Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation - Lesson 12

2 Corinthians

Paul updates the people in the church in Corinth about his travels. He also follows up on relationships and defends his apostolic ministry.

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation
Lesson 12
Watching Now
2 Corinthians

Letters of Paul

Part 4

IV. 2 Corinthians

A. The Corinthian Correspondence

1. Paul to Corinth A – 1 Corinthians 5:9

2. Corinth to Paul A – 1 Corinthians 7:1

3. Paul to Corinth B – 1 Corinthians

4. Paul to Corinth C* – 2 Corinthians 2:4, 7:8

5. Paul to Corinth D – 2 Corinthians 1-9

6. Paul to Corinth E** – 2 Corinthians 10-13

* or C=B

** or D+E were one letter interrupted by fresh news

B. The Building Blocks of 2 Corinthians

1. Introduction and travel news (1:1-2:13)

2. Major digression: Paul's apostolic ministry (2:14-7:4)

3. Minor digression: unequal yokes (6:14-7:1)

4. Travel news (7:5-16)

5. The collection for Jerusalem (8:1-9:15)

6. Warnings and defense against Judaizers (10:1-13:14)

C. 2 Corinthians Outline

1. Paul's apostolic ministry (tender tones) (Chapters 1-7); A

2. The offering for Jerusalem (Chapters 8-9); B

3. Paul's apostolic ministry (tough tones) (Chapters 10-13); A'

D. Paul's Ministry with the Corinthian Church (2 Corinthians 1-7)

1. Confidence:

a. In his motives (1:12-22)

b. In the Corinthians (7:13b-16)

2. Sorrow:

a. For those punished (1:23-2:11)

b. Among the Corinthians (7:8-13a)

3. Travel:

a. Upcoming travel plans (2:12-13)

b. Travel plans (resumed) (7:5-7)

4. Spiritual contrasts:

a. The Spirit vs. the Letter (2:14-4:6) [New Covenant vs. Old Covenant]

b. Christ vs. Belial (6:11-7:4) [Belief vs. Unbelief]

5. Afflictions:

a. Present afflictions vs. coming glory (4:7-5:10)

b. Present afflictions vs. present glory (6:1-10)

6. Core of ministry – reconciliation (5:11-21)

E. Exegetical Highlights of 2 Corinthians 1-7

1. 1:12ff – Changed travel plans lead Paul to reaffirm his own motives

2. 2:5ff – Not sure same offender, but probable. Disfellowshipping always rehabilitative in design

3. 2:14-4:6 – The series of contrasts between old and new triggered by two ways of viewing Paul's journeying

4. Chain-Link discussion in 2 Corinthians 2:14-4:6

a. Letters of recommendation

b. Letter of Law

c. Spirit

d. Glory

e. Veil

5. 4:7ff – Key text on suffering, especially given 4:7, 16-18

6. 5:1-10 – Intermediate state

7. 5:11ff – Reconciliation: key text on substitutionary atonement in v. 21 from which removal of estrangement follows

8. 6:1ff – Exhortational material begins here in traditional letter outline

9. 6:14-7:1 – Can't prove about marriage (but see 1 Corinthians 7:39) but clearly about idolatry, and possibly Torah

F. The Principles of Giving in 2 Corinthians 8-9

1. Sacrificial (8:1-4)

2. Holistic (8:5-7)

3. Promise-Keeping (8:8-11)

4. Proportional/Graduated (8:12-15)

5. Protected/Accountable (8:16-9:5)

6. Rewarded: materially and/or spiritually (9:6-15)

G. From Triumphalism to Maturity: Key Points in 2 Corinthians 10-13

1. The context of 10:4 – winning spiritual warfare by right thinking

2. The regions beyond principle in 10:13-14

3. The "super-apostles" as Judaizers and false representatives of the Twelve (11:5, 13)

4. Paul can match their boasts but they can't match his suffering (11:16-33)

5. 12:1-6 balanced by vv. 7-10, with v. 9 as key "red-letter verse"

6. Parental relationship again in 12:14-15

7. Failing test implies not a Christian in 13:5

H. Heaven

1. Third heaven

2. Second heaven

3. First heaven

I. How to React to Suffering According to 2 Corinthians

1. Use the comfort we receive from God in order to comfort others (1:3-7)

2. Realize we can be a more powerful witness for Christ if we let Him (4:10-15; 12:7-10)

3. Remember our coming glory is more than adequate compensation (4:16-5:5) [and recall Belleville]

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.


  • Correlation of the accounts in Galatians and Acts on Paul's trip to Jerusalem. 

  • Galatians as a model of apologetics supporting Christianity.

  • Comparing faith and works in Judaism and Christianity. 

  • Paul faced persecution when he preached in Thessalonica. The return of Christ is a central theme in the letters to the Thessalonians.

  • One aspect of the subject of biblical eschatology is the timing and nature of the tribulation. 

  • Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.

  • Divisions in the Corinthian church were caused by both theology and lifestyle.

  • Whether or not believers should eat food that had been offered to idols was an issue in the Corinthian church. The importance and role of spiritual gifts was a major topic of discussion.

  • Paul updates the people in the church in Corinth about his travels. He also follows up on relationships and defends his apostolic ministry.

  • Paul responds to specific situations in the Corinthian church including emphasizing a correct perspective on giving and encouragement to see God's redemptive purpose in our suffering.

  • Knowing the key places as backgrounds for Romans, the timeline and the outline of the book are helpful to understanding the context and message.

  • Paul wrote Romans as a systematic exposition of the gospel.


  • In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ. Philemon was written to a gentlema Paul knows to encourage him to welcome back Onesimus, his runaway slave, who became a disciple of Christ and was returning.

  • Paul addresses how to live in different roles: husbands and wives, masters and slaves, elders and others in the church.

  • Paul describes the blessings of salvation and encourages believers to live in unity that transcends cultural and racial barriers. 

  • Paul describes to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus, who they are in Christ, and the ethical implications for how they should live their daily lives.

  • Paul contrasts the condescention and the exaltation of Christ, and addresses specific situations in the Philippian church.

  • Paul writes to encourage and instruct Timothy and Titus, both of whom are young pastors. It is important for Titus to identify and train elders and deal effectively with factious people. 

  • Paul instructs Timothy about how to pastor a church and turn it away from heresy.

  • Both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians contain key passages addressing the roles of men and women in the local church. Some of them address conduct when gathering for corporate worship.

  • 1 Timothy 2:11-15 gives some direction for gender roles in a worship service.

  • Key themes and catchwords in James include trials, wisdom, temptation, speech, doubt and perseverance.

  • James discusses the roles of faith and works in a believers life and the importance of prayer.

  • A prominent theme in Hebrews chapters 1-5 is the superiority of Christ to the angels and to Moses.

  • Hebrews 6:4-8 is a key warning passage. Christ's priesthood is superior to both the Levitical priesthood and also to Melchizedek. Chapter 11 remembers the heroes of the faith.

  • A major theme of 1 Peter is perseverance despite persecution.

  • The outline of 1 Peter has similarities to other letters of the first century that emphasize a high view of Christology.

  • Jude and 2 Peter both emphasize refuting false teachers.

  • In his epistles, John emphasizes themes that refute gnostic doctrines. He outlines the tests of life as keeping God’s commandments, loving one another and believing in Jesus as the God-man.

  • As you study and preach from the epistles of John, note the passages that Dr. Blomberg describes as, “gems from John.”

  • Revelation was written by the apostle John in the late first century using apocalyptic, prophetic and epistolary genres. A possible structure by time line would be the past (chapter 1), the present (chapters 2-5) and the future (chapters 6-22). 

  • In addition to the framework of eschatology, Revelation chapters 1-6 develops themes of Christology including a description of Jesus as the lion who is a lamb, as well as the spiritual condition of some of the churches in the first century. 

  • In both of the possible scenarios for the tribulation, believers are exempt from God’s wrath but they are not exempt from Satan’s attacks.

  • Revelation chapters 12-22 cover themes of salvation and judgment of nations, Armageddon, the millennium and the new heavens and new earth.

Using the English New Testament, this course surveys the New Testament epistles and the apocalypse. Issues of introduction and content receive emphasis as well as a continual focus on the theology of evangelism and on the contemporary relevance of the variety of issues these documents raise for contemporary life.


Lecture 12: 2nd Corinthians (Part 1)


This is the 12th lecture in the online series of lectures on understanding the Epistles and Revelation, in complement with the textbook by Craig Blomberg’s Book, Acts through Revelation, An Introduction and Survey. 


(Any slides and photos that the lecturer mentions or uses should be down loaded if they are available, otherwise you may be able to find something similar through the Google© search engine.)


2nd Corinthians reflects the second time in our Chronological survey in the Epistles of Paul in which we are able to read a follow up letter to the same congregation as previously delivered. You will see that 1st & 2nd Thessalonians clearly deal with a number of the same topics though questions of sequence and authorship which bedeviled those epistles. At first glance 2nd Corinthians with a few minor exceptions seems to be a completely different kind of letter with largely different issues, a different tone in many places and one wonders, largely undisputed today of common authorship by the apostle Paul of both letters, just what all has happened in between the writing of these two epistles. We may recall from our previous lecture that Paul founded the church in Corinth toward the end of his westward movement during his second missionary journey and just before heading back home to Israel. We saw in introducing 1st Corinthians as well that it was during his third missionary journey that he travelled overland to Ephesus and a period of three years there, penning 1st Corinthians toward the end of that time before embarking northward and westward to Europe and the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. We learned from 2nd Corinthians that Paul made it as far as Troas, looking for his travelling companion, Titus, who was supposed to be coming back from Corinth with news of the progress of the church there.


In chapter 2:12, he explains that he still had not found Titus by the time he came to Troas so in verse 13 he explains that he set out for Macedonia or northern Greece. Five chapters later in 7:5 and following, he then completes this portion of his travel report by explaining that at some point while he was in the Macedonia, not yet having made it all the way to Corinth, Titus did meet up with him and comforted him with the largely good news and progress of the Corinthian church. At some point shortly thereafter, Paul then produces this letter that we now know as 2nd Corinthians. 


But as we mentioned in introducing 2nd Corinthians as well, there are still more letters, some of them lost, some of them merely hypothesized, that typical introductions of 2nd Corinthians discuss. A slide of a chart the lecturer is using tries to illustrate in reasonable simplified fashion the primary data and theories involving these letters. We have already noted from our introduction of 1st Corinthians that in chapter 5:9, Paul refers back to a letter he had previously written before 1st Corinthians which had been misunderstood in at least one area when he told the Corinthians not to associate with the fragrantly immoral, but they understood him to be talking about non-Christians while he was speaking about church discipline and disassociation when necessary with unrepentant Christians. Other than this one inference, we know nothing from any text of Scripture or any outside historical source of what this missing letter might have contained. We learn also from 1st Corinthians 7:1 that the Corinthians had written a letter to Paul to which many if not all the topics addresssed from 1st Corinthians 7 onward in that epistle are responding to. That means that the letter we know as 1st Corinthians is in fact the third letter going back and forth between Paul and Corinth and is the second letter that Paul wrote, hopefully to avoid unnecessary confusion we may speak of this as ‘Paul to Corinth B’ since the title 1st Corinthians is unchangeable because of tradition and long life of the name itself.


But then comes the more ambiguous data in 2nd Corinthians, where in chapter 4:2 Paul refers back to a letter that he wrote to the Corinthians out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears not to grieve them but that they may know the depth of his love for them. Seemingly speaking of that same correspondence in chapter 7:8, he says that I see that my letter hurt you. In fact if we pick it up at the beginning of the verse, he writes more fully, ‘even if I caused you sorry by my letter, I do not regret it. Even if my letter hurt you, it was only for a little while but yet, I am happy not because you are made sorry but because your sorrow led you to repentance. Both of these references can and have been taken as referring back to the letter we know as 1st Corinthians or ‘Paul to Corinth B’. There is a long history in the church trying to identify the original letter, but among modern scholars, conservatives as well as liberal, there is a wide spread tendency to question whether 1st Corinthians would have been described by Paul in such harsh language, notwithstanding the many problems that Paul had to address in that letter, his overall tone doesn’t strike most readers overwhelmingly or excessively sorrowful, or regretful. It may well be therefore and it is the considerable majority view today that Paul here is referring to another letter that should not be equated with 1st Corinthians and because it led to the action that has created Titus’s good word to Paul which he was not previously aware of. It needs to be placed in our list of correspondence after what we call 1st Corinthians. 


The fuller discussion of the introduction of 2nd Corinthians in our textbook goes on to note that in more liberal scholarship at times and certain periods perhaps as a majority perspective. This ‘lost letter’ perhaps has been identified with chapters 10 – 13 of 2nd Corinthians does have a harsh and sorrowful tone to it in many ways. But those notes also give reason for preferring to understand chapters 10 -13 as chronological following all the rest of the existing Corinthian correspondence and so we pass on without further debate here. 


2nd Corinthians or at least the first 9 chapters may be then viewed on the assumption that we now call, ‘Paul to Corinth C’, is in fact separate what we have called, ‘Paul to Corinth B’, so 2nd Corinthians must therefore be the fourth letter that Paul has penned to Corinth. We may label it as ‘Paul to Corinth D’ and then we must say a bit more about the striking difference in content and tone of chapters 10 – 13. After largely congratulatory sections from chapters 1 – 7 about the progress that the Corinthians have made with potential one and only remaining issue still seriously unresolved involving the collection for God’s people in Jerusalem addressed in chapter 8 – 9 and still reflecting a fairly neutral and at times an encouraging tone. We are taken completely back when chapter 10 begins with the words by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you; I Paul who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you but ‘bold’ when away. I beg you that when I come that I don’t have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by standards of this world. One might take the first few words of 10:1 ‘by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you’ is in fact a very gentle appeal just as the words denote, but it is highly unlikely that Paul would have in a straight forward way describe himself as timid when present but bold when away so that the NIV uses quotation marks around these two adjectives in the second half of verse one, rightly points out that he is most likely characterizing the way some or many in Corinth have viewed him. At which point, an element of irony has been introduced that most probably extends to the first part of the verse as well, particularly because verse 2 and following go on to make an appeal that stops just short of commands threatening quite bold actions and quite serious judgment if they are not followed or obeyed. 


As chapters 10 – 13 progress, we discover a group of false teachers claiming to be apostles and perhaps claiming authority from the Jerusalem apostles who Paul must rebut in no uncertain terms, not clearly allegeable with any of the factions inside or outside of the church that have emerged in the earlier Corinthian correspondence and who most probably are Judaizes who Paul had to confront in his letter to the Galatians. This suggest a passage of time between chapter 1 – 19 and chapters 10 – 13 and news presumably brought after Titus’s meeting up with Paul in Macedonia of new problems apparently created by fresh intruders into the Corinthian congregation. We may therefore speak of 2nd Corinthians 10 – 14 as Paul’s fifth letter to Corinth or perhaps slightly more probably given the pattern in the ancient world of often slowly and leisurely dictating a letter to a scribe over a period of days or at times, even weeks; that somewhere in the process of writing what we call 2nd Corinthians, Paul somehow received this additional report of new troubles in Corinth and therefor appended to what was initially sent as one epistle and what we know as chapters 10 – 13. Well, that seems complicated enough but it gets worst as one looks at the major sections to which an outline of 2nd Corinthians may be divided, what the next slide labels the building blocks of 2nd Corinthians.


Chapter 1 begins with a conventional enough greetings and a reasonable conventional thanksgiving except that the word ‘praise’ perhaps is a literal translation of the Hebrew, Baraka, a significantly Jewish form of prayer comes next. But as the body of Paul’s letter begins in 1:12, it is largely travel news, information about what Paul has been doing and what he hopes to do, dominates until we come to 2:13. There is nothing inappropriate about putting this first in the body of the letter. Paul will do the same in Romans as well. But it is different from what we have seen so far and our surprise has considerable increased when right among tightening the suspense of what news Paul will receive of the Corinthian congregation after 2:13, still not finding Titus, moving on to Macedonia, the very next verse, 14, seems to digress from Paul’s topic. As he writes, ‘but thanks be to God,’ was he initially thinking of moving onto what he gets to in 7:5? Thanking God that he did meet up with Titus? But that is not what he precedes to write, ‘thanks be to God who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphant procession uses us to spread the knowledge of him everywhere.’ And from 2:14 to 7:4, Paul reflects on the nature of his own apostolic ministry. It’s not until he gets to 7:5, he finishes the thought, introduced in 2:12 and 13 and even in the opening words of verse14 about his news from Titus when the two of them met up.  


As a result, 2:14 – 7:4 has often been considered to be a major digression or even part of all, minus the opening introduction in the concluding greetings, a separate letter. What is more, the same kind of digression intrusion into Paul’s narrative flow on a smaller scale and reappears in 6:14 – 7:1. Paul has just appealed in 6:11 – 13 to the Corinthians to open wide their hearts to him and in 7:2, he reiterates the identical point. But in between without any obvious connection of what comes before or after, he issues this server warning, not to be yoked together with unbelievers, for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common…he calls them to come out from evil people and be separate. And so we can at least understand even though we don’t agree that some have seen this as a portion or addition fragment of correspondence from elsewhere. Add to that, the apparently unrelated nature of chapters 8 – 9 on the collection for Jerusalem, to all of chapters 1 – 7 and 10 – 13 and the apparently redundant repetition in chapter 9:1 about no need to write on this topic, but immediately after writing a chapter on it, we can at least understand that 8 & 9 or 8 as well as 9 separately form one or two epistle fragments of Paul to Corinth. 


One way to respond to all of this and undoubtedly the simplest way is to argue that all of these narrative scenes or literary sutures, not withstanding, one can envision a straight forward A – B – A structure in which Paul could have imagined what in fact we read as a unified whole from the outset. Thus chapters 1 – 7 is in largely tender and congratulatory tones, were intended to focus primarily on the nature of Paul’s apostle ministry but sandwiched in between, information about his travels and the Corinthians progress. The center and perhaps therefore climatic focus of the A – B – A structure is then the distinct topic of the one issue in which Paul new the Corinthians still needed to make significant progress, faithfulness to their commitment to the collection for the saints in the Jerusalem. 


And finally in chapter 10 -13, even if abruptly, Paul returns to the nature of his apostolic ministry but this time in contrast with the Judaizes who he knew had come but was waiting until this closing location after he had spoken more re-assuringly to tackle head on in more stuff tones. Or if we opt for the modification of the hypothesis of a fifth letter, ‘Paul to Corinth E’, which see chapters 10 -13 as not intended from the beginning but still added in time to form part what was sent in its entirety to Corinth all at once, Paul may have intended to write simply on sections A – B giving them the good news before giving them the bad news, although the bad news wasn’t all that bad, and then realizing he had to add the discussion of an even more serious problem and realizing what even in the ancient world would have been recognized as good phycology, it remains appropriate to put this in the final position in the letter. 


But what about chapters 1 – 7, what about all of the seeming narrative discontinuities there? As at this point, one must honestly observe that there is nothing remotely approaching a consensus on a solution among different scholars and therefore one may be permitted and even forgiven for suggesting a somewhat newer approach, not fully attested elsewhere though adopted by a handful of scholars since this lecturer has proposed it and built on observations, all of which have been widely made but simply never put together in quite this way. But the listener and student need to hear truth in advertising that because of the difficulty and the newness and the minority of this proposal, it should perhaps be taken with a bit more grain of salt that most of the remaining information presented in these lectures. 


Nevertheless, let’s consider the following possibilities in the body of Paul’s letter beginning with 2nd Corinthians 1:12. From verses 12 – 22, it’s clear that Paul is reassuring the Corinthians that even though his travel plans have changed, it is not because he is vacillating in his Christian commitment in anyway. Here, it may be helpful to refer back to our discussion and maps of Paul’s various missionary journeys, but we saw how his third missionary journey during which this second letter was written, travelled over land from Ephesus to the north to Troas, across to Macedonia and then down to Corinth in Achaia or southern Greece. Whereas 1:15 and following, discloses that Paul had originally intended to go from Ephesus directly across the Aegean Sea and then work his way up the coast of Greece retracing his footsteps along those identical lines instead. But the reason he delayed coming and therefore changed plans in terms of the direction of his travel because he wanted to give the Corinthians as much time as possible to sort themselves out. This was in order to encourage them in his next correspondence and with his next visit. The next segment, largely recognized to be a discreet section in Paul’s outline, runs from 1:23 – 2:11 and speaks about Paul’s sorrow and the Corinthian’s sorrow over at least one individual and depending on this passage relates to 1st Corinthians 5, perhaps more than one, who had been disciplined by the Corinthian church, but who had repented and who therefore now could be welcomed back and restored. As we have already noted, the short little paragraph from 2:12 – 13, very directly addresses Paul’s immediate circumstances that have led him to where he is in Macedonia and where he is in Corinth and then breaks off abruptly with the section we have already dealt with, dealing with his apostle ministry. 


But if we look at that section, 2:14 – 7:16, it in turn can be broken up into reasonable identifiable sections. The most amorphous of these is 2:14 – 2:46 of which we will say more after surveying this entire outline. But at least the way Paul seemingly got off the topic, does appear reasonable discernable as the author Scott Hayfamen has stressed in a number of works including two full length books, just on this particular segment of 2nd Corinthians. Paul is literally on the road particularly and it makes him think while his travels while he is persecuted or under difficult circumstances and at this point wondering if the Corinthians have improved at all, can be likened to a triumphant procession for an army victorious in battle as they march their soldiers down the road and prisoners of war behind them but which is in fact a death march or at the very least a march of shame for those who have been taken captive. Paul recognizes that depending on the perspective that one uses to look at his itinerant ministry, either of those metaphors could apply. That is enough to get him onto a series of topics that will contrast a variety of other approaches of understanding his ministry. What all of those contrasts have in common is that not only do they contrast a Christian with a non-Christian perspective on things; they also reflect an advance in an age of the new covenant over understandings and principles in the age of the Mosaic Covenant. Beyond that, it is difficult to see ambiguous themes linking this entire section together but perhaps that is enough. 4:7 – 5:10 is more clearly united in contrasting Paul’s present afflictions, a pungent catalogue indeed beginning in verse 7 of chapter 4 combinating on how Paul is able to reflect on all this in a remarkable positive light. Part of the answer is his lively hope in the coming resurrection glory, packed in chapter 5:1 -10. 

And then the sixth and final entirely new topic, the core of what he is about in his apostolic ministry, namely the reconciliation in 5:11 – 21. Interestingly, it seems to follow, fairly straight forwardly, hopefully we are not reading into the text, that the five topics, I have labeled A – E, now reoccur in reverse order as one progresses through chapter 6 and 7. A catalogue of Paul’s suffering or afflictions, very much like that begun in 4:7 occupies much of 6:1 – 10, only the contrast this time is with those ways in which from a Christian perspective even those present sufferings can be viewed at glorious. 6:11 – 7:4 on this outline including that other supposedly digress, now matches up exactly with the so called larger digression of 2:14 – 4:6 and even more clearer focuses on a series of contrasts between Christian and non-Christian, believing and unbelieving, Godly and idolatrous, approaches to Christian ministry, but with the language of yoking, not to be unequally yoked, perhaps with a side glance even at the old covenant, even at Judaism with its commonly used metaphor: the yoke of the Torah and its legalistic or covenantal nomistic requirements for 1st century Jews. We should not be surprised then as we typical are on outlines of chapters 1 – 7. It is precisely after this section that Paul resumes his travel plans or describing them because it is precisely the point of the outline introduced in 2:12 – 13. We should not find it at all surprising that the passage regularly seen as a twin with 1:23 – 2:11, namely 7:8 – 13a appears where it does with more information we might have expected for Paul to include originally on the repentant offender. And finial at the end of chapter 7, he returns to the theme of confidence, this time however focusing on his confidence in the Corinthians and their progress and the Gospel rather than on his own behavior and the motives behind it. If anything like this outline is correct then we have largely extended chiastic or inverse parallel construction with the climatic core at its center rather than at its end, namely in a passage that has widely been seemed to be the theological heart of this epistle, even on other outlines, namely the reconciliation of God and human kind that the Gospel makes possible.