Carson, D.A., and Douglas Moo An Introduction to the New Testament - Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. "New Testament Letters" Carson & Moo pp. 331-353
"1 and 2 Corinthians" Carson & Moo pp. 415-455
Both 1 and 2 Corinthians address questions which have been raised and need answers. Unlike Romans, for instance, they seem to arise from very specific questions which have been asked and may be quoted.
After the salutation and thanksgiving in 1 Corinthians, Paul compares the wisdom of the world to the wisdom of God, observing that God's wisdom seems foolish to the world but that the wisdom of the world is inferior in every way to God's wisdom, displayed in Christ crucified for sinners. In chapter 5-6 Paul discusses conflict about sexual and legal matters within the church. He then goes on to discuss topics apparently raised by the Corinthians: marriage in chapter 7, food sacrificed to idols in chapter 8, and the issue of the authority of Paul as an apostle in chapter 10. Chapters 11-14 are devoted to order in corporate worship, chapter 15 to the resurrection, then chapter 16 with miscellaneous details about a collection for relief in Jerusalem and greetings.
After the salutation and thanksgiving in 2 Corinthians Paul discusses his travel plans, emphasizing his continued commitment to come to Corinth. There have been conflicts which have led Paul to avoid visiting the Corinthians in person for a while. Paul continues in chapters 3-6 talking about the nature of ministry and its relationship to the old covenant and the new. In chapters 7-9 Paul talks about the collection for relief of suffering Christians, emphasizing that contributions are to be rooted in the love of Christ, not in the demands of the law. In the final chapters Paul discusses the apparent weakness of the apostles in terms of the worldly wisdom which the Corinthians have adopted.
Pauline authorship is almost universally ascribed to 1 and 2 Corinthians, but some scholars have suggested that 2 Corinthians was originally several different letters. Paul had visited Corinth during his second missionary journey in Acts 18. After he had left Corinth, almost certainly while he was in Ephesus, Paul heard about the troubles at Corinth and responded with 1 Corinthians. It seems he then waited for some time, though not terribly long, before writing his second letter.
Carson and Moo spend a good deal of time discussing the various theories of arrangement of the elements of 2 Corinthians. There are several fairly persuasive theories but all are lacking any manuscript evidence.
The Corinthian letters were considered canonical from an early date, being cited as early as the last decade of the first century.