2 Corinthians 13:10, The Severe Letter

Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

//In verse 2:1 of this letter, Paul describes a visit to Corinth that is not mentioned in the book of Acts. The visit appears to be a disaster; opposition in Corinth has come to a head.

Many scholars think that the second letter to the Corinthians is actually two letters. They surmise that two letters have been combined into one epistle for our Bible, and that they are out of order. 2 Corinthians 10-13 is a fragment of a different letter, the so-called “severe letter.”

The order of letters to Corinth in this theory becomes:

1. Paul’s first letter is described in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, of which we have no copy.

2. 1 Corinthians is then written in AD 54-55 from Ephesus to address issues which had arisen since he left there.

3. 2 Corinthians 10-13 is a forceful, stinging letter that perhaps follows on the heel of the frustrating visit described in 2 Corinthians 2:1.

4. After hearing some good news from Titus, Paul writes 1 Corinthians 1-9 with some relief. Not all is roses yet, but things are improving, and Paul makes another visit shortly after penning this letter.

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