Today is 2 Corinthians, an enigmatic letter, one that has lots of allusions without a lot of explicit details to go on, so it's happy hunting ground for speculation.
- Paul has written a harsh letter, lost to history, in the time between 1 Corinthians and this letter.
- Paul has made an emergency trip to Corinth from Ephesus that Acts does not tell us about.
- Paul has got into a really big argument with the Corinthian leadership over someone at Corinth. The harsh letter appears to have been some sort of ultimatum to the church to submit to Paul's authority in relation to this man or, what, would he hand them corporately over to Satan?
- Paul almost regretted sending the letter as soon as he sent it with Titus.
- In the meantime, the riot at Ephesus may have happened. Some speculate that Demetrius the silversmith did take Paul to court, that Paul may have been imprisoned for a time and feared of being put to death, that Paul may have written Philippians during this time.
- Paul leaves Ephesus, possibly forced to leave. He meets Titus in Macedonia and there is good news. The man has repented, the Corinthians have submitted to his authority. The first 9 chapters of 2 Corinthians are Paul's most tender writing in the New Testament.
- 2 Corinthians 8-9 deal with logistics for the offering for the Jerusalem Church, which is back on.
- 2 Corinthians 10-13 change tone to the diametric opposite without warning. Is it to a different group in the church? If so, there is no warning. It is the same "you" as before. Some have even suggested this may be from a slightly later letter, after Paul received new information that the church wasn't as much in submission as he thought, spliced onto 2 Corinthians 1-9 here.
- If you are ever discouraged, read 2 Corinthians 4:7-11: "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body."