In this epistle the apostle vindicates especially his doctrine and his apostleship against the pretenses and slanders of the false apostles. And after a short introduction, contained in the first seven verses of the 1st chapter, he declares in the remainder of the chapter, why, according to his promise made in the previous epistle, he was not yet come unto them; namely, not out of any inconsiderateness, but by reason of the grievous persecutions which had oppressed him in Asia, and because he would give them time to amend the faults which he had rebuked in them, in order that he might be with them in kindness. In the 2nd chapter he gives reasons of his harsh writing about the toleration of the incestuous person, and exhorts them, that by reason of his grief and godly sorrow they should comfort and receive him again. In the 3rd chapter he puts a difference between the doctrine of the false apostles, who urged the law, which he calls a killing letter, and his doctrine, which is a doctrine of life and a ministry of the Spirit. In the 4th chapter he declares that they had found this difference to be such amongst them and that his Gospel was not hid but to them that perish, and shows by his own example how powerful the Spirit of CHRIST is by this word of the cross to bear all troubles patiently. In the 5th chapter he testifies that by the same doctrine and Spirit of CHRIST we are moved willingly to lay down this earthly tabernacle, and to long after a better life, and lays for a foundation of this longing, the doctrine of our reconciliation with God by the death of CHRIST, of which the apostles were messengers. From this he draws in the 6th chapter very earnest and powerful exhortations to patience and godliness, and holds forth the same in his own person, in the end warning them against the communion with unbelievers and idolaters. In the 7th chapter he testifies the satisfaction which he had received in his mind, when he understood how they had in part received his admonition, and had showed sorrow for the previous failings. In the 8th and 9th chapters he treats at large of the contributions and alms, from what basis they must come, and to what they must be directed. And in the 10th chapter of his spiritual power which he had received not for destruction but for edification; to which he adds an apostolic glorying, showing that the false apostles could glory about nothing, of which he could not glory more abundantly, and that therein he had many advantages above them, unto the end of the 11th chapter. In the 12th chapter he speaks of the singular revelations, which were made to him by CHRIST in the third heaven, and testifies that an angel of Satan was therefore given him in the flesh for his humiliation, declaring further how he had walked among them as a faithful apostle of CHRIST, without seeking himself in anything. Finally in the 13th chapter he warns them who would be stiff-necked against his admonitions, and threatens them with his apostolic authority, if they did not repent. He concludes thereafter his epistle in the three last verses with a wishing of all good unto them, and with the accustomed apostolic salutation, together with an earnest prayer for them.