The Severe Letter or Letter of Tears was a letter written to the Corinthians by the Apostle Paul. It is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:4: "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." This description does not match First Corinthians, so there are two main theories on the Severe Letter:

  1. The first theory is that the Severe Letter is lost.
  2. The second theory is that the "Severe Letter" is preserved in 2 Corinthians 10-13.[1] [2]

For more discussion on reconstructing Paul's correspondence with the Corinthians, see Second Epistle to the Corinthians.


  1. THE SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, from "An Introduction to the New Testament", By Edgar J. Goodspeed, 1937
  2. New Testament Letter Structure, from Catholic Resources by Felix Just, S.J.

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