusalem.

10-12:14:  Paul defends is authority as an Apostle

12:14-13:10:  Paul informs them of his upcoming third trip now that they will welcome him

13:11-14:  Closing remarks


Readings from II Corinthians


The long-term view of the Christian (4:16-18):  “Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix out eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”


How one should view oneself (10:17, 18):  “But, ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”


Final remarks (13:11-14):  “Finally, brothers, good-by.  Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints send their greetings.  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”


Timeline so far      Additions are boldfaced     All dates are approximate



Rome Empire conquered Israel without fighting


Julius Caesar assassinated by Brutus, Cassius, and others.  Mark Antony tries to seize power, and he and Octavian (Caesar’s nephew) fight for power.


The Roman Empire made Herod the Great king of Israel


Antony married Cleopatra in Egypt


Octavian’s forces defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces; they committed suicide the next year.


Octavian is given name of Augustus, becomes Augustus Caesar.  This is the beginning of Pax Romana

4 BC

Jesus born

4 BC

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt because Herod the Great wanted to kill Jesus

4 BC

Herod the Great died

4 BC

After Herod the Great died, the kingdom of the Jews was divided and given to Herod’s three sons:

  • The northern part, north of Nazareth, went to Philip.

  • The middle part called Galilee, north of Jerusalem but where Nazareth was located, went to Herod Antipas.  (He is referred to as “Herod” in the Gospels and so this can be confusing.)

  • The southern part called Judea, where Jerusalem and Bethlehem was located, went to Herod Archelaus. 


All years after this point are AD



Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth instead of moving to Bethlehem


Archelaus was removed from power because he was so brutal

6 and after

The Romans did not choose another of Herod’s descendants to control Judea (southern Israel) but instead appointed Roman governors


Jesus lost in Jerusalem at age 12; Joseph and Mary found him in the Temple; possible Bar Mitzvah


Jesus probably worked as a carpenter


The Roman governor in charge of southern Israel was Pilate


Jesus baptized by John the Baptist


Jesus traveled in Israel and preached, taught, and performed miracles


1.  Jesus was crucified under the Roman governor Pilate, raises from the dead three days later and ascends out of sight about a month-and-a-half later

2.  The Apostles return to Jerusalem and pick a replacement for Judas

3.  Day of Pentecost

4.  Over 3000 people become Christian

5.  Christianity spreads outside of Israel


Peter was the leader of the Christian movement


Paul became a Christian


Paul went on his First Missionary Trip


Council of Jerusalem


We do not know what John did during this time period


Paul went on his Second Missionary Trip


Nero was Roman emperor


Paul went on his Third Missionary Trip


Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans


Paul wrote I & II Corinthians


Paul arrested in Jerusalem and taken to Rome


Paul released from prison and travelled; he may have gone to Spain


Fire in Rome.  The emperor Nero blamed, persecuted, and killed many Christians.  This was the first Roman persecution of Christians. 


1.  Paul back in Rome

2.  Peter and Paul martyred around this year in Rome


Some of the Jews got tired of the Roman rule and killed many Roman soldiers.  They thus took back the land of Israel for the Jews.


The Romans counter-attacked.  The Romans lost one battle, but won the war.


Mark written around this year


The Romans captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple. 


Matthew and Luke written around this year


Domitian is Roman emperor


John and Acts written around this year


1.  Persecution of Christians

2.  John was placed on the island of Patmos as a prisoner of Domitian


1.  Domitian died

2.  John was probably released from Patmos; he probably traveled to Ephesus where he stayed for the rest of his life


John died


First listing of the 27 books in a letter written by an Egyptian bishop


Two councils “closed” the NT canon to those 27 books


NT divided into chapters


NT divided into verses



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