How to Study 2 Corinthians (NASB)
Second Corinthians is different from Paul's other epistles. Watch the atmosphere or tone of this epistle. Paul is defending himself, which is unusual for Paul. As you read through the book, note the issues Paul addresses and what he says to the Corinthians, and you will understand what Paul is up against.
Study the 2 Corinthians Observations Chart and see what you'll need to observe as you study 2 Corinthians chapter by chapter. Make a duplicate of this chart so you can use it as a worksheet. When you have completed it, record the information on the original chart.
As you read each chapter, list everything you learn about Paul. Be sure to note the afflictions he endured: What must he do in respect to the Corinthians? What has been done to him by the Corinthians? Ask God to show you Paul's character, his heart, his joys, and his sorrows.
Note what you learn about the Corinthians. Remember to ask "5 W's and an H": What are they like? What is their relationship with Paul like? What is going on in the Corinthians church at this time? What have they said about Paul? What problems has Paul had to deal with in respect to them?
What is Paul's desire or goal for the Corinthians?
Titus is mentioned several times in this letter. Record what you learn about him.
As you read 2 Corinthians chapter by chapter, do the following:
Mark in the text in a distinctive way the key words (and their synonyms and pronouns). Write these on an index card that you can use as a bookmark while you study 2 Corinthians. (Hint: If you mark every reference to Satan with an appropriate symbol he will be easy to spot)
As you come to specific chapter you will notice other key words which are not listed. Mark these also.
If there are several truths you learn from the use of a key word within a chapter, list in your notebook what you learn from that word. For example, list all you learn about affliction (s) and sufferings.
Look for the theme (subject) of each chapter and record it under "Chapter Themes" on Structure of 2 Corinthians.
In the midst of this very personal letter, Paul gives some important insights on several subjects.
Chapter 3 mentions the new covenant (which is grace) and the old covenant (which is law). These are described as ministries, and then the ministries are contrasted according to the result of each: condemnation or righteousness. Record in your notebook what you learn about each from the text.
In chapter 5 Paul talks about what will happen to our earthly bodies when we die. He also discusses the judgment seat of Christ and our ministry of reconciliation. Identify how these relate to one another and what you learn about each from the text.
In chapter 7 Paul deals with two kinds of sorrow and what they produce. Don't miss this. Record your notes in your notebook.
What is Paul writing about in chapter 1 through 7? Is there a theme that runs through these chapters? Remember that key words reveal several themes. What key words are repeated the most in this segment?
How does Paul begin and end this segment?
Record the theme for chapters 1 through 7 on Structure of 2 Corinthians under :Segment Divisions."
Chapters 8 - 9
What subject is Paul talking about in chapter 8 and 9? Note the use of the words ministry, work, and service. What ministry or work or service is he referring to?
Record this subject as the theme of this segment in the appropriate space on Structure of 2 Corinthians
Chapters 10 - 13
Notice when the key word boast first appears in the text and what happens when it appears. Note what or whom the boasting is in and what you learn.
In your notebook, list what you learn about Satan and spiritual warfare from these four chapters.
What does Paul seem to be doing in chapters 10 through 13? What apposition is there to Paul, and what is the opposition saying about him? What is his response to this opposition? Record the theme of this segment on Structure of 2 Corinthians under "Segment Divisions" and complete the chart.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrine in 2 Corinthians
Reconciliation with God - the sacrifice of Jesus Christ renews the relationship between God and man (5:17-21; Rom 5:1, 10, 11; Lev 8:15; 16:20; Dan 9:24; Is 53:5; Matt 5:24-26; Eph 2:14-16; Col 1:20-22; 2:14; Heb 2:17)
Christ's substitutionary atonement for sin - Christ's work upon the cross paid the penalty for sin (5:21; Is 53; Dan 9:24-27; Zech 13:1, 7; John 1:29, 36; 11:50-51; Acts 4:10; Rom 3:25; 5:8-11; Gal 1:4; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Tim 2:5, 6; 1 Pet 1:11, 20; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Rev 13:8)
Guarantee of believers' salvation - God adopts faithful believers as His own children (1:22; 5:5; Ps 3:8; 37:39; Is 45:21, 22; 59:16; 63:9; Jer 3:23; Mark 16:16; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Rom 10:9; Eph 2:8; 1 Thess 5:9; 1 Tim 2:4; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:5)
The nature of Satan - the original rebel among God's creatures (4:4; 11:14, 15; Gen 3:1, 14; Job 1:6; Zech 3:1; Matt 4:3-10; 13:19; Luke 10:18; Eph 2:2; 6:11, 12; 1 Thess 2:18; 2 Thess 2:9; 1 Tim 3:6; 1 Pet 5:8; 2 Pet 2:4; 1 John 3:8; 5:19)
Judgment - God's righteous response to sin (5:9-11; Gen 19:29; Deut 32:39; Is 1:9; Matt 12:36, 37; Rom 1:18-2:16; 2 Pet 2:5, 6)