Paul wrote two letters to the Corinthinians:

In my experience, people use all kinds of colloquial language to refer to Chapters and verses inside these. For example:

"Two Corinthians Three Seventeen"

has the same semantic meaning as

"The Second Epistle to the Corinthians Chapter three verse seventeen."

It seems to me that the cultural style of reference has no correlation to knowledge of the Bible.

My question is: Is there any substantive difference between the verbal reference "second Corinthians" and "two Corinthians"?

1 Answer 1


There is absolutely no difference in meaning.

But there are regional conventions. Donald Trump was mocked for saying "Two Corinthians", but in Australia that is not just acceptable, but probably more common than "Second Corinthians". We would also say "One Samuel", "Two Kings", "Two Timothy" and "Three John". In fact, I think think it's almost slightly unnatural to say something like "Second Thessalonians" (it's certainly a mouthful), and I'd bet a lot of other Aussie Christians would too.

  • I can't help but notice a complete lack of any citation here.
    – user17510
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 7:11
  • @NathanTuggy Yep, but I'm only speaking from my personal grammaticality judgements
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 8:29
  • I'll back this up, and also say that while in my cultures "Two Corinthians" would be normal, nobody would ever have considered there anything 'wrong' with saying "Second Corinthians". Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 13:51
  • From a UK perspective the usage would commonly be 'two Corinthians' when giving the verse, e.g. "two Corinthians three: sixteen". "Second Corinthians" sounds either archaic or American to my ears. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:44

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