Outline of 2 Corinthians

This outline follows and adapts the work of Frank J. Matera, II Corinthians: A Commentary, New Testament Library (Louisville: WJK, 2003).

Opening: Salutation and Doxology (1:1-11).

Part 1 – The Crisis Over Paul’s Apostolic Integrity (1:12-7:16).

  1. Paul Narrates Recent Events (1:12-2:13).
    1. The Letter’s Theme (1:12-14).
    2. Paul’s Reliability (1:15-22).
    3. A Change of Plans and a Harsh Letter (1:23-2:4).
    4. Forgiving the Offender (2:5-11).
    5. Paul’s Anxiety at Troas (2:12-13).
  2. The Integrity of Paul’s Apostolic Ministry (2:14-7:14).
    1. The Ministry of the New Covenant (2:14-4:6).
      1. Qualified by God (2:14-3:6).
      2. The Ministries of Moses and Paul (3:7-18).
      3. Paul’s Apostolic Integrity (4:1-6).
    2. Ministry and Apostolic Suffering (4:7-5:10).
      1. Life and Death in Apostolic Ministry (4:7-15).
      2. Present Transformation (4:16-18).
      3. Final Transformation (5:1-10).
    3. A Ministry of Reconciliation (5:11-6:10).
      1. Ambassadors for Christ (5:11-21).
      2. Appeal and Defense (6:1-10).
    4. Paul’s Appeal for Reconciliation (6:11-7:4).
  3. Paul Narrates Recent Events Resumed (7:5-16).

Part 2 – An Appeal to Complete the Collection (8:1-9:15).

  1. The Grace Given to the Churches of Macedonia (8:1-6).
  2. An Appeal to Complete the Collection (8:7-15).
  3. Recommendation for Titus and Two Brothers (8:16-24).
  4. Paul’s Purpose in Sending the Delegation (9:1-5).
  5. The Relationship Between Sowing and Reaping (9:6-9).
  6. Theological Significance of the Collection (9:10-15).

Part 3 – Defense and Warnings in Preparation for Paul’s Third Visit (10:1-13:10).

  1. Paul’s Integrity and Missionary Assignment (10:1-18).
    1. Bold Whether Absent or Present (10:1-11).
    2. Paul’s Assignment (10:12-18).
  2. Boasting Foolishly (11:1-12:13).
    1. An Appeal to Bear with Paul (11:1-4).
    2. Not Inferior to the Super-Apostles (11:5-15).
    3. A Renewed Appeal to Bear with Paul (11:16-21a).
    4. Daring to Boast as a Fool (11:21b-29).
    5. Boasting in Weakness (11:30-33).
    6. Boasting in Visions and Revelations (12:1-10).
    7. Peroration (12:11-13).
  3. Preparations for Paul’s Third and Final Visit (12:14-13:10).
    1. Announcement of the Visit (12:14-21).
    2. The Need to Prepare for Paul’s Visit (13:1-10).

Closing: Exhortation, Greetings, and Blessing (13:11-13).

2 Responses to “Outline of 2 Corinthians”

  1.   Bruce Bates Says:

    I got to hear James Walters present on the integrity of the letter some years ago at Pepperdine. Fascinating reconstruction. I think I still have the powerpoint. I’ll concede there is something illogical about the flow of the letter as we have it. And to consider the notion that the sorrowful letter is in the body of 2 Corinthians. Well it would be exciting to have it. Canonically, it makes sense that the early church passed on what they had. Actually a tribute to their presentation dedication.

    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      I think it is a possibility; perhaps even likely. Whoever collected Paul’s letters into a collection (or even Corinth’s preservation practice) could have put Corinthians C (10-13) and D (1-9) into one scroll. But, at the moment, I’m not convinced, and it seems we will never know for sure. It is interesting to think about.

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