Study Guide

Corinthians Summary

Corinthians Summary

The First Letter: 1 Corinthians

Paul is psyched to be writing to his friends in Corinth again. See, he founded the church there, so he's kind of like their main apostle. Even though there have been some rumblings about his credentials, Paul assures everyone that's he's ironclad. He and God are so on the same page. He may not be the fanciest apostle out there, but he's devoted his life to Jesus and that should be good enough for everyone. Take that, naysayers.

Paul's just a tiny bit concerned about some of the rumors he's been hearing. The Corinthians just are not getting along. He answers some of their specific questions. Yes, it's fine to get married, though it's way better to stay single. But by all means, if you can't keep it in your pants, then take a walk down that aisle. Should you be eating meat that's been sacrificed to Roman gods? No, probably not. Sorry, meat lovers.

He also offers them some unsolicited advice (in true Paul fashion). Ladies, keep your heads covered in church. Huh? Everyone, you are not doing communion right. Let's review the proper procedures here and stop being selfish. Guys, there are all kinds of different spiritual gifts that people can have, but let's not overwhelm each other with all kinds of showing off. The greatest gift, after all, is love. Oh, we're saving that one for our wedding.

Paul closes with some harsh words for those who don't believe in the resurrection of the body and hints that the Corinthians really should think about putting money together for the fund he's starting for the church in Jerusalem. Okay, LYLAS! TTYL!

The Second Letter: 2 Corinthians: Chapters 1-9

Hey, Paul again. Okay, it seems some stuff has gone down in between letters. See, Paul visited Corinth and it did not go well at all. But the good news is everything's been all patched up.

But even though things are good, there are still some naysayers in Corinth. These false prophets have been spreading rumors about Paul. Not cool. None of what they say is even close to being true. These guys just brag about themselves all day, but Paul doesn't roll like that. He's not gonna sit here and tell you all the amazing things he's done. He knows that real apostles aren't super fancy and powerful; they're weak and they suffer for the gospel. Sounds like a tough gig.

But seriously though, since everything has been patched up, how about getting together that collection money for the folks in Jerusalem? Okay, guys? When you give, you get—know what Paul's saying? Catch you later!

The Third Letter: 2 Corinthians: Chapters 10-13

All right, so things are kind of bad and Paul is pretty ticked off right now. It seems the false apostles are more active than ever. They're constantly criticizing Paul, saying that he writes a good letter, but in person, he's hugely disappointing. So, what does Paul do? He writes a letter!

Now a real apostle never brags, but Paul is going to have to do it. He's being forced to defend himself. Do you know what he's suffered for the gospel? He's been arrested, beaten, tortured, starved, and near death tons of times. These false apostles see visions? Paul's seen visions, too! One time, he saw Paradise, but does he go on and on about this all day? No!

Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians that he won't take money from them (even though he's entitled to support from them since he's their apostle). He's also pretty adamant that he's not stealing money from the Jerusalem collection. Paul closes the whole letter by urging the Corinthians to make things right with him. He'll be visiting the city for a third time pretty soon and he will not suffer fools when he gets there. Now, just imagine Paul dropping an imaginary microphone and we're done.

  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 1

    Hi, My Name Is…

    • Paul opens the letter with a quick greeting. Hey there, Corinthians! What up?
    • He tells us that he's co-writing to the church along with a guy named Sosthenes, but it's also pretty clear that Paul's the main man here.
    • He has all the proper apostolic credentials, after all.
    • Paul starts in with some sweet talk. He is so super thankful for the Corinthians. Go, you guys!
    • Their words and actions are really making God happy. They've also got loads of spiritual gifts that they're really good at. Paul knows that God is gonna make things awesome for them. Sounds great!

    The Not-So-Great Divide

    • Okay, but now it's time for the bad news. We knew that was gonna happen.
    • Paul has received some reports from Chloe and he is none too pleased. Darn you, Chloe.
    • Seems like there's been a lot of fighting going on in Corinth. Lots of divisions are popping up within the community.
    • Some Christians in Corinth are saying that they follow the teaching of Paul. Some people are claiming allegiance to Apollos. Others are saying Cephas is the man. Some people say they're just following plain ol' Jesus. It's becoming a problem.
    • What the heck guys? Paul is pretty annoyed. He wants to know if he was crucified for them or if they were baptized in Paul's name.
    • That answer is a big fat no.
    • Luckily, Paul didn't baptize that many people when he was last in Corinth, or he worries these jokers might start telling people that he did baptize them in his name.

    Topsy Turvy God

    • Look, Christ didn't hand pick Paul to be his apostle just so he could baptize people or go around saying fancy things.
    • No siree. Paul is in charge of spreading the good news about Jesus to everyone. Namely, that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead.
    • Greek people (those who like Apollos) usually have a problem with that because they love wisdom and it doesn't seem very smart for God to let his only son die.
    • Jewish folks (who might be following Cephas) don't like it because they want all kinds of miracles from their messiah. Dying on a cross isn't very miraculous, apparently.
    • But God just doesn't roll that way. He does things (like allowing Jesus to die) that look stupid or weak or pathetic so he can turn the world on its head when everything comes out amazing in the end. In your face, world.
    • For Paul, that means no one can claim to be some wise, amazing, gorgeous, fantastic person. God hates that stuff.
    • The only time people are allowed to brag is when they're bragging about God. Nuff said.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 2

    By the Power of Weakness

    • Paul tells us that when he came to Corinth, he wasn't some smart, smooth-talking guy.
    • Actually, he was kind of weak and afraid and all-around pathetic. We're not sure Paul is giving himself enough credit here.
    • The point is that Paul didn't try to appeal to them using human wisdom. He let himself be filled with the spirit and power of God. And who needs coherent sentences when you've got that?
    • So the Corinthians learned about God not because Paul reasoned and argued them into believing it, but because they felt God through him.
    • Nice humble brag, Paul.

    In the Know

    • Besides, Christians don't need human wisdom. They have God's wisdom. It's waaaaay better, apparently.
    • Just look at the people who run this world, Paul says. They're supposed to be "wise" and yet they put Jesus to death. Not such a smart move, guys.
    • But Christians have the Spirit of God in them.
    • That means they don't speak in terms that the rest of the world understands (Paul is probably referring to the practice of speaking in tongues, which can be pretty tough to understand).
    • People who aren't living in the Spirit don't get this stuff. It just seems stupid or wrong to them.
    • But, those who are in the Spirit know this stuff is right and from God. They don't answer to anyone or anything.
    • They say that no one can know what God's thinking. But people in the Spirit do. They understand the mind of Christ. Whoa. Sounds like a pretty big responsibility.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 3

    Tiny Little Spiritual Babies

    • Wondering just who knows all about this in the Spirit stuff? It's Paul. (Lucky guess!)
    • Paul explains that when he came to the Corinthians, he couldn't speak to them like people in the Spirit because they weren't. They were like little babies who weren't ready to eat their mashed peas. Waaaaaah!
    • Bad new though: they're still just sitting there like tiny babies crying in their high chairs. Paul puts it this way—they're living in the flesh, not living in the Spirit. That doesn't sound good.
    • It just means that as long as they keep arguing about whom to follow, they're acting like boring old human beings and not like people who have been transformed by the Spirit of Christ.

    In Case of Fire

    • Really, Paul says, it doesn't matter. Apollos? Cephas? Paul? They're all serving the same God. So who's keeping score?
    • Paul might have been the one who planted the seeds, then Apollos stepped in to water them, but it was God who made the plant grow.
    • Oh, nice metaphor.
    • Okay, here's another: Paul laid the foundation and Apollos took over the building process after he left. Go on…
    • See, Paul explains, the builder gets to build however he wants, but he still has to fit his little house to the foundation.
    • And if the whole house burns down, guess what's left? Right: the foundation.
    • So, to recap—yes, Apollos and Cephas, they're great. But, they do need to be building on that spiritual foundation that Paul left. It's that or the fire is really gonna get you.

    Your Body Is a Temple

    • Don't forget, Paul tells them, you guys are God's temples because God's Spirit is in all of you.
    • What does that mean? Well, for starters, you shouldn't be destroying God's handiwork. If you do, the Almighty is gonna get you.
    • Please, Paul says, don't lie to yourselves. Don't try to raise yourselves up and be smarter than everyone else. It's rude, and besides, no one likes a know-it-all.
    • Instead, the Corinthians should want to be stupid. Huh?
    • Well, God has a hard time reaching people who think they know everything, but stupid people? They're like a blank slate that God can write his name on. We're guessing after he writes it he draws little hearts around it.
    • So again, don't brag about who you're following—Paul or Apollos or Cephas. Everyone belongs to God in the end.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 4

    Paul of Tarsus: Professional House Sitter

    • The apostles are like house sitters taking care of God's place while he's temporarily out of town. Sure, you have to check the references for your house sitter, but other than that, you're good.
    • And Paul's references—namely Jesus—are pretty ironclad. That's why the Corinthians shouldn't judge his work against the work of others. God has already vouched for him.
    • It's not like Paul is never going to face judgment—but that, friends, is up to God himself. In short: don't do God's job for him, Corinthians.
    • But then again, Paul tells them, maybe it's cool for you guys to judge in God's place because you're so amazing. Sarcasm alert!
    • After all, the Corinthians are the greatest, right? They're rich as kings! They have power and wisdom and strength and everyone loves them! They're the best! (Not.)
    • And the poor apostles—like Paul—are just poor and weak and hungry and thirsty and homeless and beaten and weary and… okay, we get it Paul.

    Daddy Dearest

    • Look, Paul says, sarcastic comments aside, he's not trying to be a jerk. He doesn't want to embarrass the Corinthians or make them feel bad. Um, okay…
    • He's kind of acting like their dad. Um, Paul, isn't that God's metaphor?
    • Paul watches over them along with Jesus like a father. So do as he says, kids.
    • Paul tells them that he's sending Timothy to Corinth so that he can remind the little children of the church how they should be acting.
    • And if Paul doesn't hear a good report… well, then, he is going to have to come down there, young church! And he might be bringing his belt with him. Run, kids!
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 5

    Fifty Shades of Corinth

    • Speaking of doing bad stuff, Paul's been hearing some rumors. There's some steamy stuff going on in the bedroom, and he doesn't like it.
    • He's heard that some guy is getting it on with his stepmom. Gross. It also happens to be against Jewish and Roman law (source).
    • Paul is annoyed that the Corinthians still have this guy hanging around. He needs to be kicked out of the church—pronto.
    • Paul wishes he were there in person so he could help, but never fear, all, he's there in Spirit. And he has so passed judgment on this guy in Spirit.
    • This dude should be forced to live the rest of his life outside of the church. Basically, they're gonna throw him to Satan. Maybe if he suffers enough, God will save him in the end. Who knows though? And who cares—right, Paul?

    A Little Yeast

    • Paul is extremely annoyed at the Corinthians' lax attitude about this stuff.
    • Don't they know that even a little yeast can make bread dough rise? Translation: one bad person can ruin a whole church.
    • It's time to clean those mixing bowls and start a new batch of dough. We're living in Passover times, y'all! Jesus is the lamb that has been slaughtered, so start acting like it!
    • Paul thinks they need to be celebrating with some nice pure unleavened bread, not letting that evil yeast creep into their midst. Harsh words, Paul.

    Rules for Being a Christian

    • Paul says that he wrote to the church before and told them not to have anything to do with immoral people. Of course, they misunderstood this.
    • It would be kind of impossible not to associate with anyone who had a history of doing bad things. You'd have to stop going outside your house.
    • What he meant was, don't associate with other Christians who are immoral. Oh, good clarification.
    • How do you know a fellow Christian is super-bad like this? Well, are they sexually immoral? Are they greedy? Are they an idolater?
    • Do they verbally abuse others? Are they drunks? Are they thieves? Then you can just cross them off your list.
    • Get them out of the church. Judge the heck out of them. (Hey, wait, Paul… didn't you just tell the Corinthians not to judge a little bit ago? Oh, never mind…)
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 6

    Sue Not, Lest Ye Be Sued

    • Paul has some other advice. Don't take each other to court over every little thing. Somewhere, Judge Judy is cheering.
    • Seriously, Corinthians. If you have issues with each other, take it to the church. Let the community help settle it. Sounds like a good idea.
    • That's way better than going in front of a bunch of non-believers in Roman courts. Yuck.
    • What would be even better was if Christians didn't sue each other at all, but Paul's not going to shoot for the moon here.

    Kingdom of God Entrance Exam

    • After all, Paul explains, terrible people are not going to inherit the kingdom of God. Not even a little bit.
    • Fornicators? Idolaters? Adulterers? Male prostitutes? Sodomites? Thieves? Greedy folks? Drunks? Abusers? They're all out.
    • Paul points out that some of the folks in the Christian church used to be guilty of this kind of stuff. Uh-oh…
    • But, then they were baptized in Christ and it's all good. Whew. Let's just try to keep it that way, guys.

    It Does a Body Good

    • Because they've become new people through baptism, it seems the Corinthians think that they can do whatever they like.
    • Not quite. Sure, they could go around having sex with loads of different people and eating whatever they want, but Paul doesn't really think this is a swell idea.
    • They've got to treat their bodies right. After all, the Corinthians' bodies belong to God. They're his temples, remember?
    • Besides, it's not like their bodies are going to get left behind in the end. Nope. God is going to raise them up… eventually.
    • So that means if you have some sexy times with a prostitute, then you're becoming one with a prostitute and not with God.
    • Look, Paul says, the point is, our bodies aren't our own. We can't just go around sleeping with whomever and think it's a-okay, because it is not. There goes the Corinthians' fun weekend plans.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 7

    The Joy of Sex According to Paul

    • Now Paul starts to address some of the things the Corinthians wrote to him about. Apparently, they had a lot of questions about sex.
    • Paul tells them that if people can't stop themselves from getting it on with each other, then they might as well get married. Well, okay then.
    • Once you're married, men and women shouldn't withhold sex from each other. That can lead to temptation… and that's no good.
    • Of course, Paul isn't thrilled to have to give this advice. He's a bachelor and thinks everyone should be shrugging off sex like him. But he realizes that not everyone is going be able to live up to his level of awesomeness.
    • If you're single or you're a widow, Paul's advice is to stay that way.
    • But if you can't keep it in your pants then, by all means, put a ring on it.

    Rules for Marriage

    • So, since the unmarried Paul has clearly established himself as an expert on marriage, he continues…
    • Christians who are married to unbelievers shouldn't divorce their spouses. As long as the non-believer of the pair is fine living with a Christian, they should be cool with it.
    • Yes, in the last chapter, having sex with a prostitute made you a prostitute, but, don't worry: a Christian spouse actually makes their non-believing spouse holy. Don't ask Paul to explain how.
    • And if you're lucky, you might actually be able to convert your non-believing spouse to Christianity. Try something like, "When are you gonna take out the trash… and accept Jesus as Lord?"

    Keep Slaving Away

    • Really, what all this comes down to is what Christians do about their current situations. What if you're married or a virgin or a slave even? So what's the deal with that?
    • Paul thinks that Christians should just let it be. If you're circumcised, then don't try to change it. Same thing if you weren't circumcised.
    • Don't go cutting off perfectly good foreskin just for the sake of Jesus.
    • That stuff doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is living for God.
    • So if you're a slave who converted to Christianity, then stay a slave. Say what?
    • Uh-huh. Good news is, even though you're a slave, you are a free person in God's eyes. Yeah, that'll make lifelong imprisonment much easier to take.

    More Marriage, More Problems

    • More advice… this time for virgins!
    • Thinking about getting married? Think again.
    • Married people have all kinds of problems. They have to worry about each other all the time. Paying the bills, cleaning the house, getting the kids enrolled in the most prestigious chariot racing program.
    • But unmarried people can just keep their eyes on the prize—life with God. That is, when they're not thinking about sex.
    • The end of the world is coming soon, Paul explains. So soon, none of this stuff is going to matter. God is going to swoop in and wipe it all away, and give faithful Christians their reward.
    • That's why it's better to keep your focus on the Big Guy instead of trying to snag Mr. Right.
    • Again, Paul's not saying marriage is actually sinful or bad, just that you should avoid it if you can.
      Remember, if you're just some sex fiend who can't control himself, go ahead and get married. But if you're able to keep the sexy times under control, then that's way better.
    • You're more blessed when you stay single, Paul says. (Typical man. Won't commit.)
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 8

    Meaty Issues

    • Now Paul turns to another important question: is it okay for Christians to eat meat that has been sacrificed to Roman gods? Okay, this is a thorny issue…
    • The Corinthians have told him that they think this is fine. After all, there's only one God and one Jesus, so those other gods aren't even real. No gods, no foul, right?
    • Yeah, Paul tells them, that's pretty much right—but they shouldn't get too high and mighty about it. Go on…
    • Even though they're right about those gods not existing, not all Christians fully understand this yet. Hey, there will always be slow learners in any group.
    • There might be Corinthian Christians out there who still believe these gods are real. That means they're actually committing idolatry in their hearts when they eat this sacrificed meat. And everyone knows that God does not like idolatry.
    • So, Paul concludes, it really isn't the best idea to tell everyone to help themselves to the Roman buffets just yet.
    • In fact, he kind of wishes that everyone would just swear off this meat—like he does—so that they could all stop arguing about it. What's better? Having a little bacon everyone now and then or hurting your fellow Christians? (Hint: the answer is not bacon.)
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 9

    Support Your Apostle

    • Paul is kind of a big deal. He's an apostle. He's seen the Risen Christ. Even the fact that the church in Corinth exists is proof that God is working through him. Boo-ya.
    • He explains that, as an apostle, he is entitled to monetary support from his fellow Christians. Must be in the fine print of his contract.
    • He should get free food and beverages (no more BYOB for Paul!). He should have a faithful wife traveling by his side (a really cute one!). He shouldn't have to work little side jobs (tent-making can be a real drag). Really, the Corinthians should be fully supporting him.

    Eyes on the Prize

    • But Paul doesn't roll this way.
    • Even though these are his rights, even though this is what God demands, Paul never took advantage of these perks.
    • And don't worry, he's not going to start doing it now. He's just trying to make a point. So put away your wallets, okay?
    • All Paul is saying is that he chose this life freely. He gets to spread the gospel around free of charge to everyone.
    • Paul might be free, but he's made himself into a slave (sans chains) in order to win more converts to Christ.
    • Wherever he goes, he becomes like the people he's with so that he can help convince them that Jesus is Lord. We believe this is called empathy.
    • And you've got to stay strong throughout. Christians are like world-class athletes. They have to train and be super discipled in order to win the prize at the end. The prize in this case is a little nicer than a trophy.
    • This is how Paul lives his life. Just a hint, Corinthians.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 10

    Way Back in Exodus

    • God did a lot of great things in the olden days. Just check out Exodus for some examples. He led people out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, gave them manna and water in the desert. God is pretty awesome like that.
    • And how did they repay him? By sinning their butts off.
    • They did weird sexual things. They tested God. They complained and bellyached constantly. They bowed down in front of idols. And God took it to them.
    • All this happened as a warning: do not try this stuff with God. It never works out well.

    Demonic Meals

    • Let's go back to food for a minute.
    • When Christians come together and share bread and wine, they're signaling their special relationship with God.
    • The same is true for Jews who eat kosher meats sacrificed in the temple.
    • So, even though you're not forming any kind of special relationships with Roman gods when you eat their idolatrous meat, you might be accidentally making friends with demons. Wait, what?
    • Okay, so the Roman gods don't exist, right? They're not actually gods, but they're demons. So when you chow down on some food and drink from their temples, you're sort of throwing your hat in with them.
    • Paul just doesn't think it sounds like a good idea. One day you're drinking the blood of Christ, the next day you're drinking from some demon's cup. Yuck.
    • In other words: just say no to pagan meals.

    Don't Be So Selfish

    • Okay, but the Corinthians still think that this eating demon meat thing is no big deal. If a non-believing friend has a party at a shrine, wouldn't it be rude not to attend?
    • Paul says that just because something is allowed doesn't mean it's a good idea. Paul is starting to sound like a dad again.
    • Yes, you as an individual might be fine eating this sacrificial food, but it also might really tick off other Christians.
    • That's right, Selfish Solomons! You need to think of other people's feelings, too.
    • If you're truly trying to make God happy with your actions, you're not going to do things that hurt your fellow Christians. Right? Now go to your rooms and think about what you've done.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 11

    Cover It Up, Ladies

    • Now Paul has some advice for the ladies. Girls, keep your heads covered in church.
    • Why? Well, Paul's glad you asked. See, "Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife." Get it? No…
    • Women should wear veils when they prophesy or pray. It's pretty disgraceful not to. A lady might as well shave her head while she's at it. Uh-oh. Sinead O'Connor is in trouble.
    • Guys, on the other hand, shouldn't wear anything on their heads. That's because they're made in the image of God. Huh?
    • See, it all goes back to Genesis. God made Adam in his image and then, like a whole paragraph later, made Eve from his rib. It's a very important distinction.
    • Don't get Paul wrong. Men and women need each other. In fact, you might say that even though Eve was created using Adam rib, every other man on the face of the earth has been created using a lady's womb. So thank your mother, okay?
    • Paul finishes up by explaining that all this is just natural. Guys have short hair. Girls have long hair. Guys let it all hang out and ladies keep it covered. Obviously, Paul never listened to "Free to Be You and Me."

    Communal Problems

    • Okay, so now Paul moves onto other pressing worship issues: what's the deal with communion in Corinth?
    • Paul's been hearing some rumors. Bad ones. It seems that when the church gets together to eat, people are not sharing. Uh-oh.
    • Some (rich) people eat a whole fancy meal and some (poor) people don't get anything.
    • This sucks. Paul's pretty ticked about it, too.
    • Seriously, Corinthians? Ever heard of eating at home? Why would you guys get together to celebrate Christ and then act like selfish jerks? Not cool.
    • Paul explains how he taught them how to celebrate the Eucharistic meal. And they are mostly definitely not living up to his standards.
    • In fact, they're making things worse for themselves. Jesus knows how they're acting and they're going to have to answer for it. Unless they straighten up.
    • Paul's advice? Try waiting until everyone gets there to start the meal. If you're so hungry that you have to gorge yourself in front of everyone else, have a snack before you come. Seriously. Sharing is caring.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 12

    99 Problems, But A Gift Ain't One

    • Paul moves on to discuss gifts. No, you're not getting a new iPad. He's talking about spiritual gifts from God.
    • For example: how do we know the difference between people who are spiritually gifted and people who are just off their rockers?
    • Well, Paul says, as long as they're not cursing Jesus, they're good. It's a pretty low bar, but we're with him so far.
    • There are all kinds of different gifts people can have, but they all come from God. What are some of the gifts Paul recognizes? We're glad you asked:
    • Wisdom
    • Knowledge
    • Faith
    • Healing
    • Working miracles
    • Prophecy
    • Discerning spirits
    • Speaking in tongues
    • Interpretation of tongues

    Rock That Body

    • Different people have different gifts, but this is just like a human body. Oh, time for Anatomy 101.
    • All the parts—eyes, ears, feet, hands—need to work together so the body can function. You can't have a foot going off on its own or the whole thing falls apart.
    • All Christians make up the body of Christ and every single part is important for keeping this body healthy. Hear that, Corinthians?
    • You're all in this together.
    • Paul even says that sometimes the puniest, weakest parts of the body turn out to be the most important. Like fingernails? Or toes?
    • So to recap: we're all very special little snowflakes.
    • If everyone could make miracles or everyone spoke in tongues things would be a huge mess. Everyone's gifts are needed to make things awesome.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 13

    Here Comes the Love

    • So, Paul has established that there are tons of gifts that people can have. But the greatest gift of all? Love. Awww…
    • Sure, you might be able to predict the future and understand all the mysteries of the world, but if you don't have love in your heart, then you're missing out. Big time.
    • "Love is patient; love is kind…" Oh, is someone having a wedding? No, it's just Paul explaining all the wonder that is love.
    • Basically, love is everything good and nothing bad. It lasts forever, while spiritual gifts will fall by the wayside. Predictions and speaking in tongues can only get you so far in life. Love is for always.
    • Paul explains that when he was a child, he acted like a child. No surprise there. But, now, he's a grown man and he's done with kids' stuff.
    • When this world is done, when God has wiped everything away, it will be like looking in a mirror for the first time and really seeing.
    • Before this, we only knew part of what there was to know. But soon, we'll know everything.
    • When this happens, spiritual gifts won't matter. The only feelings that will exist in the world are faith, hope, and love. But of course, the most excellent one of all is love. Whoa, Paul sure is a poet.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 14

    Tongue-Tied

    • Right, so love is the most important thing, but if you're going to use your spiritual gifts, use them wisely.
    • The most useful gift, in Paul's opinion, is prophecy. The least helpful one is speaking in tongues.
    • Why is Paul down on this practice? Good question.
    • Basically, it's because when you speak in tongues, no one else can understand what the heck you're saying.
    • Prophets can build up a community with their predictions and the things they see. But speaking in tongues is a pretty individual exercise. Other people would like to understand what God is trying to say to you, too.
    • After all, Paul didn't come to Corinth speaking in tongues, did he? If he did, he probably wouldn't have inspired too many believers, since they would have no clue what he was talking about.
    • Of course, Paul does speak in tongues. He does it a ton actually. More than anyone in Corinth. But he'd rather say five words that help others than a thousand in holy gibberish that no one gets.
    • Sometimes non-believers are swayed when they see Christians speaking in tongues. But if a bunch of non-believers walk into a church and see everyone speaking in tongues they're going to think that those Christians have lost it.

    All the Churchy Ladies

    • Okay, so what to do?
    • Well, Paul says that when the church comes together, people should take turns speaking in tongues. Then, someone can sit and interpret for them. If no one is around to interpret, then they need to hush it up 'til later.
    • And, while we're on the subject of shutting up in church—maybe the ladies should be doing that, too.
    • Paul says that "women should be silent in the churches." No talking. Singing. Zip.
    • If a lady has questions, she can go bother her husband with them when she gets home. Right after she finishes making him a sandwich.
    • But anyway, back to tongues. So, it's fine with Paul, but just don't overdo it, okay? Good.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 15

    The Resurrection Will Not Be Televised

    • Paul reminds the Corinthians that he was the one who taught them all about Jesus. How he died and rose again and appeared to loads of people. Even to little ol' Paul. He's the hardest working apostle in this Christ-business.
    • Now, they're saved… unless they start to slip a little.
    • There are some people in Corinth who doubt Paul's teachings. For example, the one about the dead being raised when the world ends.
    • Yeah, that one.
    • Paul explains that if there's no resurrection of the dead, then that means:
    • (1) Jesus was never resurrected. Say it ain't so!
    • (2) Paul is a big fat liar. Who you callin' a liar, Corinthians?!
    • (3) Their faith is all a waste a time. What?
    • (4) And every one who has died believing in Jesus just turned to dust. Whoa.
    • Right, so Christians would look pretty stupid if the resurrection of the dead thing wasn't true.

    It's the End of the World, But Paul Feels Fine

    • But the truth is Jesus was resurrected. He's just the first in a long line of people who are gonna be back when the world comes to an end.
    • Everyone in the world had to die because of way back in Genesis (nice going, Adam). But now, everyone will live because of Jesus.
    • It's actually pretty simple:
    • (1) Christ died and rose again.
    • (2) Soon, this world is gonna end and he's gonna come back again.
    • (3) That's when he'll raise all his faithful followers from the dead, too.
    • (4) After that, Jesus will defeat all evil and hand the reigns over to God. All in a day's work.
    • You can't subtract one of those steps. You kind of need them all or else God's plan isn't going to work. He hates it when that happens.
    • Here's another thought. If there's no resurrection of the dead, then why do the Corinthians bother getting baptized on behalf of dead people? What's the point?
    • Oh, and why are Christians risking their lives, families, relationships, and social standing for a God who just lets them die and turn to dust?
    • Basically, according to Paul, if the whole resurrection of the dead thing isn't true—Christians are wasting their time.

    Zombie Apocalypse

    • Okay, so Paul's established it. There's gonna be a resurrection of the dead, right?
    • So what's the deal with our bodies? Are we talking zombie invasion or do our bodies change somehow when they rise again?
    • Well, our bodies are kind of like seeds. We're planted and die, but then we we're reborn into a nice thick stalk of wheat or a tulip or something lovely like that.
    • Our boring earthly bodies are weak and perishable and pretty much all around boring. But, our heavenly bodies are going to be… well, heavenly.
    • It's like with Adam. He was a physical person first. Then Jesus came and he was a spiritual person. First, we're physical, then we'll become spiritual. Get it?
    • Look, we're gonna change. It will happen in an instant. A trumpet will sound and we'll be different.
    • It's the only way God will totally get one over on death.
    • So rest easy, Paul says. Everything he says is true, so if you believe, you've got nothing to worry about.
  • 1 Corinthians: Chapter 16

    Time to Tithe

    • Now, onto more practical matters…
    • Paul asks the Corinthians to take up a collection that he can deliver to the church in Jerusalem. Waiting until the end to ask for money? Smart move.
    • He assures them that he's going to visit them soon. Right now, he's pretty caught up in Ephesus. Lots of naysayers hanging around that place.
    • He's sending Timothy to them, though, so he's hoping the Corinthians will treat him well.
    • Paul also mentions that Apollos will be coming sometime in the future. Whenever he has a free minute to travel across multiple regions.
    • He asks them to follow the example of Stephanus and his whole household. They were some of the earlier converts in Corinth, and Paul really digs them.
    • Aquila and Prisca send their love, too, along with all the churches in Asia. That's a lot of love.
    • Paul closes the whole letter by sending his good wishes and prayers for Jesus to come very, very soon.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 1

    Intro: Part Deux

    • Hey there, Corinthians. It's Paul again. Did you miss him?
    • This time Paul tells everyone that he's the one writing, but that he's also got his fellow apostle, Timothy, with him to help advise. Two is better than one, we guess.
    • Paul starts by giving thanks for the Corinthians. Nice one, Paul. Butter them up.
    • He tells them that God has been there for him while they were all getting their butts kicked (figuratively, of course).
    • Paul also makes reference to a scary incident in Asia. He and some friends almost died. Yikes!
    • But, luckily, God saved them in the nick of time. Just like he does every time. Well, almost every time.
    • Paul wants the Corinthians to know that he's about to give them some blunt, but sincere advice. So keep that in mind.

    He Never Visits Anymore

    • Paul knows the Corinthians are a tiny bit mad at him because he said he was going to visit, but didn't.
    • It's not like Paul did this for his own selfish reasons though. He's on God's time. And God's watch can get a little quirky sometimes.
    • No worries, though, because all God's promises will eventually be fulfilled. So is Paul going crash in their guest room next week or not?
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 2

    The Painful Visit

    • Okay, the real reason that Paul cancelled his visit to Corinth is because he didn't want to have another "painful visit." At least that's what happened the last time he stopped in Corinth. Ouch.
    • Apparently, there was some kind of disagreement between Paul and a male member of the Corinthian congregation. Paul doesn't go into details (we're guessing the Corinthian gossip mill has already made this news known). He also doesn't name his opponent, so we'll just call him the Offending Brother.
    • We don't know what happened, but we do know that what was really upsetting about the whole incident was that the Corinthians ended up siding with the Offending Brother instead of Paul. How rude!
    • Paul cancelled his travel plans and did what he does best—he wrote a letter. This letter made him super sad though and he cried a ton while writing it.

    The Tears Did It!

    • But—good news—the letter worked. Paul hears that the Corinthians have kicked the Offending Brother out of the church.
    • Okay, but now, Paul tells them they should work on bringing him back into the church (wait, what?). Oh, you know. Forgiveness and all that jazz.
    • Paul heard all this news first hand from his friend, Titus (who had been to visit Corinth). Needless to say, this made Paul very, very happy.
    • But really, this is all God's handiwork. He has led Paul and his fellow apostles on a victory march through the streets. God loves a parade, apparently.
    • Paul and his cohorts aren't like some apostles who are really just "peddlers of God's word." They're sincere and truthful. They come from God. Now that's a solid resume.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 3

    We Don't Need No Stinkin' Letters

    • Is Paul getting a little braggy here? Maybe.
    • He tells the Corinthians that he isn't like these peddlers of God's word. He doesn't need to carry around a bunch of testimonial letters that tell everyone how great he is. Oh, so now Paul doesn't like letters?
    • The proof is in the pudding for Paul. After all, he founded a whole church in Corinth. That's all the letter he needs. Boo-ya.
    • Paul goes on to say that his letter (the church) isn't written in ink or chiseled on stone tablets. It's written by the Spirit of God on people's hearts. Awww.

    He Fought the Law

    • Don't get Paul wrong. He's not claiming to know any of this himself. God told him.
    • God revealed a new way of doing things with Jesus.
    • Now people don't have to worry about obeying every single letter of Jewish law. They just follow God's Spirit in their hearts.
    • Paul retells the story of the time Moses put a veil over his face (Exodus 34:33-35) to show that those who continue to follow the law have hidden themselves from the truth. They're covered. They're in darkness. Those are some pretty thick veils.
    • But Christians have lifted the veil and see God for who he really is. Note to Corinthians: throw away all veils.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 4

    Paul Is A Slave for You

    • Paul hasn't lost heart, though.
    • He isn't like some of these so-called apostles in Corinth. He doesn't lie. He doesn't tell fibs when it comes to God's word. He just brings the truth.
    • Unlike the false apostles out there, Paul doesn't just talk about himself all the time (he doesn't?). He stays focused on Jesus. Keep your eyes on the ball, Paul.
    • Paul is totally a slave for Jesus… and you.

    Jars of Clay

    • True apostles are fragile. It's like God has put his "treasure in clay jars." Those jars are breakable, but God always catches them before they fall. Hmmm… doesn't seem like the best plan.
    • Apostles have to suffer. It's part of their job description. But they don't let that get them down. Sure, they get knocked down (or nearly beheaded), but they get up again.
    • They suffer like Jesus did on the cross. Then they can show off God's glory. WWJD, indeed.
    • A real apostle brings the truth, no matter what the cost. He believes in God's word and he speaks it. Those are his credentials. That's how he proves he's the real deal.
    • Trust Paul: he's doing this all for you, Corinthians. He's putting himself through the ringer so that he can show off the goodness of God.
    • We guess that makes sense.
    • Paul also knows that these trials now are going to pay off big time when he's dead and gone. Yeah, we're guessing Paul gets a primo seat in Heaven.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 5

    Pitch Your Tent

    • Here's a nice thought: if the tent we live in was suddenly destroyed (flash flood?) we would have a nice home with God. In Heaven, there is no mortgage or rent, either.
    • Right now, we're all sitting here on earth just waiting to go to our homes in Heaven. The neighborhood is way nicer there.
    • On Earth, we're away from God. But, that's doesn't mean we shouldn't keep doing everything we can to make him happy.
    • In fact, it probably means we should be more focused on making God happy. After all, he is going to judge the heck out of us when we're done with our time on Earth. Gulp.
    • No worries (if you're Christian, that is)! Believers know God and try to pass the good news about him onto others. He loves that stuff, so it's gonna work out pretty well for those guys.

    You Best Reconcile

    • Again, Paul isn't trying to brag. He just wants to give the Corinthians some ammunition to use against his detractors (those so-called apostles that have been hanging around Corinth).
    • These guys put a lot of stock in public displays of religiosity. They're obsessed with looking holy, Paul thinks.
    • But Paul knows that real authority doesn't come from how religious you look, but from your devotion to God's people. Hint, hint, Corinthians. He's talking about you guys.
    • After all, Jesus died so that all of us could live. Now, we don't live for ourselves anymore, but for Jesus.
    • So if you're truly a believer in Christ, your old self is dead. You're a new person. You don't see things in a regular old human way anymore. Meaning it doesn't do any good to look for status symbols when picking your apostles, guys.
    • All this stuff—it's directly from God.
    • Paul urges everyone to "be reconciled to God." Basically that just means that people need to work on making things right between themselves and the Big Guy.
    • This is obviously what God wants from us. After all, God could have kept a big old score card of our sins, but he threw it away and sent Jesus instead. God's cool like that. Or else he's a lousy bookkeeper.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 6

    Don't Feed the Trolls

    • Paul goes on to talk more his excellent apostolic resume.
    • Unlike the false apostles in Corinth, Paul doesn't think grandiose displays of religiousness mean anything. He actually thinks the opposite is true. The worse off you have it, the more you're in with God. Okay, just hear him out…
    • Paul doesn't claim to have done anything miraculous or magnificent or amazing. Instead, he talks up all the hardships he's gone through. This guy has suffered. He's been thrown in prison, beaten, starved, gone without sleep, and whole bunch of other bad stuff. But everything he's done, he's done to bring the truth about God to the world.
    • That, in Paul's opinion, is true devotion to God. Paul doesn't just get the perks that go with the job—he's also doing some pretty heavy lifting. He does have a point.
    • Paul's laid it all on the line here.
    • Now, he just has one piece of advice for the Corinthians: patch things up with your apostle, guys. Um, that would be Paul.
    • The Corinthians shouldn't lump themselves in with these false apostles, who Paul calls "unbelievers." Harsh, Paul.
    • Christians are all holy and awesome and devoted to God. But these false apostles are bottom feeders. Don't believe the hype.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 7

    Let's Stay Together

    • Paul knows that the Corinthians and he are going to make things right again.
    • He asks them to open up their hearts to him and his friends.
    • He also throws in a little fatherly love: "I often boast about you; I have great pride in you." Paul, you're making the Corinthians blush.

    The Tearful Letter

    • Now, Paul starts to reminiscence about the previous letter he sent to the Corinthians. The one he cried while writing. What can we say?
    • He's a sensitive man.
    • Paul tells them that when he and Timothy went to Macedonia to see Titus and get the news about how people reacted to the letter in Corinth, they were really nervous. Would the Corinthians be angry? Would they reject him? Or would they finally do something about that naughty Offending Brother who caused all this mess in the first place?
    • But when Titus told them that things were going better in Corinth—that they liked Paul, they really liked him!—he was thrilled.
    • Paul tells them that he's sorry that his letter hurt them… but not really. Yes, he's sorry the letter made them upset, but it also got them to act, and that's what's most important, right?
    • See, they felt the good kind of upset. The kind that makes a person want to stop being so stubborn and just agree with Paul already.
    • You know. That kind.
    • But Paul didn't write to them before just to call out the Offending Brother. Nope.
    • He wrote to the Corinthians so that they could all patch things up between them. And they did. Paul tells them that Titus was super happy when he saw how obedient the Corinthians were to Paul. This is why he brags about Corinth all the time. Nice job, guys.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 8

    It's Money Time!

    • Now Paul comes to the important part—asking for money. It's usually best to leave that until you've sufficiently praised your audience. Nice work, Paul.
    • Though he mentioned it before in 1 Corinthians, Paul is still after the people of Corinth to open their pocketbooks for the fund he is taking up for Christians in Jerusalem. Way to dodge the collection basket, Corinthians.
    • Paul praises the Christians in Macedonia. It seems even though they don't have a ton of money, they gave very generously to the collection. Hint, hint, Corinth.
    • Now, Paul has asked Titus to return to Corinth to collect some cash.
    • Paul lays it on thick here. The Corinthians are great at everything: they're faithful, they speak well, they're knowledgeable, eager, and loving. Now they just have to add "generous" to that list.
    • Just think of Jesus. In reality, he was rich, but he gave up everything and became poor so that the whole world could become rich. Nice guy, huh?
    • But Paul's not telling the Corinthians that they should give up everything. Nope. Just that they should give what they can. If there's money they can spare (and he knows there is) they should give it.
    • Right now, the Corinthians have a surplus of money. Other Christians need that money. Paul just wants there to be a "fair balance." Oh, Paul favors redistribution of wealth, apparently.
    • So expect Titus, Corinthians. Along with two other Christian guys (who Paul doesn't name).
    • One of these guys has been appointed by various churches to act as a kind of overseer for the fund. That's just in case you were wondering if Paul's skimming a little off the top for himself. He's not.
    • So welcome them all. And please, give generously!
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 9

    What, No Tote Bag?

    • It's still pledge drive week in 2 Corinthians. Paul continues to talk about money while the Corinthians consider listening to another station for a chapter or two.
    • Paul tells the Corinthians that he's been talking them up to the church in Macedonia. He's already told everyone how faithful they are and that they're ready to give with open hearts and open wallets. Right, everyone?
    • But, just in case… he's sending Titus and the other two guys ahead. He wants to make sure the Corinthians are ready to give and aren't in a stingy mood.
    • If Paul arrived in Corinth with the Macedonians and it turned out the Corinthians didn't greet them with open wallets, Paul "would be humiliated."
    • So Paul has asked these three gents to go ahead and make sure that Corinth will have their generous gift ready—just like they promised they would. Hey, you did promise.
    • He'd also like the gift to be voluntary. It's not like he's trying to extort them or something. No, not at all.
    • Basically, Paul's whole point is this: if you give, you get. It's as simple as that.
    • But people have to make up their own minds. He can't force them. Then they'd be grumpy. And remember, "God loves a cheerful giver."
    • Trust Paul. God is going to provide for those who provide for others.
    • Plus, a commitment to share with other Christians also shows their love for Christ and their devotion to the gospel. Paul believes we're all in this together. Sharing is caring.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 10

    • A little historical footnote before we start this chapter: Scholars think that 2 Corinthians is actually made up of two letters. The first one was chapters 1-9. The second one begins here. You'll probably notice the weird tone shift. Just a sentence ago, Paul was praising the Corinthians for their generosity and asking them for money, and now he's reaming them out. No one is going to empty their pocketbooks after this stuff.

    You Wouldn't Like Paul When He's Angry

    • Paul begins by saying he's writing to them in "the meekness and gentleness of Christ," and then he goes on to freak out.
    • It seems people have been saying Paul is actually more impressive in letter than in person. Hey, all we have is letters to go on, but that might be true.
    • But Paul wants to make it clear that he's not afraid to confront these naysayers when he sees them. Paul is a man of action, not just beautifully written words.
    • We're at war here. And Paul is going to take it to the enemy. Let's get ready to rumble.

    Tried-and-True Apostle

    • Paul reminds the Corinthians that if they're really devoted to Christ, they'll see that he is, too. Not like these other jerks hanging around Corinth.
    • It seems there's a group of so-called apostles who don't like Paul much. Don't think the people in Corinth should actually be listening to him.
    • But Paul tells them that he's not going to brag about himself like they do. Maybe they're all talking up their holiness or how they all had fancy religious experiences. Paul's not gonna go there.
    • He reminds the Corinthians that he was the one who founded their church. Him. Paul.
    • Now these punks have come in and tread on his work. Why? Can't they get their own flock.
    • See, Paul doesn't believe in church-poaching. He was here first, and that counts for something. You don't mow another guy's lawn!
    • Besides, these so-called apostles just brag about themselves day and night. It's annoying.
    • Everyone knows that real apostles only brag about the good work that God has done. You know, real apostles like Paul.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 11

    The Train to Crazy Town

    • Let's humor Paul for a minute while he gets a little crazy.
    • See, Paul is jealous. That's right. He's like a father who promised that his daughter would marry one guy (Jesus) and now she's off sneaking around with some other Jesus. This one probably has all kinds of creepy tattoos. And a nose ring. Basically, it's a dad's nightmare.
    • Even though Paul said he not a huge bragger, we're going have to bear with him here while he does a little bragging. He doesn't like it, but these false apostles have forced his hand. Tell it, Paul!

    No Apostle Support for Him

    • Paul thinks he's pretty great when compared to the "super-apostles" (ah, sarcasm! Good one, Paul!).
    • He may not be a fancy public speaker like these guys, but Paul knows his stuff. After all, he learned it from God.
    • Apparently, some of these false apostles have been circulating rumors that if Paul were a real apostle, he would accept a salary from the Corinthians. Instead, Paul continues to work as a craftsman (he was a tent-maker) and accepts support from other Christians (like his friends in Macedonia), but not Corinth. What gives?
    • Paul tells them it's not because he doesn't love them. It's because he does—so much! He even draws little hearts around their names in his apostolic notebook.
    • But yeah, when Paul came to visit, he didn't take money from them for his personal support. He didn't want to be a burden. He just brought them the good news of Christ Jesus free of charge. Is that a problem, Corinthians?
    • Paul accuses the false apostles of being in league with Satan. Whoa, these guys aren't just wrong. They're flat out evil.

    Not Suffering in Silence

    • Does all this bragging make Paul seem a little foolish? Well then fine. Paul is cool with that… even though he knows how ridiculous this all sounds.
    • Besides, the Corinthians love fools. They listen to them talk all day… and even get convinced by some of their stupid arguments. We're looking at you, false apostles.
    • If these guys want to have a brag-off, then let's go.
    • Are these guys Jewish? Well, Paul is, too!
    • Are they serving Jesus? Well, guess what? Paul is, too! ("I am talking like a madman," he says.)
    • Plus, if we're gonna compare apples to apples here, Paul has the far more impressive credentials:
    • Five times he was whipped with 39 lashes. Ouch.
    • Three times he was beaten with rods. More ouch.
    • Once he was stoned. Yikes! (Didn't work, though.)
    • Three times he was shipwrecked. But not on a mystical island. Boo.
    • He was lost at sea for a day. With Richard Parker?
    • He is constantly in danger wherever he goes. Wow, people do not like Paul.
    • On top of this, he's been sleep-deprived, hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked. And he's constantly freaking out about what's going on in various churches. Corinthians, you're not helping Paul's poor nerves.
    • See, unlike the false apostles, Paul doesn't brag about all the amazing things he can do or the fancy speeches he gives. Paul brags about the bad stuff he's been through. Now that's dedication.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 12

    He Had a Vision of Heaven

    • But wait! You want more, Corinthians? You got it. Let's talk visions. Paul's had those, too.
    • One time, about fourteen years ago, Paul was "caught up to the third heaven." Yeah, that's right. Paul's had a vision that he was transported to Paradise. Boo-ya.
    • He saw all kinds of crazy things. Things he can't even tell people about (God is pretty secretive about what's going on in Heaven).

    Every Paul Has His Thorn

    • Look, Paul hates all this bragging. He absolutely despises doing it. But he's been backed into a corner. The Corinthians are asking him to prove himself, so what else can he do?
    • He hates talking about himself—he only wants to brag about the things God has done.
    • Even God doesn't want Paul to get all high and mighty.
    • After he had this amazing vision of Heaven, Paul had some medical problems. He says, "a thorn was given to me in the flesh." That doesn't sound good.
    • Whatever happened (it seems like some kind of illness), Paul prayed three times for the misery to just end already.
    • Finally, God told him to knock it off: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." Wow, God really has a way with words.
    • So this is how Paul knows that God is cool with weakness. And Paul basks in the glow of his super powerlessness. His weakness actually makes him strong. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, false apostles.

    Honesty, Thy Name Is Paul

    • Yes, Paul is acting really stupid now by doing all this bragging, but he's been forced into by the Corinthians. They should have been defending him, and instead, they were cozying up to these false apostles. For shame!
    • After all, what did he really do wrong? He doesn't talk about how awesome he is day and night. That's terrible! He doesn't take money from them. Awful!
    • When Paul comes for his third visit to Corinth (which is happening soon), their money is still no good to him. After all, parents support their children, not the other way around. Paul is one proud papa.
    • So even though Paul swears up and down that hasn't taken any money from them, there's still some suspicion around that he's somehow trying to scam the Corinthians.
    • There are rumors floating around that Paul may be keeping a little bit of the money from the collection in Jerusalem for himself. Paul mentions Titus and the other guy he sent (remember them from chapter 9?) to defend himself. None of them have been dishonest at all.

    The Rumor Mill at Work

    • Look, everything Paul says is for their own good. Typical dad stuff.
    • Paul is pretty worried that when he visits this next time things are not going to go well.
    • The Corinthians aren't going like him and he won't be real happy with them either.
    • He's heard rumors about all kinds of bad stuff: fights, jealousy, anger, selfishness, gossip, arrogance, sexual immorality. Things sound pretty juicy in Corinth.
    • Paul is not looking forward to the heartache.
  • 2 Corinthians: Chapter 13

    Closing Time

    • Paul isn't going to deal lightly with these sinners when he comes to town.
    • He's also ready to argue in favor of himself when he gets there. Just in case there's anyone out there who's looking for more proof of his apostolic résumé.
    • All the Corinthians have to do is think about their own faith. If they really believe in Jesus—if they've truly accepted him into their lives—they'll know that Paul is for real.
    • Look, the reason that Paul put all this harshness down in a letter is so that he won't have to break this all out when he arrives in person. He wants to clear the air before he comes.
    • He's hoping that the Corinthians will get his letter, see the error of their ways, and fix the problem.
    • Paul closes his letter with some short little wishes for peace and with the hope that they can patch things up again. For old time's sake.