Paul’s first letter to Corinthians is both practical and instructional but his second letter is intensely personal. The second Corinthians is actually Paul’s fourth letter. A “previous” letter was written prior to first Corinthians (1 Cor 5:9). But Corinthians needed further explanations and sent a letter that contains several questions. Three men mentioned in
1 Corinthians 16:17 delivered this letter to Paul. First Corinthians is the answer to these questions. Then Paul sent Timothy to check their spiritual state. Paul also let them know that he would come in person to deal with their problems (1 Cor 4:17-19; 16:10-11). Since the problems were unsolved, Paul was forced to make a brief visit (2 Cor 2:1-4). Upon his return, Paul sent a third severe letter by Titus to Corinth (2 Cor 2:4). This letter strained the relationship between Paul and the Corinthians. When Paul failed to meet Titus at Troas, he was discouraged. But he met Titus at Macedonia and was encouraged by the news that Corinthians had changed their attitude toward him. The Corinthians had been influenced by the false teachers to turn against Paul. The false teachers claimed that Paul was fickle minded, proud and unimpressive in appearance and speech, dishonest and unqualified as an apostle of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 10:1-17). Paul wrote the second letter to express his thanks to the repentant majority and also to appeal to the rebellious minority that they should accept his apostolic authority. Throughout this letter Paul defends his conduct, character and his apostleship. This letter was probably written from Macedonia around A.D. 56.