All the major commentaries on 2 Corinthians suggest a sequence of events in Paul's interactions with that church. If you can see an aspect in which a published sequence is more convincing than mine, please explain it in the comments. I will then send you a free 2 Corinthians commentary of your choice if yours is the best (or only) comment!
The sequence in Paul Barnett's NICNT 2 Corinthians commentary is fairly typical (p11-15). I lay out his sequence below, starting just before 1 Corinthians, and giving my own comments in red font.
"Paul sent Titus to Corinth to establish the collection for the Judaean churches" (8:6, 10; 9:2; cf. 1 Cor 16:12)" This is duplication, since we already know from 1 Cor 4:17; 16:10 that Titus-Timothy was sent to Corinth at that time.
... Paul sends 1 Corinthians
"he planned to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, travel through macedonia ..., and spend the winter in Corinth... Before he could leave Ephesus for Macedonia, however, more bad news arrived, almost certainly brought by Timothy on his return from Corinth after the delivery of 1 Corinthians. So serious was the news that Paul himself now had to go immediately to Corinth, almost a year earlier than he had planned" There is no evidence for this change of plan. It is an unsupported assumption contrived to make the sequence fit. We have no evidence that Timothy returned to Paul in Ephesus.
"Evidently there had been a significant falling away into "impurity, sexual sin and debauchery" (12:21; cf. 13:2). When Paul sought to rectify the situation, this led to "quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder" (12:20)" This creates a duplication because this situation had occurred before 1 Corinthians. As e.g. Harris points out, most or all of the 8 vices of 2 Cor 12:20 are addressed in 1 Corinthians. There had been sexual sin (1 Cor 5:9), and after Paul had sought to correct it the vices had arisen.
"While present in Corinth at that time, Paul disclosed a change of plans (cf. 1 Cor 16:5-7). Doubtless due to his perception of the deterioration in the church as he found it, he felt he had to return to the Corinthians directly, then travel to Macedonia, and come to them again before making his final withdrawal from the Aegean region. ... Upon his return to Ephesus, however, Paul decided to abandon that plan and revert to the original itinerary, which would take him from Ephesus through Macedonia to Corinth." This is a duplication in that 1 Corinthians also shows Paul failing to travel to Corinth (1 Cor 4:18) and instead deciding to go to Macedonia first. Moreover, it is not clear what could have caused Paul to change his mind like this, on Barnett's scheme. He suggests lamely that Paul changed his mind "upon reflection". This is problematic because it would make Paul fickle indeed, and his defense in 2 Cor 1:14-2:3 would be hopelessly inadequate.
"Rather, he chose to write ... the "Severe Letter." This is problematic because of the indications that Paul held the plan of 2 Cor 15-16 when he wrote the Severe Letter (see 2 Cor 1:13-15).
"When Titus did not arrive at Troas..." This is a duplication, since we know from 1 Cor 16:10 that the timing of Timothy's return to Paul was uncertain.
"Titus brought the goood news ...." This creates another problem. How could Titus resolve a problem in Corinth that Paul himself had failed to resolve during Paul's visit?
Thus, after 1 Corinthians, Barnett has:
1. Timothy returns to Paul in Ephesus
2. Paul changes his mind and visits Corinth
3. Paul conceives the plan of 2 Cor 1:15-16
4. Paul returns to Ephesus
5. Paul changes his mind again back to the original plan
6. Paul writes the severe letter
7. Paul sends Titus
I place none of these events after 1 Corinthians.
C. E. B. Cranfield (1915–2015)
1 day ago