5. The Argument of the Epistle.
Now, the argument of this Epistle is not simple, but multifaceted. For one moment Saint Paul is recounting his journeys and various events in them: at another moment he is answer the objections and calumnies of his enemies: at yet another moment he is exhorting to piety and the giving of alms: and at still another he vindicates the authority of his Apostleship, and shows to what Ecclesiastical power, which has been given to him for edification and not destruction, is directed. Therefore, he spends part of the time defending himself, part of the time exhorting, part of the time comforting, and part of the time making demonstration. And it has this particular, that he, speaking of his journey, and enumerating the reasons for the hindrance of his coming, which he had promised in 1 Corinthians 16:3, inserts the most useful doctrine ἐν παρόδῳ, in passing, as it were, and proves the divinity of his mission, so that with him they might be able contend against the False Apostles and others elevating themselves in the assembly above the rest, and the Christian Church, to be tempted hereafter with such ambition and elevation, might have a pattern and idea, to which it might compare itself.