The Apostle Paul made a total of three visits to Corinth, and actually wrote four letters (the first and the third letters were evidently lost). What we call I Corinthians was actually his second letter to the church, and II Corinthians, according to various details, was actually the fourth treatise. But just a year or so, separates these two letters. II Corinthians is one of the most personal, perhaps the most autobiographical of any of Paul’s letters. That is to say that he reveals intimate details and struggles of his life in this book. Chapter one details how in moments of desperation, he despaired of even going on with life itself! Several significant themes are addressed in this deep book. Paul defends his calling as an apostle perhaps more in this book than any other. Chapters 4-5 contain wonderful assurances that even though this physical life is fading away, it is being replaced by a permanent spiritual life that will last forever. Some attention is given to what happens when we die. Later in chapter 5, we are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation. II Corinthians 5:17 describes the wonderful change that Jesus brings, and verse 21 (same chapter) is a one verse statement of the gospel. Chapters 8-9 contain the most comprehensive teaching on giving (stewardship) anywhere in the Bible.
What follows in an abbreviated outline:
I. Paul’s defense of his Apostleship (1:1-7)
II. Instructions on giving (stewardship) (chaps. 8-9)
III. Paul’s defense of apostolic authority.