“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:” (2 Corinthians 1:1, KJV)
The introduction to First Corinthians, bears a similarity to this introduction. Yet, there is a difference. Here, Paul included Timothy, who was his protégé, and valued partner in ministry. Moreover, Paul also addressed the believers in the province of Achaia who would need the same instruction.
As we begin looking at Second Corinthians, it is valuable to discuss all the Corinthian correspondence. When I was in the final years of grade school, we had classes in learning a foreign language, French. We took courses and also pen-pals in France. I would write to a boy in France and he would write back. It was two-way communication. It took a long time to get letters back and forth in those days. The point is that there was not just one letter sent in one direction only. The communication went both ways.
This is something that we need to comprehend regarding the letters that Paul wrote. The letters to the church at Corinth were not one-way communications. Paul received communication regarding the issues at the church, and he then communicated in response. Moreover, there is indication that there were other letters that Paul sent to Corinth that are not included in the ones we have in our Bible. In fact, the indications are that there were at least four letters and possibly five from Paul to the church. We have three of these in our Bible, one which is First Corinthians and two of which have been combined into Second Corinthians (This is derived from the abrupt change in tone of between chapters 1-9 of Second Corinthians, which is conciliatory, and chapters 10-13 that are dealing with a challenge to his authority.
Paul mentioned a letter written and sent to Corinth prior to the writing of First Corinthians, one that we do not currently have. Look at Paul’s writing, indicating a former letter that was written.
“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:9–11, KJV)
Moreover, Paul mentions that the church at Corinth also corresponded with him. “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1, KJV). The church clearly wrote to Paul.
The main point here is that communications is a two-way street and effective communications is not a simple thing. It takes time. It takes paying attention, harkening to what is communicated. It takes two parties. Last, it takes love. Paul wrote some harsh words to the church in one of his letters, but these words were not written to destroy anyone, it was to rescue them.
“For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” (2 Corinthians 2:4, KJV)