Second Corinthians


Paul's concerns for the Corinthian church were both eased and intensified. To the majority of the church his letter was well received. But there was still a minority that rejected his epistle and his authority. Hence, in this epistle he proceeds to make some of the strongest claims to his authority in all of his letters. Although he received word from Titus that all was now going well in the church, he was troubled and affected by this unsubmissive minority.

1. What is the main ingredient that makes up a disciple?


If they thought Paul's first "official" epistle was harsh toward them, his second made it seem very gentle. He states several times that he wanted to be gentle with them and not bring a rod of iron.

2. To further support his apostolic claims, he recites the price that he's had to pay. These included what? (11:23-29)

















Paul's previous letter gave stern instructions about the incestuous man. We are not told whether this man repented as a result of the church discipline. But a small group of people there were indignant that Paul spoke so strongly to them. To them the issue was no longer what to do with this immoral man, but a question over their right to express their Christianity without outside interference. When Paul heard about this, he probably sent a severe letter in which he gave the basis for his instructions about church discipline, and his apostolic right to supervise them. This possible letter is not extant (available today). The reception of this severe letter had its desired affect. It produced godly repentance in the church that they had entertained such foolish rebellion. Some had now gone to the extreme of ostracising these dissenters. Paul now encourages the church to forgive those dissenters (those that had grumbled about Paul "interfering") who had repented. He says that if there is unforgiveness, the devil will take advantage of this- because we are not ignorant of his schemes or devices.


Second Corinthians 3

". . . who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

2 Corinthians 3:6

Thank God that Christianity is not made up of rules and regulations! To be sure, there is discipline in Christianity, governed by the commands of God, but our obedience to them is motivated by our love for Him. It's not the regulations or laws of God that gives life, it's the spirit of God (who gives us these guide-lines) that gives us life.

When we look at the Law of God, our first response should be wholehearted obedience to it. However, we should look to the 'Spirit' not the Law to find out what the heart of God really is saying. If we blindly apply the Law of God strictly we can miss it's real intention. Jesus Christ challenged the legalistic scribes and Pharisees head-on when He forcible presented the 'spirit' of the Law.

3. Can you think of any such reference or instances?


Paul goes on to compare the difference between the 'Spirit' and the 'letter' of Law. He says that the letter of the Law is the ministry of death but was still very glorious. When Moses received that Law he had to veil his face because of the glory. But this glory didn't last. In verse eight he asks how much greater the ministry of the spirit will be.

4. In verse 14, how does Paul describe the unsaved?


5. Where is this? (verse 15).


6. How is it removed? (verse 16).


7. Now that we have done this, what is the Spirit of God doing with us? (vs. 18)



Many in the Corinthian church were sliding back into their old ways. They were growing weary their walk with the Lord. He addresses this by showing them that what they were going through wasn't something that was natural. What they were going through was intense spiritual bombardment from the enemy's powers of darkness.

8. Who hinders men from coming to Christ? (verse 4)


9. But what is God able to do? (verse 6)


10. How can God do this? (Rom.10:9-10; 2 Cor.3:16).


Behind the scenes of every Christian group and in every Christian's life, there is a battle. This unseen war is very real. The god of this age is working vigorously to destroy the work of God. But he is no match for a blood-washed believer who stands in the Name of the Lord. Paul says that he doesn't even bother to worry about spiritual attacks and their affects on the seen realm, but instead knows that something far greater and longer lasting is happening in the unseen realms:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Second Corinthians 5

"now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ behalf, be reconciled to God."

2 Corinthians 5:20

This chapter is a must for all soul-winners to be familiar with. The greatest threat that the modern day church faces is found in this passage. Such terms as the terror of the Lord are unfamiliar today. But where there is no understanding of the dire eternal consequences of life here on earth, there will be no sincere evangelism. "Be reconciled to nature, the environment, the first inhabitants, our foreign neighbours, anyone but God!", seems to be the prevailing message today. When we fail to evangelise, we lose the war. While some churches grow, the majority are in decline. Any wonder when one leading churchmen defined evangelism as the church's message of morals and ethics to the world! When was the last time you led a person to Christ? Do you care if those around you never hear about Jesus? Does it trouble you that the majority of people in the city you now live in, according to Jesus Christ, are going to perish in hell for eternity? Does it concern you that people in the world look at a Christian openly sinning and reassure themselves that Jesus Christ couldn't possibly make a difference in their lives' either?

11. What does 2 Corinthians 5:7 mean?


12. If a believer was to be 'absent from his body' (die) where would he go? (vs 8)


13. Knowing the uncertainty of just when this will be, how does Paul say we should? (verse 9)


14. When we do die, what will happen to us believers and to everyone else who dies? (verse 10)


15. How should this thought make us act? (verse 11)


16. What appears to be the key word in the remaining part of this chapter?


17. What status do believers now hold? (verse 20)


18. When is the best time to become a Christian? (2 Cor.6:2)



Second Corinthians 6

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness."

2 Corinthians 6:14

"But King Solomon loved many foreign woman, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittitas - from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel. "You shall not inter-marry with them, nor they with you. For surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart o his father David."

1 Kings 11:1-2, 4

Bad company certainly does corrupt good morals and good character (1 Cor.15:33). This is no more evident than in relationships. "Boyfriend/Girlfriend" relationships are of the world, not of God. God's purpose is for man and woman to be united equally in marriage. 'Courting' is the process before this event.

Therefore when a person gets saved who has an unsaved boy/girlfriend, they should swiftly break the relationship. Check First Corinthians seven. Many have refused to do this finding it eventually become a snare (trap) to them in their walk with God. Remember if Solomon, one of the wisest men ever, could be sucked in by being unequally yoked, so could you!


Paul rejoices in this chapter over the affect of his previous epistle to them.

19. What was the outcome of this letter? (verse 9)



Second Corinthians 9

"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver."

2 Corinthians 9:7

20. What's the promise in verse six?


Nearly twelve months prior to Paul writing this letter, the Corinthians had agreed to send money to famine-stricken poor of Jerusalem. Paul had boasted about this during his travels, even to the super-generous church of Philippi in Macedonia. But he realised that the Corinthians had done nothing about this. In chapter eight he stirs them about how well the other churches had given because they heard of what the Corinthians had planned to do. In chapter nine he lays down some of the clearest principles for giving in the word of God.


Paul again states that the Corinthians were unwittingly involved in serious spiritual warfare. This warfare was not waging somewhere in the heavenlies. This warfare was more serious. According to Paul it was waging in their thoughts. The mind is tremendous battleground. We must take every thought that exalts itself against Christ, and remove it from our minds. He continues to emphasise his apostolic authority as being from God.


21. Is it possible to preach about "a" Jesus and "a" gospel, but still be wrong? Can you think of any groups today who do just this?



Second Corinthians 12

"and He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

2 Corinthians 12:9

"You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Jesus Christ. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me."

Galatians 4:13-15

Just what was Paul's "thorn in the flesh"? We can only guess. Some see the above passage in Galatians as revealing its nature. Yet this can not be proved and is frequently disputed. Whatever it was, it served the purpose of keeping Paul weak and humble so that he was continually dependant on Christ.

22. What else could this "thorn in the flesh" be?


23. What occasions or experiences would cause Paul to possibly become proved?


Most of us know how to handle failure. We get depressed, sook, withdraw, condemn ourselves and give up or give in. However, very few of us know how to handle success.

24. What are some of the dangers a successful person must face?


25. What decisions would you make before you succeed, in order to avoid some of the pitfalls of success?


Whatever Paul was going through, Christ gave him some tremendous words of encouragement. "My grace is sufficient for you". 'Grace' in this context means 'strength or provision for that particular circumstance'. Whenever we go through trials or difficulties that serve to remind us how weak we are, we can be assured that His Grace is sufficient for us. Paul's main thought in this passage is to remain humble in the light of God's greatness. In the Corinthian church there were some who were boasting about their visions, revelations and power.

26. What kind of things was Paul fearing because of the church's pride (12:20-21) ?


27. What was Paul's prayer for them? (13:11)











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© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania