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General Outlines of the Book of 2 Corinthians


The Main Objects of the Teachings in This Book

1.    To most of them (Chap. 1-7);

2.    To the whole of the church (chap. 8-9);

3.    To those who have not repented (chap. 10-13);


The Apostle of Christ Jesus

1.    The narrations of the apostle (chap. 1-2);

2.    The manifestations of the apostle (chap. 3-9);

3.    The proofs of the apostle (chap. 10-13);


The Qualifications and Experiences of Paul

1.    He is called by God (1:1, 21; 4:1).

2.    He conducts himself in the world in simplicity and godly   sincerity (1:12).

3.    He is straightforward and genuine (1:13-14).

4.    His word is true (1:18; 4:2).

5.    He has the Spirit of God (1:22).

6.    He loves the believers he shepherds (2:4; 6:11; 11:11).

7.    He speaks by the power of Christ (2:17).

8.    He works among them and changes their life (3:2-3).

9.    He is the model of believers (3:4; 12:6).

10. He never loses heart (4:1, 16).

11. He teaches them by manifestation of the truth (4:2).

12. He preaches Christ Jesus the Lord ((4:5).

13. He suffers the persecutions when preaching the gospel (4:8-12; 6:4-5, 9-10).

14. He is the ambassador of Christ and is called to preach the gospel (5:18-20).

15. He endeavors to lead a blameless life so as not to prevent men from turning to God (6:3-4).

16. He is innocent and understands the truth and has infinite patience toward believers (6:6).

17. He is faithful and is full of God’s power (6:7).

18. He is always faithful to God (6:8).

19. He has corrupted no one and has cheated no one (7:2; 11:7-9).

20. He is blameless in dealing with the money collection (8:20-21).

21. He does not was according to the flesh, but uses the weapons of God (10:1-6).

22. He is confident that he is Christ’s (10:7-8).

23. He boasts only of the Lord (10:12-13).

24. He has the authority, for it is Paul that preached the gospel to them (10:14-15).

25. He suffers danger and distress in order to fulfill his works (10:23-33).

26. He has obtained the heavenly visions (12:2-4).

27. He has a thorn, and God does not remove it and yet lets him experience His grace (12:7-10).

28. He does signs among them (12:12).

29. He has his heart set on establishing believers’ spiritual life (12:19).

30. He is full of God’s power (13:4).

31. He stands firm in trial (13:5-6).

32. He cares about his spiritual children all the time and expects them to be grown up soon (13:9).


The Bowel of the Apostle

1.    The sincerity of the apostle (1:3-2:17):

A.   Conduct himself in godly sincerity;

B.   Conduct himself in simplicity;

2.    The glory of the apostle (3:1-5:10):

A.   Turn to the Lord and receive the glory of ministry;

B.   Have the hope of glory (the glory of the Lord shines in our faces and our glory will then shine all the things around us);

3.    The zeal of the apostle (5:11-6:10):

A.   The zeal toward Christ;

B.   The zeal toward the ministry;

4.    The wideness of the apostle (6:11-9:15):

A.   Accept those who are against him;

B.   Encourage those who are against him;

5.    The gentleness of the apostle (10:1-18):

6.    The jealousy of the apostle (11:1-29):

7.    The infirmity of the apostle (11:30-12:21):

8.    The strength of the apostle (13:1-10):


The Conversation of the Apostle

1.    The sincerity manifested in his conversation (1:1-2:17);

2.    The glory manifested in his conversation (3:1-4:6);

3.    The zeal manifested in his conversation (4:7-6:2);

4.    The discreetness manifested in his conversation (6:3-10);

5.    The wideness manifested in his conversation (6:11-7:16);

6.    The honor manifested in his conversation (8:1-9:15);

7.    The purity manifested in his conversation (10:1-13:14);


The Conceptions and Attitudes that the Preachers Are Supposed to Have

1.    Have right value and attitude of patience toward tribulation (1:1-11; 11:23-33);

2.    Conduct themselves in godly sincerity, by the truth of God (1:12-22; 2:17; 4:1-2);

3.    Toward the fellow workers, trust and praise and be in the same mind and the same spirit (1:19; 8:16-23; 12:17-18);

4.    Manifest Christ in the works, (2:14-16; 3:3-4, 17-18; 4:5-6);

5.    Have the right value and pursuing attitude toward the flesh and spirit (4:7-5:10);

6.    Be faithful to the ministry that is entrusted to them (5:18-6:10);

7.    Be wide to believers and care about them in everything (6:12-13; 7:3-16; 11:1-3; 12:12-18);

8.    Have right knowledge of the world and keep separated (6:14-7:1);

9.    Have pure and sober attitude toward money and keep the right value (7:2-3; 8:16-24; 9:6-12; 11:8-9; 12:13-18);

10. Have right knowledge of spiritual authority and not use them until it is necessary (10:8; 13:10);

11. Not show the transcendent revelations and experiences flippantly (12:1-10);


The God that Paul Knows From His Experience

1.    The Father of mercies and God of all comfort (1:3);

2.    God who raises the dead (1:9);

3.    God is faithful (1:18);

4.    He who establishes us in Christ is God (1:21);

5.    God has anointed us and sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (1:21-22);

6.    God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2:14);

7.    God who writes on the tablets of the heart by the Spirit (3:3);

8.    God who made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant (3:5-6);

9.    God who commanded light to shine out of darkness (4:6);

10. God who makes the eternal house in the heavens for us (5:1);

11. God who has prepared us for this very thing (5:5);

12. God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ (5:18);

13. God who has made us the righteousness of Him in Christ (5:21);

14. The almighty God who calls us separated (6:17-18);

15. God who comforts the downcast (7:6);

16. God who is able to make all grace abound toward men (9:8);

17. God who is jealous of those whose minds are corrupted (11:2-3);

18. God who humbles men because of the unsatisfactory result of works (12:21);

19. The God of love and peace (13:12);


The True Comfort

1.    The source of the comfort ---- the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (1:3); God who comforts the downcast (7:6);

2.    The need of the comfort ---- in all our tribulation (1:4a);

3.    The functions of being comforted:

A.   That we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (1:4b);

B.   The consolation is effective for enduring the same sufferings (1:6);

C.   Comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow (2:7);

D.   Comfort us by the consolation with which he was comforted in you (believers) (7:7);

4.    The conditions of being comforted:

A.   As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ (1:5).

B.   As you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation (1:7).

C.   The Lord’s work is filled with comfort on account of the condition of believers (7:4).

D.   God comforted us by the coming of the fellow works (7:6).

5.    The encouragement of being comforted ---- be of good comfort (13:11);


The Ministries of Christians

1.    The ministry of providing comforts by suffering tribulation (1:4-7) ---- he who experiences tribulation personally can give men true comfort.

2.    The ministry of the sentence of death (1:8-11) ---- not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead;

3.    The ministry of simplicity and sincerity (1:12-14) ---- conduct oneself according to God only;

4.    The ministry of the seal of the Spirit (1:15-22) ---- the union with and the manifestation of the holy Trinity;

5.    The ministry of making one stand by faith (1:23-24) ---- not have dominion over…, but for …;

6.    The ministry of many tears (2:1-11) ---- sympathize and manifest love and not leave any opportunity to Satan;

7.    The ministry of Christ’s fragrance (2:12-16) ---- diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge in every place;

8.    The ministry of preaching in sincerity (2:17) ---- not peddle the word of God;

9.    The ministry of the New Testament (3:1-18) ---- by the Spirit, not by the letter; make men’s heart turn to the Lord and be shone and transformed by the Lord;

10. The ministry of light (4:1-6) ---- walking in craftiness nor handle the word of God deceitfully;

11. The ministry of the broken vessel (4:7-18) ---- Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day; provide life through death;

12. The ministry of walking according to the light before the judgment seat of Christ (5:1-10) ---- by faith, not by sight;

13. The ministry of the constraint (5:11-16) ---- be constrained by the love of Christ and not live for oneself any more;

14. The ministry of reconciliation in the new creation (5:17-21) ---- be the new creature and make men reconciled to God;

15. The ministry of the paradoxical seal (6:1-10) ---- as … in the sight of men, yet … in the sight of God;

16. The ministry of open mouth and wide heart (6:11-13) ---- accept all those whom God has accepted;

17. The ministry of separation (6:14-7:1) ---- be separated from all men or things not of God;

18. The ministry of joy in tribulation (7:2-7) ---- because of the comfort of God;

19. The ministry of sorrow in a godly manner (7:8-16) ---- lead to true repentance and be more joyful in the end;

20. The ministry of helping the saints to fulfill their love (8:1-9:15) ---- be freely willing to receive the fellowship of the ministering to the saints;

21. The ministry of pulling down strongholds of Satan by the power of God (10:1-15) ---- bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;

22. The ministry of godly jealousy (11:1-6) ---- do not want the minds of others be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ;

23. The ministry of seeing through the deceives of Satan by the truth of Christ (11:7-23a) ---- manifest that he is the true servant of Christ by deeds;

24. The ministry of deep concern for all the churches though in tribulation (11:23b-33) ---- manifest that he is the true servant of Christ by experiences;

25. The ministry of the revelation of the third heaven (12:1-4) ---- manifest that he is the true servant of Christ by the revelations he has received;

26. The ministry of having a thorn in the flesh (12:5-10) ---- boast of one’s weakness because of sufficient grace and the power of Christ;

27. The ministry of all perseverance and signs and wonders (12:11-13) ---- to show that he is the servant of Christ;;

28. The ministry of the bowel of the father (12:14-13:14) ---- all is for believers’ edification so that believers will become perfect;


Believers and Tribulations

1.    Be comforted by God in tribulation so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble (1:4).

2.    As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ (1:5);

3.    If we are afflicted, it is for others’ consolation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer (1:6);

4.    As you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation (1:7);

5.    When we are afflicted, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead (1:8-9);

6.    Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (4:17);

7.    In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses (6:4);

8.    Be exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation (7:4);

9.    Be troubled on every side; and God who comforts the downcast comforted us by good news (7:5-8);

10. In a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy (8:2);

11. The ministers of Christ in labors more abundant in weariness and toil (11:23, 27);

12. Take pleasure in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake (12:10);


The God-centered Life and Service

A.   Not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead (1:9);

B.   Not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God (1:12);

C.   Be jointed with Christ and be anointed and sealed by the Spirit (1:21-22);

D.   Be captured and captivated by Christ and diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge in every place in Him (2:14-16);

E.   Take Christ as the spiritual letter and be written by the Spirit of the living God on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart (3:3-6);

F.    Turn to the Lord and behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (3:16-18);


What the Lord’s Workers Boast of

A.   Our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God (1:12);

B.   You (believers) also are our boast in the day of the Lord Jesus (1:14);

C.   Triumph in Christ (2:14);

D.   Boasting on your behalf (7:4, 14);

E.   Boast of the authority which the Lord gave us for edification (10:8);

F.    Not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors (10:13, 15-16);

G.   Boast in the Lord (10:17);

H.   No one shall stop me from this boasting as the truth of Christ is in him (11:10);

I.      Boast in the things which concern my infirmity (11:30; 12:5, 9);


Know the Devices of the Devil

1.    The devices of Satan ---- take advantage of us (2:11);

2.    The nature of Satan ---- the adversary of Christ ---- Belial (6:15);

3.    The stronghold of Satan ---- arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (10:5);

4.    The means of Satan ---- deceive man and makes his mind corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (11:3);

5.    The appearance of Satan ---- transform himself into an angel of light (11:13);

6.    The messenger of Satan ---- buffet one by the thorn in the flesh given to him (12:7);


The Parables of How the Ministers of the New Testament Fulfill the Ministry

1.    They are captives in the triumphal procession who boast of the triumph of Christ (2:14);

2.    They are those who diffuse the aroma who manifest the fragrance of Christ (2:14-16);

3.    They are the living epistles of Christ, making all know Christ (3:1-3);

4.    They behold as in a mirror with unveiled face the glory of the Lord and are transformed into the same image (3:18).

5.    They are the earthen vessels that have this treasure, manifesting the excellence of God’s power (4:7).

6.    They are the earthen tents that will be destroyed, testifying that mortality may be swallowed up by life (5:1-4).


The Principles of Reproach

1.    Approve one’s positive points (7:4);

2.    Keep determined attitudes (7:9; 10:2);

3.    There should be works after reproach (7:13; 12:14);

4.    Aim at the questions precisely and be sincere (7:14; 8:21);

5.    Keep the firm position and gentle guidance (7:15; 13:11-13);

6.    Put forward the views of Christ only, not yours(10:3, 12-13; 12:19);

7.    Be clear about the fact (11:22-27);

8.    Spare all those who are willing to repent (13:2);


Paul’s Examples of Encouraging Money Collection

1.    Be persistent (8:2-9:9);

2.    With distinct purpose (8:4);

3.    Make believers have the liberty in money collection (8:5);

4.    Have the capability of leadership (8:7-8, 11);

5.    Be honest and upright (8:21);

6.    There are members who go on promoting the work (8:18-22)

7.    Have the sense of responsibility (9:3);

8.    Be prepared and willing to do it (9:7);


Know the “Infirmity” Mentioned by Paul

1.    Who is weak, and I am not weak? (11:29);

2.    If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity (11:30);

3.    yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities (12:5);

4.    The Lord’s strength is made perfect in weakness (12:9a);

5.    Most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (12:9b);

6.    For when I am weak, then I am strong (12:10);

7.    Christ is not weak toward you, but mighty in you (13:3);

8.    He was crucified in weakness (13:4a);

9.    we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him (13:4b);

10. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. (13:9);


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou