The subject of this epistle: This epistle is the most prominent essay on the concept of ministry and the exalted shepherding love. Every phrase is considered as a practical law for the true minister. It is as though God allowed for the attack on the apostleship of St. Paul, to make him reveal what is in his depths of love toward his people, and what is in his mind of true concepts of faith concerning the shepherding. Despite the multitude of difficulties and problems that confronted the apostle in Corinth, the subject of this epistle came to deal with “The triumphant canonical ministry”. “Thanks be to God who always leads us in Triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2: 14). The key to this epistle: The intense afflictions that confronted the apostle, did not destroy his soul, because he realized that they are allowed by God to reveal His arm working in the midst of troubles “Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3: 6). The date of its writing: It was written in the year 57 A.D. and sent from Macedonia, few months after the first epistle. The goal of sending it: Some Jews came from Jerusalem to create doubt in the apostleship of Paul; and to claim that he is aggressive in his epistles, but weak in his presence. As some of the Corinthians listened to them and started to deny his apostolic authority, Paul found it necessary to prove the authenticity of his apostleship (Chapters 1 to chapter 7); and (chapter 10 to chapter 13); to confirm his love for his people; his readiness to be their servant, 3 so that they would enjoy the liberty of the glory of the children of God (4: 5); and that “he will very gladly spend and be spent for their souls; though the more abundantly he loves them, the less he is loved” (12: 15); He has already proclaimed to them that he would be enflamed in the depths of his heart if any of them stumble; and would feel weak if any of them is weak (11: 29). Being informed by Titus that his first epistle to them had a positive response and fruition of true repentance (7: 16), the apostle is writing to confirm his joy for their repentance, and that his heart is wide with love for them. Feeling comfortable to hear, as well, that the affairs of the church have been put in order; and that the faults have been gradually corrected, he is writing to encourage them to keep going along this sound path. Ambrosiaster believes that he wrote this epistle for the sake of a few of them who stubbornly kept going on their wrong ways. Although the epistle was very mild, yet he had, at its end, to be very firm because of the persistence of a few of them on denying his apostleship, and resisting the ministry. *What made him hasten to write this epistle, was because that person whom he previously commanded to be separated because he committed evil with his father’s wife (1Corinthians 5); having truly repented his sin, and genuinely grieved, the apostle fearing that he might fall into despair, hastened to write to them to receive him back with every possible love (2: 7). He wrote to thank them because of their care for the persecuted brethren in Jerusalem; and for their good reception of Titus while visiting them (8: 9). The topics dealt with in the two epistle to the Corinthians, are almost identical; namely, the spiritual gifts, the resurrection from the dead, the Lord’s supper, the exhortation to give abundantly (9: 1-15), and love (1 Corinthians 13). He wrote to warn them against heresies and contentions; And to tell them about the divine comforts granted by God to His believers in the midst of sufferings. 4 The apostle had to make a comparison between the Old and the New Covenants, not to belittle the importance of the law, but to respond to the few Christians of a Jewish origin who persisted on accusing him of apostasy and resistance to the law. In his first epistle he promised to visit them (1 Corinthians 16: 5); but as he could not fulfill his promise, on account of being preoccupied by the Spirit with more important tasks, he is writing his second epistle to apologize to them for his delay. According to St. John Chrysostom, he did not promise to visit them, but he rather revealed his wish to do that. Contents of the epistle: 1- An introduction about the mutual love between the shepherd and the flockChapter 1 2- The concept of ministry 2 to 5 3- His apostolic work 6 to 7 4- Ministry to the saints 8 to 9 5- His defense of being weak in his presence, yet bold in his absence 10 to 12 6- Conclusion 13 5 AN INSPIRATION from 2 CORINTHIANS GRANT ME A WIDE HEART TO CARRY EVERY SOUL UP TO YOUR HEAVEN You have opened the doors of heaven before me Open a door for me, to carry every soul up to You by Your Holy Spirit. By love, You carried me to the bosom of the Father. Grant me the wide heart for everyone. To carry many by Your grace to the fellowship of Your glories. Sanctify me, O Holy One! To carry, together with love, the holy life. I covet for the earth to become heaven. That in it there would be no defilement. When every sinner will be a saint! Let me reject every defilement; Yet let me not despise those defiled. As You are the Grantor of holiness; Your pleasure, O Mighty One, is To carry Your cross; like someone very weak. Let my pleasure, as well, be in weaknesses; As, while I am weak, I am strong in You. And as I die together with You, I live by, and with You. As You are the life and resurrection! Grant me to be faithful in Your ministry, Let me covet reconciling everyone to You, O heavenly One! That all would experience the open heaven. Your Holy Spirit will take away the veil from our face! To behold the splendor of Your glory; And realize what You have prepared for us! Our souls become filled with the comfort of the Spirit amid the sufferings. And become wide by the practical love of giving. We give our hearts to the needy; As You have given Yourself dwelling in us. 6 Prepare me to minister to You by the spirit of sanctity and of mutual love. The unfailing ministry of strength and glory.