ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 161



IMMERSED IN 2 CORINTHIANS
T H O U G H W E A R E N ’ T sure
of the details, the believers in Corinth were
confused and disappointed by the way Paul behaved toward them after
sending the letter known as 1 Corinthians. It seems Paul appeared unexpectedly in Corinth shortly afterward, even though he’d written that
his visit would be sometime later. And while Paul had planned to stay
with them for some time, “possibly all winter,” apparently he left as
abruptly as he came.
It is thought that Paul quickly departed because his conflict with the
Corinthians had intensified. They had promised to contribute to the
­offering being collected for suffering believers in Jerusalem, but they
hadn’t followed up on their plans. Harsh words had been exchanged.
Then, soon after Paul left, the believers received an even harsher letter
from him—no copy of it survives today—demanding their support of
Paul against his critics.
Things got even worse when the Corinthians discovered from Titus,
Paul’s co-worker who delivered that “harsh” letter, that Paul had gone
to Macedonia (in northern Greece) to start gathering the offering. Were
they offended because Paul hadn’t come back to begin the collection
in Corinth (in southern Greece) as he said he would? Had they come to
distrust Paul’s word?
In the end, no doubt influenced by Titus, most of the Corinthians
gave Paul the benefit of the doubt and united against the unnamed
man who was his most vocal critic. Titus headed north into Macedonia, met up with Paul there, and reported that the believers in Corinth
had “done everything necessary to make things right.” Paul gratefully
sent him back with another message that we have today, known as
2 Corinthians.
In this letter, Paul tries to clear up the confusion the Corinthians have
about him. In the four main sections of the body of the letter, Paul
recalls all the steps that have led to his present relationship with them.
These four sections all start out by referring to a particular place.
Paul first pictures himself back in Ephesus, across the Aegean Sea in
Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He explains that he and the believers
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