BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians was written within a year of the first letter to the same church. With a little detective work, some scholars have come to accept by Scripture that Paul wrote four letters to the church in Corinth, but of course we only have two. He founded this church on his second missionary journey (see Acts 15:36; 18:1-11). During his third missionary journey (see Acts 18: 21-23; 19:1), Paul received word about immorality in this young church at Corinth prompting him to write his first letter (see I Corinthians 5:9-11). However, that letter has been lost. Sometime later, Paul learned that the sexual problems still persisted along with many others (see I Corinthians 1:11). The second letter he wrote, many scholars believe to be I Corinthians in which the apostle addressed various issues raised by the Corinthian believers (see I Corinthians 1:10; 5:1; 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). This letter failed to correct the problems at Corinth, so Paul apparently made a visit that was painful for him and the church (see II Corinthians 2:1). From Ephesus, Paul sent Titus with (see II Corinthians 7:6-9) a third letter (see II Corinthians 7:6-9) which many believe is also lost (see II Corinthians 2:6-9; 7:12). However, some scholars believe that this letter was attached to II Corinthians and became chapters 10-13. When Titus failed to return with news of how the Corinthians were doing, Paul left Ephesus with a troubled spirit (see II Corinthians 7:5) and went to Troas and then to Macedonia (see II Corinthians 2:12-13). Finally in Macedonia, Titus met up with Paul and to Paul’s relief and joy, Titus reported that the Corinthians had repented and punished the guilty party (see II Corinthians 2:5-11). Paul then wrote a fourth letter which many believe is actually II Corinthians.
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