Soon after Paul wrote "First" (compare 1Cor.5v9) Corinthians from Ephesus, there was a riot in Ephesus (see Ac.19v21-41). He had been gone for three years. The relationship between Paul and his converts in Corinth was strained during the interim. It was a difficult period for both while separated. Then, during Paul's third missionary journey, while traveling into Macedonia (northern Greece) on his way to Corinth in Achaia (southern Greece), Paul encountered Titus and learned that his letter to the Corinthian brothers had accomplished much good (2Cor.7v5-7). However, there were still some who denied that Paul was a true apostle of Jesus. So, Paul decided to write them the next letter and send it on ahead with Titus before Paul arrived in Corinth (see 2Cor.2v13; 2Cor.8v1; 2Cor.8v6; 2Cor.8v16-17; 2Cor.9v2-4). He explained why the first letter had to be so severe. Paul agonized much as he waited for their reaction to that letter. He truly cared for them, but he was not going to allow his apostolic credentials to be questioned by them. He stood ready to confront his accusers (2Cor.16v5-6). It was probably during that time that he wrote the Roman letter.

Except for Paul's letter to Philemon, "Second" Corinthians is the least systematic and doctrinal and the most personal letter that he wrote. Paul's intense emotion and fiery personality are revealed more clearly here than in any other epistle. It is full of natural digressions and meanderings. He tells of some very personal experiences such as his vision of the "third heaven" (2Cor.12v1-4) and of his "thorn in the flesh" (2Cor.12v7-9). Throughout the letter, there is a suppressed indignation, a deep sadness, and a strong undercurrent of defensiveness. He was being attacked and felt forced to justify his authority against false legalistic teachers who had meddled in his work. He warned the congregation against some errors, instructed them in matters of duty as Christians, and expressed his happiness that they had heeded what he had to say in "First" Corinthians. But the real watchword of "Second" Corinthians is that we must all be loyal to Christ, not to human personalities.

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