IV. The Occasion And Purpose
Assuming the integrity of 2 Corinthians, its occasion may be described as follows. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians he planned to go directly to Macedonia, foregoing a necessarily brief stop in Corinth on the way in favor of an extended visit there upon his return. Subsequently, he changed his mind and decided to visit the Corinthians on both legs of his journey. When the first of these visits turned out to be a fiasco, Paul left hastily and did not make the previously announced return visit. Instead, he sent Titus with a “sorrowful letter,” which succeeded in bringing them to repentance and renewed loyalty. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to celebrate his joy and renewed confidence in his converts. 2 Corinthians 1-9 was also written to inform the Corinthians of Paul's distress as he anxiously awaited news of Titus's mission and to explain why he had failed to make his promised third visit to Corinth.
The last four chapters of 2 Corinthians suggest that, sometime after the writing of 1 Corinthians, some Jewish-Christian missionaries invaded Corinth and denigrated Paul, his message, and authority. They took advantage of the Corinthians' gullibility and claimed to be “superapostles,” although Paul calls them “false apostles,” even agents of Satan. Once the Corinthians were reconciled to the apostle, he could call them again to the completion of the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem, which had been interrupted by the interference of the invading missionaries and the problems they created. Chs. 10-13 refute the view of ministry advanced by these false missionaries.