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);
need of the comfort ---- in all our tribulation (1:
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;
ministry of seeing through the deceives of Satan by the truth of Christ (11:7
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);
Lord’s strength is made perfect in weakness (12:
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);
was crucified in weakness (13:
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 Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou