2 Corinthians 1

God Of All Comfort 

This letter gives words to the emotional distress Paul feels for the church at Corinth. Paul spent at least eighteen months in Corinth with before continuing his missionary work elsewhere, but after he left he would occasionally receive troubling reports about the Corinthians so he would write them letters. Paul loves the Corinthian faith community, but this father in the faith is receiving harsh criticism, and his authority is called into question. Paul sent at least four letters to the church at Corinth, and this one is very pastoral as he continues to urge the believers to follow Jesus and not be led astray by the culture. Paul begins the letter addressing the issue of his authority. Paul is an apostle of Christ Jesus and called by God. Paul is not self-appointed, he is God appointed and confirmed by all the apostles in that calling. Corinth enjoyed ministry from Paul, Peter, and Apollos but instead of appreciating the variety of teachers, the people separated themselves into groups according to their preferred minister. Some ministers came to Corinth and actively opposed Paul's teaching and sought to undermine his influence. The letter was from Timothy as well as they write to the church, the people called out by God and gathered in God's presence to hear his word. The people of Corinth struggled in their faith, but they were saints because they are holy in God's eyes. Paul blesses the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. God comforts his people so that the comfort experienced by believers may overflow and comfort others who are afflicted. Paul views his suffering as a benefit to the Corinthian church as he holds fast to his hope for them which is unshaken. Paul offers some details about the suffering he has endured, specifically outlining some traumatic experiences that took place in Asia. Paul describes the suffering as beyond their strength and leading to absolute despair. Paul's description is vivid when he calls it what felt like a death sentence. Paul's afflictions taught him the necessity of relying on God and his power to deliver them from deadly peril. Paul's faith grows as does his confidence that God will deliver them again. To cope with his sufferings and persecution, Paul needs the prayerful support of the believers in Corinth. 

We Work With You For Your Joy

Paul defends himself against the criticism that he is inconsistent and not trustworthy. Paul explains that he had planned to visit them twice, on his way to and from Macedonia. The Corinthians question Paul's behavior in the world, his sincerity, and his wisdom. Paul makes it plain that his conscience is clear and that the day of the Lord his innocence in these things and that the Corinthians will boast of him. Paul reassures the Corinthians that he can be trusted. The changes in plans gave the impression that Paul was unstable, so he boldly declares that the gospel he preaches is consistent and Christ is the fulfillment of every promise. God speaks to the believer in Christ, and they respond through Christ and say amen to the glory of God. Paul shows that God is faithful and will keep the Corinthians established in their relationship with Christ. God has put his seal on us and given his Holy Spirit as the guarantee and pledge of something greater. Paul calls God to attest that he refrained from coming to the Corinthians to give them the space to repent and demonstrate their obedience lest he return too soon and discourage them. Paul is a servant who works with the Corinthians for their joy. The faith of the Corinthians is their own, and it is from God; therefore, he will keep them.

Things To Consider:

  • How does God offer comfort in every circumstance?
  • Have you had any opportunities to comfort someone who is facing something that you have faced? What dod you tell them? 
  • Who else can you share this with?
  • How does one rely on God in suffering?
  • How should we pray for those who are suffering?
  • Do you regularly pray for Christians suffering around the world? Why or why not?
  • How can someone test their conscience?
  • Why will the day of the Lord reveal everything?
  • Why must we place our hope in God and not man?
  • How do you cope with changes?
  • How does the Holy Spirit guarantee salvation?
  • How are you working for the joy of others?
  • How are you standing firm in your faith?