Paul’s message to the Corinthians was that salvation through Christ alone for salvation is the foundation. Paul wrote this letter to correct what he saw as erroneous views in the Corinthian church. Basically, divisions within the church at Corinth seem to be an issue, and Paul makes it a point to mention these conflicts in the beginning. Specifically, pagan roots still hold sway within their community. Paul wants to bring them back to his doctrines, stating that God has given him the opportunity to be a “skilled master builder” to lay the foundation and let others build upon it (1 Cor 3:10). Paul always pointed to having a clear and firm foundation built upon faith in Christ and not upon man or the law. This book is the beginning of Paul chastising and reminding the Corinthian believers that they are to be examples of Christ.
Paul continually reminds them of their immorality and sets an example of teaching accountability in the church. The immoral ways of the world were seeping into the church and many people were adapting to their surroundings instead of being changed by Christ. Paul states that this letter is not meant to make them feel ashamed but to “admonish” them as beloved children. They are expected to become imitators of Jesus and follow the ways in Christ as he, Paul, teaches in all his churches (1 Cor. 4:14-16). Paul always preached Jesus and through his letters to the Corinthians, he focused upon being a follower of Christ in word and deed.
In the second letter to the Corinthians Paul reminds them once again to living for God’s glory and to not seek the world’s pleasures. Paul balances the correction of their unwise actions with his undying love for the people through the power of God. It must have been hard to put up with this church, they were easily swayed by worldly philosophies and ideas. Paul is the spiritual father that helps focus the people upon Christ and Him alone.
Paul had to defend himself with some of his important teachings on being forgiving and clear on following Christ. He states the importance of forgiving others, and God’s new agreement that comes from the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), and the importance of being a person of Christ.
The “harsh words” that Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians were in defense of their lack of being under his authority. Paul is simply responding to the heartache of dealing with their selfishness and points them to focus on sharing the gospel, Jesus crucifixion, death and resurrection. Paul is a great example of sharing the truth but in a way that people can be restored through repentance.