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In chapters 5 - 6 he criticizes their handling of law suits and of a case of sexual immorality. Then in chapters 7 - 15 he answers questions sent to him concerning marriage, Resurrection of the body, eating meat offered to idols, charity, conduct at worship, and the role of spiritual gifts. The Corinthian community was unstructured compared to other Christian churches of the time, and its rapid growth forced Paul to apply Christian beliefs to a variety of problems.
The text of 2 Corinthians shows that relations between Paul and the Corinthians had deteriorated into open conflict. Most of chapters 1 - 7 reflect past conflict over the Corinthians' behavior, the rejection of Paul's apostolic authority by some, and subsequent reconciliation. Chapters 10 - 13 are an even more emotional defense of Paul's life and ministry against adversaries claiming to have authority above Paul's. Many scholars think that these chapters are another epistle, because they are so different from the preceding chapters. Likewise, chapters 8 and 9 are probably two distinct appeals for contributions to be given to the Jerusalem church. Paul's zeal, strength, closeness to Christ, and feelings for his communities are revealed in 2 Corinthians.
Anthony J Saldarini
H Betz, Second Corinthians 8 and 9 (1985); G D Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (1987); J Hering, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (1958).
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
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