TEACHING THE TEACHER
of Peter, of the apostles, and of five hundred brethren most of whom were still alive. Paul had received the account of the death, the burial, the resurrection, and the appearances of Jesus from Jerusalem, and no doubt from Peter during the fifteen days which the two apostles had spent together three years after Paul's conversion. In I Cor. 15:1–7 Paul is reproducing the account which the primitive Jerusalem church gave of its own foundation. And in that account Christianity appears, not as an aspiration, not as mere devotion to an ideal of life, not as inculcation of a certain kind of conduct, but as "a piece of information" about something that had actually happened—namely, the atoning death and glorious resurrection of Jesus our Lord.
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The First Epistle to the Corinthians did not end all difficulties in the Corinthian church. On the contrary, after the writing of that letter, certain miserable busybodies had sought to draw the Corinthian Christians away from their allegiance to the apostle. A brief visit which Paul had made to Corinth had not ended the trouble. At last Paul had left Ephesus in great distress. He had passed through a terrible personal danger, when he had despaired of life, but more trying still was the thought of Corinth. Finding no relief from his troubles he went to Troas and then across to Macedonia. There at length relief came. Titus, Paul's helper, arrived with good news from Corinth; the church had returned to its allegiance. To give expression to his joy and thanksgiving, Paul wrote the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. In the Epistle he also dealt with the matter of the collection for the poor at Jerusalem, and administered a last rebuke to the Corinthian trouble makers.
In I Corinthians it is the congregation that is in the forefront of interest; in II Corinthians, on the other hand, it is the apostle and his ministry. In this letter, the Apostle Paul lays bare before his readers the very secrets of his heart, and reveals the glories of the ministry which God had intrusted to him. That ministry was the ministry of reconciliation. God and men had been separated by the great gulf of sin, which had brought men under God's wrath and curse. Nothing that men could do could possibly bridge the gulf. But what was impossible with men was possible with God. By the redeeming work of Christ the gulf had been closed; all had been made right again between God and those for whom Christ died.