2 Corinthians 1 Commentary


2 CORINTHIANS - PAUL'S MINISTRY IN THE LIGHT OF THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll
A Third Chart 
Overview of
Second Corinthians
2Co 1:1-7:16
Character
of Paul
2Co 8:1-9:15
Collection
for the Saints
2Co 10:1-12:21
Credentials
of Paul
Testimonial & Didactic Practical Apologetic
Past:
Misunderstanding & Explanation
Present:
Practical Project
Future:
Anxieties
Apostle's Conciliation,
Ministry & Exhortations
Apostle's Solicitation
or Judean Saints
Apostle's Vindication
of Himself
Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Gratitude Confidence Vindication

Ephesus to Macedonia:
Change of Itinerary Explained

Macedonia: Preparation
for Visit to Corinth

To Corinth:
Certainty and Imminence of the Visit

2Co 1:1-7:16

2Co 8:1-9:15

2Co 10:1-12:21

2Corinthians written ~ 56-57AD - see Chronological Table of Paul's Life and Ministry

Adapted & modified from Jensen's Survey of the New Testament (Highly Recommended Resource) & Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible


INTRODUCTIONS TO SECOND CORINTHIANS:


Ruins of City with Acrocorinth Location of Immoral Temple of Aphrodite

2 Corinthians  1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

NET  2 Corinthians 1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:1 Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ καὶ Τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφὸς τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ σὺν τοῖς ἁγίοις πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ,

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.I am writing to God's church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:1 Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ καὶ Τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφὸς τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ σὺν τοῖς ἁγίοις πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Timotheus the brother, to the assembly of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia:

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God's will, and Timothy our brother: To God's church at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:1 This letter comes from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, ordained by God's will. Brother Timothy joins me in writing to God's church at Corinth, including all the holy ones in all of Achaia.

  • Paul: Ro 1:1-5 1Co 1:1 1Ti 1:1 2Ti 1:1 
  • Timothy: Ac 16:1 Ro 16:21 1Co 16:10 Php 1:1 2:19-22 Col 1:1,2 1Th 1:1 2Th 1:1 Heb 13:23 
  • the church: Ac 18:1-11 1Co 1:2 
  • all: 1Co 6:11 Eph 1:1 
  • Achaia: 2Co 9:2 11:10 Ac 18:12 Ro 15:26 16:5 1Co 16:15 1Th 1:7,8 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Click to enlarge - from the Holman Bible Atlas (digital bookHardcover
copyright © 1998 B&H Publishing Group,
Used by permission, all rights reserved.
This is one of the best resources for Bible maps. 
Please do not reproduce this map on any other webpage.

Christian Standard Bible

  • 2 Cor 1:1-2 Greeting 
  • 2 Cor 1:3-11 The God of Comfort
  • 2 Cor 1:12-14 A Clear Conscience
  • 2 Cor 1:15-24 A Visit Postponed

New English Translation

  • 2 Cor 1:1-2 Salutation
  • 2 Cor 1:3-11 Thanksgiving for God's Comfort
  • 2 Cor 1:12-22 Paul Defends His Changed Plans
  • 2 Cor 1:23-24 Why Paul Postponed His Visit

Holman Christian Standard Bible

  • 2 Cor 1:1-2 Greeting
  • 2 Cor 1:3-11 The God of Comfort
  • 2 Cor 1:12-14 A Clear Conscience
  • 2 Cor 1:15-24 A Visit Postponed

Wick Broomall's outline (click excellent outline of the entire letter - Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

  The conciliation. 2 Cor 1:1–7:16.
    A. Paul’s distress reciprocated. 2 Cor 1:1-7.
      1. Salutation. 2 Cor 1:1, 2.
      2. Adoration. 2 Cor 1:3.
      3. Agonizing tribulation. 2 Cor 1:4-7.
    B. Paul’s desperation relieved. 2 Cor 1:8-14.
    C. Paul’s diversion justified. 2 Cor 1:15–2:17.


John MacArthur - 2 Corinthians Commentary

  • Comfort in Trouble (2 Corinthians 1:1–11)
  • THE PERSON OF COMFORT (2 Cor 1:3)
  • THE PROMISE OF COMFORT (2 Cor 1:4a)
  • THE PURPOSE OF COMFORT  (2 Cor 1:4b, 6–7)
  • THE PARAMETERS OF COMFORT (2 Cor 1:5)
  • THE POWER OF COMFORT  (2 Cor 1:8–10a)
  • THE PERPETUITY OF COMFORT  (2 Cor 1:10b)
  • THE PARTICIPATION OF COMFORT (2 Cor 1:11)
  • The Soul’s Warning System (2 Corinthians 1:12–14)
  • PAUL’S CONSCIENCE EXONERATED HIM OF MORAL WRONGDOING  (2 Cor 1:12)
  • PAUL’S CONSCIENCE EXONERATED HIM OF RELATIONAL WRONGDOING (2 Cor 1:13–14a)
  • PAUL’S CONSCIENCE EXONERATED HIM OF THEOLOGICAL WRONGDOING (2 Cor 1:14b)
  • Portrait of a Godly Pastor (2 Corinthians 1:15–2:4)
  • LOYALTY (2 Cor 1:15–16)
  • HONESTY  (2 Cor 1:17–18)
  • RELIABILITY (2 Cor 1:19–20)
  • AUTHENTICITY  (2 Cor 1:21–22)
  • SENSITIVITY  (2 Cor 1:23–2:1)


"From Philippi to Corinth with Love"

Ray Stedman makes an interesting statement that certainly is true in my life -  The second letter of Paul to the Corinthians is probably the least known of all his letters. It has sometimes been called "Paul's unknown letter." I do not know why that is. First Corinthians is very well-known among his writings, but many people feel that Second Corinthians is heavy reading. It is too bad that we are so unfamiliar with it, because it represents the most personal, the most autobiographical letter from the apostle's pen. In First Corinthians we looked at the church at Corinth. That is a very instructive letter because the church in California today is very much like the church in Corinth was; we live in "Corinthian" conditions now. But in Second Corinthians we are looking at Paul; he is the one in focus as he lays himself open and reveals himself to the church. This, therefore, is a very personal letter from the heart of this mighty apostle. Here we see him more clearly, perhaps, than anywhere else in Scripture.

We call this Second Corinthians, but it should, perhaps, be called Fourth Corinthians, because it is the last of four letters that Paul wrote to the church there. Two of these letters have not been preserved for us -- that is why we only have First and Second Corinthians -- but they are not in the order that these titles suggest. If I can just recapitulate a little bit of the background, at least this one time, then you can refer back to this if you are confused about the chronology.

Paul began the church in Corinth somewhere around 52 or 53 A. D. He stayed there for about a year and a half; then he went to Ephesus, where he remained for a few weeks, and then he went on a quick trip to Jerusalem, returning again to Ephesus.

While he was at Ephesus, he wrote a letter to the church at Corinth which is lost to us. It is referred to in First Corinthians 5:9, where Paul says he wrote to warn them about following a worldly lifestyle. In response to that letter, the Corinthians wrote back to him with many questions. They sent their letter by the hands of three young men who are mentioned in First Corinthians. In reply to that letter, Paul wrote what we now call First Corinthians. In it he tried to answer their questions, and we have looked at those answers. He tried to exhort them and instruct them how to walk in power and in peace; and he tried to correct many problem areas in the church. Evidently that letter did not accomplish all that Paul intended. There was a bad reaction to it, and in this second letter we learn that he made a quick trip back to Corinth. How long that took we do not know. Paul calls it a "painful" visit. He had come with a rather sharp, severe rebuke to them, but again he did not accomplish his purpose; again there was a great deal of negative reaction.

So when he returned to Ephesus, he sent another brief letter, in the hands of Titus, to Corinth to see if he could help them. Now Titus was gone a long time. Transportation and communication were very slow and difficult in those days. Paul, waiting in Ephesus, grew very anxious to hear what was happening in the church there. He became so troubled that he left Ephesus and went to Troas and then up into Macedonia to meet Titus. There in Macedonia, probably in the city of Philippi, he and Titus came together. Titus brought him a much more encouraging word about the church, and in response to that, out of thanksgiving, Paul wrote what we now call the Second Corinthians letter, although it was really the fourth of a series of letters. (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Hailey gives us a chronological background to help understand 2 Corinthians - During the latter part of his second missionary journey, around A.D. 52-53, Paul had spent 1½ years in Corinth and had made a large number of disciples (Acts 18:10-11+). Then, on his third missionary journey (SEE MAP ABOVE - IT BEGINS IN Acts 18:23ff+), he spent three years at Ephesus (A.D. 54-57). In the spring of A.D. 55, while still at Ephesus, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:8+). Soon afterward, a great riot took place, in which Paul nearly lost his life (Acts 19:23-41+). Leaving Ephesus, Paul went into Macedonia on his way to Corinth (MAP ABOVE). While in Macedonia, in the summer and fall of A.D. 55, Paul visited churches in the region of Philippi and Thessalonica, in the midst of many anxieties and sufferings. After waiting long to hear from the church in Corinth, Paul met Titus, who came from Corinth with word that Paul's letter had accomplished much good (2 Corinthians 7:6+) but that some of the leaders in the Corinthian church still denied that Paul was a genuine apostle of Christ. That is when Paul wrote this letter (PRESUMABLY FROM PHILIPPI) and sent it ahead with Titus (2 Cor 8:6, 17+), expecting to reach Corinth soon himself. (Halley's Bible Handbook)

What happened on Paul’s third missionary journey? | GotQuestions.org - (EXCERPT) After his extended stay in Ephesus, Paul realized that the Holy Spirit was leading him to travel on. Continuing his third missionary journey, Paul sent Timothy and Erastus ahead to Macedonia (Acts 19:21–22+). But before Paul left, a silversmith named Demetrius, who made shrines of Artemis and resented the decrease in business he’d seen since Paul’s arrival, gathered other workmen and started a riot (Acts 19:23–34+). Eventually, the town clerk arrived and dispersed the crowd, telling them that, if they had something against Paul, they should bring him to court (Acts 19:35–41+). Paul left town quietly and went across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia  (map) where he traveled to Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea to encourage the churches there; then he went to Greece (Achaia) and spent three months there (Acts 20:1–3).

Acts 20:1-3+ After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia (map). 2 When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation (PHILIPPI, THESSALONICA, BEREA WERE IN MACEDONIA), he came to Greece (PRESUMABLY IN CORINTH). 3 And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia (map).

Baxter - While others of Paul's epistles may be more profound, scarcely any could be more precious than this second heart-outpouring to the Corinthians. It was written with a quill dipped in tears, from the apostle's "anguish of heart," and contains more of human pathos than any other of his letters. Yet there is a lovely rainbow shining through it all, for in his dire distress and deep disappointments he is discovering more than ever before that "the Father of mercies" is the "God of all comfort," and that the heavenly Master's strength is made perfect in His servant's weakness. If the full force of such a letter is to register itself in our minds, we must see it in the context of the agitations and cogitations which precipitated it. (Explore the Book)

Wilkinson - This epistle is full of autobiographical material and many regard it as the most personal book in the New Testament. The mind of Paul is prominent in Romans, but Second Corinthians reveals the apostle’s heart. His character, motives, priorities, desires, and emotions are exposed more clearly in this epistle than in any other. The personal anecdotes offer a glimpse into aspects of Paul’s personal life that would otherwise be unknown. These include persecution and hardships not recorded in Acts (2 Cor 11:23–27), extra details of his escape from Damascus (2 Cor 11:32–33), his vision and revelation of Paradise (2 Cor 12:1–7), and his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7–10)....Christ is presented as the believer’s comfort (2 Cor 1:5), triumph (2 Cor 2:14), Lord (2 Cor 4:5), light (2 Cor 4:6), judge (2 Cor 5:10), reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19), substitute (2 Cor 5:21), gift (2 Cor 9:15), owner (2 Cor 10:7), and power (2 Cor 12:9). (Talk Thru the Bible)

Swindoll gives a succinct, clear summary of the background of 2 Corinthians which was apparently the fourth letter to this church (of course only 2 have been preserved) - Paul wrote Second Corinthians at a vulnerable time in his life. He had learned that the church at Corinth was struggling, and he sought to take action to preserve the unity of that local body of believers. The letter is riddled with personal comments as Paul revealed details about the persecution he had suffered for the sake of Christ as well as about a mysterious thorn in the flesh that kept him reliant on God. After sending Timothy off from Ephesus to deliver the letter of 1 Corinthians, Paul, in his concern for the church, made a quick visit of his own to Corinth. Afterward, Paul returned to his work in Ephesus, where he wrote a sorrowful letter to the Corinthians that has not been preserved (see 2 Cor 2:1–11; 7:8). Paul then departed for Macedonia (map). Once there, he received a good report from Titus regarding the Corinthians (2 Cor 7:13), which led Paul to write a fourth letter to them, titled “2 Corinthians” in the Bible. (See 1 Corinthians page to read about Paul’s first two letters to the Corinthians.) The apostle composed this letter near the end of AD 56, possibly in the city of Philippi....The church at Corinth had recently been struggling with divisions and quarrels (1 Cor 1:11-13+, 1 Cor 3:4-6+, 1 Cor 4:6+, 1 Cor 11:11+). But for a majority of the believers, the problem had been solved by the time Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. Many had repented of their sinful ways and had come back into unity with one another and with the leadership of Paul. However, Paul still felt the need to articulate a defense of his apostleship and his message. Some in the church had apparently taken his meekness among them to be a sign of moral weakness or lack of authority (2 Corinthians 10:1–2). These accusations led Paul to defend himself by arguing that he was on the same level of importance as the other apostles, that he had deep knowledge of the Christian faith, that he had suffered profound physical punishment in the name of Christ, and that he had received visions and revelations from God (2 Cor 11:1–12:13). (2 Corinthians Survey))

Henrietta Mears - Paul gives more of his personal history in this letter than in any of his other Epistles. He reveals his courage and his self-sacrificing love. He speaks of glorying or boasting thirty-one times because he was compelled to. Read 2 Cor. 12:11. Paul tells us of some things that happened in his life that are revealed only in this letter. His escape from Damascus in a basket (2 Cor. 11:32-33) His experience of being caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:1-4) His thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7) His unusual suffering (2 Cor. 11:23-27). He told none of these until he was compelled to, to prove that if we wanted to boast, he had good reason. The epistle begins with "Comfort": "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort" (2 Cor. 1:3). It closes with "Comfort": "Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11). In the middle we find the reason for comfort: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8). The Source of this comfort is: "'My grace is sufficient for you'" (2 Cor. 12:9). (What the Bible is All About)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God - Paul's ministry had been challenged and so he begins by stating his apostolic authority emphasizing that he did not choose to be an apostle but was an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. His detractors could not appeal to a higher authority! The phrase "Paul an apostle" is found in 6 of Paul's epistles (2 Co 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 1 Ti 1:1; 2 Ti 1:1), indicating it was important that his readers understand that he was the "real deal," an authentic representative of God! Paul's self identification as an apostle of Christ Jesus indicates that he does not see himself as his own, but as one having been bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20+, Titus 2:14+) who belonged to Christ Jesus. In short, Paul had been sent on mission by his King (cf Acts 9:15-16+) and did "not (oudeis - absolute negation) consider (his) life of any account as dear to (himself), so that (he might) finish (teleioo)(his) course (dromos - "race" - used in 2 Ti 4:7+) and the ministry (diakonia) which (he had) received (IT WAS LIKE A GIFT, A PRIVILEGE, A RESPONSIBILITY) from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly (diamarturomai cf passing baton to Timothy - 2 Ti 4:1+) of the gospel (euaggelion) of the grace of God (WHAT A GREAT DESCRIPTIVE NAME OF THE GOSPEL)." (Acts 20:24+)

Guzik - Paul’s introduction of himself as an apostle is both familiar and necessary because he was held in low regard among the Christians in Corinth. They had to remember and recognize his apostolic credentials....Paul was not an apostle by the decision or desire of any man, including himself. Paul was an apostle by the will of God. Even if the Corinthian Christians held him in low regard, it did not diminish his standing as an apostle before God.

Ray Stedman on Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus - Paul says that he is not the representative of the churches; he is the Lord's apostle. His authority does not come from the church, or any members of the church, but from the Lord himself. This was a very strong point with Paul....When you read Paul you are reading what Jesus said to him; therefore it comes with the full authority of the Lord Jesus himself. (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Brian Bell thinks that "There was actually 4 letters written by Paul to Corinth that we know of: 1. The 1st we don’t have; the 2nd letter written was our 1 Cor.; the 3rd we don’t have(mentioned 2 Co 2:4-11, scholars have named it the “severe” letter); & this letter was the 4th letter, written from Macedonia & sent to Corinth by Titus. 1st Cor. was Practical; 2nd Cor. is Personal. Purpose of this letter - to affirm his ministry, defend his authority as an apostle, to prepare them for his visit, and refute false teachers. Key word – Comfort (29 x’s in 2 Cor.) 1. Yet many references to “suffering” also. – We’ll see they often go hand in hand! Paul addresses one of the oldest questions of man…“Why suffering?” His answer is 3-fold: Christians Need Comfort; Christians Receive Comfort; Christians Share Comfort. …Comfort/Παρακaλεw – (Para = alongside; Kaleo = to call) “to call alongside.” Thus, comfort is given by someone called alongside to help. a) Like a nurse called to a patient's bedside. Everyone needs comfort! - [Jesus in Gethsemane. Paul. To the disciples Jesus said He would send them “the comforter”]  When tragedy strikes, when our life collapses before our eyes, that’s when we need someone to come alongside & put an arm around us!

By the will of God repeatedly describes God's will that Paul be Christ's apostle (5x - 1 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 1:1 Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 2 Ti 1:1)  The mission assignment was not one Paul himself had chosen, but one which God had "willed" to him. It was God's will signifying His gracious disposition toward Paul. The idea is that God Himself did this of His own good pleasure.

THOUGHT - Are you seeking some position in ministry? Perhaps the best way to do that is seek God's will, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (cf Mt 6:33+, Ro 12:2+)

And Timothy our brother (cf 2Co 1:19+, 1Co 4:17+, 1Co 16:10+) - Sosthenes not mentioned here but was in 1 Cor 1:1. Elsewhere Paul referred to Timothy as his "son" (1Ti 1:18, 2Ti 1:2), clearly speaking of Paul as Timothy's "spiritual father" and the one who discipled him, because his physical father was a Greek (Acts 16:1+).  In Acts 19:22+ we read "And having sent into Macedonia (map) two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while." And so at the time of the writing of 2 Corinthians Timothy was with Paul (presumably in Philippi). 

Related Resource:

To the church (ekklesia) of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia (see map - would include Athens Acts 17:34+ and Cenchrea Ro 16:1+) - Note not "Paul's" church but God's church. Also note the emphasis on the Body of Christ, not on individuals. The Church is composed of holy ones, saints, men and women set apart from this profane, passing away world (1 Jn 2:17+) and unto God for His possession and purpose. The phrase indicates this epistle was not to be restricted to the local church at Corinth but was to be shared with other assemblies of Christ in the province of Achaia.

Guzik -  It is remarkable that Paul freely calls the Corinthian Christians saints, considering their many problems. We often use the term saints in a different way today, applying it to the “super-spiritual” instead of those who are simply set apart by a relationship of trust in Jesus Christ.

THOUGHT - If you are in Christ by grace through faith, you are a "holy one," (you can call each other "Saint ___" fill in your name!) and that is your position in time and for all time (cf eternal security)! But this glorious designation begs the solemn question, does your (my) PRACTICE (cf "present tense salvation") match your (my) POSITION? In other words, as you are daily, moment by moment supernaturally enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit, are you (am I) living a holy life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, doing so for the glory of God? Or let me ask it another way, have you possessed your position as saint? In other words saint refers to a position to be possessed. Practical Christianity is as much about getting us into heaven (that's a certainty) as it is about getting heaven into us (possessing our possessions like Eph 1:3+, 2Pe 1:3+, etc). Finally, the fact that Paul encourages this factious, prideful church by calling them “saints,” in spite of their failures and sins, should be an encouragement to all of us who so often fall short of our privileged position as saints. 

Holy (40hagios = set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones, holy ones) is literally a holy one and properly means different, set apart, distinct, holy. It describes one who is set apart for or by God and can be brought near or into God's holy presence.  Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, devotion to the service of Deity, sharing in God's purity and abstaining from earth's defilement." (Zodhiates) The designation of believers as saints should always remind us of the radical change which we have experienced by grace through faith in Christ (2 Cor 5:17+; 1Cor 6:11+). Here are all uses of  hagios  in 2 Corinthians - 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 6:6; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 9:1; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 13:12; 2 Co. 13:13; 2 Co. 13:14+, this last being one of the best! = "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

Apostle (652apostolos from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click discussion of apostle) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment. In the ancient world a apostle was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to prove he was the king's envoy. A good parallel of apostle is our English word ambassador defined by Webster as "a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government as the resident representative of his own government for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment". (cf Ep 6:20+) In sum in Paul's epistles apostle epitomizes Paul’s commission and mission. Paul's uses of apostle in 2 Corinthians - 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 8:23; 2 Co. 11:5; 2 Co. 11:13; 2 Co. 12:11; 2 Co. 12:12

Related Resources:

Will (2307) thelema from thelo = to will with the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a thing willed") generally speaks of the result of what one has decided. Thelema refers to a strong desire and the willing of some event, certainly apropos to this use in 2 Cor 1:1. Most of the NT uses of thelema (over 3/4's) refer to God's will and signify His gracious disposition toward something. God's will usually refers to what He has decreed, but occasionally God's will refers to what He desires but has not decreed (Mt 18:14). 


Utley Paul was being viciously attacked by a minority within the church. The minority seems to be both from the local Corinthian congregation and an itinerant Jewish group. Their charges were:

  1. Paul had impure motives, 2Co 1:12
  2. Paul was fickle, 2Co 1:15ff
  3. Paul was weak, 2Co 10:10
  4. Paul was physically ugly, 2Co 10:10
  5. Paul was not a good orator, 2Co 10:10; 11:16
  6. Paul preached for money 2Co 11:7ff; 12:13ff
  7. Paul was not a true apostle, 2Co 11:5, 13; 12:4
  8. Paul was not an orthodox Jew, 2Co 11:21ff
  9. they had direct revelation, but Paul did not, 2Co 12:1ff.

THE SUFFERING CHRISTIAN 2 Corinthians 1:1–24
 I.      THE PERSON—vv. 1–2
      1.      People—v. 1. Writing to Timothy, Corinthians, plus all other Asian churches.
      2.      Peace—v. 2. May god bless and use you mightily.

 II.      THE PARTAKERS—vv. 3–7
      1.      Purpose—vv. 3–4. Troubles “build up” the Christian in the faith, then we may help others.
      2.      Promise—v. 5. The greater the trial or suffering, the more strength He gives to overcome.
      3.      Problems—vv. 6–7. We face problems when we do God’s will. The closer we walk, the greater the troubles.

 III.      THE POWER—vv. 8–11
      1.      Suffering—v. 8. Paul suffered much for the gospel. He almost lost his life for the truth.
      2.      Strength—v. 9. Suffering created faith in Paul’s life. He put his trust in Christ.
      3.      Salvation—v. 10. God didn’t remove the sufferings, but was with him through the sufferings.
      4.      Sharing—v. 11. Share in God’s work by praying.

IV.      THE PRACTICE—vv. 12–14
      1.      Spiritual—v. 12. Paul was sincere and honest. Because of this, God gave him wisdom.
      2.      Simplicity—vv. 13–14. Paul’s words were simple.

 V.      THE PROBLEM—vv. 15–24
      1.      Plan—vv. 15–16 Paul planned to see the Macedonians.
      2.      Problem—vv. 17–18. Paul did not “double—talk.”
      3.      Person—vv. 19–20. God always keeps His Word.
      4.      Plan—vv. 21–24. Called to preach, Paul explains that praying creates joy and peace.

2 Corinthians 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:2 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:2 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:2 May grace and peace be yours from God our father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Ro 1:7 2Sa 15:20 1Ch 12:18 Da 4:1 1Co 1:3 Ga 6:16 Eph 6:23 Php 1:2 Col 1:2 1Th 1:1 2Th 1:2 Phm 1:3 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DIVINE FOUNTAIN
OF GRACE AND PEACE

Grace to you and peace from God our Father (pater) and the Lord (kurios) Jesus (Iesous) Christ (Christos- The divine Source. Grace always precedes peace, for without God's gift of grace, we would never experience God's peace (cf 2Cor 8:9+ > Ro 4:25+ > Ro 5:1+). Grace is the foundation for peace. Both grace and peace are from the Father and Son. And while not mentioned, the Spirit is the dispenser (like a "Chief Operating Officer") of these benefits to our heart and mind (cf Acts 9:31, Ro 8:6, Ro 14:17, Gal 5:22+) Notice the preceding preposition from (apo) which serves to indissolubly link (one preposition preceding two objects) God the Father with the Lord Jesus Christ, and emphasizes the deity of Jesus and was a common way to assert Jesus’ deity (cf. 1Th 1:1; 1Th 3:11; 2Th 1:2, 12; 2Th 2:16).

God is their (and our) Father as John writes in his first epistle "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.." (1Jn 3:1+, cf Jn 1:12+)  Guzik adds that "we are children of God, yet not in the same exact sense as Jesus is the Son of God. We are sons of God, not by nature, but by election; not by ancestry but by adoption; not by right but by redemption."

Ray Stedman on Grace...and peace - Grace is a word that gathers up all that God is ready to do for us and give to us. All of God's supply comes by grace. Therefore, anything God gives you -- love, joy, peace, forgiveness, help, wisdom -- is part of the supply of grace, and the result of that supply in your life, and in mine, is to be peace. A heart that is resting, a heart that is confident that God is at work is calm within and is serene and untroubled of spirit. Now, that is the way Christians are to live. This whole of the New Testament is addressed to that end. It is not just doctrine about how to go to heaven; it is teaching on how to handle life, how to cope with pressures and stresses, and how to face the difficulties and dangers of life. Therefore, the constant supply of God is to bring peace to our troubled hearts; we are to live at rest. (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Grace in 2 Corinthians - 2Cor 1:2 2Cor 1:12 2Cor 4:15 2Cor 6:1 2Cor 8:1 2Cor 8:9 2Cor 9:8 2Cor 9:14 2Cor 12:9 2Cor 13:14

Grace to you and peace is repeated 10x  in Paul's epistles - Rom. 1:7; 1 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:2; Philemon 1:3

Grace (favor) (5485charis from chairo = to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine [cp Mt 5:3+]) is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it. It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that was in His heart more distinctly than in this word grace (charis)! Adrian Rogers says the best definition of grace that he has ever heard is that God's grace is "both the desire and the ability to do the will of God." Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32+ where "freely give" is charizomai from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. Note the etymological link between charis and chairo ("rejoice because of grace"); chara ("joy because of grace"); and eucharisteo ("giving thanks for grace") which all share the same fundamental thrust (God's grace). 

Peace (1515eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". Eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36+). Lenski adds that eirene "is both the condition of peace, when our sins are gone, salvation is ours, and God is our friend, and the feeling of peace that results from this condition. The feeling may fluctuate and even be absent at times, but the condition abides unchanged as long as faith and salvation abide. The feeling will blossom again and again out of the condition and grow in intensity." (Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel)  Salvation (conversion) starts with "peace with God" (divine reconciliation, Ro 5:1) – i.e. being reconciled to God in true covenant-relationship with Him, actively interfacing together.  Out of this flows "peace from God" (cf. Phil 4:7; 2 Thes 3:16) which constantly operates in believers who walk in faith. 

2 Corinthians 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

NET  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως,

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed is God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the mercies, and God of all comfort,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:3 May the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ be praised! God, the originator of mercies and of comprehensive encouragement,

  • Blessed: Ge 14:20 1Ch 29:10 Ne 9:5 Job 1:21 Ps 18:46 72:19 Da 4:34 Eph 1:3 1Pe 1:3 
  • the Father of our: 2Co 11:31  Joh 5:22,23 10:30 20:17 Ro 15:6 Eph 1:3,17 Php 2:11 2Jn 1:4,9 
  • the Father of mercies: Ps 86:5,15 Da 9:9 Mic 7:18 
  • God: Ro 15:5 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Psalm 86:5  For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness (KJV - "plenteous in mercy") to all who call upon You. 

1 Peter 1:3+  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

A BEATITUDE TO THE
GOD OF ALL COMFORT

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (paraklesis) - Even though Paul is experiencing afflictions, he begins by praising God.

THOUGHT - This is a perfect pattern to practice when we are experiencing problems -- first praise the problem Solver! Next time you encounter unexpected affliction (it is usually unexpected), try praising God and see how that alters your attitude toward your afflictions. 

I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
—Garlock

The God who washed away our sins will also wipe away our tears!

God our Father in v2 is now changed slightly to the God and Father . How much comfort? All means all without exception. (see Isa 40:1, Isa 51:3; Isa 52:9; Isa 66:13) The uncommon Greek word mercies (oiktirmos) is used here of God’s actions and feelings toward fallen humanity. It is notable that of the five uses in the NT, all referring to God, four are plural (except Col 3:12). One is reminded of Jeremiah's great testimony "The LORD’S lovingkindnesses (PLURAL) indeed never cease, for His compassions (PLURAL) never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ." (Lam 3:22-23)

Ray Stedman comments on Paul's pattern and how he "calls God the "Father of mercies and God of all comfort." He sees God's hand as having sent these very things into his life, therefore he never prays to have them removed so that he might escape from them (ED: YOU MAY WANT TO READ THAT AGAIN!). He sees them as opportunities for the release of the strength of God.  (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Spurgeon - “Here was a man, who never knew but what he might be dead the next day, for his enemies were many, and cruel, and mighty; and yet he spent a great part of his time in praising and blessing God.”

Kent on Father of mercies: This concept was rooted in Old Testament revelation, and found frequent expression among those who trusted God (II Sam. 24:14; I Chr 21:13; Neh. 9:31; Ps. 51:1; Ps 103:4; Isa. 54:7; Da. 9:9).

Guzik - Paul considers the Father a comforter, a Paraclete (paraklesis). We also know that the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete (John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7) and that God the Son is our Paraclete (1 John 2:1+ = "we have an Advocate [paraklesis] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous", Luke 2:25+ = "the Consolation [paraklesis] of Israel, cf Hebrews 2:18+). God, in every aspect of His being, is full of comfort, strength, and help for us. (HALLELUJAH! AMEN!)

Our Trials can never exceed the Ability of God to Comfort.
--Paul Apple

Blessed (2128eulogetos (English = eulogy) from eulogeo = to bless <> eú = good, well + logos = word) is a verbal adjective which means to be well spoken of or inherently worthy of praise. All the uses of eulogetos refer to man blessing God the One Who is "well spoken of". Eulogetos thus indicates praise and adoration on the part of the creature, in recognition of the power and prerogatives of the Creator, and the privileges enjoyed at His hands. In Mk 14:61 eulogetos is aptly used as a Name of God the Father "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" Discovery Bible has an interesting note on eulogetos - "To bless" someone is different than praising them. A blesser gives something away (a part of themselves) to confer benefit through a personal commitment.In contrast, praise means to acknowledge (give recognition). In sum, "blessing God" means consecrating ourselves to the Lord in true commitment, "offering ourselves up" because God is worthy of all our surrender ("sweet abandon") – i.e. "giving ourselves away." Interesting thought! 

Eulogetos - 8x in NT all of God and in context most refer to God the Father - Mk. 14:61; Lk. 1:68; Ro 1:25; Ro 9:5; 2 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 11:31; Eph 1:3; 1 Pe 1:3

Mercies (3628oiktirmos from oikteiro = to have compassion {only in Ro 9:15+} in turn derived from oiktos = compassion or pity which in turn is said to be derived from the interjection oi = "Oh!") denotes the inward feeling of compassion which abides in the heart. It represents the display of concern over or compassion with another’s misfortune. In Classic Greek oiktirmos is a poetic form of oiktos that denotes the lamenting that occurred at the death or misfortune of another. It expresses the sympathy and pity one felt towards another that often manifested itself in some form of assistance. Compassion (from Latin com = with + pati = to bear, suffer - thus literally to "bear with" or "to suffer with") is a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress together with a desire to alleviate it and in the case of God, with the ability to in fact do so! The meaning of oiktirmos is like splagchnon, related primarily the viscera, which were thought to be the seat of compassion. The word came to signify manifestations of pity and refers to the pity that is aroused by the sight of another's suffering, in this case God being the One Who sees us in dire straits and in need of His boundless mercies. With God as our Example believers are exhorted to “put on” a heart of compassion (Colossians 3:12+).

Oiktirmos - 5x in 5v - Ro 12:1; 2Cor 1:3; Phil 2:1; Col 3:12; Heb 10:28. NAS = compassion(2), mercies(2), mercy(1).

God is the Father of...of mercies (2 Cor. 1:3), ...of glory (Eph. 1:17 cf. Acts 7:2; 1Cor. 2:8), ...of all (Eph. 4:6), ...of spirits (Heb. 12:9; Rev. 22:6), ...of light (Jas 1:17), ....of our Lord Jesus Christ,” again and again in Paul’s writings,

Full title of Lord Jesus Christ is found 63x in the NT - 

Acts 11:17; Acts 15:26; Acts 20:21; Acts 28:31; Rom. 1:7; Rom. 5:1; Rom. 5:11; Rom. 13:14; Rom. 15:6; Rom. 15:30; Rom. 16:24; 1 Co. 1:2; 1 Co. 1:3; 1 Co. 1:7; 1 Co. 1:8; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 6:11; 1 Co. 8:6; 1 Co. 15:57; 2 Co. 1:2; 2 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 8:9; 2 Co. 13:14; Gal. 1:3; Gal. 6:14; Gal. 6:18; Eph. 1:2; Eph. 1:3; Eph. 1:17; Eph. 5:20; Eph. 6:23; Eph. 6:24; Phil. 1:2; Phil. 3:20; Phil. 4:23; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:12; 2 Thess. 2:1; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Thess. 2:16; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Thess. 3:12; 2 Thess. 3:18; 1 Tim. 6:3; 1 Tim. 6:14; Phlm. 1:3; Phlm. 1:25; Jas. 1:1; Jas. 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16; Jude 1:4; Jude 1:17; Jude 1:21

Utley on Lord Jesus Christ points out that "These three (cf. 2Co. 1:2; 2Co. 1:3; 2Co. 8:9; 2Co. 13:14) titles all have individual significance.  “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah ( mashiach/masiyah - an Anointed One). It asserts Jesus’ OT title as YHWH’s promised One sent to set up the new age of righteousness. “Jesus” is the name given to the baby in Bethlehem by the angel (cf. Mt. 1:21). It is made up of two Hebrew nouns: “YHWH,” the covenant name for deity, and “salvation” (hosea). It is the same Hebrew name as Joshua. When used alone it often identifies the man, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary (ex. Mt. 1:16, 25; 2:1; 3:13, 15, 16). Lord” (used in 2Co 1:1KJV) is the translation of the Hebrew term  'adon, which meant “owner, husband, master, or lord.” The Jews became afraid of pronouncing the sacred name YHWH lest they take it in vain and break one of the Ten Commandments. Whenever they read the Scriptures, they substituted  'Adon for YHWH. This is why our English translations use the all-capital LORD for YHWH in the OT. By transferring this title (kurios in Greek) to Jesus, the NT authors assert His deity and equality with the Father.


Phillip Brooks - The more varied and manifold a man’s experiences have become, the more he has the chance to know of God, the more chance God has to show Himself to him. Every new experience is a new opportunity of knowing God. Every experience is like a jewel set in the texture of our life, on which God shines and makes interpretation and revelation of Himself.


Take My Hand

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:3

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:2-6

You never know when you’ll need the Lord’s comfort the most—when God’s care will be your only hope to face tomorrow.

One day in 1932, pianist, singer, and songwriter Thomas A. Dorsey discovered his need for God’s comfort. He left his pregnant wife Nettie at home in Chicago while he drove his Model A to St. Louis to sing at a revival meeting. All went well, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. At the end of Dorsey’s performance, he received a telegram with the tragic news that his wife had died in childbirth. Within hours, the baby boy also died.

Filled with grief, Dorsey sought answers. Should he have stayed in Chicago and not gone to St. Louis? Had God done him an injustice? A few days after Nettie’s death, Dorsey sat down at the piano and began to play. Finally sensing God’s peace and closeness, he began to sing some new words and play a new song:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand;
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light;
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Is there a problem too big for you to handle alone? Or a grief too great to bear? Put your hand in the Lord’s. Let the “God of all comfort” lead you home.  By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When God permits trials, He also provides comfort.


Little Things

The Father of mercies and God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our tribulation. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

A medical school program in New York gives students who are training for geriatric medicine a unique opportunity. They experience life as nursing home residents for 10 days. They learn some of the struggles of maneuvering a wheelchair and being raised out of bed with a lift, as well as reaching the shower bar from a seated position. One student learned how little things counted for a lot—like lowering nameplates on doors so that patients can find their rooms more easily, or putting the TV remote in a reachable location.

Although the students still can’t fully relate, they will be better able to serve the elderly in their future work.

Sometimes God gives us the opportunity to use the lessons we’ve learned and the comfort He’s given us during difficult times to help others in special ways. Paul indicated this when he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Are you using the lessons you’ve learned in your trials to touch the lives of others? Remember—even little things can mean a lot. By:  Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The comfort God has given us
He wants us now to share
With others who are suffering
So they will sense His care.
—Sper

God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable;
He comforts us to make us comforters.


David Jeremiah -  GOD ENCOURAGES; YOU SHOULD TOO

2 CORINTHIANS 1:3 Blessed be the God … the Father of mercies.

In the New Testament, each member of the triune God (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) places a priority on encouragement.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Blessed be the God, … the Father of mercies [encouragement]” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

In one of his letters to the Thessalonians, Paul reminded his readers that Jesus Christ is also, at the very core of His ministry, an encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16–17).

And what can we say about the Holy Spirit? “Encourager” is one of His names! The King James Bible says of the Holy Spirit (in John 14 and 16), “However when He the Comforter is come.… ” The title “Comforter” translates the word paraklete, which means “to encourage.” When we encourage people, we live out the ministry of the third Person of the Trinity. He is the Encourager.
God the Father encourages. God the Son encourages. God the Holy Spirit encourages. We need to be encouragers because encouragement is one of the primary ministries—in fact, it’s a priority of our triune God. (Sanctuary)


A Call To Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. — 2 Corinthians 1:3

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

In their book Dear Mrs. Kennedy, Jay Mulvaney and Paul De Angelis note that during the weeks following the assassination of US President John Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline, received nearly one million letters from people in every part of the world. Some came from heads of state, celebrities, and close friends. Others were sent by ordinary people who addressed them to “Madame Kennedy, Washington” and “Mrs. President, America.” All wrote to express their grief and sympathy for her great loss.

When people suffer and we long to help, it’s good to recall Paul’s word-picture of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Our heavenly Father is the ultimate source of every tender mercy, kind word, and helpful act that brings encouragement and healing. Bible scholar W. E. Vine says that paraklesis—the Greek word translated “comfort”—means “a calling to one’s side.” The words comfort and consolation appear repeatedly in today’s Bible reading as a reminder that the Lord holds us close and invites us to cling to Him.

As the Lord wraps His loving arms around us, we are able to embrace others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (v.4). By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, thank You for letting us share with You our worries and cares. We’re grateful that You stand beside us to comfort and guide. Help us to console others as You look out for Your own.

God comforts us so that we can comfort others.


Learning To Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:3

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

When she heard that her best friend’s baby died, Andra didn’t know what to do. Should she call her friend right away or wait a few days? What should she say? She asked her mother, Mary Farr, a children’s hospital chaplain, for advice. “Phone her now,” her mother said. “Tell her you love her and that you’ll call back later.” Andra followed that advice, and it meant a great deal to her friend.

How should we respond when those we care about suffer a loss? 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” It’s in God’s school of comfort that we learn to better understand the needs of those who hurt.

Mary Farr writes, “We live in a fragile and imperfect world tinged by brokenness and cloaked in unanswered questions. Some things truly aren’t fair. This is hard.” She encourages people to resist the temptation to fill the silence with talk. Instead, we need to be comfortable with saying, “I don’t know,” and not try to provide easy answers. And when there’s nothing to say, just sit together.

When friends need comfort, ask “the Father of mercies” (v.3) to teach you what to say and do.  —David McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The comfort God has given us
He wants us now to share
With others who are suffering
And caught in life's despair. 
—Sper

God comforts us to make us comforters.


Culprit Or Comfort?

God . . . comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today's Scripture: Job 22:1-30

When we experience adversity and trials, we may blame ourselves and feel we have done something wrong to deserve punishment. While honest self-examination is healthy, we should not become preoccupied with our faults and failures.

It’s even worse if someone else tries to load guilt on us when we are going through a tough time. That was the mistake of Job’s friend Eliphaz, a man with a high view of God and a great respect for His moral standards. He correctly observed that when we do what’s right we are doing only what God requires. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect special praise or reward (Job 22:3). But Eliphaz mistakenly insisted that Job’s trouble was the result of his own wickedness (v.5). He was also wrong in promising Job that God would bless him and give him immediate relief if he would repent.

Most of our troubles are the result of living in an imperfect world. God uses these adversities, however, to prepare us to help others. Paul said that God comforted him in his trials so that he could comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

When trouble invades our lives or the lives of others, let’s not immediately conclude that the culprit is sin. Instead, let’s seek God’s comfort so we can comfort others. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Oh, comfort us, Lord, when life's trials assail—
How often we stumble, how often we fail;
But You would renew us, and help us to grow
That others Your goodness and comfort may know.
—DJD

God can transform trials into triumphs.


Coming Alongside

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

When my sister Carole was diagnosed with breast cancer, our family worried. That diagnosis, with its surgeries and treatments, caused us to fear for her well-being, which drove our family to prayer on her behalf. Over the ensuing months, Carole’s updates were honest about the challenges. But we all celebrated when the report came back that the surgery and treatments had been successful. Carole was on the road to recovery!

Then, less than a year later, my sister Linda faced the same battle. Immediately, Carole came alongside Linda, helping her understand what to expect and how to prepare for what she would face. Carole’s experience had equipped her to walk with Linda through her own trial.

This is what Paul calls for in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, where we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t waste anything. Our struggles not only give us an opportunity to experience His comfort, but they also open the door for us to share that comfort with others in their struggles. By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Today, how can I be an encouragement to others whose hearts are weighed down by the cares of life?

God’s presence brings us comfort; our presence brings others comfort.


Healing From Heaven

Blessed be . . . the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. — 2 Corinthians 1:3

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:1-10

Thomas Moore (1779–1852) was an Irish songwriter, singer, and poet. His talents brought joy to many who saw him perform or who sang his music. Yet, tragically, his personal life was troubled by repeated heartaches, including the death of all five of his children during his lifetime. Moore’s personal wounds make these words of his all the more meaningful: “Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” This moving statement reminds us that meeting with God in prayer can bring healing to the troubled soul.

The apostle Paul also saw how our heavenly Father can provide solace to the hurting heart. To the believers at Corinth he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Sometimes, though, we can be so preoccupied with an inner sorrow that we isolate ourselves from the One who can offer consolation. We need to be reminded that God’s comfort and healing come through prayer.

As we confide in our Father, we can experience peace and the beginning of healing for our wounded hearts. For truly “earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” By:  Dennis Fisher  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
—Cushing

Prayer is the soil in which hope and healing grow best.


Unexpected Grief

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:3

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Since 1988, I’ve enjoyed writing several Our Daily Bread articles each month. I’ve felt blessed to dig into Scripture, observe life, and provide spiritual help in this publication.

But on June 6, 2002, I found myself unable to offer help. On the last day of her junior year of high school, our 17-year-old daughter Melissa was killed in a car accident.

In one horrible instant, everything we knew about God and the Bible and heaven was put to the test. We needed the Christian community to guide us toward hope as we stood at the funeral of a beloved young woman who had touched so many lives with her smile, her godliness, her love of life, and her care for others.

For many weeks, I couldn’t write. What could I say? How could I find words to help others when my family—when I—needed so much?

Now, months later as I begin to write again, I can say that God has not changed. He is still our loving heavenly Father, the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). He is still the source of hope in the face of unexpected grief. I write of Him with a renewed sense of my need for His touch, His love, His strength. Broken, I write of the only One who can make us whole. By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
—Anon.

When God permits trials, He also provides comfort.


When The Wind Blows

Blessed be the . . . God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today's Scripture: Romans 8:26-30

Harold and Cathy and their two sons were in a wooded area in Minnesota when a tornado touched down. Cathy described her experience to me several years later:

“My husband and older son were some distance away, but my younger son and I took cover in a cabin. We heard a sound like a hundred railroad cars and instinctively dropped to the floor in a tucked position. The cabin began to break apart, and I shut my eyes because of all the flying debris. It felt like I was going up in an elevator and then was shot into the air. I landed in a lake and clung to debris to stay afloat.”

Tragically, however, their younger son did not survive. Harold said of their loss: “We cried every day for 6 weeks. But we believe that God’s loving sovereignty allowed that tornado to come down where we were. And we also took comfort in the fact that our son knew the Lord.”

When a loved one is taken and we are left behind, it can create all kinds of questions. In times like these, Romans 8:28 can be of great encouragement: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This couple’s trust in God’s loving sovereignty brought them comfort in the midst of their grief (2 Cor. 1:3-4). By:  Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we sustain a heartbreaking loss,
When grief overwhelms our soul,
The Savior who gave Himself on the cross
Reminds us that He’s in control.
—D. De Haan

Our greatest comfort in sorrow is to know that God is in control.


What We Need

The heartbreaking stories keep coming. The friend whose grown daughter has left her husband and kids. The dads I recently met who lost their teen sons in car accidents. The pillar of the church whose retirement years have been marked by a string of bad medical news. You know the stories. You may ha

ve your own.

Where do we go for help when struggles and pain threaten to shake our faith and steal our last ounce of joy?

Second Corinthians 1:3 may be just the right destination. It is full of hope, help, and possibilities.

Examine what that verse tells us: Paul lifts praise to God on two levels (and remember, Paul had more struggles and trouble than most of us could stand). First, he simply sends praise to God, who is not just our God but the God and Father of Jesus Himself. Think about the power and the love behind that!

Then he gives us even better news: Our heavenly Father is the God of mercy and compassion. He cares for us with an everlasting, gracious love. And there’s more—He is also the God of all comfort.

Need compassion? Need comfort? Go to God. He has an endless supply and is ready to pour it out on you in abundance. He is what we need in times of trouble! — by Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I must have the Savior with me,
For my faith at best is weak;
He will whisper words of comfort,
That no other voice can speak.
—Crosby

God’s whisper of comfort helps quiet the noise of our trials.

2 Corinthians 1:4  Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:4 ὁ παρακαλῶν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ἡμᾶς παρακαλεῖν τοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως ἧς παρακαλούμεθα αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:4 ὁ παρακαλῶν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ἡμᾶς παρακαλεῖν τοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως ἧς παρακαλούμεθα αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:4 who is comforting us in all our tribulation, for our being able to comfort those in any tribulation through the comfort with which we are comforted ourselves by God;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:4 consoled us in all of our trouble that we might be able to encourage those undergoing every distress. We do this by drawing on the solace that came to us when we ourselves were consoled by God.

  • Who comforts us: 2Co 7:6-7 Ps 86:17 Isa 12:1 49:10 51:3,12 52:9 66:12,13  Joh 14:16 Joh 14:18,26 2Th 2:16,17 
  • so that : 2Co 1:5,6 Ps 32:5,7 34:2-6 66:16 Isa 40:1 66:14 Php 1:14 1Th 4:18 1Th 5:11 Heb 12:12 
  • 2 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 7:6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

GOD COMFORTS US
IN EVERY AFFLICTION

Who comforts us in all our affliction (see thlipsis below) - Mark it down that Paul has experienced God's comfort so he is abundantly qualified to speak about this subject from his manifold experiences! Parakaleo is used three times in this one verse! Comforts is present tense indicating God is continually able to provide comfort. Recall the verb parakaleo pictures another (in this case the Spirit of God) called to one's side. BDAG says it means to "ask to come and be present where the speaker is." So the question arises as to when did God comfort Paul ("us" - presumably included Timothy with Paul at Philippi)? Recall that Paul had written First Corinthians in the Spring of AD 55 while in Ephesus but did not know what effect it had had on the Corinthian church. A riot in Ephesus forced him escape with his life fleeing to Philippi. While at Philippi Titus came to him with news that Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians had good effect on the church. This is one of certainly many times when God comforted Paul as we see in 2 Cor 7:6-7+ where he wrote "God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more." 

You’ve heard of “Creature Comfort”?…
Well, the best comfort for the creature is from his Creator!
-- Brian Bell

Note paraklesis  (6x in 5v - 2Co 1:3, 4, 5, 6 -twice, 2Co1:7) and Parakaleo (3x in 2Co 1:4, 2Co 1:6) are key words in 2Co 1:3-11 - total of 9 times. These words are also the key terms throughout chapters 1–9, where it is used twenty-five times.

Affliction (thlipsis) means pressure or crushing and was used of squeezing grapes to make wine or of crushing wheat to make flour, both excellent word pictures to remind us of the potential value of affliction in a believer's life. thlipsis is clearly a keyword in 2 Corinthians occurring 9x in 8v (out of a total of 45x in 43v in the entire NT), so almost 25% of the uses of thlipsis are found in this epistle. - 2Co. 1:4; 2Co. 1:8; 2Co. 2:4; 2Co. 4:17; 2Co. 6:4; 2Co. 7:4; 2Co. 8:2; 2Co. 8:13. Some of Paul's uses seem to describe emotional affliction (2Co 2:4, 2Co 11:28), but others imply physical affliction (e.g, 2Co 1:8). Some of Paul's uses of thlipsis are difficult to differentiate and may indicate both physical and emotional affliction. This would make sense because when we are physically afflicted, there is invariably an emotional response to that affliction. 

Brian Bell - Sufferings are not accidents but divine appointments. To follow Christ is to follow Him into suffering! (ED: cf Mk 8:34+ - "take up your cross" = shame, suffering, rejection) 

Ray Stedman on comforts...affliction -Two words, affliction, and comfort, stand out repeatedly in that passage; and the two always go together: Affliction is what we today would probably call pressure, or stress. It is what many of you, perhaps, are feeling right now when you think about going to work tomorrow. It is whatever ties knots in your stomach and makes you feel anxious or troubled about what lies ahead. It is what makes for hectic days and for sleepless nights. It gnaws continually at your mind and threatens your well-being; it refuses to go away and leave you alone; it depresses you and darkens the future with forebodings of disaster. Now that is pressure, stress, and we all live in it. But they were not any different in the 1st century. They lived under pressure and stress just as we do. Paul experienced it as well, but along with it he experienced the comfort of God. Now, comfort is more than just a little cheer or friendly word of encouragement. Paul does not mean that. The word basically means "to strengthen." What Paul experienced was the strengthening of God to give him a peaceful, restful spirit to meet the pressure and the stress with which he lived. That is what Christianity is all about. "Strengthen," in the Greek, is a word that is used also for the Holy Spirit. Your Bible frequently calls him "The Comforter," but really it is "The Strengthener," the one who strengthens you. This is God's provision for affliction. It is amazing to me how many thousands of Christians are dreading facing their daily lives because they feel pressured and stressful and tied up in knots, and yet they never avail themselves of God's provision for that kind of pressure. These words are not addressed to us merely to be used for religious problems. They are to be used for any kind of stress, any kind of problems. God's comfort, God's strengthening, is available for whatever puts you under stress.  (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Henry Alford on Paul's use of first person plural (us, our, we) -  The Apostle in this Epistle uses mostly the first person plural, perhaps as including Timothy, perhaps, inasmuch as he writes apostolically (compare “us the apostles,” said of himself and Apollos, 1Cor. 4:9), as speaking of the Apostles in common.  This however will not explain all places where it occurs elsewhere: e.g. 1Th 2:18, “We would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again,”—where see note. So that after all perhaps it is best to regard it merely as an idiomatic way of speaking, when often only the singular is intended.

Utley adds "It is so difficult in this book to know whom Paul refers to by the plural pronouns, “we,” “us,” and “our.” It can refer to (1) himself alone; (2) him and his mission team; (3) him and the other Apostles; or (4) all believers. Only context can determine, and sometimes it is ambiguous." 

Paul Apple - The Benefits of All Trials 1. God’s Comfort is Fully Known Through Trials 2. God’s Comfort Equips Us to Minister to Others (Ref)

Henrietta Mears - Everyone loves a true story. Paul tells so many personal experiences of his life in this letter that it makes everyone love to read it. He begins by telling of the great trouble through which he had been passing. Through all of his trials he had learned to know God better. God is always made more real to us in times of sorrow. We find that God never fails.

Broomall gives a interesting summary of God’s comfort as "(1) active—who comforteth us; (2) extensive—in all our tribulation; (3) specific—in any trouble; (4) reflexive—by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted." (2 Corinthians 1)

So that - term of purpose. A high and holy purpose for our affliction (NOTE THIS BELOVED - YOUR SUFFERING IS NOT WITHOUT PURPOSE IN GOD'S ECONOMY!) is now described by Paul. Keep in mind that he was suffering affliction even as he wrote this letter because of the accusations and disparaging statements made about him by some at Corinth. But while his sufferings were painful Paul saw the "silver lining" in them describing here how they were purposeful. We need to imitate Paul's pattern (1 Cor 11:1+). 

We will be (present tense - continually) able to comfort those who are in any affliction (see thlipsis below) with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God - The implication is clear that having received comfort from God, we are able to pass on comfort to others in affliction. The English word comfort is derived from late Latin confortare ‘strengthen’, from com- (expressing intensive force) + Latin fortis ‘strong’ thus meaning "to strengthen much." Thus the idea of comfort is more than soothing sympathy but includes the sense of strengthening, of helping, of making strong.

THOUGHT- Does this truth (Biblical principle) not give purpose to our suffering and affliction? That is of course a rhetorical question! Our suffering is not wasted but enables us to comfort others who are suffering. The next time you endure affliction (NB: you are either in affliction now, have just come out of it, or are getting ready to go into it!) let this truth undergird your heart and mind and energize you to endure with Spirit enabled patience knowing that God is teaching you, growing you and preparing you to be better able to comfort another brother or sister in their affliction, which may or may not be similar. Paul mentions a second positive effect of suffering in 2 Cor 1:9 which is to teach us not to trust in ourselves. In other words, suffering teaches us not to depend on ourselves (our natural strength, our fleshly ability) but to depend on God's power, which is "resurrection power" in 2 Cor 1:9b! If God can raise the dead (and He can!), then He can comfort us in and through our trial/affliction! 

Job was a man who knew affliction and yet experienced the comfort of the LORD. He passes that comfort on to us with his wonderful words of testimony and trust in Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, I will hope (trust) in Him." If you are in need of comfort in the midst of your affliction take a moment and play Job's "Anthem" THOUGH YOU SLAY ME sung by Shane and Shane and allow the Spirit, the Comforter (Jn 14:16KJV), to take Job's simple Word of Life (Php 2:16+, a Person, Jesus = 1Jn 1:1+) and minister to the deepest needs of your soul (He will!). 

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering (Php 3:10)

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

Ray Stedman - I think the older you grow as a Christian the more this becomes true. Your sufferings are not sent for you so much as they are for someone who is watching you, and seeing how you handle the pressure that you are going through. Older Christians easily forget that younger Christians are watching them all the time. When we give way to complaining and murmuring about our circumstances we are teaching these younger Christians, teaching them as if we sat down with them and waggled our fingers at them, that God is faithless, that the Scriptures are not true, that we can get no adequate support for what we are going through. When we have sufferings sent to us they are often sent so that others watching us will know that they can be sustained. That is what Paul says to this church. "When I suffer," he says, "it is for your comfort; it is that you might see what God can do, and, what he can take me through, he can take you through. Therefore, as you watch me, you will see how to handle this."  (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Guzik - Often, we never receive the comfort God wants to give us through another person. Pride keeps us from revealing our needs to others, so we never receive the comfort God would give us through them.

Homer Kent - They had suffered and were divinely comforted and encouraged so that they might more effectively encourage others who needed comfort. What an exalted way to regard one’s afflictions—not merely as an instrument to teach a lesson, but as a means to equip the afflicted to comfort others.

Adam Clarke - “Even spiritual comforts are not given us for our use alone; they, like all the gifts of God, are given that they may be distributed, or become instruments of help to others. A minister’s trials and comforts are permitted and sent for the benefit of the Church. What a miserable preacher must he be who has all his divinity by study and learning, and nothing by experience!” (2 Corinthians 1)

John Calvin on will be able -  The Apostle lived not for himself, but for the Church: so that whatever grace God conferred on him, he thought given not for himself alone, but to enable him the better to help others.

John Trapp“Mr. Knox, a little before his death, rose out of his bed; and being asked wherefore, being so sick, he would offer to rise? He answered, that he had had sweet meditations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that night, and now he would go into the pulpit, and impart to others the comforts that he felt in his soul.” (2 Corinthians 1)

Comforts (3870) parakaleo from para = beside +  kaleo = call) conveys the basic idea of calling one alongside to help or give aid as in a judicial sense of an advocate who renders legal aid and comfort. Because a person can be called alongside for many purposes, parakaleo has a wide range of meanings including to entreat, appeal to, summon, comfort, exhort, or encourage. Parakaleo came to mean exhorting, admonishing, encouraging, call to one’s side, call to one’s aid. English "encourage" means “with heart.” To comfort or encourage in a sense is to give them new heart. Shallow sympathy makes people feel worse but true spiritual encouragement makes them feel better and brings out the best in people. The English word paraclete (parakletos) is from parakaleo. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines paraclete as "an advocate; one called to aid or support; hence, the consoler, comforter or intercessor, a term applied to the Holy Spirit."

Parakaleo is a keyword in 2 Corinthians (18x in 15v out of a total of 107x in NT) 2 Co. 1:4; 2 Co. 1:6; 2 Co. 2:7; 2 Co. 2:8; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 6:1; 2 Co. 7:6; 2 Co. 7:7; 2 Co. 7:13; 2 Co. 8:6; 2 Co. 9:5; 2 Co. 10:1; 2 Co. 12:8; 2 Co. 12:18; 2 Co. 13:11;

Able  (1410dunamai conveys the basic meaning of that which has the inherent ability to do something or accomplish some end. The derivative word dunamis (from dunamai) refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way, the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. Larry Richards says that dunamis and dunamai "look to the inherent physical, spiritual, or natural strength or power of individuals. The verb raises the issue of one's being "strong enough" and thus able."


Talmage - A larkspur cannot lecture on the nature of a snow-flake—it never saw a snowflake; and those people who have always lived in the summer of prosperity cannot talk to those who are frozen in disaster.


Spurgeon - Give me the comforts of God, and I can well bear the taunts of men. Let me lay my head on the bosom of Jesus, and I fear not the distraction of care and trouble. If my God will give me ever the light of His smile and glance His benediction—it is enough. Come on, foes, persecutors, friends, ay, Apollyon himself, for “the Lord God is my sun and shield.” Gather, ye clouds, and environ me, I carry a sun within; blow, wind of the frozen north, I have a fire of living coal within; yea, death, slay me, but I have another life, a life in the light of God’s countenance.


F B Meyer Our Daily Homily

Who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort. (r.v.)

Child of God, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which tries thee, as though some strange thing had happened. Rejoice, inasmuch as it is a sure sign that thou art on the right track. All the saints have gone by this road, notably the writer of this Epistle.

Its keyword is affliction, because written amid afflictions so great that the apostle despaired of life. It is steeped in affliction, as a handkerchief with the flowing blood of a fresh wound. But in this passage the apostle has built himself a little chamber of comfort, the stones of which were quarried from the pit of his own sorrow. He blesses God, who had led him into affliction to teach him the art of comfort, that by observing how God comforted, he might become proficient in the art.

The world is full of comfortless hearts — orphan. children crying in the night. Our God pities them, and would comfort them through thee. But ere thou undertake this lofty ministry thou must be trained, and thou must therefore pass through the very trials that they are exposed to. Now watch how God comforts thee. Keep a diary, if thou wilt, of his procedure. Ponder in thine heart the length of each splint, the folds of each bandage, the ministration of each opiate, cordial, or drug. This will have a twofold effect, in turning thy thoughts from thy miseries to thy mercies, and in taking away the sense of useless and aimless existence.

There is evidently scope for comfort even in heaven, for it is said that God will wipe away tears from all faces. Oh thou that art sorrowful even unto death, be sure that some day the Comforter will get the victory over thy sorest griefs.


Helping Each Other

[God] comforts us . . . so that we can comfort those in any trouble. 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7

“The body of Christ” is a mysterious phrase used more than 30 times in the New Testament. The apostle Paul especially settled on that phrase as an image of the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He turned over His mission to flawed and bumbling men and women. He assumed the role of head of the church, leaving the tasks of arms, legs, ears, eyes, and voice to the erratic disciples—and to you and me.

Jesus’s decision to operate as the invisible head of a large body with many parts means that He often relies on us to help one another cope during times of suffering. The apostle Paul must have had something like that in mind when he wrote these words: “[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Cor. 1:4–5). And all through his ministry Paul put that principle into practice, taking up collections for famine victims, dispatching assistants to go to troubled areas, acknowledging believers’ gifts as gifts from God Himself.

The phrase “the body of Christ” expresses well what we are called to do: to represent in flesh what Christ is like, especially to those in need. By:  Philip Yancey  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Dear Lord, thank You for always being faithful to comfort me when I’m hurting. Show me who needs my encouragement today.

God’s presence brings us comfort; our presence brings others comfort.


2Cor 1:3, 4

A mother who lost her son asked an elderly Chinese philosopher how to overcome her deep grief.

"I can help you, but you must first bring me some mustard seed," said the old wise man.

"But you must get it at a home where there has never been any loss or sorrow."

Eagerly the woman started her search, but in every home she visited was someone who had lost a loved one or had known some heartbreaking loss. Returning without any mustard seed, she exclaimed,

"How selfish I have been! Sorrow is common to all."

"Ah," said the philosopher, "you have learned a valuable lesson. Because you know sorrow, you can sympathize with others and comfort them. And when you do, your own sorrow will be lessened."

The best comforters are those whom God has comforted and who are willing to comfort others. —H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

GOD COMFORTS US TO MAKE US COMFORTERS


The English artist Joseph Turner once invited the clergyman and novelist Charles Kingsley to his studio to see a picture he had just completed of a storm at sea. Filled with admiration, Kingsley inquired, "How did you make it so realistic?" The artist replied, "When I decided to paint this scene, I thought it would be best to go to the coast of Holland and hire a fisherman to take me out in his boat during an actual storm. I knew this was the only way I could get a feel for my subject. The boatman bound me to the mast so I could watch the squall in safety. I not only observed it and sensed its power, but the tempest blew itself into me until I seemed to become a part of it. When it was over, I was able to depict on canvas all the fury I had felt at sea."

So too, in the Christian life we may acquire some wisdom in times of prosperity, but oh, the deeper lessons we can learn in the school of tribulation and sorrow! Experience is a great teacher. We learn the most from what affects us personally If you have received consolation from the Lord in time of tribulation, God wants you to share with others the lessons you've learned. —H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

GOD COMFORTS US NOT TO MAKE US COMFORTABLE, BUT TO MAKE US COMFORTERS.


A Purpose in Pain?

[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7

When Siu Fen discovered she had kidney failure and would need dialysis for the rest of her life, she wanted to give up. Retired and single, the longtime believer in Jesus saw no point in prolonging her life. But friends convinced her to persevere and go for dialysis and trust in God to help her.

Two years later, she found her experience coming into play when she visited a friend from church with a debilitating disease. The woman felt alone, as few could truly understand what she was going through. But Siu Fen was able to identify with her physical and emotional pain and could connect with her in a personal way. Her own journey enabled her to walk alongside the woman, giving her a special measure of comfort others couldn’t. “Now I see how God can still use me,” she said.

It can be hard to understand why we suffer. Yet God can use our affliction in unexpected ways. As we turn to Him for comfort and love in the midst of trials, it also empowers us to help others. No wonder Paul learned to see purpose in his own suffering: It gave him the opportunity to receive God’s comfort, which he could then use to bless others (2 Corinthians 1:3–­5). We’re not asked to deny our pain and suffering, but we can take heart in God’s ability to use it for good. By:  Leslie Koh (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How has God used you to bring comfort to another? How has your faith helped you to persevere?

Lord, help me to keep trusting in You in the midst of trouble, knowing that I can tap Your unlimited comfort and share it with others.


Finding the Way Home

[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–11

Sometimes this journey through life can be so difficult that we’re simply overwhelmed, and it seems there’s no end to the darkness. During such a time in our own family’s life, my wife emerged one morning from her quiet time with a new lesson learned. “I think God wants us not to forget in the light what we’re learning in this darkness.”

Paul writes this same thought to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1), after describing the terrible difficulties he and his team endured in Asia. Paul wants the Corinthians to understand how God can redeem even our darkest moments. We’re comforted, he says, so we may learn how to comfort others (v. 4). Paul and his team were learning things from God during their trials that they could use to comfort and advise the Corinthians when they faced similar difficulties. And God does that for us as well, if we’re willing to listen. He will redeem our trials by teaching us how to use what we’ve learned in them to minister to others.

Are you in the darkness now? Be encouraged by Paul’s words and experience. Trust that God is right now directing your steps and that He’s also stamping His truths on your heart so you can share them with others who are in similar circumstances. You’ve been there before, and you know the way home. By:  Randy Kilgore  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, help those who are hurting today so they may see and know Your loving presence in their darkest hours.

Never forget in the light what you learn in the darkness.


John MacArthur - The nation of Ireland is nicknamed the “Emerald Isle” for good reason—it contains some of the greenest countryside of any location on earth. In visiting there I have noticed that abundant mist and fog, which often shroud the rolling landscape, help produce the rich green grass and trees. That phenomenon is much like the Christian life. Many times when our life is obscured by the sufferings and sorrows of trials, it has a refreshing beauty of soul that is not always readily seen. As the apostle Paul’s life demonstrates, sensitive and merciful hearts are the products of great trials.

Difficulties beset us so that God might bestow much comfort on us. But such comfort is not merely for our own benefit. The Lord entrusts His comfort to us that we might share it with others, as verse 4 of today’s passage indicates. And He comforts us in direct proportion to the number of trials we endure, which means the more we suffer, the more God comforts us; and the more He comforts us, the more we can comfort others who are hurting.

When we do experience real comfort in the wake of a trial, perhaps the most precious result is the sense of Christian partnership we feel. If God’s comfort helps us to comfort others, then it’s clear that other believers are positively affected by what we learn from our trials. The entire process lifts us beyond ourselves and shows us that as part of a local fellowship or the greater Body of Christ we are not alone and do not have to undergo various trials in a vacuum.

The comfort we receive and the sense of partnership that results is a great incentive for any of us to be encouraged through trials and sufferings, knowing that such experiences enable us to minister as integral parts of the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:26; 2 Cor. 1:6–7). (Strength for Today)

We often don’t pause to consider that God can turn the evil of suffering into a lesson for good, a lesson we can use to grow spiritually. Sometimes suffering in the form of persecution comes simply because we do not want to compromise our faithfulness to the Lord. Many other times it is merely the common pain, hardship, disease, and conflicts resulting from sin’s corruption of the world.

Sometimes, however, God does bring suffering as a means to discipline us when we fall into a pattern of sin. That’s what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in the early church (see Acts 5:1–11). Similarly, God punished some members of the Corinthian church for their flagrant sins (1 Cor. 11:29–30).

Whatever the case, you do not have to view suffering as bad. It can teach you kindness, sympathy, humility, compassion, patience, and gentleness. Most important, God can use suffering in unique ways to draw you closer to Him. (Truth for Today)


The God of All Comfort

[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble. 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7

Radamenes was just a kitten when his owner dropped him off at an animal shelter, thinking he was too ill to recover. The kitten was nursed back to health and adopted by the vet. He then became a full time resident at the shelter and now spends his days “comforting” cats and dogs—just out of surgery or recovering from an illness—through his warm presence and gentle purr.

That story is a small picture of what our loving God does for us—and what we can do for others in return. He cares for us in our sickness and struggles, and He soothes us with His presence. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians calls our God, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (1:3). When we are discouraged, depressed, or mistreated, He’s there for us. When we turn to Him in prayer, He “comforts us in all our troubles” (v. 4).

But verse 4 doesn’t end there. Paul, who had experienced intense suffering, continues, “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Our Father comforts us, and when we’ve experienced His comfort, we’re enabled to comfort others.

Our compassionate Savior, who suffered for us, is more than able to comfort us in our suffering and distress (v. 5). He helps us through our pain and equips us to do the same for others. By:  Alyson Kieda (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When have you experienced God’s comfort during a difficult time? When have you offered God’s comfort to others?

Dear God, thank You for Your comforting presence in my pain and sorrow. Help me in turn to be a comfort to others.


The Source Of Comfort

[God] comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. — 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

While stationed in England during World War II, I received word that my 20-year-old brother Cornelius had been killed in action. The news hit me hard, but God immediately comforted me with the assurance that Cornie was safe with Jesus. The peace of God took possession of me.

Since then I have experienced the death of other family members and have visited scores of sorrowing people. What does a person do to bring comfort? Quote dozens of Bible verses? Try to analyze and explain the ways of God’s providence?

I think not. People grieving over a sudden loss are in no state of mind for intellectual exercises. They need the comfort that God alone can give. We can be His channels of blessing, but we must first experience God’s comfort so that “we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:4).

We can be His instruments by praying for the sorrowing, by showing that we care, by doing small kindnesses, and by speaking as He leads. But in everything we do, let’s never forget that it is He who brings the needed comfort.

Lord, thank You for comforting us in our times of need. Use us to bring comfort to others who are sorrowing. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A life that is crushed by sorrow
Can feel for another’s grief
And send out that sweet perfume of love
That will bring some heart relief.
—Osgood

God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.


Many years ago I read an article about Ian Munro, a plastic surgeon at the University of Toronto. At that time, he was one of the few doctors in the world who took apart and then rebuilt the skulls of infants who had Crouzon’s disease. The head of a child who suffers from this condition becomes so misshapen that the extreme pressure put on the brain can cause mental retardation. Dr. Munro devised an operation in which as much as 90 percent of the skull and facial bones are broken in order to reshape the skull. What motivated Dr. Munro to pioneer in such a highly specialized field? His own child is mentally deficient as a result of Crouzon’s disease. This created in that father’s heart deep sympathy for those who suffer from the same condition. - H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


Real Comfort

[God] comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. —2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: John 14:15-27

As I write this article, I am ministering to the friends and loved ones of two young men who died unexpectedly. A 39-year-old had suffered a heart attack and a 19-year-old was killed in an industrial accident. Both were Christians and members of warm, loving families.

What do I say to bring comfort? Do I quote Bible verses? Do I try to analyze and explain the ways of God’s providence? No. Deeply grieving people are in no state of mind for pious platitudes or explanations. I serve them best by showing that I care, by praying for them, and by assuring them of God’s comfort.

Jesus told His troubled disciples that after His departure He would send the Holy Spirit to be their Comforter (Jn. 14:26). The peace that Jesus gives to us comes through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if we want to bring comfort to others, we must have an intimate relationship with the Lord and experience His comfort. Then, by our practical deeds and our quiet presence we can show those who are sorrowing that we care. We can also pray that they will sense the comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

God wants us to be channels of His comfort to sorrowing and hurting people. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


A Personal Thank You

[God] comforts us . . . that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. — 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

For more than 3 years, our family has traveled the road of sorrow and comfort since the death of our daughter Melissa.

That ministry of comfort is described in 2 Corinthians 1, where Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (vv.3-4).

Over these years, I have shared with Our Daily Bread readers what we’ve learned from God and what we’ve learned about Him. Our family has been touched by the comfort He has brought us through His Word and His people.

When I wrote about God’s work of comfort through this tragedy, hundreds upon hundreds of readers sent us letters, e-mails, photos, songs, poems, paintings, and more to express sympathy, love, and appreciation. God brought us comfort, and I shared. God brought others comfort, and they shared. In their love, God’s people have shown how His ministry of comfort works. Thank you for caring for us.

If we’ve been comforted by God, we can have a part in the incredible ministry of comfort to others. By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Those who have suffered are best able to help those who are suffering.


God allows His children to experience sorrow and suffering that they may be better able to comfort others who are going through deep waters. Today I received a letter from a dear Christian friend, Commissioner John Needham of the Salvation Army. It brought to mind an incident that occurred in the central territory where he has been serving.

One day Commissioner Booth-Tucker was preaching in Chicago when a man stepped out of the crowd and said to him before the entire audience, “Booth-Tucker, you can talk about how Christ is dear to you; but if your wife were dead, as my wife is, and you had babies crying for their mother, you couldn’t say what you are saying.”

A few days later, Booth-Tucker lost his lovely wife in a tragic train accident. Her body was returned to Chicago for the funeral. As the service concluded, the husband took his place by the casket and said, “The other day when I was preaching in this city, a man said that if my wife were dead and my children were crying for their mother, I couldn’t say Christ was sufficient. If that man is here, I tell him that Christ is sufficient! My heart is crushed, bleeding, and broken. But there is a song in my heart, and Christ put it there. The Savior speaks comfort to me today.” The man was present, and on hearing that, he came down the aisle to surrender his life to the Lord.

Are you going through troubled waters today? Just as the Savior is now sustaining you, He will enable you to make known His grace and love to others who need comfort in their trials. - P R Van Gorder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


The Hand of Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7

“Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read.

What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly.

Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer.

Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4–7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures. By:  Randy Kilgore  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name.

Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort.

Wounds That Heal

[God] comforts us . . . that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. —2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Years ago I went through a time of painful emotional loss. A missionary friend who had experienced a similar situation comforted me and then offered these words: “In the future, Christ can use your emotional wounds to help heal others.” Later, on a trip to visit a missionary training school, I lodged in a place where I saw a portrait of Jesus’ nail-pierced hands. Below it, on a music stand, was the sheet music “He Touched Me.”

Rarely have I experienced a string of circumstances that spoke so vividly to my situation. In His gracious providence, God used them to comfort and direct me. It became clear that healing flows from the wounded hands of Jesus and that our wounds can help others.

In hindsight, I have learned how God’s comfort in suffering can build bridges to those in pain. Paul made this point clear: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Are you bringing your emotional pain to God? His spiritual healing can help you to provide comfort to others, just as through Christ my friend comforted me. By:  Dennis Fisher  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Oh, give Thine own sweet rest to me
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from Thee,
To everyone in needful hour. 
—Havergal

Christ was broken for us to comfort the broken among us.


Spurgeon - My Sermon Notes -  2 Cor. 1:3, 4

The apostle began with invoking the blessing of God. Verse 1.
He then went on to bless God.
He was much tried, but he was in a grateful and cheerful humour, for he wrote of most comfortable things.
Here we have—

 I.      THE COMFORTABLE OCCUPATION. Blessing God. “Blessed be God.”
If a man under affliction blesses the Lord—
            1.      It argues that his heart is not vanquished,
         So as to gratify Satan by murmuring, or
         So as to kill his own soul with despair.
         2.      It prophesies that God will send to him speedy deliverances to call forth new praises. It is natural to lend more to a man when the interest on what he has is duly paid.
         Never did man bless God but sooner or later God blessed him.
          3.      It profits the believer above measure.
         It takes the mind off from present trouble.
         It lifts the heart to heavenly thoughts and considerations.
         It gives a taste of heaven, for heaven largely consists in adoring and blessing God.
         It destroys distress by bringing God upon the scene.
            4.      It is the Lord’s due in whatsoever state we may be.

 II.      THE COMFORTABLE TITLES.
            1.      A name of affinity, “The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
            2.      A name of gratitude, “The Father of mercies.”
            3.      A name of hope, “The God of all comfort.”
            4.      A name of discrimination, “Who comforteth us.” The Lord has a special care for those who trust in him.

III.      THE COMFORTABLE FACT. “The God of all comfort comforteth us in all our tribulation.”
            1.      God personally condescends to comfort the saints.
            2.      God habitually does this. He has always been near to comfort us in all past time, never once leaving us alone.
            3.      God effectually does this. He has always been able to comfort us in all tribulation. No trial has baffled his skill.
            4.      God everlastingly does this, he will comfort us to the end, for he is “the God of all comfort,” and he cannot change.
Should we not be always happy since God always comforts us?

  IV.      THE COMFORTABLE DESIGN. “That we may be able to comfort.”
            1.      To make us comforters of others. The Lord aims at this: the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, trains us up to be comforters. There is great need for this holy service in this sin-smitten world.
            2.      To make us comforters on a large scale. “To comfort them which are in any trouble.” We are to be conversant with all kinds of grief, and ready to sympathize with all sufferers.
            3.      To make us experts in consolation—“able to comfort”; because of our own experience of divine comfort.
            4.      To make us willing and sympathetic, so that we may through personal experience instinctively care for the state of others.
Let us now unite in special thanksgiving to the God of all comfort.
Let us drink in comfort from the word of the Lord, and be ourselves happy in Christ Jesus.
Let us be on the watch to minister consolation to all tried ones.

COMFORTABLE WORDS

Music is sweetest near or over rivers, where the echo thereof is best rebounded by the water. Praise for pensiveness, thanks for tears, and blessing God over the floods of affliction, make the most melodious music in the ear of heaven.—Thomas Fuller.

      Many an Alleluia
         That rings through the Father’s home,
      Sobbed out its first rehearsal
         In the shades of a darkened room.

When we try to comfort one another, let it be God’s comfort that we give.—T. T. Lynch.

We have no more religion than what we have in times of trial. Andrew Fuller.

Away over in India a poor native woman—like Naomi—“was left of her two sons.” She did not, perhaps, know enough to think about God at all in her grief; but she would take no comfort. To everything that could be said she had one answer: “I had but two, and they are both gone.”
Day after day she pined and fretted, going listlessly about, her life “empty” of all but a blank despair. One morning, as she wandered here and there among the people of the mission, one of them again remonstrated; but the poor thing gave her old reply: “I had but two, and they are both gone.” “Look,” said the worker, turning, and pointing towards a group near by, where a white lady of the mission stood directing some dusky natives; “Do you see her?” The woman looked, and saw a sweet, pale face; patient, gentle, glad, as clear as a sky washed blue with storms, but wearing that unmistakable look which tells that storms have been. “Yes,” she said, “I see her.” “Well,” said the other, “she has lost her sons, too!”
The poor native mother gazed for a minute, spell-bound; then she sprang towards her. “Oh, lady”! she cried, “did you have two sons? and are they both gone?”
And now the white mother on her part turned and looked. “Yes,” she said, “I had two.”
“And are they both gone?”
“Both.”
“But they were all I had,” cried the other, “and they are both gone!”
“And mine are both gone,” said the white lady, clasping the hands of her poor sister in sorrow. “But Jesus took them; and they are with Jesus, and Jesus is with me. And by-and-by I shall have them again.”
From that hour the native woman sat at her white sister’s feet, followed her about, hung on her words, and from her would take comfort—“the comfort wherewith she herself was comforted of God.”—From “What Aileth Thee?”
He would put off a meditated journey, rather than leave a poor parishioner who required his services; and from his knowledge of human nature, he was able, and in a remarkable manner, to throw himself into the circumstances of those who needed his help. No sympathy was like his.—Chambers, on George Crabbe.


Comforted To Comfort

[God] comforts us . . . that we may be able to comfort [others] with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. — 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

While speaking to a group of Christian athletes, I asked them how they normally responded to hardships. Their responses included fear, anger, self-pity, aggression, despair, abusive behavior, apathy, and turning to God. I encouraged them to trust that God would comfort them and then use them to comfort others.

Just as I encouraged those athletes, Paul encouraged a group of believers in a town called Corinth. He reminded them that afflictions were inevitable for the follower of Jesus. Many were being persecuted, imprisoned, and oppressed—all because of their relationship with Jesus. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that in the midst of their trouble God was their source of help. He would come to their side and help them to have godly responses. Then Paul gave one of the reasons God allowed suffering and brought divine comfort—so that the Corinthians might have the empathy to enter into other people’s sorrow and comfort them (2 Cor. 1:4).

When we suffer, let us remember that God will bring comfort to us through His Word, by the Holy Spirit, and through fellow believers. God does not comfort us so that we’ll be comfortable; we are comforted by God so that we might be comforters. By:  Marvin Williams  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When you receive God’s comfort,
Be sure to pass it on,
Then give to God the glory
From whom the comfort’s drawn.
—Hess

When God permits trials, He also provides comfort.


Just What I Need

We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

As I stood in the back of the room at a senior citizens’ center in Palmer, Alaska, listening to my daughter’s high school choir sing “It Is Well with My Soul,” I wondered why she, the choir director, had chosen that song. It had been played at her sister Melissa’s funeral, and Lisa knew it was always tough for me to hear it without having an emotional response.

My musings were interrupted when a man sidled up next to me and said, “This is just what I need to hear.” I introduced myself and then asked why he needed this song. “I lost my son Cameron last week in a motorcycle accident,” he said.

Wow! I was so focused on myself that I never considered the needs of others, and God was busy using that song exactly where He wanted it to be used. I took my new friend Mac, who worked at the center, aside, and we talked about God’s care in this toughest time in his life.

All around us are people in need, and sometimes we have to set aside our own feelings and agendas to help them. One way we can do that is to remember how God has comforted us in our trials and troubles “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:4). How easy it is to be engrossed in our own concerns and forget that someone right next to us might need a prayer, a word of comfort, a hug, or gift of mercy in Jesus’ name. By:  Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help me to see where help is needed, and help me to provide that help. Thank You for the comfort You give; help me to share it.

Comfort received should be comfort shared.


A Life Remembered

That we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. —2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: Psalm 139:1-16

Daddy, help me.” Those were the last words Dianne and Gary Cronin heard their daughter say as she struggled to breathe. Kristin, 14 years old, died suddenly—just 2 days after saying she didn’t feel well. A strep infection attacked her body on Thursday. By Saturday, she was pleading with her daddy to help her.

Before Kristin died, I was scheduled to speak at her family’s church in Soldotna, Alaska. In God’s timing, I stood before the congregation the day after her funeral.

Kristin was one of those vivacious teens who loved Jesus and lived for Him—and whose sudden death leaves us with a million questions.

Because I went through a similar loss of my own teenage daughter a few years ago, I was able to offer some advice to this stunned and grieving church. First, I said, we must recognize God’s sovereignty. Psalm 139:16 reminds us that Kristin’s life was the exact length God intended. Second, I asked the church never to forget her family. Whether it’s 2 months or 5 years later, the family will never “get over” losing Kristin. They will never stop needing Christians who care and remember.

In times like this, don’t forget that God is in control and that He wants us to be a comfort to others. By:  Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we sustain a heartbreaking loss,
When grief overwhelms our soul,
The Savior who gave Himself on the cross
Reminds us that He’s in control.
—D. De Haan

In every desert of despair God has an oasis of comfort.


They Understood

[God] comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. —2 Corinthians 1:4

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

A few days before Christmas, we received a beautiful floral arrangement with a card that said, “Remembering your loss and wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love and prayers, Dave and Betty.”

Seven months earlier, my sister Marti and her husband Jim had been killed in a traffic accident. This was our first Christmas without them, so it was a great encouragement to have friends acknowledge our loss and express their love in a tangible way.

Dave and Betty understood our need to grieve and find God’s healing because two decades earlier their daughter had taken her own life. They had experienced the Lord’s comfort over the years, so they were able to come alongside us in a sensitive and caring way.

That loving act came as a striking example of Paul’s words: “The Father of mercies and God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

When God touches our broken hearts with His peace, we are uniquely equipped to share that with others. What a wonderful gift to give and receive at Christmas! By:  David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The comfort God has given us
He wants us now to share
With others who are suffering
And caught in life's despair.
—Sper

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.


DAN Munro was a plastic surgeon at the University of Toronto. At one time, he was one of the few doctors in the world who could take apart and then rebuild the skulls of infants who had Crouzon's disease.

The head of a child who suffers from this condition becomes so misshapen that the extreme pressure put on the brain can cause mental retardation. Dr. Munro devised an operation in which as much as 90 percent of the skull and facial bones are broken in order to reshape the skull.

The motivation behind Dr. Munro's pioneering efforts in this highly specialized field was his own child, who suffered brain damage as a result of Crouzon's disease. A child's suffering created in the father's heart a deep sympathy for others with the same condition.

Dr. Munro's experience calls attention to the principle of 2 Corinthians 1:4. God in His grace uses the pain and suffering we experience to make it possible for us to empathize with and help others.

When we receive consolation and spiritual understanding through our troubles, God wants us to use what we have learned to benefit others.—H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

2 Corinthians 1:5  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Amplified For just as Christ’s [own] sufferings fall to our lot [as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:5 ὅτι καθὼς περισσεύει τὰ παθήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς, οὕτως διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ περισσεύει καὶ ἡ παράκλησις ἡμῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:5 ὅτι καθὼς περισσεύει τὰ παθήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς, οὕτως διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ περισσεύει καὶ ἡ παράκλησις ἡμῶν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:5 because, as the sufferings of the Christ do abound to us, so through the Christ doth abound also our comfort;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:5 In proportion as the sufferings of Christ multiply in us, our encouragement through Christ comparably increases.

NEB As Christ’s cup of suffering overflows, and we suffer with him, so also through Christ our consolation overflows.

The Living Bible You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christthe more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.

  • For just as the sufferings of Christ : 2Co 4:10-11 2 Cor 11:23-30 Ac 9:4 1Co 4:10-13 Php 1:20 Php 3:10 Col 1:24 
  • so: Lu 2:25 Php 2:1 2Th 2:16-17 
  • 2 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Colossians 1:24+ Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Criswell - The redemptive suffering of Christ has no deficiency, but He does not exhaust all the suffering to be endured in the redemptive purpose of God. The sufferings of Paul do not add to the finished work of redemption but are incurred in making known the redeeming work of Christ to the Gentiles (ED: COMPARE CHRIST'S PROMISE REGARDING PAUL - Acts 9:16+). The afflictions of every believer supplement those of Christ and lead to maturity (Heb. 2:10+; 1 Pe 1:6-7+), patience (James 1:3+), and eschatological privilege (2 Ti 2:12+). (Believer's Study Bible)

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4+ ("AFFLICTION WAS ON PAUL'S APPOINTMENT CALENDAR!" AND IS ON OURS ALSO!) so that no one would be disturbed (SHAKEN) by these afflictions  (thlipsis); for you yourselves know that we have been destined (Greeks used keimai to describe a soldier being placed on duty) for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction (thlibo); and so it came to pass, as you know.

2 Thessalonians 1:4-7+ (AFFLICTION OF BELIEVERS WILL BE AVENGED AND WILL END) therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction  (thlipsis) those who afflict (thlibo) you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted (thlibo) and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

Romans 8:16-18+ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if (first class conditional - ASSUMED TRUE) children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if (first class conditional - ASSUMED TRUE) indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.18 For I consider that the sufferings (pathema) of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Philippians 1:27-30 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted (A GIFT OF GRACE) for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Philippians 3:10+ that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (pathema), being conformed to His death;

Note - Our capacity for strong feeling goes with being created in God's image so blessed is the person who desires the Lord (His will) which means "sharing the deep-feelings (páthēma) of Christ" (Phil 3:10).

2 Corinthians 9:8+  And God is able to make all grace abound (perisseuo) to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Romans 15:5+  Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement (paraklesis) grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus

2 Thessalonians 2:16+   Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort (paraklesis)  and good hope by grace,

Philippians 3:10+ (PAUL'S DESIRE WAS)  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

2 Timothy 1:8-12+  (DIVINE PROVISION OF POWER & PROMISE [v12] FOR SUFFERING) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for the Gospel (SO THIS IS NOT SUFFERING IN GENERAL WHICH IS COMMON TO ALL HUMANS) according to the power of God, 9 Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason (WHAT REASON?) I also (present tense - continually) suffer (pascho) these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know Whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

2 Timothy 3:12+  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Acts 9:31+ So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort (paraklesis) of the Holy Spirit (THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST DISPENSES THE COMFORT FROM CHRIST), it continued to increase.

1 Peter 1:11+ seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

OVERFLOWING SUFFERING
YIELDS OVERFLOWING COMFORT

Paul now describes divine mathematics as taught and demonstrated in the "classroom of sufferings." 

For just as the sufferings (pathema) of Christ (lit - "the Christ" ~ the Messiah) are ours in abundance (perisseuo in present tense - continually) - The best commentary on this Scripture is Scripture - specifically read Paul's "in abundance" sufferings in 2Co 11:23-28+! In the previous verse Paul said God comforts believers and here says Christ comforts believers. Luke describes the sufferings of (the) Christ. NEB - "As Christ’s cup of suffering overflows, and we suffer with Him." Paul saw all his sufferings as really the sufferings of Christ! Henry Alford said it this way = "we suffer, because we are His members: we are consoled, because He is our Head."

Luke describes the sufferings of Christ, sufferings that speak of His atonement, sufferings we can neither experience or add to...

Lk 24:26, 46+ “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”...46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,

Homer Kent adds that "By this expression (the sufferings of Christ are ours) he refers not to Christ’s agony on the cross as the substitute for our sin (those sufferings could not be shared with others), but to the various afflictions which Christ endured from a sinful world and which His followers also incur. Our Lord Himself predicted such suffering for those who would follow Him (Luke 14:27; John 15:18–20; 16:2–3, 33), and Paul accepts this fact as a part of his duty (Col. 1:24)

NET on the sufferings of Christ - suffering incurred by Paul as a consequence of his relationship to Christ. (ED: Jn 15:19, 20, 21, 16:33, 17:14, Mt 10:24-25, Lk 6:22-23+)

Charles Hodge makes the critical distinction we need to remember - “It is not of suffering as suffering that the apostle here speaks. There is no tendency in pain to produce holiness. It is only of Christian suffering and of that sufferings of Christians, that is, of suffering endured for Christ and in a Christian manner, that the apostle says it is connected with salvation, or that it tends to work out for those who suffer an eternal weight of glory.”

Brian Bell - The law of flow and overflow! When a cup is filled to overflowing, whatever spills over the edge is the same as what's being poured in. If suffering is poured into a Christian, the Christian will overflow. But what spills over is different from what is poured in. Suffering goes in but comfort comes out. When we experience tribulation for being a Christian, and suffering is poured into our lives, God will transform it by His supernatural grace and power. Another translation reads, "Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Co 1:5NET)

Ray Stedman - The strengthening is exactly equal to the pressure. That is a Christian lifestyle; that is what every Christian ought to be able to experience. "Well," you say, "I know all about that. I've tried that many times and it doesn't work for me. It works for you; it works for all the others I talk to, but it won't work for me." I am always amazed at how many Christian exceptions go to church! I remember one minister who had a secretary who was always cheerful no matter how much she was going through. He said to her one day, "I wish I had your faith and optimism." She replied, "Well, you would if you'd read your Bible right." "What do you mean?" he said. "I read it in Greek and in English." She said, "Well, you don't read it right, because Paul says, 'Glory in tribulation.' Now g-l-o-r-y doesn't spell growl," she said. "When you get tribulations you growl, you just complain all the time, but Scripture says glory in tribulations, welcome them as challenges, as opportunities, as occasions to discover the strengthening of God." (Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Mike Andrus - God’s comfort is equal to the trial. Verse 5 says, “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” There’s a one-on-one relationship between suffering and comfort. The comfort and strengthening He provides is exactly equal to the pressure we will experience, Paul seems to be saying here that God allows us to suffer because of our identification with Jesus Christ. If we are following Him and serving Him, we will encounter hardships, just as He did. Jesus himself told us, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20) 

Paul spoke about sufferings several times in this letter - see 2Co 4:10-11+ and 2 Cor 11:23-30+. Note suffering is not singular but plural, which reminds me of the words of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:22+ testifying that "Through MANY tribulations (plural - thlipsis) we must enter the kingdom of God.” (see also God's promises in 2Ti 3:12+, Php 1:29+, 1 Pe 4:12-16+). Sufferings of Christ are the suffering we experience for His sake and the Gospel's (cf Mk 8:35+). Remember that like bitter myrrh, Spirit enabled sufferings in the will of God becomes a "fragrant aroma" to be poured out as an offering to God (cf 2Ti 4:6NLT+ - Paul suffering in prison, cf Php 2:17+)! 

THOUGHT- Have you ever considered the fact that you are suffering for Christ's sake and for His Name (for taking a stand for Him), is a high and holy privilege? IT IS! It make not feel like it now, but 2 Cor 4:17+ helps give us a proper perspective on present pain for Christ's sake - our groaning is passing while our glory will be eternal! 

"Remember the tea-kettle;
when it's up to its neck in hot water, it sings"

Martin Luther, "One Christian who has been tried does more good than a hundred who have not been tried.  For in trials the blessing grows, so that with its counsels it can teach, comfort, and help many in physical and spiritual matters"

Charles R. Swindoll, "Life is literally filled with God-appointed storms.  These squalls surge across everyone's horizon.  We all need them."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "A Christian is someone who shares the sufferings of God in the world."

"Adversity introduces a person to himself!"

So also our comfort is abundant through Christ (lit - "the Christ" ~ the Messiah) - Notice the as...so comparison which compares two things of equal rank (see (.e.g. Lk 11:30; Lk 17:26; Jn 3:14; Jn 14:31; Col 3:13). In other words the second element (our comfort...abundant) in the comparison matches the first (sufferings...in abundance). And so here we see Paul's "divine mathematics." In proportion AS the sufferings of Christ multiply in us, SO our comfort through Christ comparably increases. Note that one's sufferings for Christ are intimately linked to Christ's succor of us. Comfort (paraklesis) is an "up close and personal" word meaning it is done when "close beside" and thus is a personal consolation from Christ. Comfort is used of the Lord directly motivating and inspiring believers to carry out His plan and/or delivering His message. Is abundant (present tense) conveys the picture of exceeding the requirements, of overflowing, of more than enough (cf Christ's provision of left over loaves in Mk 14:20+). The idea is to overflow like a river out of its banks! When Jesus supplies there is more than enough so that some is even left over! How quick we are to forget this basic principle! Through is the preposition dia which speaks of the instrumentality by which something is accomplished. Christ is like a perennial spring of comfort which flowing from Him and through Him and to our hearts. 

Guzik - Because Paul’s sufferings were the sufferings of Christ, Jesus was not distant from Paul in his trials. He was right there, identifying with the apostle and comforting him. (ED: And we too can expect He will be near to us when we are suffering for the sake of His Name!)  We can count on it: when sufferings abound, consolation also abounds. Jesus is there to bring comfort if we will receive it. Of course, this assumes we are not suffering as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. (1 Peter 4:15–16) God may allow situations in our life where our only consolation is found through Christ. Sometimes we think the only consolation is found in a change of circumstances, but God wants to console us right in the midst of our difficult circumstances, and to do it through Christ. This is the same idea Jesus expressed in John 16:33: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John Trapp said it this way "“As the hotter the day, the greater the dew at night; so the hotter the time of trouble, the greater the dews of refreshing from God.” (2 Corinthians 1)

Brian Bell on the comparison as the sufferings...so also our comfort -  The law of a blessed proportion! (sufferings/comforts) Spurgeon wrote that "The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales; in this side He puts His people's trials, and in that He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trial is full you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy." (See full devotional below

THOUGHT - If we don't "feel" comforted, what might be the source of the feeling? Cp 2Co 5:7+

Sufferings (3804) pathema [-ma suffix, emphasizes end-result  experiencing strong feeling] from pascho - capacity to feel strong emotion, like suffering) capacity and privilege to experience strong feeling; felt, deep emotion – like agony, passion (ardent desire), suffering, etc. Pathema describes what happens to a person and must be endured. Pathema is talking about the actual suffering itself (not suffering in general) - it refers to the pain that we are experiencing now - those things that we can "see, touch & feel" - those things that are causing us anguish and emotional trauma. The sufferings of this life are the lot of all believers but keep in mind that for believers suffering takes on a different meaning and purpose then suffering in general - as believers we suffer for our faith in Christ (and Christ in us Who the world hates) and we suffer that we might be conformed to His image. Furthermore, any suffering and shame we experience in this life for the sake of the Christ "are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" Sufferings are the universal mark of all true Christians. Realizing that other Christians suffer in other places of the world, encourages us to move on in the faith. This also unites us in the same experiences. We can handle anything that life may bring us if we know the principles of the Word. Pathema yields precious, eternal results when it works in conjunction with faith

Pathema - 16v - Rom. 7:5; Rom. 8:18; 2 Co. 1:5; 2 Co. 1:6; 2 Co. 1:7; Gal. 5:24; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 3:11; Heb. 2:9; Heb. 2:10; Heb. 10:32; 1 Pet. 1:11; 1 Pet. 4:13; 1 Pet. 5:1; 1 Pet. 5:9

Abound (surpass, overflow, lavish, excel, exceed) (4052perisseuo from perissos = abundant, exceeding some number, measure, rank or need, over and above) is a verb which in classical Greek with the -euō ending denotes the possession of quality and is used to indicate the abundant presence of something,. It means to cause to superabound, to be superfluous, to overflow, to be in affluence, to excel or to be in abundance with the implication of being considerably more than what would be expected. 

Perisseuo  is used 7x in 2 Corinthians - 2Co 1:5 2Co 3:9 = "ministry of righteousness abound in glory" 2Co 4:15 = "cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God" 2Co 8:2 = "their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality" 2Co 8:7 = "just as you abound in everything...see that you abound in this gracious work also" 2Co 9:8 = "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;" 2Co 9:12 = "is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God."

Comfort (3874paraklesis from parakaléo = beseech <> pará = side of + kaléo = call) refers to calling to one's side or one's aid for the purpose of providing solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation, encouragement. Comfort is from Latin com = with + fortis = strong, and means to invigorate, to enliven, to cheer, to strengthen one's mind when depressed, to give new vigor to one's spirits, to give strength or hope to another, to ease their grief or trouble. A Greek paraclete was like a lawyer today, so the sense of this word for believers is delivering "evidence that stands up in God's court!"  


Spurgeon's Morning and Evening  —2 Corinthians 1:5

There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales—in this side he puts his people’s trials, and in that he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to his crew. It is a blessed thing, that when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, because trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—he finds it full—he begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it. Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles, is this—then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: when the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But once take our gourds away, and we want our God; once cleanse the idols out of the house, then we are compelled to honour Jehovah. “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.


James Smith - SUFFERINGS AND CONSOLATION (2 Cor. 1:5).

The sufferings of Christ were peculiar. He suffered on account of His holiness. He was so like the Father—being “the image of the invisible God”—that all who loved not the Father hated Him. He suffered also because of His faithfulness. He spoke the truth, and because the world loved not the truth He was despised and rejected of men. If we, as Christians, have consecrated ourselves to God to do His will and to manifest His truth, as Christ did, we shall understand something of the sufferings of Christ. But it is here where we are misunderstood and hated by the world, that the “consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” To drink deeply of the heavenly comfort, we must enter fully into the spirit and sympathies of Christ.


Flow And Overflow

As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. —2 Corinthians 1:5

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

When a cup is filled to overflowing, whatever spills over the edge is the same as what’s being poured in. That is a natural process that I can understand.

But here is a supernatural process beyond my understanding: If suffering is poured into a Christian, the Christian will overflow. But what spills over is different from what is poured in. Suffering goes in but comfort comes out.

This law of flow and overflow is expressed in 2 Corinthians 1:5, “As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” The word abound means “to exist in abundance, to exceed a certain measure, to remain.” It is the same word used of the 12 baskets of food “left over” after Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people with 5 loaves and 2 fish (Jn. 6:12-13).

When we experience tribulation for being a Christian, and suffering is poured into our lives, God will transform it by His supernatural grace and power. Another translation reads, “Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Cor. 1:5).

When trouble flows in, look to God for His overflowing comfort—first to us, then through us to others. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we experience suffering,
God's comfort will abound;
For tribulations teach us where
True comfort can be found.
—Sper

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.

2 Corinthians 1:6  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;

AMP But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted (consoled and encouraged), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement), which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:6 εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως καὶ σωτηρίας· εἴτε παρακαλούμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως τῆς ἐνεργουμένης ἐν ὑπομονῇ τῶν αὐτῶν παθημάτων ὧν καὶ ἡμεῖς πάσχομεν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:6 εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως καὶ σωτηρίας· εἴτε παρακαλούμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως τῆς ἐνεργουμένης ἐν ὑπομονῇ τῶν αὐτῶν παθημάτων ὧν καὶ ἡμεῖς πάσχομεν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:6 and whether we be in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation, that is wrought in the enduring of the same sufferings that we also suffer; whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort and salvation;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:6 But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer:

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are hard-pressed by trouble, it is in behalf of your reassurance and salvation. If we are consoled, it is for your encouragement that produces endurance as you participate in the same sufferings we also experience.

NRS  2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 

NEB 2 Corinthians 1:6 If distress be our lot, it is the price we pay for your consolation, for your salvation; if our lot be consolation, it is to help us to bring you comfort, and strength to face with fortitude the same sufferings we now endure.

  • whether: 2Co 1:4 4:15-18 1Co 3:21-23 2Ti 2:10 
  • it is: Ac 21:5 
  • effective, 2Co 4:17 5:5 Ro 5:3-5 8:28 Php 1:19 Heb 12:10,11 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

But if - Contrast. IF is first class conditional (assumes following is true) meaning "since we are afflicted." The second "IF" (if we are comforted) is also first class conditional

We are (present tense - continually, passive voice) afflicted, it is for your comfort (paraklesisand salvation - The comfort and salvation of the Corinthians is the great end of Paul's affliction and troubles which continually weigh him down and cause distress. Alford in turn sees salvation as "the great end of comfort." One way Paul's afflictions would be for other's comfort is that they would see that God deliver him through the afflict and could be confident that God could also deliver them. Few believers have suffered the variegated afflictions that Paul suffered and yet God delivered him, so He could surely deliver saints from their lesser afflictions. 

Utley suggests that "Because comfort is linked to salvation, it seems that this follows the OT sense of the term sosō which means physical deliverance (cf. Matt. 9:22+ = "made you well [sozo root of soteria]"; Mark 6:56+ ["were being cured" [sozo]).

Guzik - How could God bring consolation and salvation to others through Paul’s suffering? As suffering brought Paul closer to God and made him rely more and more on God alone, Paul was a more effective minister. He was more usable in the hand of God to bring consolation and salvation to God’s people. Whenever we pray, “Lord, just use me. I just want to be used by You to touch the lives of others,” we do not realize that we pray a dangerous prayer. Through this good prayer, we invite God to bring suffering into our lives if that is the proper tool to make us more able to bring consolation and salvation to the lives of others.

or if we are comforted (parakaleo), it is for your comfort (paraklesis), which is effective (present tense - continually, passive voice) in the patient enduring of the same sufferings (see pathema) which we also suffer pascho) - NRSV = "it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering." Paul's point is whether afflicted or comforted, the result is always good for God’s children. 

The power of a believer's suffering to provide comfort to others is seen in the saints at Thessalonica, Paul writing "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation (thlipsis) with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that (INTRODUCES A PURPOSE - IN THIS CASE PURPOSE OF THEIR TRIBULATION) you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia (OF WHAT? THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE JOY IN THE MIDST OF TRIBULATION! THAT IS NOT NATURAL BUT SUPERNATURAL = HOLY SPIRIT!)." (1Th 1:6-7+)

Mike Andrus - Paul claims that whether he is experiencing suffering or comfort, the result that is produced in the lives of his friends in Corinth is patient endurance. He passes on to them the comfort he receives from God, and that enables them to endure their own suffering. 

Guzik - The consolation and salvation the Corinthian Christians received from Paul’s suffering were at work in the Corinthians, making them able to endure the same sufferings Paul and the other apostles endured.. Significantly, Paul writes of the same sufferings. It is unlikely the Corinthian Christians were suffering in exactly the same way Paul was. Probably, not one of them could match the list Paul made in 2 Corinthians 11:23–28. Yet, Paul can say they are the same sufferings because he recognizes that the exact circumstances of suffering are not as important as what God does and wants to do through the suffering. Christians should never get into a “competition” of comparing suffering. There is a sense in which we all share the same sufferings. Of course, sometimes it is useful to compare our sufferings to those of others—to see how light our burden really is! It is easy for us to think our small problems are really much larger than they are.....We see Paul living in the footsteps of Jesus, who was truly an others-centered person. Paul’s life is not focused on himself, but on the Lord and on those whom the Lord has given him to serve. Is Paul suffering? It is so that God can do something good in the Corinthian Christians. Is Paul comforted? It is so that God can bless the Corinthian Christians. Suffering or comforted, it wasn’t all about Paul; it was all about others.

Patient enduring (hupomone) describes steadfastness or endurance when circumstances are difficult, not when the sun is shining and everything is going great! Patient endurance however is not a passive acceptance but a strong fortitude (enabled by the Spirit) to face the opposition or difficulty. It is the opposite of despondency and is never used in reference to God, for God does not face difficult circumstances. It described that Spirit enabled mindset which bears things not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope. In other words, when a circumstance occurs that is difficult, painful, frustrating, disappointing, and, you enabled by the Spirit of grace, look by faith to Christ (Heb 12:2-3+) and to His power, sufficiency, fellowship, wisdom, love, etc, and do not give in to despondency, bitterness, resentment. blaming, or complaining, then you are patiently enduring the circumstance. Don't try to do this in reliance on your own natural (fleshly) power beloved. Trust God to provide supernatural power by His Spirit in you. He provides the power (His part), but you must then endure (your part) (See Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent/100% Responsible). In 1 Peter 4:10+ we see He gives manifold grace and in 1 Peter 1:6+ we see manifold trials. So the God of all comfort gives the right amount (sufficient) grace for every affliction. Trust Him in the trial and you will grow in your trust of His power and provision (cf Jas 1:12+). 

Patient enduring "isn’t the idea of passive, bleak acceptance, but of the kind of spirit that can triumph over pain and suffering to achieve the goal. It is the spirit of the marathon runner, not of the victim in the dentist’s chair." (Guzik)

Calvin - We are not brought to real submission until we have been laid low by the crushing hand of God.

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”
--- John Henry Jowett

Brian Bell on if we are comforted, it is for your comfort -  I’m listening to the audiobook Kel gave me for Father’s day by Philip Yancey called Prayer. 1. Slide#11 He was interviewing a lady who goes ever day into the most violent prison in South Africa. Her efforts there have shown remarkable results in calming the violence. Twice prompting the BBC to do a documentary on her. In trying to explain the results Joanna said to him, “well of course Philip, God was already present in the prison, I just had to make Him visible!” a) Slide#12 When you come alongside to share comfort w/someone, remember this 1 thing. God is already present in that situation, & you just had to make Him visible! M. When it comes to suffering, you can choose to have “Me-centered suffering” or “Others-centered suffering”! “God’s comfort is not given; it is loaned, & you are expected to pass it on to others.” (quoting Wiersbe) God seeks chain reaction comfort…pass it on! 2. Here is a ministry all Christians can(& should) possess! [the giving comfort ministry!] a) Yet, it is a very costly ministry! O. Remember, comfort is given by someone called alongside to help. Little children have to deal with monsters or bad guys “under the bed.” a) A child’s fears are not to be laughed at but to be worked through. (1) I used to check for sure! (under beds, in closets, make my rounds b4 bed) b) And so, you alleviate those fears by “looking under the bed” for them! When you suffer, avoid self-pity, because self-pity will turn you into a reservoir instead of a channel. 1. If you don’t share the comfort God gave you, your experience in the fire will be wasted. - Don’t waste your sufferings! Have you gone through any sufferings? How have you used them? 4. When you know someone around you is suffering, how do you respond? Do you agonize with them, or does it give you 5 minutes of concern? :( If we want to bring comfort to others, we must have an intimate relationship with the Lord and experience His comfort.

“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God In order to solve them.”
--- P. T. Forsyth

Afflicted (distressed, suffer affliction) (2346thlibo rom tribos = wear away, rub, break in pieces; NIDNTT says thlibo is from the root thlao = squash, crush) (See study of related word thlipsis) literally means to press, squeeze, crush, squash, hem in and then to be narrow. Thlibo used literally pictures putting pressure upon or pressing in upon or pressing hard upon a person as when when Jesus was forced to get in the boat to keep from crowding Him (Mark 3:9). While some uses of thlibo refers to physical affliction, other uses are figurative and refer to emotional or spiritual affliction (e.g., "conflicts without, fears within" in 2Cor 7:5) And so in Paul’s letters thlibo usually refers to the hardships he and his fellow workers experienced during their missionary journeys (2Cor 1:6; 4:8; 7:5; 1Th 3:4; 2Th 1:1-7).

Salvation (4991)(soteria) from soter = Savior in turn from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. Salvation (soteria) is mentioned twom more times in 2 Cor 6:2 and 2 Cor 7:10. 

Effective (1754energeo from en = in + érgon = work. English = energetic) means to work effectively to cause something to happen. To energize, to operate, to work effectually in. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power. To work energetically, effectively and/or efficiently. To put forth energy. To be at work. To produce results.

Patient enduring (5281hupomone from hupo = under + meno = stay, remain, abide) literally means abiding under and has to do with CIRCUMSTANCES more than with people (but of course people are often integrally involved with our circumstances). The root idea of hupomone is to remain under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something which demands the submission of one's will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. The picture is that of steadfastness, constancy and endurance. It has in it a forward look, the ability to focus on what is beyond the current pressures (eg Jesus "Who for the joy set before Him endured [verb form hupomeno] the Cross despising the shame" see notes on Hebrews 12:2). And so hupomone does not describe a grim resignation or a passive "grin and bear" attitude but a triumphant facing of difficult circumstances knowing that even out of evil God guarantees good. It is courageous gallantry which accepts suffering and hardship and turns them into grace and glory. For believers, it is a steadfastness, especially as God enables us to "remain under" (or endure) whatever challenges, trials, tests, afflictions, etc, He providentially allows in our life. Perseverance is that spiritual staying power that will die before it gives in. It is the virtue which can endure, not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope.


Brian Bell on PASSING (COMFORT) IT ON Enduring = not bleak acceptance of trouble, but triumph. Don’t just except suffering, but triumph over it.  Often we start well in our sufferings, often holding on to our “pat” scriptures (i.e. not fresh). Yet after “a whole day” we fizzle fast!  The cheetah survives by running down its prey. The big cat can sprint 70mph. But the cheetah cannot sustain that pace for long. Within its long, sleek body is a disproportionately small heart, which causes the cheetah to tire quickly. Unless the cheetah catches its prey in the first flurry, it must abandon the chase. Sometimes Christians seem to have the cheetah's approach to suffering. We lack the heart for sustained effort, we fizzle before we finish. We vow to start faster and run harder, when what we need may be not more speed but more staying power - stamina that comes only from a bigger heart. Motion and busyness, no matter how great, yield nothing unless we allow God to give us the heart. So, How do I share this comfort? Well, How do you seek to be comforted & supported by others? 

What Do I Do? What Do I Say?

1. Do be a good listener. Answer briefly any questions.

2. Do show extreme sensitivity.

3. Do remember words aren’t always necessary (in giving comfort).

4. Do acknowledge the grieving person’s pain.

5. Do allow them to express whatever emotion they are comfortable with.

6. Do give a squeeze of the hand, or hand on the shoulder (depending on its appropriateness, or familiarity with the individual).

7. Do remember the others who are grieving also.

8. Do help them to put off any decisions that don’t have to be made right away (often they start worrying about the future, this obviously isn’t the right time to make any “life” decisions at such an emotional time).

9. Do give brief & simple explanations w/children. Use concrete & familiar examples.

10. Do give assurances, and extend hope (“You will be ok”, “You will get through this.”

What I Shouldn’t Do. What I Shouldn’t Say?

1. Don’t avoid the grieving person.

2. Don’t wait for them to reach out to you, reach out to them.

3. Don’t be critical of the bereaved person’s actions.

4. Don’t ask countless loaded questions.

5. Don’t encourage flights of fantasy, help them in the process of accepting the realities of death.

6. Don’t say, “I know what you are going through.” Everyone’s grief is unique.

7. Don’t try to answer when they ask “Why?”

8. Don’t try to have “all” the answers.

9. Don’t give platitudes, cliches or trite expressions, such as, “At least he didn’t suffer”, “Time heals all wounds”, “The Lord knows best”, God doesn’t make mistakes.” (These are true, but they don’t necessarily bring comfort at this time)

10. Don’t minimize the loss of a baby through a miscarriage, or still-birth.

11. Don’t tell them about similar incidents or accidents!!!

  • READ Job 2:11-13 then Job 16:1-5.

Streams in the Desert -    (2 Cor. 1:6, 7.)

ARE there not some in your circle to whom you naturally betake yourself in times of trial and sorrow? They always seem to speak the right word, to give the very counsel you are longing for; you do not realize, how ever the cost which they had to pay ere they became so skillful in binding up the gaping wounds and drying tears. But if you were to investigate their past history you would find that they have suffered more than most. They have watched the slow untwisting of some silver cord on which the lamp of life hung. They have seen the golden bowl of joy dashed to their feet, and its contents spilt. They have stood by ebbing tides, and drooping gourds, and noon sunsets; but all this has been necessary to make them the nurses, the physicians, the priests of men. The boxes that come from foreign climes are clumsy enough; but they contain spices which scent the air with the fragrance of the Orient. So suffering is rough and hard to bear; but it hides beneath it discipline, education, possibilities, which not only leave us nobler, but perfect us to help others. Do not fret, or set your teeth, or wait doggedly for the suffering to pass; but get out of it all you can, both for yourself and for your service to your generation, according to the will of God.—Selected.

    Once I heard a song of sweetness,
      As it cleft the morning air,
    Sounding in its blest completeness,
      Like a tender, pleading prayer;
    And I sought to find the singer,
      Whence the wondrous song was borne;
    And I found a bird, sore wounded,
      Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

    I have seen a soul in sadness,
      While its wings with pain were furl’d,
    Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
      That should bless a weeping world;
    And I knew that life of sweetness,
      Was of pain and sorrow borne,
    And a stricken soul was singing,
      With its heart against a thorn.

    Ye are told of One who loved you,
      Of a Saviour crucified,
    Ye are told of nails that pinioned,
      And a spear that pierced His side;
    Ye are told of cruel scourging,
      Of a Saviour bearing scorn,
    And He died for your salvation,
      With His brow against a thorn.

    Ye “are not above the Master.”
      Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
    And His grace will be sufficient,
      When your heart is pierced with pain.
    Will you live to bless His loved ones,
      Tho’ your life be bruised and torn,
    Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
      With its heart against a thorn?
—Selected.

2 Corinthians 1:7  and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:7 καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν βεβαία ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν εἰδότες ὅτι ὡς κοινωνοί ἐστε τῶν παθημάτων, οὕτως καὶ τῆς παρακλήσεως.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:7 καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν βεβαία ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν εἰδότες ὅτι ὡς κοινωνοί ἐστε τῶν παθημάτων, οὕτως καὶ τῆς παρακλήσεως.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:7 and our hope is stedfast for you, knowing that even as ye are partakers of the sufferings -- so also of the comfort.

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:7 and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:7 Thus our hope concerning you is indefatigable, knowing that as you are partners with me in the sufferings, there is commensurate encouragement for you.

NEB 2 Corinthians 1:7  And our hope for you is firmly grounded;for we know that if you have part in the suffering, you have part also in the divine consolation.

  • our: 2Co 1:14 2Cor 7:9 2Cor 12:20 Php 1:6,7 1Th 1:3,4 
  • as : Mt 5:11-12 Lu 22:28-30 Ro 8:17-18 1Co 10:13 2Th 1:4-7 2Ti 2:12 Jas 1:2-4,12 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Peter 5:9+ But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Romans 8:17-18+ and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2 Timothy 2:12+  If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 

And our hope (our joyful and confident expectation of good for you) for you is firmly grounded (unwavering, assured, unshaken), knowing that as you are sharers (fellowship) of our sufferings pathema), so also you are sharers of our comfort - What is Paul's hope (confidence) in this context? That just as he had suffered and been delivered, so too they would be delivered. Sharers of sufferings of Christ are a mark of a true believer which is why Paul's hope (hope sure, not hope so) in the Corinthian saints is unshakable and unwavering. Paul knew that as they shared Christ's sufferings, they also share the Father's comfort. 

Paul Apple labels this passage "Confidence in the Certainty of Sufferings and the Sufficiency of God’s Comfort." 

Gromacki – Paul believed that what God had done for him He would do for others. He had a steadfast “hope,” a firm conviction that the Corinthians would have victory through their sufferings. He knew that they would be “partakers” of suffering in the will of God along with Christ and Paul. With equal confidence, he knew that they would also share in the “consolation.” Biblical consolation involves more than just feeling sorry for someone who is in difficulty; it connotes active encouragement and help to see the person through his trouble. God never promised to keep us out of the furnace of trials. Rather, He has pledged to be with us in the fire and lead us out of the oppressive flames....No believer is alone in hard times; God is there beside him. (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith)

Mike Andrus - Paul seems quite optimistic about the ultimate outcome of the faith of the Corinthian believers. Right now they are showing a lot of immaturity and making life difficult for him, but his hope for them is firm.


Hope (1680elpis is an absolute certainty of future good. Hope is the desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait. Hope is the opposite of despair. And the opposite of a "living hope" is a "dead hope." Elpis in 2 Cor - 2 Cor 1:7, 2 Cor 3:12, 2 Cor 10:15

Related Resources:

Firmly grounded (949) (bebaios from baino = to walk where it is solid) describes that which is solid, fixed, stable, sure (sure enough to walk on), attested to, frim unshakable, absolutely dependable, giving guaranteed support (security, surety)..It is something which is unwavering and persistent and thus can be relied on or depended on. It is worthy of confidence because on "solid footing."  It pertains to that which is known with certainty. It refers to something that has validity over a period of time (e.g., the promise made to Abraham remained valid to NT believers in Ro 4:16+). Figuratively bebaios refers to that upon which one may build, rely or trust. Bebaios is something that can be relied on not to cause disappointment for it is reliable and unshifting. Bebaios is used in ancient legal texts for "what is valid (assured)," i.e. anchored to a solid foundation. 

Sharer (2844koinonos from koinos = common, shared by all) is one who participates with another in an enterprise or matter of joint concern. It is one who fellowships and shares something in common with another. He or she takes part in something with someone else. Koinonos is a participant who mutually belongs and shares fellowship; a "joint-participant." While koinonia (feminine noun) stresses the relational aspect of the fellowship, koinōnós (masculine noun) focuses more on the participant himself. Koinonos - 10v - Matt. 23:30; Lk. 5:10; 1 Co. 10:18; 1 Co. 10:20; 2 Co. 1:7; 2 Co. 8:23 ("Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you"); Phlm. 1:17; Heb. 10:33; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 Pet. 1:4 (partakers of the divine nature)


Pass It On

I’ve noticed through the years that those who have suffered are quick to comfort other sufferers. When a young couple suffers the loss of a child, another couple who also lost a child in the past asks if they can help. If a couple loses their main income, almost immediately another couple steps forward to offer their aid, remembering their own journey through foreclosure years earlier. Again and again we see the body of Christ supporting and encouraging one another. These Christians have learned that they can use the trials they’ve been through to reach out to others going through similar difficulties.

Have you been sick? Lost a loved one? Been imprisoned? Unfairly treated? In all of our trials, God promises to bring something good out of even our darkest moments (James 1:2-4). One key way this takes place is when we share the comfort He offered us with those who are now going through trials.

As Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, we are comforted by a Savior who knows our suffering, and we honor Him when we pass His comfort on to still others.

May we never leave someone to suffer alone. If we know the trail another is on, God will help us to guide that person to His presence—the surest comfort of all.— by Randy Kilgore

Dear Lord, help us to step forward when others around us are suffering trials similar to what we’ve been through. Enable us to be a comfort, as You have been to us in the past.


David Jeremiah - WHAT, LORD? 2 CORINTHIANS 1:7

During stormy weather, when the strong winds blow, the roots of plants actually dig down deeper. Then when the calm days return, the new roots provide a deeper foundation for new growth. That is the way it should be with us. What we receive from disruptive moments depends upon how we respond.

The right question is never, “Why, Lord?” It is always, “What, Lord? What do You want to teach me through this disruptive moment? Take me around and through the bend in the road as my Teacher. Don’t let me miss anything that You want me to see and learn.”

Dear friend, if you face a disruptive moment with any other perspective than that, it will just be a bump in the road that bounces you all over the highway. When it is over you will just be sore, and you won’t be any better. Purpose now, before you get to the bends in the road, that you will respond in a way that produces more of God’s will in your life.  (Sanctuary)


Sharing a Cup of Comfort

Our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:7

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–11

A friend mailed me some of her homemade pottery. Upon opening the box, I discovered the precious items had been damaged during their journey. One of the cups had shattered into a few large pieces, a jumble of shards, and clumps of clay dust. After my husband glued the broken mess back together, I displayed the beautifully blemished cup on a shelf.

Like that pieced-together pottery, I have scars that prove I can still stand strong after the difficult times God’s brought me through. That cup of comfort reminds me that sharing how the Lord has worked in and through my life can help others during their times of suffering.

The apostle Paul praises God because He is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). The Lord uses our trials and sufferings to make us more like Him. His comfort in our troubles equips us to encourage others as we share what He did for us during our time of need (v. 4).

As we reflect on Christ’s suffering, we can be inspired to persevere in the midst of our own pain, trusting that God uses our experiences to strengthen us and others toward patient endurance (vv. 5–7). Like Paul, we can be comforted in knowing that the Lord redeems our trials for His glory. We can share His cups of comfort and bring reassuring hope to the hurting. By:  Xochitl Dixon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, thank You for using us to provide comfort, encouragement, and hope to others who are suffering. We praise You for all You’ve done, are doing, and will continue to do to comfort us through our own afflictions.

God comforts others as we share how He comforted us.


While riding on a train through a small town in Georgia, my friend E. Schuyler English observed a large sign painted on the side of a fix-it shop. It read, "We can mend everything but a broken heart." That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is also clever advertising.

That sign raises a vital question—is there anything that can mend a broken heart? When sadness darkens each day and grief overwhelms us, where do we turn for comfort and help? Can the human wisdom of friends, family, or business associates—as well-meaning as they may be—offer effective healing prescriptions? We soon discover that they don't have the answer.

There is One, however, who does mend broken hearts—"the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." If you struggle today beneath a crushing weight of sorrow, pour out your sorrows to the "God of all comfort." He alone can give relief to your aching soul. He alone can mend your broken heart.—P R. Van Gorder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

WHEN GOD ALLOWS EXTRAORDINARY TRIALS, HE GIVES EXTRAORDINARY COMFORT.

2 Corinthians 1:8  For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

NET  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:8 Οὐ γὰρ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν τῆς γενομένης ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἐβαρήθημεν ὥστε ἐξαπορηθῆναι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ ζῆν·

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:8 Οὐ γὰρ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν τῆς γενομένης ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἐβαρήθημεν ὥστε ἐξαπορηθῆναι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ ζῆν·

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of our tribulation that happened to us in Asia, that we were exceedingly burdened above our power, so that we despaired even of life;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we don't want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in Asia: we were completely overwhelmed-- beyond our strength-- so that we even despaired of life.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:8 For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about our ordeal in Roman Asia. To the greatest extreme, even beyond our strength, we were put under immense pressure. It was such that we had serious doubts we would live through it.

  • of our: 2Co 4:7-12 Ac 19:23-35 1Co 15:32 16:9 
  • so that we despaired: 1Co 4:8 1Sa 20:3 27:1 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia - While the Corinthians may have known Paul was persecuted, here he wants them to know how intense the affliction had been. Paul addresses the saints at Corinth as brethren (adelphos literally those "from the same womb" figuratively the same new birth). We do not know exactly which experience this was (see Guzik below). He may have been referring to the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-35+), which he did not attend when encouraged by other saints and after which he departed for Macedonia (Acts 20:1+). This was after he had written the epistle of First Corinthians and before he wrote Second Corinthians from Macedonia (presumably from Philippi). 

Guzik suggests "There are at least five suggestions for this trouble: (1) Fighting with “wild beasts” in Ephesus (1 Cor 15:32+), (2) Suffering 39 stripes after being brought before a Jewish court (2 Cor 11:24) (3) The riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:23–41+), (4) A particular persecution shortly before Paul left for Troas (Acts 20:19 and 1 Cor 16:9), (5) A recurring physical malady (2 Corinthians 1)

Hughes has an insightful comment on these opening verses - The import of this section, verses 3 to 11, seems to have been missed by many commentators. It is no mere amiable preamble intended only to cushion the sterner matters which the Apostle is shortly to broach. On the contrary, it is very much of a piece with the major theme of the opening portion of this epistle, namely, Paul’s vindication of his own integrity. Having raised their hopes of a visit from himself (see 1 Cor. 16:5ff.), he had failed to come to them, with the result that some in Corinth had permitted themselves to listen to insinuations that he had treated them with fickleness (v. 17). A little later on (v. 23) he will tell them that the main reason why he forbore to come was that he might spare them. But there was another good reason, stated indirectly and with remarkable tenderness in this present passage: he had suffered such severe affliction in Asia that he had even despaired of life. An incapacitating experience of this kind explained much, and called for sympathy rather than censure. Nor was there cause for anyone at Corinth to whisper that Paul’s affliction was a judgment of God upon him because he had proved untrustworthy; for God, so far from frowning on him, had graciously delivered him and granted him unfailing comfort and consolation through it all.  (2 Corinthians)

Affliction (2347) thlipsis from thlibo = to crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, squeeze in turn derived from thláo = to break) originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. It was squeezing grapes to make wine or of crushing wheat to make flour. Thlipsis is a strong term which does not refer to minor inconveniences, but to real hardships. Medically thlipsis was used of the pulse (pressure). It is a pressing together as of grapes. It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. When, according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis. The iron cage was stenochoria (see below). Thlipsis thus refers not to mild discomfort but to great difficulty.

Morris rightly notes that "No one likes troubles of this kind, but they may be seen as difficulties to be overcome, as ways of opening up new possibilities. One who sees them in this light glories in them (Ibid)

Martin Luther wrote that "Whatever virtues tribulation finds us in, it develops more fully. If anyone is carnal, weak, blind, wicked, irascible, haughty, and so forth, tribulation will make him more carnal, weak, blind, wicked and irritable. On the other hand, if one is spiritual, strong, wise, pious, gentle and humble, he will become more spiritual, powerful, wise, pious, gentle and humble."

Thlipsis is a key word in 2 Cor (9/45 NT uses are in this letter) - 2 Co. 1:4; 2 Co. 1:8; 2 Co. 2:4 ("out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears"); 2 Co. 4:17 ("momentary, light affliction"); 2 Co. 6:4; 2 Co. 7:4 ("I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction"); 2 Co. 8:2 ("in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy"); 2 Co. 8:13

Charles Spurgeon - As sure as God puts His children in the furnace of affliction, He will be with them in it.... Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them....The furnace of affliction is a good place for you, Christian; it benefits you; it helps you to become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for heaven.....Those who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls....The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. 

Andrew Murray - A believer may pass through much affliction, and yet secure very little blessing from it all. Abiding in Christ is the secret of securing all that the Father meant the chastisement to bring us.

Alexander Maclaren - Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us.

  Earth has no sorrow that heaven does not feel.  

That we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life (zao in present tense - continue living) - Amp = "we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life [itself]." NLT paraphrases it "We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it." The idea of despaired even of life focuses on the end-impact (emotionally) that can result from having no solution, no way out so that  one is totally at a loss because they feel that they have "no exit strategy". In short Paul apparently expected he would be martyred for the faith. 

THOUGHT - Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the challenges of living for Christ? (Most of us have at one time or another) You are in good company with the apostle Paul. By God's grace and Spirit, may this "classroom test" teach you the powerful principle of 2 Cor 1:9! 

Stedman - Paul tells us that he was "utterly, unbearably crushed." Now that is the lowest ebb the human spirit can come to, the uttermost sense of despair.

Think less of the power of things over you and more of the power of Christ in you.

Spurgeon - I call to your notice the strong expressions which he uses in the eighth verse: “We were pressed” he says. The word is such as you would use if you were speaking of a cart loaded with sheaves, till it could not bear up under the weight: it is over-loaded, and threatens to break down and fall by the way. Or the word might be used if you spoke of a man who was weighted with too great a burden, under which he was ready to fall: or perhaps, better still, if you were speaking of a ship which had taken too much cargo, and sank nearly to the water’s edge, looking as if it must sink altogether through excessive pressure. Paul says that this was his condition of mind when he was in Asia,—“We were pressed.” To strengthen the language he adds, “out of measure.” He was pressed out of measure; he could convey no idea of the degree of pressure put upon him—it seemed to be beyond the measure of his strength. All trials, we are taught in the Scripture, are sent to us in measure, and so were Paul’s, but for the time being he himself could see no limit to them, and he seemed to be quite crushed. Paul could not tell how much he was tried; he could not calculate the pressure; it was more severe than he could estimate. So great, so heavy was the burden upon his mind, that he gave up calculating its weight. Then he adds another word, “above strength,” because a man may be pressed out of measure, and yet he may have such remarkable strength that he may bear up under all. The posts, and bars, and gates of Gaza must have pressed Samson, and they must have pressed him out of measure, but still not beyond his strength, because gigantic force was given to those mighty limbs of his, so that he carried readily what would have crushed another man. Paul says that the pressure put upon him was beyond his strength, he was quite unable to cope with it, and his spirits so failed him that he adds, “insomuch that we despaired even of life.” He gave himself up for a dead man, for no way of escape was visible to him. Into whatsoever town he entered he was followed by the Jews; the fickle mob soon turned against him; even the converts were not always faithful. He had been stoned and beaten with rods, and men had sworn to take his life. Perils of robbers beset him in lonely places, while tumult and assault befell him in the cities. Meanwhile, the thorn in his flesh worried him, afflictions and cares of all kinds weighed upon him, and altogether his mind was bowed down under the pressure which had come upon him. What a deep bass there is in this note, “We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life”! May we be spared so grievous a condition, or if that cannot be, may we be profited by it. (Excerpt from 2 Corinthians 1:9 Sentence of Death, the Death of Self-Trust)

Gromacki on burdened excessively, beyond our strength - Like a beast of burden he was crushed beneath a load too heavy to bear. Physically and psychologically, he could not humanly cope with the situation.  (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith)

THOUGHT - You have heard the saying "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." When we are the end of our rope that we learn we never have a solution in ourselves! It is then that we come to the realization that Christ is all we need. The Lord is never without a solution because He is able to orchestrate the circumstances of life to work in time for our eternal good (cf Ro 8:28).

Despaired (1820)(exaporeo from ek = from, out + aporeo = to be at a loss) means to be without a way out and thus to be in utter despair. To be in great difficulty, to despair of living (2 Cor 1:8), to be in utmost despair, to be greatly perplexed, to be at a loss psychologically, to be in great difficulty, doubt.  embarrassment. 

Brian Bell has a poem related to verse 8

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely, it seems beyond strength;
Pressed in the body, and pressed in the soul;
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and pressure from friends,
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod;
Pressed into living a life in the Lord;
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.

Are you under pressure? Sure. We all are. But we can be victorious if we let that pressure teach us to live in the power of the Spirit of Christ!

Related Resources:


Jon Courson on 2Co 1:8-9 - Demetrius the silversmith was angry with Paul. So many people were getting saved in Ephesus that his business was being affected by loss of revenue from the sale of idols. Following his instigation of a riot, soon the entire city was in an uproar (Acts 19). Yet the dark days at Ephesus had a purpose indeed: they caused Paul to rely solely on God. 

Like Paul, the tendency of most of us is to try to solve our problems with our own strength. Therefore, as He did with Paul, the Lord brings us to the end of ourselves from time to time—to the point where we feel pressed beyond measure, despairing even of life—in order that we will have no other choice but to call upon Him and find in Him greater strength than we could ever find in our own ability.

He was a go-getter from the very beginning, as evidenced by his grabbing his older twin brother’s heel in a failed attempt to be first-born. Throughout his life, Heel-Snatcher, or Jacob, was one who drew from his own cunning and acumen to get ahead, until the day he heard that his brother, from whom he had cheated his birthright and blessing, was headed his way, accompanied by 400 men. 

So desperate was Jacob that when the angel appeared to him, he said, ‘I have no other heel to snatch; I’m at the end of my resources; I won’t let You go until You bless me.’ So they wrestled all night. And although Jacob ended up with a blessing when his name was changed from Jacob to Israel, from ‘Heel-Snatcher’ to ‘Governed By God,’ he also limped away with a dislocated hip, as though God said, ‘With every step you take, you will be reminded that you—who once walked so proudly, who once stood so confidently—came to the end of yourself. And it was the best thing that ever happened to you, for now, in your brokenness and weakness, you’ll be stronger and more useful than you could have ever been in your own energy and cleverness’ (see Genesis 32:24–32).

It’s a great day when a man finally comes to the end of himself and realizes, ‘I don’t need to go to another seminar or call another counselor; I don’t need to enroll in another program or come up with another creative idea. All I need is You, Lord. I’m going to wrestle with You. I’m going to cling to You. I’m going to depend on You because I need to be governed by You.’ (A Day's Journey Paperback)


Streams in the Desert - 

“Pressed out of measure.” (2 Cor. 1:8.)
“That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9.)

GOD allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.

God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.

Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.—A. B. Simpson.

Streams in the Desert -  “I was crushed … so much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me rely not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:8, 9)

  “Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
  Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
  Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
  Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
  Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
  Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.

  “Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
  Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
  Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
  Pressed into faith for impossible things.
  Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
  Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.”

THE pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.
There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Death worketh in you.”
Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine, and propels that great vessel across the sea in the face of the winds and waves. —A. B. Simpson.

    “Out of the presses of pain,
      Cometh the soul’s best wine;
    And the eyes that have shed no rain,
      Can shed but little shine.”


To Be Or Not To Be

We were burdened beyond measure, . . . so that we despaired even of life. —2 Corinthians 1:8

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

When I was a child, kids on the playground jokingly quoted Shakespeare’s famous line: “To be or not to be—that is the question!” But we really didn’t understand what it meant. Later I learned that Shakespeare’s character Hamlet, who speaks these lines, is a melancholy prince who learns that his uncle has killed his father and married his mother. The horror of this realization is so disturbing that he contemplates suicide. The question for him was: “to be” (to go on living) or “not to be” (to take his own life).

At times, life’s pain can become so overwhelming that we are tempted to despair. The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth that his persecution in Asia was so intense he “despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). Yet by shifting his focus to his life-sustaining God, he became resilient instead of overwhelmed, and learned “that we should not trust in ourselves but in God” (v.9).

Trials can make life seem not worth living. Focusing on ourselves can lead to despair. But putting our trust in God gives us an entirely different perspective. As long as we live in this world, we can be certain that our all-sufficient God will sustain us. And as His followers, we will always have a divine purpose “to be.” By:  Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, give us grace to trust
You when Life’s burdens seem too much to bear;
Dispel the darkness with new hope
And help us rise above despair.
—Sper

Trials make us think; thinking makes us wise; wisdom makes life profitable.

2 Corinthians 1:9  indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

NET  2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:9 ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς·

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:9 ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς·

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:9 but we ourselves in ourselves the sentence of the death have had, that we may not be trusting on ourselves, but on God, who is raising the dead,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:9 yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead:

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:9 But as far as we ourselves were concerned, we had received the verdict of death, lest we should be relying on ourselves rather than on the God who raises the dead.

  • that: 2Co 3:5 4:7 12:7-10 Job 40:14 Ps 22:29 44:5-7 Pr 28:26 Jer 9:23,24 Jer 17:5-7 Eze 33:13 Lu 18:9 
  • in God: 2Co 4:13,14 Eze 37:1-14 Ro 4:17-25 Heb 11:19 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

"DEATH SENTENCE" STIMULATES
DIVINE RELIANCE AND ASSURANCE

Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves - Continues his statement "we despaired even of life" The word sentence ("verdict" or "decision") is apokrima used only here in the Bible and literally was a legal technical term referring to an official decision or sentence from a court. It is the official resolution that decides a particular matter. Here is is used figuratively to describe Paul's feeling that death was sure to take place. From a human point of view Paul is like a murderer who had just received a death sentence. He is condemned to death, not by death. Of course (as best we can discern from Scripture) there was no actual official verdict rendered, but intensity of this affliction functioned as if it were like an official verdict that had been rendered against him! This is an "intense" description and he wanted the saints at Corinth to understand what he had gone through. Remember in 2 Cor 1:4 Paul explained one purpose of his suffering = "that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." When the Corinthians would  understand that his affliction was like a death sentence, it would surely stir their hearts as to how much he loved them. A second purpose of the affliction is found in the present passage - to jettison self-trust for divine trust! As Robertson wrote "This dreadful trial was sent to him in order to give him a precious spiritual lesson (cf 2 Cor 12:7–10)”

Pressures in our life never come from (sent or allowed) the providential hand of God without a high and holy purpose!

Brian Bell. Just as we shouldn’t focus on self in suffering so we shouldn’t focus on self in trusting.

Puritan John Bunyan on 2Co 1:9 - By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must firstpass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. The second was, to live upon God that is invisible, as Paul said in another place; the way not to faint, is to "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

John Piper comments on Bunyan's words - The phrase that I have fastened on for the title and focus of this study of Bunyan is the phrase, "to live upon God that is invisible." He discovered that if we are to suffer rightly we must die not only to sin, but to the innocent and precious things of this world including family and freedom. We must "live upon God that is invisible." Everything else in the world we must count as dead to us and we to it. That was Bunyan's passion from the time of his conversion as a young married man to the day of his death when he was 60 years old.

Gromacki points out that the verb had (had the sentence of death) is in "The perfect tense “had” (eschēkamen) (WHICH) indicates that "the sentence" was still in effect even though Paul had left Ephesus for Macedonia." (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith) (ED: THIS RAISES THE POSSIBILITY THAT THIS MAY HAVE BEEN AN OFFICIAL VERDICT - WE CAN ASK PAUL IN HEAVEN!)

So that (hina - term of purpose) we would not trust in ourselves, but in God Who (egeiro in the present tense - continually) raises the dead - In God is more literally "upon" (epi) which reminds me of the Psalmist's words "Cast your burden upon (Lxx = epi) the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." (Ps 55:22+) Paul says the ultimate purpose of the impending "death sentence" which was hanging over his head, was to cause him not to trust in his ingenuity or ability but to trust in the "everlasting arms" of God's provision and power ("resurrection power!"). Paul's "death decree" led to "divine dependence!" Paul's mention of raises the dead would mean that he was convinced that even if the outcome of the afflictions would mean physical death, he would still live for God raises the dead

Gromacki -  The two greatest prospects that man faces in this life are spiritual death and physical death. If God can quicken a dead sinner and give him spiritual life, then He can solve man’s present spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. If God can raise the physical dead and give him an immortal, incorruptible, and resurrection body, He then can deliver man from his present physical problems.

TECHNICAL NOTE ON "we would not trust in ourselves" - The words “should not trust” come from the Greek mē pepoithotes ōmen, which involves the usage of the perfect participle in a periphrastic construction with the present subjunctive of “to be.” This means that Paul had a crisis experience in which he learned a lesson that continued to dominate his pattern of life. (Gromacki) A T Robertson adds that the "Regular perfect of ἐχω [echō], to have. And still have the vivid recollection of that experience. For this lively dramatic use of the present perfect indicative for a past experience see also ἐσχηκα [eschēka] in 2 Cor 2:13." 

Guzik - Even though the resurrection is a future event, there is a sense in which the reality and power of the resurrection touches every day for the suffering Christian. As we know by the power of His resurrection we will also be blessed by the fellowship of His sufferings. (Philippians 3:10, cf "surpassing greatness of His power" in Eph 1:19-20+) (2 Corinthians 1)

When we are most helpless we are also most dependent!
-- Brian Bell

William Barclay - Paul saw that the terrifying experience he had gone through had had one tremendous use--it had driven him back to God and demonstrated to him his utter dependence on him. The Arabs have a proverb, "All sunshine makes a desert." The danger of prosperity is that it encourages a false independence; it makes us think that we are well able to handle life alone. For every one prayer that rises to God in days of prosperity, ten thousand rise in days of adversity. As Lincoln had it, "I have often been driven to my knees in prayer because I had nowhere else to go." It is often in misfortune that a man finds out who are his true friends, and it often needs some time of adversity to show us how much we need God. The outcome was that Paul had an unshakable confidence in God. He knew now beyond all argument what he could do for him. If God could bring him through that, he could bring him through anything. The joyful cry of the Psalmist is, "Thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." (Ps 116:8) What really converted John Bunyan was when he heard some old women sitting in the sun "talking about what God had done for their souls." The confidence of the Christian in God is not a thing of theory and speculation; it is a thing of fact and experience. He knows what God has done for him and therefore he is not afraid. (2 Corinthians Commentary)

Mike Andrus - I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that one of the greatest hindrances to living the Christian life victoriously is self-reliance. The easier life is, the more we are tempted to rely on ourselves. That’s true, of course, even in human relationships. We would never go to a doctor if we didn’t get sick; we would never go to a lawyer if we didn’t have legal troubles; we would never go to a counselor if our relationships were all OK; and we would never look to God if troubles didn’t occur....We do not know exactly what kinds of suffering Paul is talking about here; he doesn’t give us specifics. But the details are not important; it is obvious from the words he uses that Paul was in great anguish. The pressure was relentless. Perhaps some of you have been where Paul is. Maybe you’re there today. Maybe you’re at the end of your rope. What is God trying to say to you? Well, He has a redemptive purpose, and Paul describes it this way: “But this happened that we 8 might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” Suffering breaks the stubborn spirit of self-will inside of us that insists on working things out on our own. Suffering forces us to lean on the Lord absolutely. And why shouldn’t we, for He is the kind of God that raises dead people–what could we need more than that?

Desperation Focuses Our Faith in the God of Resurrection Power.
-- Paul Apple

Alan Redpath said, “God has one great purpose for His people above everything else: It is to destroy in us forever any possible confidence in the flesh; it is to bring us to the place where self-confidence has passed into history and has been exchanged for a confidence in God, who raises the dead.”

The recalls the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-18 which is commented on in Hebrews 11:19 "He (Abraham) considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him (ISAAC) back as a type." So like Paul, Abraham did not trust in himself but in God Who is able to raise the dead

Broomall - Like Isaac (cf. Heb 11:17-19), Paul had a sentence of death hanging over him; and, like Abraham, he could now trust anew in God which raiseth the dead ( Cf. Gen 22:1-18). (2 Corinthians 1)

Trust (3982peitho is a strong verb, carrying the components of confidence, reliance, and hope. The NT uses peitho in the perfect tense (AS IN THIS PASSAGE) to mean to cause to come to a particular point of view or course of action.

THOUGHT Paul came to this point of distrust of self and trust in God at this time and it affected his thinking the rest of his days on earth. In other words, this "death sentence" event was apparently a monumental event in Paul's life and it cemented the importance of not trusting self in great affliction/difficulty, but trust in God, for He has resurrection power at His disposal. Here's one "take home point" - don't waste the trial or affliction God allows (or sends) into your life, but receive it as a gift from God to grow you in Christlike patience and maturity (Meditate on the pattern in James 1:2-5+, see also the divine pattern in Ro 5:1-5+).

Brian Bell - Be driven back to God! Why is it so important to learn how to rely on God rather than ourselves during life’s trials? We need divine weapons to fight against these. And only God’s Grace is sufficient for us in every type of suffering or hardship. A key throughout 2 Corinthians is that, God displays His power to us and others through our weaknesses! He is usually most glorified in the midst of our weaknesses rather than by removing them!  Job said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15)

ILLUSTRATION - Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, contrary to orders, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steerman, lashed fast at his post of holding the wheel unwaveringly, and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once more, to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer: “I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.” God, show us Your face so we’ll know all is well.


Spurgeon on so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead - Remember, this was only half the result in Paul’s case, for he does not only say that by this sentence of death he was delivered from trusting in himself, but he was led to trust “in God which raiseth the dead.” Now, my brethren, we have come out of the gloom of the sepulchre into the glory of the resurrection. “God which raiseth the dead” is our hope. The doctrine of the resurrection is essential to the Christian system, and Paul takes it for granted. When he was delivered from trusting in himself because of the sentence of death, the first thing he did was to trust in the God and Father of his risen Lord.

For first he argued thus,—If I die, what matters it? God can raise me from the dead. If they stone me, if they smite me with the sword, if they fling me headlong into the sea, I shall rise again. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall see him when he appeareth.

He inferred, also, that if God could raise him from the dead he could preserve him from a violent death. He that could restore him if he were dead and rotten in the tomb could certainly keep him from dying till all his life-work was accomplished. This inference is unquestionably true.

           “Plagues and deaths around me fly,
           Till he bids I cannot die;
           Not a single shaft can hit
           Till the God of love thinks fit.”

Immortal is every believer till his work is done.
Paul felt this and was comforted.

He argued yet further that if God can raise the dead and call together the separate atoms of a body long since dissolved, and rebuild the house out of such ruin, then surely he could take his fainting powers, over which the sentence of death has passed, and he could use them for his own purposes. Thus would I also reason with myself when I am deeply depressed. He can make me feel his life within me again; and he can make great use of me under all my weaknesses and difficulties. It needs omnipotence to wake the dead; that same omnipotence can make me triumph and enable me to do its will, whatever may stand in my way. Is not this a blessed form of argument,—that God who raiseth the dead can do for me, can do in me, can do by me great things, for which his name shall have glory for ever and ever?

Brethren, we need to get away more and more from ourselves, and we shall never do it till we write this down in our books, that self is dead,—we must make a corpse of it. We sometimes hear that in setting forth the balance sheet of a banking establishment a mistake was committed by putting down a doubtful asset at too high a value: we must keep clear of such a blunder in making up our spiritual balances. There is no fear of undue depreciation if you say of anything which belongs to self, “it is good for nothing: set it down as worthless.” If then you have written yourself down at twenty shillings in the pound, my dear brother, I warn you that you will never realize it. But you say, “I never thought to get more than half-a-crown in the pound out of self”—you will never get that in good money. “Well, I will put it down at a farthing in the pound.” You will never realize even that: it will cost you more to get it than it is worth: it is a deception altogether. He that trusts in himself not only gets not a farthing in the pound out of what he trusted in, but he is a loser by his foolish confidence. I should not like to realize myself; it would be an awful loss, and leave a great gap in my exchequer; for what am I but a mass of wounds, a bag of necessities, a mountain of weakness, a world of infirmities, and nothing else worth mentioning? Do not put yourself down in your spiritual assets at all except as a debt, a liability, and an encumbrance. Say, “Self is dead,” and you will be happy if you find that he is dead, for the most of your trouble will come from his being too much alive. That old corrupt nature—ah, the vagabond, if he were indeed dead, and would never struggle again, what a mercy! But there is life in the old dog yet, life of a troublesome sort, full of mischief. Wisdom reckons self as a dead and worthless thing, to be mortified, but never to be trusted. Folly talks otherwise, and bids you think well of yourself, but do not listen to its dotings. He says, “You are getting an old man now; those grey hairs have brought experience and wisdom: you are not like those young chits of children that have just come into the church.” No; but there is no fool like an old fool; mind you do not become another example of that old saying. Do not say to yourself, “Ah! now you are a man of wide experience, you are: you are not like those narrow-minded people who never went beyond their cottage or the hedges of their little farm. You have had a splendidly wide experience.” Ah! but no blunder is so great as the blunder of a great man: no man is capable of doing so much mischief as the man who has capacity for doing great good. “Oh, but,” says another, “I am so careful, so guarded, that there can be no fear of me.” Yet no one is so likely to sleep as the watchman who flatters himself that he does not even doze. So it used to be in the old days; and you watchful people are sure to go wrong if you are proud of being watchful. If, on the other hand, you feel that you are not as watchful as you ought to be, and pray to be made more so, you will be kept right. Trust in ourselves is a kind of manna which will breed worms and stink, and it will make our house unbearable, and ourselves sick. Sweep it out! Oh, for a state of weakness that is strong in the divine strength. Oh, to be nothing, to be nothing, that God may be all in all! Amen and amen. So let it be. (Excerpt from 2 Corinthians 1:9 Sentence of Death, the Death of Self-Trust)


Ray Stedman: 4 Reasons why believers experience sufferings:

1) First, it hurts because that is the way you discover what God can do. How are you ever going to find the comfort of God, the strengthening of God, if you are not under any pressure or stress? It takes that to discover what God can do, and God will keep on sending it until you begin to understand that, and begin to count on him, and find the release from within that he provides. Do not try to run from it -- like everybody else is doing. Face up to it, and do as Paul does, by seeing these as opportunities to understand and experience anew the strengthening of God. . .

2) Your sufferings are not sent for you so much as they are for someone who is watching you, and seeing how you handle the pressure that you are going through. . .

3) One of the major reasons God sends us suffering is to break the stubborn spirit of self-will within us that insists on trying to work it all out by our own resources, or run to some other human resource, or in some way refuse to acknowledge that we need divine help. . .I struggle sometimes. I do not want to pray about a certain matter because, if I pray about it, that is admitting that I cannot handle it myself. Paul must have struggled the same way. Here is this mighty apostle, who so plainly and clearly understood the principles of how God operates, and still he had to be put through a time of testing like this that he might again learn not to rely on himself.  Here is this mighty apostle, who so plainly and clearly understood the principles of how God operates, and still he had to be put through a time of testing like this that he might again learn not to rely on himself. You read the story of Saul of Tarsus, that brilliant young Pharisee, and you see a self-reliant young man who is confident that he has got the world by the tail and there is nothing he cannot do with that brilliant mind, that ability and logic, that strong, powerful personality. He felt he could handle anything, and again and again God had to break that, to put him in circumstances he could not handle, that he might learn not to rely on himself, but "on God who raises the dead," the God for whom no cause is ever hopeless, who can bring life out of death. That is the major reason, I think, for suffering. It is the pressure that is designed to destroy our determined stubbornness. But do you see how Paul comes to a knowledge of the true Christian lifestyle? God delivered us -- in the past; He is delivering us -- in the present; He will deliver us -- in the future.  Paul has learned to trust God to take him through whatever life throws at him, no matter what it is. Now that is a Christian lifestyle. It is about time that some of us Christians quit acting like the world around us, constantly complaining, and murmuring, and griping about everything that comes our way. We should see these as opportunities to display an alternative lifestyle, and release in our own lives a quiet power that will keep our hearts at peace, because we know that an adequate God is handling the situation; he will take us safely through. 

4) Once again, suffering is sent to us to show us that we are not individuals living all alone in life. We are members of a family, we are members of a Body, and we need each other. When you have a difficulty or a trial, share it with others so that they can pray with you, for many prayers will bring great deliverance.  (Why Does It Hurt So Much?)


Rick Renner - The Dead-End Places Of Life   2 Corinthians 1:9

Although we don't like to admit it, we all occasionally run into dead-end places in our lives where we don't know what to say, what to do, where to turn, or even how to pray. Sometimes it seems like we've hit a dead-end—in other words, it seems like everything is finished, over, and done with! If you've ever been in a place like this, you know what a hard place this can be!

Through these kinds of experiences, you and I discover that in our own strength, we are no match for some of life's problems. That's why we must learn to depend on the power and wisdom of God!

The apostle Paul tells us that he, too, went through this kind of learning experience when he found himself face-to-face with life-threatening situations in his own ministry. In Second Corinthians 1:9, he says, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." Paul was definitely at one of those dead-end places that we're talking about today. In fact, the situation he faced was so acute that he compared it to a sentence of death. That's dramatic language!

Notice the word "sentence" in the verse above. It is taken from the Greek word krino. This word krino normally refers to a jury who just handed down their final sentence in a court of law. You could say that the word krino denotes a verdict or a sentence pronounced as the result of a court trial.

After all the evidence is presented and the judge has examined all the facts, a final verdict is issued by the court. This is exactly the word that Paul uses in this dramatic verse. In using such a word, Paul is telling us that so much evidence and so many problems were stacked up against him and his companions, by all appearances it looked like there was no way for them to escape or even to survive. It looked like they had hit a dead-end; everything for them seemed to be finished, over, and done with!

    ▪ Have you ever had a time in your life when it looked like it was the end of the road for you and your dreams? 
    ▪ Did you think there was no way out? 
    ▪ Did it look like there were so many problems stacked against you that you'd never survive what you were facing? 

This is precisely what Paul must have felt when he was facing overwhelming problems in Asia. He used the Greek word krino to let us know that as far as he was concerned, there was only one possible outcome for his life—death!

In essence, Second Corinthians 1:9 could be translated:

"As far as we were concerned, the final verdict was in, and the verdict demanded our deaths...."

But in spite of how it looked, Paul didn't die, nor did he fail at fulfilling the job God had given him. It may have looked like it was the end of the road, but it was really the beginning of a new supernatural flow of divine power into Paul's life. That's why he went on to say that through it all, he learned not to trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead.

Paul had been under such intense pressure that he felt death was unavoidable. Then right from the midst of this horrible situation, God's power was released and Paul was rescued! Paul said it was as if he and his companions had been raised from the dead.

When you don't know what else to do and when you have no one else to turn to, that's usually when God's resurrection power begins to operate in you to the greatest measure! You see, there's no such thing as no hope. As long as there is a loving Heavenly Father you can call on, there is still hope for you! If you learn to rely on Him, that dead-end place in your life that you're facing right now can become a new beginning!

So call out to your Heavenly Father right now. Expect Him to release His resurrection power on your behalf to turn your dead-end situation around!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY Lord, I have found that in my own strength, I am no match for life's problems. I thank You for revealing this to me today. From this day forward, please help me turn to You immediately when I come up against a dead-end place in my life. I ask You, Lord, to help me fully surrender each of these areas to You so You can have full access to them and raise them, one by one, from the dead. Please show me Your life-giving power today.
I pray this in Jesus' name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY I confess that God's resurrection power is released on my behalf to turn all dead-end situations in my life around! I do not trust in my own efforts or human thinking but in God and His life-giving power. I choose to partake of this power today by releasing every dead-end place to the Lord. I trust Him to perfect that which concerns me, and I look to see His power made manifest this day in my life! I declare this by faith in Jesus' name! (Sparkling Gems From The Greek)


When The Journey Gets Tough

In August 2009, Blair and Ronna Martin lost their energetic 9-year-old son Matti when he was dragged to his death by a family cow. I had a chance to meet this Kenai, Alaska, family and share in their grief. And I know how tough this tragedy has been for them.

I also know that they are seeking God’s care and comfort for their pain. An observation made by Matti’s mom is valuable for anyone walking through one of life’s valleys. During one of her down times, Ronna was reading 2 Corinthians 1:9, which says that “we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” She felt as if Jesus were telling her, “Ronna, I know the journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.”

When the journey gets too tough to navigate, 2 Corinthians 1:9 is a reminder to us that we don’t travel alone. We have the help of the One who showed us His power in the resurrection, and who will demonstrate His power again when He raises believing loved ones of all generations to eternal life. “My strength and my hope have to be in Christ alone,” Ronna said. That’s a truth we all need as we travel the journey God has for us.— by Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When life’s journey gets so difficult
That it feels too much to bear,
Just remember, we don’t walk alone—
Our almighty God is there. —Sper

The storms of life remind us to take shelter in the loving arms of our Savior.


A WOMAN with a beautiful singing voice took lessons for several years from an outstanding teacher. Although she learned to sing every note perfectly, her performances were cold and mechanical.

One day her teacher told her: "My dear, I have taught you all I know; yet you lack one thing that I cannot supply. Something will have to come into your life that will break your heart. Only then will you be able to sing with feeling!"

Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895-1967), the outstanding orchestra conductor, found this principle to be true in his own life. Early in his career he battled tuberculosis. After he regained his health, his thirteen-year-old daughter was stricken with polio.

One night, as he was about to conduct Handel's Messiah, he was handed a note that read, "Your daughter Pamela is dying." With tears in his eyes, he directed the orchestra and choir through such tender passages as "Comfort ye, comfort ye My peo­ple." Not only did he find strength from God's Word set to music, but his sorrows produced in him a deep feeling that flowed through his conducting.

Life may hold bitter experiences for us, but God can use them to help us understand the suffering that others go through and to minister to their needs.


The Fellowship Of The Cross

We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. —2 Corinthians 1:9

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional The Lord of the Rings, a simple, good-hearted hobbit by the name of Frodo Baggins is entrusted with a dangerous mission. Together with a group called the Fellowship of the Ring, he must defeat the forces of evil by returning a magic gold ring to the fires of Mount Doom from which it was forged.

Along the way, evil stalks Frodo. Battles are lost. Friends die. Reflecting on such tragedies, Frodo confides in his wise friend Gandalf, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish that this had never happened.” Gandalf replies, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All you must decide is how to use the time that is given to you.”

In the “fellowship of the cross,” a servant of Christ is also tested. Like Paul, we may feel crushed under the weight of circumstances (2 Cor. 1:3-11). The path seems too steep to climb. We wonder if there is a dawn beyond the darkness.

Though we may not choose our circumstances, we do choose whether to trust God (2 Cor. 1:9). Through the fellowship of the Son and the enablement of the Spirit, we can carry out our mission for God (1 Cor. 1:9; John 16:13).

Trust Him to guide you along the way. He offers wise counsel. By:  Mart DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go—
Never fear, only trust and obey.
—Sammis

You can trust God in the dark as well as in the light.


Fragile Existence

We should not trust in ourselves but in God. — 2 Corinthians 1:9

Today's Scripture: Job 1:8-22

The geological features at Yellowstone National Park fascinate me. But when I walk among the geysers, I’m aware of how close I am to danger. I am walking atop one of the largest, most active volcanoes in the world.

When I read the book of Job, I feel as if I’m walking through Yellowstone on a day when the volcano erupts, exploding the earth’s fragile crust and bringing disaster.

Like tourists at Yellowstone, Job was enjoying life. He was unaware that only a hedge separated him from disaster (Job 1:9-10). When God removed that hedge and allowed Satan to test Job, his life exploded (vv.13-19).

Many believers live in circumstances where it seems as if God, for some reason, has removed His hedge of protection. Others, also for reasons unknown, live in relative calm, seemingly unaware of their fragile existence. Like Job’s friends, they assume that nothing bad will happen unless they do something to deserve it.

As we learn from Job, however, God sometimes allows bad things to happen to good people. Although disaster can strike at any moment, nothing has the power to destroy those who trust Christ (2 Cor. 4:9). No disaster can separate us from God’s love. By:  Julie Ackerman Link  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Though darker, rougher, grows the way
And cares press harder day by day,
With patience in His love I’ll rest,
And whisper that He knoweth best.
—Pentecost

God’s love still stands when all else has fallen.


God's Opportunity

We should not trust in ourselves but in God. -—2 Corinthians 1:9

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

We usually think of “opportunity” as our own chance to take a significant step ahead in life. We love the idea of an open door or a favorable moment to seize the chance of a lifetime. But do we ever think of opportunity from God’s perspective?

Pastor Browning Ware has written: “Our worst circumstances may be God’s best opportunity to bring new meaning to our lives.” J. B. Phillips said something similar: “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”

This principle was true in the apostle Paul’s life, and I suspect it’s true in our experience as well. In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul recalled a time when he and his companions were under great pressure, far beyond their ability to endure. They even thought they were going to die (2 Cor. 1:8). But Paul said that during those troubled times they learned to put their trust not in themselves “but in God who raises the dead” (v.9).

As you look at your life, do you recognize the opportunities for God to teach you? It may be during times of hurt or great loss; or maybe you’ve come to the end of yourself and given up hope.

Your worst circumstance may be God’s best opportunity. Trust Him. He will bring new meaning to your life. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When troubles come into your life
That seem too much to bear,
Give God the opportunity
To show His love and care.
—Sper

God uses our setbacks to move us ahead.


The Power Of Weakness

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

I received a letter from a woman who read about the way I had learned to live a life dependent on God. She was challenged as she read that Christ’s strength was manifested through my weakness, particularly when I started a Bible study while recovering from a nervous condition.

She read about my trembling hands, and how my neighbors were encouraged to admit their own weaknesses and to depend on Christ as they saw me learning to do. She wrote, “I laughed and cried as I read your story. I feel deeply encouraged that God can use me, even though I feel weak.”

We may think that we attract others to Christ more effectively through our strengths than through our weaknesses. But the Lord used trouble and weakness in the apostle Paul’s life to teach him to rely on God’s power (2 Corinthians 1:9). He testified, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

When Christians act as if they hardly know what weakness is, needy people often think, “I could never be like that.” But when Christians admit they experience Christ’s strength in their weakness, they proclaim this hope: “The strength Christ gives to me, He can give to you!” Whose strength will you proclaim today—your own, or God’s?  — Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God uses weakness to reveal
His great sufficiency;
So if we let Him work through us,
His power we will see. 
—Sper

To experience God's strength, we must first admit our weakness.

2 Corinthians 1:10  Who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on Whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,

NEB if you will co-operate by praying for us. Then, with so many people praying for our deliverance, there will be many to give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour God has shown towards us.

NJB Your prayer for us will contribute to this (WHAT? OUR DELIVERANCE/RESCUE), so that, for God’s favour shown to us as the result of the prayers of so many, thanks too may be given by many on our behalf.

The Message You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth (present tense) deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

NET  2 Corinthians 1:10 He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him that he will deliver us yet again,

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:10 ὃς ἐκ τηλικούτου θανάτου ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς καὶ ῥύσεται, εἰς ὃν ἠλπίκαμεν [ὅτι] καὶ ἔτι ῥύσεται,

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:10 ὃς ἐκ τηλικούτου θανάτου ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς καὶ ῥύσεται, εἰς ὃν ἠλπίκαμεν [ὅτι] καὶ ἔτι ῥύσεται,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:10 who out of so great a death did deliver us, and doth deliver, in whom we have hoped that even yet He will deliver;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:10 who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver: on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us;

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:10 He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us. We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:10 He rescued us from so terrible a death. The one in whom we hope will deliver us in the future

NRS  2 Corinthians 1:10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again,

AMP [For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself],

The Living Bible  And he did help us and saved us from a terrible death; yes, and we expect him to do it again and again.

MaceNT  He delivered us from so great a death and does deliver us. In Him we trust that He will still deliver us,

  • 1Sa 7:12 17:37 Job 5:17-22 Ps 34:19 Isa 46:3 Ac 26:21 2Ti 4:17 2Pe 2:9 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 15:30-31+ Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued (rhuomai) from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;

DELIVERANCE IN 
THREE TENSES

How can we learn this great truth that God delivers His children if we never encounter trials, afflictions, adversities, etc, out of which He might supernaturally deliver us? Next time the trial/test comes, don't fight it. Submit to it. Yield to God's Spirit. Cling to Him. And wait on Him. And ask others to pray for you, so they can participate in the miracle and be encouraged by the greatness of our God, giving Him thanks and all the glory. Amen! 

Who delivered (rescued) us from so great a peril of death, and will (NRSV - will continue to) deliver (rescue) us - God had delivered in the past and was fully capable of delivering in the future. Past rescues, present preservation, and future deliverance. While Paul seems to have a particular event in mind, possibly his stoning at Lystra, where they supposed him to be dead (Acts 14:19+), there is of course the sense that Paul and his companions had all been "delivered (rhuomai) from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14+). (Read Ro 8:38–39+)

THOUGHT - Deliver (rhuomai) is used in three tenses - first in aorist, second in present tense (in Textus Receptus, not Nestle-Aland, cf 2Co 1:10NRSV), third in future tense. What a glorious truth that our Deliverer has delivered us from the domain of darkness in the past (Col 1:13 - rescued us = rhuomai), is presently daily delivering us from our adversaries (cf Mt 6:13 - deliver us = rhuomai) and one day will finally and fully deliver us out of this wretched world (1 Th 1:10 - rescues us = rhuomai) and into his glorious presence, forever and ever. Amen! 

Paul Apple adds that "Deliverance is God’s Specialty - (1) Testimony of Deliverance in the Past “who delivered us from so great a peril of death” (2) Hope of Deliverance in the Present “and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.” (3) Confidence of Deliverance in the Future “And He will yet deliver us.”

Broomall has an insightful comment writing that "

The use of out of (ASV) rather than from is justified by the fact that the Greek here uses ek, "out of," rather than apo, "from." Paul actually went through and triumphantly came "out of" the trouble here described (cf. Ro 8:35-39; also Ps 66:12; 69:14; 144:7). The descriptive so great (cf. its use in Heb 2:3; Jas 3:4; Rev 16:18) reveals the utter magnitude of this trial. Paul's deliverance was (1) a wonderful providence—Who delivered us; (2) a sure prophecy—and will deliver (asv); (3) a bright promise—on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us (asv). (2 Corinthians 1)

And so in some of the last recorded words of Paul, we hear his testimony of the power of God to rescue him....

the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation (OF THE GOSPEL) might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued (rhuomai) out of the lion’s mouthThe Lord will rescue (rhuomai) me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  (2 Ti 4:17-18+).

He on Whom we have set our hope - Only God is "the God of hope" (Ro 15:13+), the great God Who alone can give eternal hope to dying men. Set our hope is in the perfect tense indicating past completed action with continuing effect. In other words, the certainty of divine hope fueled present actions, even if those actions resulted in afflictions and death! 

God delivered us -- in the past;
He is delivering us -- in the present;
He will deliver us -- in the future. 
(HALLELUJAH!)
--Ray Stedman

And He will yet deliver (rhuomai) us - This is Paul's only use of the great verb rhuomai in this epistle but here we encounter it three times in one passage!  The same verb is used by Peter to describe God's rescue of righteous Lot living in an unrighteous environment, Peter writing ""if He rescued (rhuomai) righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men...9 then the Lord knows how to rescue (rhuomai) the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment (2 Pe 2:7, 9+). One thinks also of the 3 Hebrew boys who God rescued in, through and from the fire. If you have not read the old, old story in a while, take a moment and be encouraged by these three men who stood strong in their faith in their Strong God. The context is Nebuchadnezzar's decree that they must "bow or burn!":

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17  “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver (Lxx -  exaireo - rescue) us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver (Lxx -  exaireo - rescue) us out of your hand, O king. 18 “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 For this reason, because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.  24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. 27 The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.  28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:17-28+)

Set...hope (1679)(elpizo from elpis = hope, absolute assurance of future good) means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. To express desire for some good with the expectation of obtaining it. It describes actively, patiently waiting for God's fulfillment of what He has promised. 

Delivered (4506) rhuomai  from rhúo = to draw, drag along the ground) means to draw or snatch to oneself and invariably refers to a snatching from danger, evil or an enemy. This basic idea is that of bringing someone out of severe and acute danger, and so to save, rescue, deliver, preserve. Rhuomai emphasizes greatness of peril from which deliverance is given by a mighty act of power. In the NT rhuomai is always associated with God as the Deliverer and with a person as the object of His deliverance. Rhuomai was used in a secular writing to describe a soldier going to a wounded comrade on the battlefield and carrying him to safety (he runs to the cry of his comrade to rescue him from the hands of the enemy) (Godet)

This verb rhuomai reminds me of the great Fanny Crosby hymn

Rescue the Perishing

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

In another famous hymn we encounter the idea of rescue

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood
.


The three appearances of Christ in Hebrews 9:24-28+ are connected with the three aspects of the great Salvation of our Lord, the past, the present, and the future.

PAST -  "He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Heb 9:26)— Redemption

PRESENT - "Now to appear in the presence of God for (HUPER) us" (Heb 9:24)—Intercession

FUTURE -  "He shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb 9:27) —Transformation

This threefold deliverance  corresponds with the threefold character of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King

Three Tenses of Salvation - Three Divine Deliverances

  1. Justification/Past Deliverance - Titus 3:5+; 2 Ti 1:9+; Eph 2:8+
  2. Sanctification/Present Deliverance
  3. Glorification/Future Deliverance

Spurgeon - My Sermon Notes - THE TENSES (see full sermon - 2 Corinthians 1:10 The Tenses) - Grammarians have here a lesson in the tenses; and Christians may profitably join in the exercise. We may consider the past, present, and future, each one by itself. We may also view them in their relation to each other.

Our text points out the delivering mercy of God as at all times working out the safety of his people. The case of Paul did not stand alone: hence he uses the plural: “who delivered us”; “we trust.” We shall take the words out of the apostle’s mouth and apply them to our own cases.

I.   THE TEXT SUGGESTS THREE TRAINS OF THOUGHT.
1. Memory tells of deliverances in the past—

         From violent death. In Paul’s case, “so great a death” may mean death by fierce mobs, or by the emperor.
         From our death in sin: “So great a death” indeed.
         From fierce despair when under conviction.
         From total overthrow when tempted by Satan.
         From faintness under daily tribulation.
         From destruction by slander and the like.

The Lord has most graciously delivered us hitherto. Let us express our gratitude.

2. Observation calls attention to present deliverance. By the good hand of the Lord, we are at this time preserved—

           From unseen dangers to life.
           From the subtle assaults of Satan.
           From the rampant errors of the times.
           From inbred sin and natural corruption.
           From the sentence of death within, and from the greater danger of self-trust. See the preceding verse.

Our present standing is wholly due to the grace of God, and, trusting in that grace, we may indulge a happy confidence.

3. Expectation (hope) looks out of the window upon the future. Faith rests alone in God, “in whom we trust,” and through Him looks for future deliverance—

           From all future common trials.
           From coming losses and afflictions, and from sicknesses, which may be coming upon us.
           From the infirmities and wants of age.
           From the peculiar glooms of death.

This expectation makes us march on with cheerfulness.

II.  THE TEXT SUPPLIES THREE LINES OF ARGUMENT.

That the Lord will preserve us to the end is most sure. We can say of him, “In whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.”

1. From the Lord’s beginning to deliver we argue that he will yet deliver, for

         There was no reason in us for his beginning to love us. If his love arises out of his own nature it will continue.
         He has obtained no fresh knowledge. He foreknew all our misbehaviours: hence there is no reason for casting us off.
         The reason which moved him at first is operating now, and none better can be required.

2. From the Lord’s continuing to deliver we argue that he will yet deliver; for

           His deliverances have been so many;
           They have displayed such wisdom and power;
           They have come to us when we have been so unworthy;
           They have continued in such an unbroken line;
         That we feel sure he will never leave nor forsake us.

3. From the Lord himself—“In whom we trust”: we argue that he will yet deliver; for

           He is as loving and strong now as aforetime.
           He will be the same in the future.
           His purpose never changes, and it is to his glory to complete what he has begun (Php 1:6). Verily, “he will yet deliver us.”

III. THE TEXT IS OPEN TO THREE INFERENCES.
1. We infer that we shall always be so in danger as to need to be delivered: wherefore we are not high-minded, but fear.

2. We infer our constant need of God’s own interposition. He alone has met our case in the past, and he only can meet it in the future: wherefore we would ever abide near our Lord.

3. We infer that our whole life should be filled with the praise of God, who, for past, present, and future, is our Deliverer.

FOR THE TIMES

First, God hath a time, as for all things, so for our deliverance. Secondly, God’s time is the best time. He is the best discerner of opportunities. Thirdly, this shall be when he hath wrought his work upon our souls, specially when he hath made us to trust in him. As here, when Paul had learned to trust in God, then he delivered him.
Richard Sibbes.

The Roman noblemen could give no greater proof of their confidence in their city and army, than when they bought the land on which their Carthaginian enemies were encamped around the city. And we can give no greater proof of our confidence in God, than by trusting him in the land which our enemies, darkness and sickness and trouble, seem to possess, and acting as if God were their master, and mightier than they all. This is but to act upon the truth.

There is an ante-war incident which illustrates the power for despair which lies in forgetfulness of God, and the hope which leaps up when God is fully believed in. A dark cloud hung over the interests of the African race in our land. There seemed no way of deliverance. Frederick Douglas, at a crowded meeting, depicted the terrible condition. Everything was against his people. One political party had gone down on its knees to slavery; the other proposed not to abolish it anywhere, but only to restrict it. The Supreme Court had given judgment against black men as such. He drew a picture of his race writhing under the lash of the overseer, and trampled upon by brutal and lascivious men. As he went on with his despairing words, a great horror of darkness seemed to settle down upon the audience. The orator even uttered the cry for blood. There was no other relief. And then he showed that there was no relief even in that. Everything, every influence, every event was gathering, not for good, but for evil, about the doomed race. It seemed as if they were fated to destruction. Just at the instant when the cloud was most heavy over the audience, there slowly rose, in the front seat, an old black woman. Her name, “Sojourner Truth.” She had given it to herself. Far and wide she was known as an African prophetess. Every eye was on her. The orator paused. Reaching out towards him her long bony finger, as every eye followed her pointing, she cried out, “Frederick, is God dead?” It was a lightning-flash upon that darkness. The cloud began to break, and faith and hope and patience returned with the idea of a personal and ever-living God.
Sword and Trowel, 1887.

      Who murmurs that in these dark days
         His lot is cast?
      God’s hand within the shadow lays
      The stones whereon his gates of praise
         Shall rise at last.—J. G. Whittier.


What God Can Do

[God] delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us. —2 Corinthians 1:10

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

They were called the “lost boys” of Sudan. Thousands of them fled the civil war in that country and sought refuge from the chaos and killing. Many had been taught the gospel in churches founded by missionaries, but they knew little of the world beyond their villages.

A National Geographic article profiled one of these “lost boys” who is now resettled in the United States. He told a church congregation that he is grateful for the comforts of the US, but also for the faith he learned through hardship. “Americans believe in God,” he told them, “but they don’t know what God can do.”

In the crucible of testing, we move from theory to reality as we experience God’s power. When there seems to be no hope, we may share Paul’s feeling of being “burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we [despair] even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). But we can also learn, as Paul did, that in the darkest times “we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2Co 1:9).

If God has allowed you to be in a desperate situation today, why not reconsider all that the Almighty has done and can still do. By trusting God in hardship we learn what He can do in our lives. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Though weak and helpless in life's fray,
God's mighty power shall be my stay;
Without, within, He gives to me
The strength to gain the victory.
—D. De Haan

God is the only ally we can always count on.

2 Corinthians 1:11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:11 as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:11 συνυπουργούντων καὶ ὑμῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῇ δεήσει, ἵνα ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:11 συνυπουργούντων καὶ ὑμῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῇ δεήσει, ἵνα ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:11 ye working together also for us by your supplication, that the gift through many persons to us, through many may be thankfully acknowledged for us.

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:11 ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:11 while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:11 as you work together with us by praying for us. As prayer arises from many people in our behalf, the gracious answer will eventuate in thanksgiving by many people in our behalf as well.

  • helping: 2Co 9:14 Isa 37:4 62:6,7 Ac 12:5 Ro 15:30-32 Eph 6:18-19 Php 1:19 Col 4:3 1Th 5:25 2Th 3:1 Phm 1:22 Heb 13:18 Jas 5:16-18 
  • that: 2Co 4:15 9:11,12 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Ephesians 6:18-19+ With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 

THE HELPING HAND OF 
HARD WORK OF PRAYER

You also joining in helping us through your prayers - MIT (MacDonald Idiomatic Translation) has "as you work together with us by praying for us." Joining in helping is in the present tense indicating that the saints at Corinth were "praying without ceasing" (1 Th 5:17+) for Paul and his companions. In Ro 15:30-31+ Paul asks the saints to strive together (sunagonizomai - sun/syn = intimately associated + agonizomai = agonizing, struggling with great effort!) in their prayers for his rescue! Woe! Have you ever prayed like that? This somewhat "dysfunctional" church at Corinth was actively, aggressively, agonizingly interceding, and God was heeding (despite their manifold spiritual problems! We call that G-R-A-C-E!) and was carrying out "operation rescue" in 2Co 1:10! This is an absolutely amazing verse regarding intercessory prayer!!! Why don't we do this more often? ("Note to self!")

THOUGHT - Here Paul affirms the incredible power of intercessory prayer.  Do we really comprehend the priceless worth of praying in the Spirit for our brothers and sisters in Christ? I for one think I fall far short on my comprehension of this great truth and as a result fall far short in the quantity and quality of my prayers for the saints! As a corollary thought, do you ever find it difficult to admit to others that you need help, thinking such an admission belies weakness on your part. God is not looking for SELF-sufficient Christians, but for SPIRIT/SAVIOR-dependent saints! Here is the greatest apostle in the Bible, admitting his need for help. We do well to imitate his example (1 Cor 11:1+). See other times Paul asked for prayer - 1Th 5:25+, 2Th 3:1-2+, Ro 15:30-32+, Eph 6:19-20+, Col 4:3+, cf Heb 13:18-19+) and recognized the power of intercessory prayer in his deliverance (Php 1:19, Philemon 1:22). 

This rare verb indicates that prayer is not a picnic but calls for persistence and effort (see the derivation below from "ergo" to work). This reminds me of the great saint Epaphras in Colossians 4:12+ Paul writing 

Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly (agonizomai in the present tense - continually) for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

Hughes has an fascinating comment that "In prayer, human impotence casts itself at the feet of divine omnipotence. Thus, the duty of prayer is not a modification of God’s power, but a glorification of it.”

MacArthur- Intercessory prayer is crucial to the expression of God’s power and sovereign purpose. In this regard, Paul wanted the faithful Corinthians to know he needed their prayers then and in the future (cf. Eph 6:18; Jas 5:16). Prayer’s duty is not to change God’s plans, but to glorify Him and give thanks for them. Paul was confident that God’s sovereign purpose would be accomplished, balanced by the prayerful participation of believers. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Ray Stedman - suffering is sent to us to show us that we are not individuals living all alone in life. We are members of a family, we are members of a Body, and we need each other. When you have a difficulty or a trial, share it with others so that they can pray with you, for many prayers will bring great deliverance. That is what that verse says. In answer to many prayers, God will send a blessing which will awaken thanksgiving in many, many hearts. Paul says, therefore, "You must help us by prayer," so that there will be great thanksgiving for the great blessing that comes from many prayers. That is the reason for requests for prayer, for sharing our needs with one another, and for enlisting the aid of others in praying us through times of pressure, as we ought to be ready to respond to those who are going through pressure with prayer for them ourselves. Now that is the way the Christian community ought to respond to stress and pressure, to difficulties and trials and disasters. God has sent them. God has allowed them to come as opportunities that you might learn again this amazing secret of inner strength, inner comfort, inner peace that can keep your heart quiet, even though you are going through troubled times.(Why Does It Hurt so Much?)

Spurgeon - When many pray, after the blessings is received, many will give thanks. (ED: WHAT IS A PRACTICAL APPLICATION? BE SURE TO TELL THOSE WHO PRAYED FOR YOU OF THE DELIVERANCE THAT THEY MIGHT PRAISE THE DELIVERER) Paul rejoices to have been the object of interest to a large number of Christians everywhere in the time of his great peril; and when he escaped, he believed he would still be the object of their interest, and that there would be more prayer in the world, and more praise, too, because of the dangers from which God had delivered him. It is worth while for any of us to be in sore sickness, or in great straits, if thereby the quantity of prayer and praise in the world shall be increased to God’s glory.

So that (hina - term of purposethanks may be given by many persons (prosopon - literally faces) on our behalf for the favor (charismabestowed on us through the prayers of many - This is a somewhat cumbersome sentence and the MIT helps grasp Paul's thought - "As prayer arises from many people in our behalf, the gracious answer will eventuate in thanksgiving by many people in our behalf as well." CSB has "Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many." NLT has "Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety." Amplified = "Thus [the lips of] many persons [turned toward God will eventually] give thanks on our behalf for the grace (the blessing of deliverance) granted us at the request of the many who have prayed."

What is the favor (charismaor gift? This probably refers to God's grace gift (so to speak) which in context would be His delivering Paul from the possibility of death.

Notice the word translated persons (prosopon) is in the plural and so literally describes many faces or countenances (it could have been a group prayer together or could have been many individuals praying). As Bernard says the idea "is that of faces upturned in prayer, the early Christian (and Jewish) attitude of prayer being one of standing with uplifted eyes and outstretched arms (cf Mt 6:5 , 1Ti 2:8).” (2 Corinthians 1)

Vincent Persons (προσώπων). Face is the usual rendering of the word in the New Testament. Even when rendered person the usage is Hebraistic for face. See note on Jas. 2:1. There is no reason for abandoning that sense here. The expression is pictorial; that thanksgiving may be given from many faces; the cheerful countenances being an offering of thanks to God. (2 Corinthians 1)

THOUGHT - Notice this wonderful fruit of intercessory prayer -- it leads to giving of thanks by many faces! The corollary thought is that when we ask others for their intercession and experience divine deliverance, we need to remember to relate God's rescue to our interceding brethren so that they might be filled with gratitude and cheerful faces to our great gracious God! 

Adam Clarke - Even an apostle felt the prayers of the Church necessary for his comfort and support. What innumerable blessings do the prayers of the followers of God draw down on those who are the objects of them! (l2 Corinthians 1)

Joining in helping (4943) sunupourge from sun/syn = together + hupourgós = rendering service,{hupó + érgo = to work}) means to serve, or work together under someone. It means to join in helping and cooperate with by means of something, in this only NT referring to the "help" of prayer.

Prayers (1162)(deesis - see deomai = praying for a specific need)  refers to urgent requests or supplications to meet a need and are exclusively addressed to God. Deesis prayers arise from one's sense of need (which reflects a humble heart) and in knowing what is lacking. This individual's plea is in turn made to God to supply the need. Deesis in the New Testament always carries the idea of genuine entreaty and supplication before God. It implies a realization of need and a petition for its supply. In Classical Greek deesis (in contrast to the Biblical uses) was not restricted to sacred uses, but was employed of requests preferred to men.

Related Resources:

Thanks may be given (2168) eucharisteo from  = well + charízomai = to grant, give.; English - Eucharist) means to show that one is under obligation by being thankful. The root words of eu (good) and charis (grace" suggest the sense that one is aware that "God's grace works well and hence to thankful for God's good grace. Stated another way eucharisteo is at its very core (eu = good + charis = grace) means to acknowledge how good grace is! To show oneself as grateful (most often to God in the NT). Used predominately to express gratitude to God. BDAG adds "to show that one is under obligation, be thankful, feel obligated to thank. This mng. is common in diplomatic documents in which the recipient of a favor reciprocates with assurance of goodwill." BDAG definition #2 "to express appreciation for benefits or blessings, give thanks, express thanks, render/return thanks." 

Persons (face, presence) (4383prosopon from pros = towards + ops = eye, the part around the eye and so the face) means literally toward the eye or face. Of the face of Jesus transfigured (Mt 17:2), of His face spat in (Mt 26:67) and slapped (Mk 14:65). Most of the uses of prosopon refer to one's face ("toward the eye"). In Mt 11:10 (Lk 7:27, 9:52, 10:1) the idiom "before you face" is rendered "ahead of." Prosopon in the Corinthian letters especially the Second Epistle -  1 Co. 13:12; 1 Co. 14:25; 2 Co. 1:11; 2 Co. 2:10; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 3:13; 2 Co. 3:18; 2 Co. 4:6; 2 Co. 5:12; 2 Co. 8:24; 2 Co. 10:1; 2 Co. 10:7; 2 Co. 11:20; 

Favor (5486) charisma from charis = grace + the ending --ma which indicates the result of something, in this case the result of grace, "the subjective grace that works within and shows itself in its result" [Wuest]) is a Pauline word (with exception of 1Peter 4:10) which literally means a gift of grace or a free gift. Considering that the root is charis (grace) the favor or gift which one receives is without any merit of one's own. Stated another way, whatever spiritual gift a man has comes from God, and should be no cause for personal pride or praise. It is something given to a man by God which the man himself could not have acquired or attained.


QUESTION - What is intercessory prayer?

ANSWER - Quite simply, intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. The role of mediator in prayer was prevalent in the Old Testament, in the cases of Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the ultimate intercessor, and because of this, all Christian prayer becomes intercession since it is offered to God through and by Christ. Jesus closed the gap between us and God when He died on the cross. Because of Jesus’ mediation, we can now intercede in prayer on behalf of other Christians or for the lost, asking God to grant their requests according to His will. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

A wonderful model of intercessory prayer is found in Daniel 9+. It has all the elements of true intercessory prayer. It is in response to the Word (Da 9:2); characterized by fervency (Da 9:3) and self-denial (Da 9:4); identified unselfishly with God’s people (v. 5); strengthened by confession (Da 9:5-15); dependent on God’s character (Da 9:4, 7, 9, 15); and has as its goal God’s glory (Da 9:16-19). Like Daniel, Christians are to come to God on behalf of others in a heartbroken and repentant attitude, recognizing their own unworthiness and with a sense of self-denial. Daniel does not say, “I have a right to demand this out of You, God, because I am one of your special, chosen intercessors.” He says, “I’m a sinner,” and, in effect, “I do not have a right to demand anything.” True intercessory prayer seeks not only to know God’s will and see it fulfilled, but to see it fulfilled whether or not it benefits us and regardless of what it costs us. True intercessory prayer seeks God’s glory, not our own.

The following is only a partial list of those for whom we are to offer intercessory prayers: all in authority (1 Timothy 2:2); ministers (Philippians 1:19); Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6); friends (Job 42:8); fellow countrymen (Romans 10:1); the sick (James 5:14); enemies (Jeremiah 29:7); those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44); those who forsake us (2 Timothy 4:16); and all men (1 Timothy 2:1).

There is an erroneous idea in contemporary Christianity that those who offer up intercessory prayers are a special class of “super-Christians,” called by God to a specific ministry of intercession. The Bible is clear that all Christians are called to be intercessors. All Christians have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and, just as He intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27), we are to intercede for one another. This is not a privilege limited to an exclusive Christian elite; this is the command to all. In fact, not to intercede for others is sin. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).

Certainly Peter and Paul, when asking others to intercede for them, did not limit their request to those with a special calling to intercession. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5). Notice it was the whole church that prayed for him, not just those with a gift of intercession. In Ephesians 6:16-18, Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers—all of them—on the fundamentals of the Christian life, which includes intercession “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Clearly, intercessory prayer is part of the Christian life for all believers.

Further, Paul sought prayer on his behalf from all the Roman believers in Romans 15:30. He also urged the Colossians to intercede for him in Colossians 4:2-3. Nowhere in any biblical request for intercession is there any indication that only a certain group of people could intercede. On the contrary, those who seek others to intercede for them can use all the help they can get! The idea that intercession is the privilege and calling of only some Christians is without biblical basis. Worse, it is a destructive idea that often leads to pride and a sense of superiority.

God calls all Christians to be intercessors. It is God’s desire that every believer be active in intercessory prayer. What a wonderful and exalted privilege we have in being able to come boldly before the throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests! GotQuestions.org


D L Moody - YOU have heard the story of the child who was rescued from the fire that was raging in a house away up in the fourth story. The child came to the window, and as the flames were shooting up higher and higher cried out for help. A fireman started up the ladder. The wind swept the flames near him, and it was getting so hot that he wavered. Thousands looked on, and their hearts quaked at the thought of the child having to perish. Someone in the crowd cried: “Give him a cheer!” Cheer after cheer went up, and as the man heard he gathered fresh courage. Up he went into the midst of the smoke and the fire, and brought down the child in safety.

If you cannot go and rescue the perishing yourself, you can at least pray for those who do, and cheer them on. If you do, the Lord will bless the effort. Do not grumble and criticise; it takes neither heart nor brains to do that.


A Hidden Ministry

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:10–11

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:8–11

A big academic project was weighing on me, and I was fretting over whether I could complete it by the deadline. In the midst of my anxious thoughts, I received three notes of encouragement from friends who were cheering me on. Each one said, “God brought you to mind today when I was praying.” I felt humbled and encouraged that these friends would contact me without knowing what I was going through, and I believed God had used them as His messengers of love.

The apostle Paul knew the power of prayer when he wrote to the people in the church of Corinth. He said he trusted that God would continue to deliver them from peril “as you help us by your prayers” (2 Corinthians 1:10–11). And when God answered their prayers, He would be glorified as the people gave Him thanks for the “answer to the prayers of many” (v. 11).

My friends and Paul’s supporters were engaging in the ministry of intercession, which Oswald Chambers calls “a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit through which the Father is glorified.” As we focus our minds and hearts on Jesus, we find Him shaping us, including how we pray. He enables us to give the gift of true intercession to friends, family members, and even strangers.

Has God put someone on your heart and mind for whom you can pray? By:  Amy Boucher Pye (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Read more from Oswald Chambers at utmost.org.

God hears the prayers of His people.


Haystack Prayers

You help us by your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:11

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:8–11

Samuel Mills and four of his friends often gathered together to pray for God to send more people to share the good news of Jesus. One day in 1806, after returning from their prayer meeting, they got caught in a thunderstorm and took refuge in a haystack. Their weekly prayer gathering then became known as the Haystack Prayer Meeting, which resulted in a global mission movement. Today the Haystack Prayer Monument stands at Williams College in the US as a reminder of what God can do through prayer.

Our heavenly Father is delighted when His children approach Him with a common request. It’s like a family gathering where they’re united in purpose, sharing a common burden.

The apostle Paul acknowledges how God helped him through the prayers of others during a time of severe suffering: “He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (2 Corinthians 1:10–11). God has chosen to use our prayers—especially our prayers together—to accomplish His work in the world. No wonder the verse continues: “Then many will give thanks . . . [for the] answer to the prayers of many.”

Let’s pray together so we can also rejoice together in God’s goodness. Our loving Father is waiting for us to come to Him so He can work through us in ways that reach far beyond anything we could ever imagine. By:  Poh Fang Chia  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)Sign in to track your progress!

What request can you and others pray for? How has your faith been strengthened when you pray with others?

Father, help us to pray together even as we work together. 


Loving Others with Our Prayers

This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:8–11

“Are people still praying for me?”

That was one of the first questions a missionary asked his wife whenever she was allowed to visit him in prison. He had been falsely accused and incarcerated for his faith for two years. His life was frequently in danger because of the conditions and hostility in the prison, and believers around the world were earnestly praying for him. He wanted to be assured they wouldn’t stop, because he believed God was using their prayers in a powerful way.

Our prayers for others—especially those who are persecuted for their faith—are a vital gift. Paul made this clear when he wrote the believers in Corinth about hardships he faced during his missionary journey. He “was under great pressure,” so much that he “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). But then he told them God had delivered him and described the tool He’d used to do it: “We have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (vv. 10–11, emphasis added).

God moves through our prayers to accomplish great good in the lives of His people. One of the best ways to love others is to pray for them, because through our prayers we open the door to the help only God can provide. When we pray for others, we love them in His strength. There’s none greater or more loving than He. By:  James Banks (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How do you love others with your prayers? In what ways can you encourage prayer for those who are persecuted for their faith?

Loving and Almighty God, thank You for the amazing gift of prayer and the ways You move through it. Please help me to pray faithfully for others today! 

For help in your prayer life, read Jesus’ Blueprint for Prayer at DiscoverySeries.org/HJ891.


Small but Significant

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.2 Corinthians 1:10–11

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:8–11

The day started out like any other, but it ended as a nightmare. Esther (not her real name) and several hundred women were kidnapped from their boarding school by a religious militant group. A month later all were released—except for Esther who refused to deny Christ. As my friend and I read about her and others who are being persecuted for their faith, our hearts were moved. We wanted to do something. But what?

When writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul shared about the trouble he experienced in the province of Asia. The persecution was so severe that he and his companions “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). However, Paul was helped by the prayers of believers (v. 11). Though the Corinthian church was many miles away from the apostle, their prayers mattered and God heard them. Herein lies an amazing mystery: the sovereign One has chosen to use our prayers to accomplish His purpose. What a privilege!

Today we can continue to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith. There’s something we can do. We can pray for those who are marginalized, oppressed, beaten, tortured, and sometimes even killed for their belief in Christ. Let’s pray for them to experience God’s comfort and encouragement and to be strengthened with hope as they stand firmly with Jesus. By:  Poh Fang Chia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Who can you commit to praying for by name this week? When have you experienced God’s faithfulness during a time of persecution?

In prayer, we cast ourselves at the feet of divine power.


Giving the Gift of Prayer

You help us by your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:11

Today's Scripture & Insight: Romans 8:28–34

“I didn’t realize what a gift prayer was until my brother was sick and you all prayed for him. I cannot tell you what a comfort your prayers were!”

Laura had tears in her eyes as she thanked me for the prayers of the people in our church for her brother, who was facing a cancer diagnosis. She continued, “Your prayers have strengthened him in this difficult time and have been an encouragement to our entire family.”

One of the best ways to love others is to pray for them. Jesus is our ultimate example in this. The New Testament tells us about Jesus praying for others on many occasions, and even shows us that He continues to come to the Father on our behalf. Romans 8:34 says that He “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Even after showing such selfless love at the cross, the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ continues to express His care for us by praying for us at this very moment.

All around us are people who need us to follow Jesus’s example and love them with our prayers, inviting God’s help and intervention in their lives. We can ask God to help us pray for them, and He will! May our loving Lord strengthen us to generously give the gift of our prayers for others today. By:  James Banks (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for praying for me. Help me to serve You and others through faithfully praying today.

Submit your prayer request and pray for others at YourDailyBread.org.

Prayer is a gift to be shared.


Turning Pain Into Praise

As you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. —2 Corinthians 1:7

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:7-11

After years of a remarkable and  fruitful ministry in India, Amy Carmichael became a bedridden sufferer. As the courageous founder and dynamic heart of the Dohnavur Fellowship, she had been instrumental in rescuing hundreds of girls and boys from a terrible life of sexual servitude.

While she carried on her rescue operation of bringing young people into spiritual freedom through faith in Jesus Christ, she wrote books and poems that are still blessing readers around the world.

Then arthritis made Amy a pain-wracked invalid. Did she bemoan her affliction or question God? No. Amy was still the guiding inspiration of Dohnavur, and she still kept on writing. Her meditations, letters, and poems are filled with praise to God and encouragement to her fellow pilgrims.

When affliction strikes us, how do we react? Are we embittered, or do we trustfully appropriate God’s sustaining grace? (2 Cor. 12:9). And do we prayerfully encourage those around us by our Spirit-enabled cheerfulness, our courage, and our confidence in God?

When we rely on the Lord, He will help us turn pain into praise. By:  Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Can God trust you with sorrow,
With anguish, and with pain,
Or would your faith soon falter
And faint beneath the strain? 
—Nicholson

Praise is the song of a soul set free.

2 Corinthians 1:12  For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

AMP It is a reason for pride and exultation to which our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [generally] and especially toward you, with devout and pure motives and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God (the unmerited favor and merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, and keeps, strengthens, and increases them in Christian virtues).

The Living Bible We are so glad that we can say with utter honesty that in all our dealings we have been pure and sincere, quietly depending upon the Lord for his help and not on our own skills. And that is even more true, if possible, about the way we have acted toward you.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:12 For our reason for confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that with pure motives and sincerity which are from God– not by human wisdom but by the grace of God– we conducted ourselves in the world, and all the more toward you.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:12 Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν ἁπλότητι καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, [καὶ] οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλ᾽ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:12 Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν ἁπλότητι καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, [καὶ] οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλ᾽ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:12 For our glorying is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we did conduct ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:12 For our glorifying is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:12 For this is our confidence: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God's grace.

MIT (MacDonald Idiomatic Translation) 2 Corinthians 1:12 This is our pride, reflecting the testimony of our conscience, that in generosity and godly sincerity we interact in the world, not by carnal sophistication, but by the grace of God, and especially so in relating to you.

  • For our proud confidence is this: Job 13:15 23:10-12 27:5,6 31:1-40 Ps 7:3-5 44:17-21 Isa 38:3 Ac 24:16 Ro 9:1 1Co 4:4 Ga 6:4 1Ti 1:5,19,20 Heb 13:18 1Pe 3:16,21 1Jn 3:19-22 
  • holiness or simplicity: 2Co 11:3 Ro 16:18,19 
  • godly: 2Co 2:17 8:8 Jos 24:14 1Co 5:8 Eph 6:14 Php 1:10 Tit 2:7 
  • not: 2Co 1:17 4:2 10:2-4 12:15-19 1Co 2:4,5,13 15:10 Jas 3:13-18 4:6 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

New English Translation

  • 2 Cor 1:1-2 Salutation
  • 2 Cor 1:3-11 Thanksgiving for God's Comfort
  • 2 Cor 1:12-22 Paul Defends His Changed Plans
  • 2 Cor 1:23-24 Why Paul Postponed His Visit

Related Passages:

Acts 23:1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”

Acts 24:16 “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

2 Timothy 1:3  I thank God, Whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,

1 Thessalonians 2:3  For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

PAUL DEFENDS
HIS CONDUCT

Paul now introduces a new subject, defending his conduct and this subject will go through the chapter break (not the best chapter division) until 2 Cor 2:4.

I like Ray Stedman's title to this section (2 Cor 1:12-2:4) "When you are Misunderstood." This has happened to all us, in the church, in our homes, in our workplaces. Years ago I was the president of the local blood center and recall giving an interview to a local television station in the early years of the AIDS crisis when we had no understanding of the cause and there was great fear over how it was transmitted. That evening I watched the interview replayed and was horrified because they took what I said totally out of context. I was grossly misunderstood! Paul describes an episode in which he was misunderstood with the result that he suffered false allegations and accusations.

Keep in mind the context of this letter is that Paul was being attacked by false teachers in Corinth who sought to usurp his apostolic authority. And here in 2 Cor 1:12-14 he begins to defend himself.

Swindoll on 2Cor 1:12-14 observes that "following on the heels of a paragraph concerning reasons for suffering (2 Cor 1:3-11), Paul immediately transitions into a defense of his true character in response to the harmful false accusations slung at him from across the Aegean Sea. Here is our first glimpse into the situation in Corinth that was causing conflict between Paul and the church. It appears that Paul’s conduct and sincerity had been called into question. Paul refuted the accusation with directness and clarity." (Insights on 1&2 Corinthians)

Barclay on 2Cor 1:12-14 - Here we begin to catch the undertones of the accusations that the Corinthians were levelling against Paul and of the slanders with which they were trying to besmirch him.

Bernard - He claims that he has always been frank and open in his dealings with the Corinthian Christians: cf. 1 Th. 2:3.

McShane on for

The conjunction "for" at the opening of this passage connects it with what precedes, especially with 2Co 1:11, where we learned that Paul had a place in the prayers and thanks of the Corinthian saints. Now he proceeds to show them that he is not unworthy of their interest, since throughout all his dealings with them, he had acted in all honesty. (What the Bible teaches – 1 and 2 Corinthians.)

For our proud confidence (KJV = "rejoicing") is this - NIV - "Now this is our boast." YLT = "For our glorying is this." Paul's character has been assassinated as we might say today and so he proceeds to begin his defense with a little "holy boasting." Paul quickly points out that this "boasting" was not emanating from his fallen flesh as is most boasting by men. In context it is boasting energized by the transforming power of the grace of God (dispensed by the Spirit of grace - Heb 10:29b+).

Proud confidence (boasting) (2746) kauchesis from kauchaomai = to boast) refers to the act of boasting about something. It expresses the idea of self-congratulation with or without sufficient reason.To boast generally means to speak of or assert with excessive pride, to express pride in oneself or one’s accomplishments and often suggests ostentation or even exaggeration, but clearly that is not the sense in the present use by Paul. We see Paul's “boasting” in Jesus Christ (Ro 15:17),  “boasting” (four times) over the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 7:4,14; 8:24) and once over the Thessalonians (1 Th 2:19). In 2 Cor 1:12 Paul is "boasting" in a clear conscience before God and later in this same letter is boasting of the privilege of preaching the gospel without charge (2Cor 11:10). 

Kauchesis - 11v - Keyword in 2 Cor - Ro 3:27; Ro 15:17; 1 Co. 15:31; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 7:4; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 8:24; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 11:17; 1 Th. 2:19; Jas 4:16

The testimony of our conscience - Paul proceeds to call (in effect) "witnesses to the stand" in defense of his character - first his conscience and then his conduct ("holiness and godly sincerity"). How many of us would be willing to call our conscience to the witness stand to defend our actions? Paul calls his "conscience" to the witness stand (so to speak as in Ro 9:1) to "testify" regarding his character and conduct. Paul is saying in essence that he has a clear conscience, which was the way he always served God (2 Ti 1:3, cf Acts 23:1, Acts 24:16).

Ray Stedman explains why Paul's pattern of first emphasizing a clear conscience is so vital in misunderstanding/conflict - Paul starts out by making plain to the Corinthians that his conscience is clear in the whole matter. He wants them to understand that this is not merely a defensive reaction on his part, but that his actions, no matter how they may have seen them, are clear before God. When you are misunderstood about something, when somebody misjudges you, the first thing you have to ask yourself, as a Christian, is, "Is there anything about this that God condemns? Have I really done anything wrong? Does my conscience bother me about any part of this?" If it does, then your first step, of course, has got to be to confess that, to acknowledge it and admit that you have done something wrong. There may be many elements about the situation you are facing that you feel justified in, but there may be parts of it, at least, where you did something wrong. You may have lost your temper, you may have said some cruel or unkind things, you may have retaliated against someone. If that is the case, then that is where you have to start; you have to have a clear conscience before you can go on. Much of the strife between people comes from their unwillingness to clear their consciences at the very beginning. Notice how Paul does this. He sees no deviation from his normal pattern of behavior. He consistently seeks to be an open, out-front person who is not trying to hide anything, who is not trying to resort to guile or what he calls "fleshly wisdom," manipulating, here. He has done something that has, apparently, offended some of these Corinthians, but he wants them to know that, as far as his standing before God is concerned, his conscience is clear. Then, he hopes to make them understand. That is what Verse 13 means. (When You Are Misunderstood)

THOUGHT - What a testimony this would be if all God's children could make this statement in sincerity and truth regarding our daily conduct! How it might ameliorate many misunderstanding, disagreements and conflicts. 

Testimony (3142marturion/martyrion source of English "martyr") means evidence, proof. The content of what a witness tells. Marturion is is the declaration of facts which confirms or makes something known. Marturion is an objective act, circumstance or statement that provides evidence or certifies the truthfulness of something, in this case substantiating Paul's character and conduct. (See also marturia/martyria)

Conscience (4893) suneidesis is derived from sun/syn = with + eido = know or eidēsis = knowledge) literally means a "knowing with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. In other words 

conscience is that inner faculty that "knows with" our spirit and approves when we do right, but accuses when we do wrong. “Conscientia,” represents the self sitting in judgment on self, a specially Greek idea, and taken over by St. Paul from Greek thought.

 In Classic Greek the term occurs in legal contexts of witnesses who share testimony. In a second, reflexive sense, suneidēsis signifies “consciousness” (in a neutral sense) and from that it means “inner consciousness,” i.e., “conscience.” Conscience particularly carries moral implications; it is a “knowledge” of right from wrong. This is especially a Pauline word (20 of the 30 NT uses by Paul). Many texts reading suneidēsis occur in a forensic (legal) context (e.g., Romans 2:15; 9:1). Often the conscience becomes the “court of appeal” (Hahn, “Conscience,” Colin Brown, 1:350) where the believer makes moral decisions. The believer’s conscience—controlled by the Spirit (Romans 9:1; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:12)—assumes a positive role in helping the Christian make the right decision. Thus Paul declared that his conscience was “clear” (2 Timothy 1:3; cf. Acts 24:16; 23:1). Since the conscience is a legitimate point of the appeal of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:2; cf. 5:11), it is only natural to expect that the believer’s life is to be marked with a conscience that has been “cleared” through the power of the gospel. A clear conscience signals faithfulness, especially among those in leadership (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5, 19; 3:9; cf. 1 Peter 3:16). One trademark of those opponents of the Faith is a “seared conscience” (1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15). They resist “sound teaching” and their behavior reflects their stubbornness (cf. Titus 1:16).

McShane on conscience - That inner voice which cannot be silenced and constantly monitors our wrong-doing, was not accusing him, but rather confirming his action so that he could bare his bosom to them; he had nothing to hide. (What the Bible teaches – 1 and 2 Corinthians.)

Colin G. Kruse - The conscience is not to be equated with the voice of God or even the moral law, rather it is a human faculty which adjudicates upon human action by the light of the highest standard a person perceives. Seeing that all of human nature has been affected by sin, both a person’s perception of the standard of action required and the function of the conscience itself (as a constituent part of human nature) are also affected by sin. For this reason conscience can never be accorded the position of ultimate judge of one’s behavior. It is possible that the conscience may excuse one for that which God will not excuse, and conversely it is equally possible that conscience may condemn a person for that which God allows. The final judgment therefore belongs only to God (cf. 1 Cor. 4:2–5). Nevertheless, to reject the voice of conscience is to court spiritual disaster (cf. 1 Ti 1:19). We cannot reject the voice of conscience with impunity, but we can modify the highest standard to which it relates by gaining for ourselves a greater understanding of the truth. (The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians - TNTC)

Pulpit Commentary on conscience --  To this St. Paul frequently appeals (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; Ro 9:1; 1Cor 4:4).

Barclay - We might well add a new beatitude to the list, "Blessed is the man who has nothing to hide." It is an old jest to tell of how a man went from door to door saying, "Flee! All is discovered!" and how the most unlikely people fled. It is said that once an architect offered to build a Greek philosopher a house so constructed that it would be impossible to see into it. "I will give you double your fee," said the philosopher, "if you will build me a house into every room of which everyone can see." 

MacArthur - Since the conscience holds people to their highest perceived standard, believers need to set that standard to the highest level by submitting to all of God’s Word. As they continually fill their minds with the truths of Scripture, believers clarify God’s perfect law. Their consciences will then call them to live according to that law. The conscience functions like a skylight, not like a lamp; it does not produce its own light, but merely lets moral light in. Because of that, the Bible teaches the importance of keeping a clear or good conscience.

That in holiness and godly sincerity - Holiness is translated "sincerity" (haplotes) in several versions (ESV, NLT, KJV), but the NAS and NIV translate the Greek word hagiotes (only used here and Heb 12:10) which means sanctity or holiness. As noted below the evidence slightly favors the word haplotes so the NET of "pure motives" or ESV of "simplicity" are favored. Paul's point is clear that he was not duplicitous in his behavior. Haplotes can also convey the sense of generosity and so the MIT translates it "in generosity and godly sincerity." Thayer says sincerity means something judged “pure” under the light of the sun (and I would add under the pure light of the SON!). This sincerity is characterized by pure motives (2 Cor 2:17+). Paul had no hidden motives. This kind of sincerity cannot be (successively) attacked by adversaries and/or unbelievers, but in fact serves as a living testimony to them (cf Mt 5:16+, Phil 2:15+ and against them = 1 Pe 3:16+). This supernatural sincerity originates from the grace of God and flows (by His Spirit) through obedient vessels of honor (2 Ti 2:21+, cf 2Cor 4:7+). 

Swindoll asks "How many of us could claim that we are consistently holy and sincere, full of wisdom and grace? Few of us would invite an investigation into our private lives, but Paul welcomed it: “Come on in, look around. I have nothing to hide.” He points out that his letters conform to his blameless conduct (2Cor 1:13-14).(Insights on 1&2 Corinthians)

Gromacki comments that Paul's "life was marked by “simplicity.” This word (haplotes) indicates single-minded purpose. Paul lived for the glory of God and for the service of others....(on godly sincerity) Paul knew that God could not detect flaws in his spiritual motivation. Men can fool other men, but they cannot fool God."  (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith)

THOUGHT - Godly sincerity should mark of the life of every believer!  Would your vessel show any "cracks" today (see definition below) if it were judged by the Son? 

TECHNICAL NOTE on holiness (simplicity - KJV) -  Two viable variants exist at this place in the text: ἁγιότητι (hagiotēti, “holiness”) vs. ἁπλότητι (haplotēti, “pure motives” - haplotes). A confusion of letters could well have produced the variant (TCGNT 507): In uncial script the words would have been written ΑΓΙΟΤΗΤΙ and ΑΠΛΟΤΗΤΙ. This, however, does not explain which reading created the other. Overall ἁπλότητι, though largely a Western-Byzantine reading (א2 D F G 𝔐 lat sy), is better suited to the context; it is also a Pauline word while ἁγιότης (hagiotēs) is not. It also best explains the rise of the other variants, πραότητι (praotēti, “gentleness”) and {σπλάγχνοις} (splanchnois, “compassion”). On the other hand, the external evidence in favor of ἁγιότητι is extremely strong (𝔓46 א* A B C K P Ψ 0121 0243 33 81 1739 1881 al co). This diversity of Manuscripts provides excellent evidence for authenticity, but because of the internal evidence listed above, ἁπλότητι (haplotes) is to be preferred, albeit only slightly.

Sincerity (1505)(eilikrineia  from eilikrines from heíle = shining of sun + krino = judge) literally means judged by sunlight, and then figuratively to that is tested as genuine, pure, sincere, uncontaminated, unmixed by seductive influences of world, the flesh, devil. BDAG - the quality or state of being free of dissimulation. Purity of motive. In ancient times the finest pottery was thin. It had a clear color, and it brought a high price. Fine pottery was very fragile both before and after firing. And … this pottery would [often] crack in the oven. Cracked pottery should have been thrown away. But dishonest dealers were in the habit of filling cracks with a hard pearly wax that would blend in with the color of the pottery. This made the cracks practically undetectable in the shops, especially when painted or glazed; but the wax was immediately detectable if the pottery was held up to light, especially to the sun. In that case the cracks would show up darker. It was said that the artificial element was detected by “sun-testing.” Honest dealers marked their finer product by the caption from heíle, the shining or splendor of the sun, and krino, to judge, discern. sine cera = “without wax.” Even as it was wise for customers in the ancient marketplaces to give all pieces of pottery the “sunlight test,” so it is wise and necessary for all believers to test their lives for the wax of hypocrisy. When held up to the light of God’s Word ("the Son light" test), the presence or absence of sinful cracks will be apparent. That’s why it is so important for us to feed daily on Scripture (Ps 119:9-11) and to allow our lives to be shaped by its power (Heb 4:12).  Eilikrineia 3x in NT - 1 Co. 5:8; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 2:17 and not in Lxx.

THOUGHT - Would my life pass the test of being held up to the light of the Son? Or would my life show "cracks" I have tried to cover over and conceal from others (cf Pr 28:13+, Nu 32:23b+)? As Barclay says "Blessed is the man who has nothing to hide."

Not in fleshly wisdom (sophia) but in the grace (see charis) of God - Fleshly wisdom is wisdom that is not "that which comes down from above but is earthly, natural, demonic!" (Jas 3:15+). Paul's wisdom was supernaturally energized by and dependent upon the transformative grace of God. Paul knew that "by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (1 Cor 15:10+).

Alford says "fleshly wisdom is any thing but holy and pure, having many windings and insincerities in order to captivate men."

Broomall  - Spiritual irreconcilables and incompatibles are represented by fleshly wisdom (cf. Jas 3:15) and the grace of God (cf. I Cor 3:10; 15:10; Eph 3:2, 7, 8). (2 Corinthians 1)

Gromacki writes that Paul "did not employ “fleshly wisdom.” Earlier, the apostle condemned the folly of the world’s wisdom, which, unfortunately, was expressed by carnal believers (1 Cor. 1:17–25; 3:1–4). Rather, Paul thought God’s thoughts after Him. He spoke the wisdom of God revealed by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:6–13).  (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith)

James gives the best commentary on the quality of wisdom Paul demonstrated toward others - 

James 3:13-18+ Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 (PAUL'S WISDOM AND SOURCE OF THIS WISDOM) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Fleshly (carnal)(4559sarkikos from sarx) means of flesh (that which belongs to the nature of the sarx) and can refer to physical flesh but here refers to the moral/ethical aspects of the fallen (Adamic, sinful) flesh, dominated by the default sinful tendency inherited from Adam and in marked contrast to the spiritual, which finds its origin and source in God, His Word and His Spirit and thus is in "alignment" with God's will and way.

We have conducted ourselves in the world (cf 1 Co 5:10, Php 2:15), and especially toward you - Paul's conduct was grace based whether before the world or in the church! Conducted (anastrepho) denotes Paul's entire conduct, the tenor and practice of his life. In the world would be toward non-believers and toward you refers to the saints at Corinth. Especially is more literally "abundantly" (NET - all the more) for the adverb (perissoteros) describes his (their) conduct as beyond what one would ordinarily expect, and thus it (their holiness and godly sincerity) is demonstrated even to a greater degree toward the saints at Corinth than toward the "ain'ts" in the world. It is notable that this adverb (perissoteros) is concentrated in 2 Corinthians reflecting the emotional tone of Paul in this unusual letter. The related adverb perissos is used 3 times (2Cor 2:7 = excessive, 2 Cor 9:1 = superfluous, 2 Cor 10:8 = further)

Broomall on we have conducted ourselves - Paul means that three judges determined his conduct: (1) his conscience; (2) God’s holiness and sincerity (ASV); (3) the world and the Corinthians. (2 Corinthians 1)

Paul made a similar statement to the Thessalonians - "You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers." (1 Th 2:10+)

Conducted (390anastrepho from aná = again, back + strepho = turn) literally means to turn down or back, to wheel about and hence, to move about in a place or to sojourn. Figuratively as in Paul's description it describes one's whole manner of life, behavior, conduct or deportment (cf Ep 2:3+ = "lived", 2Cor 1:12, Heb 13:18+, 1Ti 3:15 = "behave" speaking of moral/ethical behavior in the household of God; 2Pe 2:18+).  In short anastrepho describes the general ordering of one’s conduct in relation to others, in this case especially Paul's conduct toward the saints at Corinth. 

Especially (4056)(perissoteros) is comparative form of the adverb perissos, this term functions as an adverb and serves to heighten in a quantitative or qualitative sense the action of the corresponding verb.

Gilbrant - Paul’s use of perissoterōs is divided almost evenly between the comparative and the elative use. As a comparative Paul used it to describe his imprisonments and beatings which were “greater” (quantitative) in comparison to those of his opponents (2 Corinthians 11:23). Paul also used this term in reference to his love for the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 12:15), his “extreme” zeal as a Jew (Galatians 1:14), and the increased boldness of the brethren to proclaim the gospel as a result of his imprisonment (Philippians 1:14). Paul’s elative use (a grammatical term for the raising of something to its highest degree without another specific object in mind with which comparison is made) of this term is indicative of popular speech rather than classical usage (Turner, Grammar of New Testament Greek, 3:30). He used it to heighten the sense of the personal integrity he and Timothy showed to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:12); to describe the love he had for the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 2:4); to emphasize the swell of heartfelt emotion Titus had in remembering the reception the Corinthians gave him (2 Corinthians 7:15); and of Paul’s, Silvanus’, and Timothy’s great efforts to visit the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:17). In Hebrews perissoterōs describes the greater attention that must be given to the message of Christ (Heb 2:1) compared with the Old Testament message given through angels. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Perissoteros -13x in 12v - Mk. 15:14; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 2:4 = especially; 2 Co. 7:13 = exceedingly in KJV; 2 Co. 7:15 = abounds all the more; 2 Co. 11:23 = far more (labors); 2 Co. 12:15 = "If I love you more"; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 1:14; 1 Thess. 2:17; Heb. 2:1; Heb. 13:19. Not found in the Septuagint. 

2 Corinthians 1:13  For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;

Philips - Our letters to you have no double meaning—they mean just what you understand them to mean when you read them.  I hope you will always understand these letters

Amplified 2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write you nothing else but simply what you can read and understand [there is no double meaning to what we say], and I hope that you will become thoroughly acquainted [with divine things] and know and understand [them] accurately and well to the end,

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;

NET  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we do not write you anything other than what you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely

ETRV (Easy to Read Version)  We write to you only what you can read and understand. And I hope you will fully understand,

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:13 οὐ γὰρ ἄλλα γράφομεν ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ἃ ἀναγινώσκετε ἢ καὶ ἐπιγινώσκετε· ἐλπίζω δὲ ὅτι ἕως τέλους ἐπιγνώσεσθε,

CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) 2 Corinthians 1:13 There are no hidden meanings in our letters other than what you can read and understand; and my hope is that you will understand fully,

CCNT (Christian Counselor's NT)   We are writing nothing to you but exactly what you read and understand it to be. And I hope that you will understand to the end

GWT 2 Corinthians 1:13  We are only writing you what you already knew before you read this. I hope you will understand this as long as you live,

ISV    2 Corinthians 1:13  For what we are writing you is nothing more than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely,

Mace NT  2 Corinthians 1:13  In reality, we writ nothing to you, but what you may perceive by the reading, and I trust you ever will perceive.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can't understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us,

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand--

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that,

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:13 οὐ γὰρ ἄλλα γράφομεν ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ἃ ἀναγινώσκετε ἢ καὶ ἐπιγινώσκετε· ἐλπίζω δὲ ὅτι ἕως τέλους ἐπιγνώσεσθε,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:13 for no other things do we write to you, but what ye either do read or also acknowledge, and I hope that also unto the end ye shall acknowledge,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write no other things unto you, than what ye read or even acknowledge, and I hope ye will acknowledge unto the end:

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:13 Now we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely--

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:13 For we are not writing other principles to you that differ from those you are now reading or from those you also know well. And I hope that you will understand them fully.

Related Passages:

2Cor 10:10-11 "For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present. 

PAUL'S WRITING
UNDERSTANDABLE

For (garwe write (grapho in present tense) nothing else to you than what you read (anaginosko in present tense) and understand (epiginosko- He means what he says and he says what he means! No hidden meanings! NLT paraphrases it "Our letters have been straightforward." MIT has "For we are not writing other principles to you that differ from those you are now reading or from those you also know well." Complete Jewish Bible "There are no hidden meanings in our letters other than what you can read and understand," In other words Paul is saying  there is no double or hidden meaning to what he was writing.

Swindoll -- " Paul hoped that the words of this latest letter (2 Corinthians) would pierce through the misconceptions or deceptions that had been clouding their understanding, so that they would see things clearly.(Insights on 1&2 Corinthians)

Broomall  -  Paul was a consistent man, whether dealing with hostile Jews (cf. Acts 26:22) or with recalcitrant Christians. What he wrote in his letters could be easily read and fully known (so epiginosko, here translated acknowledge, usually means; cf. I Cor 13:12, ASV).(2 Corinthians 1)

Gromacki- The apostle claimed that what he wrote about himself was what they should expect to read about him. His critics asserted that Paul wrote one thing and meant something else by it. They charged that Paul’s expression in writing and in actual behavior did not match (10:9–10). The apostle denied the presence of innuendos or reservations within his writings. He wrote only what his readers could understand clearly. They did not have to “read between the lines” to get his true meaning. The usage of the two verbs “read” (anaginōskō) and “acknowledge” (epiginōskō) refer to written and oral testimony respectively. What they both read and heard from Paul were consistent. What they read from Paul and what they heard from Titus or Timothy about Paul also matched. (2 Corinthians - Stand Firm in the Faith)

Understand (present tense) is epiginosko meaning to know fully, exactly, completely. Peter does say that some of what Paul writes is difficult to fully understand (O, how we need to pray for the Spirit's illumination!) writing "also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand (dusnoetos = understandable but only with great effort), which the untaught and unstable distort (TWIST SCRIPTURES), as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Pe 3:16+)

Clear relationships are tremendously important.
When they are neglected, strife, schism, division, hurt and pain in a church are the results
-- Ray Stedman

Ray Stedman now proposes to help them understand his situation -   He is going to try to clear this up. He hopes that they will be able to grasp it fully as he explains it to them, because he longs to restore a kind of a mutual sense of pride in one another. This is what believers ought to keep constantly striving for, a clearness of relationship with each other. It is important to notice that Paul makes a real effort to clear up this misunderstanding. Some people adopt the attitude, "Well, I am just going to forget it and hope the whole thing will disappear." But the trouble with that is that it usually does not disappear. Misunderstanding can lie hidden in the heart; you may think you have dismissed it or forgotten it, but actually it is just festering away, smoldering like a fire that refuses to go out. Sometimes, unexpectedly, it bursts into flames; you are angry at somebody and you hardly realize why; but it is because something has been left unsettled. Everywhere in the Word of God we are taught that, as Christians, we must not let things lie unsettled. If we are upset about something, or we feel someone is upset at us, then we have to do something about it. That is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift," (Mt 5:23-24RSV+). Clear relationships are tremendously important. When they are neglected, strife, schism, division, hurt and pain in a church are the results.  (When You Are Misunderstood)

Barclay - There were those who said that Paul in his letters did not quite mean what he said. His answer was that there were no hidden meanings in his words. Words are odd things. A man may use them to reveal his thoughts or equally to conceal them. Few of us can honestly say that we mean to the full every word we say. We may say a thing because it is the right thing to say; we may say it for the sake of being agreeable; we may say it for the sake of avoiding trouble. James, who saw the dangers of the tongue more clearly than any man, said, "If any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man." (James 3:2+) In Paul's life there were no hidden actions, no hidden motives and no hidden meanings. That is indeed something to aim at.

And I hope (elpizo in present tense) you will understand (epiginosko) until the end (telos) - Amplified = "I hope that you will become thoroughly acquainted [with divine things] and know and understand [them] accurately and well to the end." Hope is elpizo which expresses the fact that Paul is counting on (and expecting) the Corinthians will fully grasp what he has written them. Until the end is probably not a time phrase  but is an idiomatic way in Greek to say fully, totally or completely (NB: Some Bible translations and commentators favor a reference to the Second Coming, but that seems less likely in context). ESV = "I hope you will fully understand." NLT = "I hope someday you will fully understand us."

Robertson on until the end - The report of Titus showed that the majority now at last understood Paul. He hopes that it will last (1 Cor. 1:8).


Keep It Simple

We are not writing any other things to you than what you [can] read or understand. —2 Corinthians 1:13

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:12-14

James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was instrumental in the drafting of the US constitution. He warned against creating laws “so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Based on some of the complicated government forms I’ve read, that’s advice that still needs to be heeded a little more often!

Sometimes when sharing the gospel, we make it more complicated than it needs to be. We can be glad that the Bible presents the good news of salvation in clear, easily understood language. Jesus said to Nicodemus, an educated Pharisee, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He later said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (14:6). The apostle Paul said it in straightforward language to the jailor in Philippi who asked how to be saved: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

God’s precious love story is simple. He sent His Son to rescue us from sin and death. Wonderful news that even children can understand. By:  David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
—Crosby

Through faith in Christ, we receive God’s pardon and escape sin’s penalty.

2 Corinthians 1:14  just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also [are] ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

Amplified 2 Corinthians 1:14  [Just] as you have [already] partially known and understood and acknowledged us and recognized that you can [honestly] be proud of us, even as we [can be proud] of you on the day of our Lord Jesus.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

CCNT (Christian Counselor's NT)  (as you have understood us in part), so that you can make us your boast, as you are ours, on the Day of our Lord Jesus.

ETRV (Easy to Read Version) just as you already understand many things about us. I hope you will understand that you can be proud of us, just as we will be proud of you on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:14 just as also you have partly understood us, that we are your source of pride just as you also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:14 καθὼς καὶ ἐπέγνωτε ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ μέρους, ὅτι καύχημα ὑμῶν ἐσμεν καθάπερ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἡμῶν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:14 even if you don't understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:14 just as you did partially understand us-- that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:14 καθὼς καὶ ἐπέγνωτε ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ μέρους, ὅτι καύχημα ὑμῶν ἐσμεν καθάπερ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἡμῶν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:14 according as also ye did acknowledge us in part, that your glory we are, even as also ye are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:14 as also ye did acknowledge us in part, that we are your glorying, even as ye also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:14 as you have partially understood us-- that we are your reason for pride, as you are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

MIT (MacDonald Idiomatic Translation)  2 Corinthians 1:14 Just as also you knew us to some degree, know that we are proud of you; even so you will be our pride on the day of the Lord Jesus.

TLB 2 Corinthians 1:14  I want you to try to accept me and be proud of me as you already are to some extent; just as I shall be of you on that day when our Lord Jesus comes back again.

  •  just as you also partially 2Co 2:5 Ro 11:25 1Co 11:18 
  • that we are your reason: 2Co 5:12 1Co 3:21-23 Php 1:26
  • as you also are ours: 2Co 9:2 1Co 15:31 Php 2:16  Php 4:1 1Th 2:19-20 
  • in the: 1Co 1:8 Php 1:6,10 1Th 3:13 1Th 5:23 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 5:12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.

Phil 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory (BOAST - kauchema) because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Phil 4:1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 

Henry Morris - A crown of rejoicing awaits those who will be greeted by people won to Christ, in part through their witness, in the day when Christ returns 

1 Corinthians 1:8  who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 3:13  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:23  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

PRIDE AT THE
PAROUSIA

Paul describes mutual rejoicing at the return of Jesus. 

Just as you also partially did understand (epiginosko) us - ETRV (Easy to Read Version) "just as you already understand many things about us." Amplified = " [Just] as you have [already] partially known and understood." Paul is saying that the Corinthians understanding of Paul's behavior and motivation was understood already to some extent. "As the Corinthians read and heard Paul’s unfolding instruction to them, they continued to understand more." (MacArthur)

That we are (present tens) your reason to be proud (kauchema) as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus - Literally Greek reads "that we are your boast even as you are our boast." The point is that some of the Corinthians were in fact rejoicing and boasting in the achievements of the great apostle and he was rejoicing over them. Are is present tense which speaks "as of that which is a settled recognized fact. The experimental (experiential) mutual knowledge of one another as a ground of boasting was not confined to what should take place in the day of the Lord, but regarded a present fact, which should receive its full completion at the day of the Lord." (Alford) You boast in us and we will boast in you Corinthians. If he is their "glory" (reason to be proud), so they would be his "boast" in the future. This verse describes a divine "mutually beneficial society" a future day of rejoicing over each other in glory! 

Paul wrote a similar encouraging word to the saints at Thessalonica...

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation (BOASTING - kauchesis used in 2 Co 1:12)? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. (1 Th 2:19-20+)

And again he wrote similarly to the saints at Philippi...

holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory (kauchema) because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (Php 2:16+).

Hodge has a good word  

Paul believed that in the day of the Lord Jesus the Corinthians would rejoice over him as he would rejoice over them. In that day they would appreciate the blessedness of having had him for their teacher, as he would rejoice in having had them for his converts. The joy, however, was already theirs to some extent. 'We are, and shall be, your rejoicing, as you are and shall be ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.' (2 Corinthians Commentary on Pdf)

Be proud (glory, rejoice) (2745kauchema akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai = pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) strictly speaking describes the “object of boasting,” hence by implication, the “act of boasting.” It can refer to an object, occasion, or something said of which people are proud. The Septuagint uses this noun in the sense of the sword of the Lord being the boast of Israel against its enemies (Deut 33:29, cf Ps 89:17 = "You are the glory"). The boast can be either proper or improper (sinful, as in 1Co 5:6), and whether it is a good or bad sense is determined by the context.  Abraham did not use his works as the basis for boasting (Romans 4:2). Kauchema is the act of taking pride in something or that which constitutes a source of pride. Kauchēma is also used of believers rejoicing on the basis of God’s glory (Romans 5:2); of Paul not being able to use his preaching of the gospel as the basis for boasting (1 Corinthians 9:15, 16); of Paul being able to boast over the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:14; 5:12; 9:3); and of Paul being able to say that the Philippians are his pride and joy “in the day of Christ,” or when He returns (Philippians 2:16).  Webster's 1828 definition of "boast" nicely summarizes the good and bad sense of boast…(Bad sense) To brag, or vaunt one’s self; to make an ostentatious display, in speech, of one’s own worth, property, or actions. (Good sense) To glory; to speak with laudable pride and ostentation of meritorious persons or things." Usually, it is followed by of; sometimes by in. Wuest Word Studies adds that kauchema refers to the thing or person in which/whom "one glories or can glory, matter or ground of glorying. The word is not connected with the word glory (doxa) which is used of God’s glory. It means glory in the sense of exultation, self-congratulation. It does not however have the idea of an excessive or unjustified estimate of one’s self that the English word boasting has." Kauchema - 11x - Ro 4:2; 1 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 9:15; 1 Co. 9:16; 2 Co. 1:14; 2 Co. 5:12; 2 Co. 9:3; Gal. 6:4; Phil. 1:26; Phil. 2:16; Heb. 3:6

In the day of our Lord Jesus - ESV = "that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you." This phrase refers to the Second Coming "of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." (1 Th 3:13+) Again and again Paul emphasizes this divine endpoint as the goal every believer should be pointing toward and living for! John echoes this thought in 1 Jn 2:28+ writing "Now, little children, abide (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in Him, so that (purpose clause) when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming." This passage implies for some saints Jesus will come while they are still alive on earth. Could this be an allusion to the Rapture? Possibly. In the context of the Lord's return, this reason to be proud is an allusion to the judgment of believer's works. This reminds me of Paul's similar words in 1 Thes 2:19-20+ asking "who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation (BOASTING - kauchesis as in 2 Co 1:12)? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?  For you are our glory and joy." In other words the believers in whose spiritual lives Paul had played an instrumental role would be in some way be a component of his reward from the Lord at His coming. 

THOUGHT - Note also that approximately 1 in 20-25 NT passages directly or indirectly allude to the Second Coming. Clearly the Holy Spirit wants Jesus' return on our "spiritual radar," for He knows that what (Who) are looking for will (or at least should) effect what (Who) you are living for!  Who are you looking for beloved? Remember this "The world is passing away, and also its lusts." (1 Jn 2:17+)

2 Corinthians 1:15  In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing;

Amplified It was with assurance of this that I wanted and planned to visit you first [of all], so that you might have a double favor and token of grace (goodwill). 

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;

NET  2 Corinthians 1:15 And with this confidence I intended to come to you first so that you would get a second opportunity to see us,

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:15 Καὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πεποιθήσει ἐβουλόμην πρότερον πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν, ἵνα δευτέραν χάριν σχῆτε,

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice--

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:15 Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:15 Καὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πεποιθήσει ἐβουλόμην πρότερον πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν, ἵνα δευτέραν χάριν σχῆτε,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:15 and in this confidence I was purposing to come unto you before, that a second favour ye might have,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:15 And in this confidence I was minded to come first unto you, that ye might have a second benefit;

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:15 I planned with this confidence to come to you first, so you could have a double benefit,

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:15 Confident of this, I previously made up my mind to come to you in order that you might have a second benefit.

Wuest 2 Corinthians 1:15 And having become fully persuaded of this I, after mature consideration, desired to come to you first, in order that you may be having a second bestowment of grace

WEY 2 Corinthians 1:15 It was because I entertained this confidence that I intended to visit you before going elsewhere—so that you might receive a twofold proof of God's favour—

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:15  I was so sure of all this that I made plans at first to visit you, in order that you might be blessed twice.

  • in: 1Co 4:19 11:34 
  • that: Ro 1:11 15:29 Php 1:25,26 
  • blessing 2Co 6:1 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S ORIGINAL INTENTION
TO BESTOW A SECOND BENEFIT

Henry Alford summarizes vv15-24 - His defence of himself against the charge of fickleness of purpose for not having come to them.

In this confidence - ESV = "Because I was sure of this." The Message has "confident of your welcome." Living Bible = "It was because I was so sure of your understanding and trust that I planned to stop and see you." 

I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing (benefit, token of grace - charis)  - NET = "so that you would get a second opportunity to see us." Amplified = "so that you might have a double favor and token of grace (goodwill)." This "double blessing" represented a revision of his plan mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:5-7 when he had written "I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; 6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits."

Robertson on I intended (boulomai) -  Imperfect, I was wishing to come, picturing his former state of mind

Ray Stedman - The problem, of course, was that Paul had "Plan A" in mind that he had written to these Corinthians about. That involved leaving Ephesus, where he had been living, and crossing the Aegean Sea, directly to Corinth, and visiting them to help work out the problems they were having in the church. From there he planned to travel by land up through northern Greece into Macedonia, to the cities of Thessalonica and Philippi, where he had planted churches, and return again to Corinth, thus giving them what he calls here the "double pleasure" of his visit. He expected them to help him take ship from Corinth to Jerusalem to bring the gifts of the church to the poor starving saints there. This was his original plan, "Plan A." But he did not do it, as he tells us in 1 Cor 16:5-9. (When You Are Misunderstood)

Vincent on twice receive a blessing Benefit (BLESSING) is, literally, grace. Not a mere pleasurable experience through Paul’s visit, but a divine bestowal of grace. Compare Ro 1:11+. (2 Corinthians 1)

Confidence (4006pepoithesis from peitho = to persuade, come to a settled conviction) means full persuasion and expresses a belief in someone or something to the point of placing one's trust or reliance in them - the idea is having been persuaded and remaining persuaded.It expresses the “confidence” or “trust” one has who is in a state of mental and volitional commitment. It is a belief that one can rely on someone or something. The nuance of meaning depends on the context - In 2 Corinthians 3:4 Paul had “trust” toward God Who by His Spirit has written living letters. In 2 Corinthians 10:2 Paul had “confidence” in his role as Christ’s apostle, while h in 2 Corinthians 1:15 there was “confidence” both regarding himself and his converts (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:22).


Wick Broomall has a helpful outline 

2 Cor 1:15-2:17 -- Paul's Diversion Justified (click excellent outline of the entire letter - Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

  1. The Plan Contemplated. 2 Cor 1:15, 16.
  2. The Plan Criticized. 2 Cor 1:17.
  3. The Plan Comprehended. 2 Cor 1:18-22.
  4. The Plan Changed. 2 Cor 1:23-2:4
  5. The Plan Chastened. 2 Cor 2:5-11
  6. The Plan Consummated. 2 Cor 2:12-17 

2 Corinthians 1:16  that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:16 and through your help to go on into Macedonia and then from Macedonia to come back to you and be helped on our way into Judea by you.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:16 καὶ δι᾽ ὑμῶν διελθεῖν εἰς Μακεδονίαν καὶ πάλιν ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ὑφ᾽ ὑμῶν προπεμφθῆναι εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:16 I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:16 καὶ δι᾽ ὑμῶν διελθεῖν εἰς Μακεδονίαν καὶ πάλιν ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ὑφ᾽ ὑμῶν προπεμφθῆναι εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:16 and through you to pass to Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and by you to be sent forward to Judea.

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:16 and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and of you to be set forward on my journey unto Judaea.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:16 and to go on to Macedonia with your help, then come to you again from Macedonia and be given a start by you on my journey to Judea.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:16 Passing through your area, I would expect to make a side trip into Macedonia before returning to you, to be sent forth by you to Judaea.

  • and again from Macedonia to come to you: Ac 19:21,22 21:5 1Co 16:5-7 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S ORIGINAL ITINERARY
OF DOUBLING BACK TO CORINTH

that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you - Originally he had made plans from Ephesus and would have crossed 350 miles of Aegean sea to the port of Corinth. 

Paul alluded to this visit in his first letter from Ephesus

But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.1Co 16:5-7+)

And by you to be helped on my journey to Judea - He was counting on the Macedonian church to help him when he departed for Judea. As discussed below, these plans changed for he had to leave Ephesus because of unrest with Artemis craftsmen and their declining sales. 

Guzik on helped on my way - This acknowledges the ancient custom of sending a traveler on his way at the outset of his journey. In the ancient world, when a distinguished guest came to a city, his friends and supporters met him a distance away from the city and walked into the city with him. They also sent him away the same way, walking with him for some distance away from the city.

Paul's words that he would be a blessing (2 Cor 1:15) and they would be a help to him recall the passage in Romans where we see "blessings flow" both directions...

For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.(Ro 1:11-12)

2 Corinthians 1:17  Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

NET  2 Corinthians 1:17 Therefore when I was planning to do this, I did not do so without thinking about what I was doing, did I? Or do I make my plans according to mere human standards so that I would be saying both "Yes, yes" and "No, no" at the same time?

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:17 τοῦτο οὖν βουλόμενος μήτι ἄρα τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ ἐχρησάμην; ἢ ἃ βουλεύομαι κατὰ σάρκα βουλεύομαι, ἵνα ᾖ παρ᾽ ἐμοὶ τὸ ναὶ ναὶ καὶ τὸ οὒ οὔ;

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:17 You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say "Yes" when they really mean "No"?

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" at the same time?

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:17 When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:17 τοῦτο οὖν βουλόμενος μήτι ἄρα τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ ἐχρησάμην; ἢ ἃ βουλεύομαι κατὰ σάρκα βουλεύομαι, ἵνα ᾖ παρ᾽ ἐμοὶ τὸ Ναὶ ναὶ καὶ τὸ Οὒ οὔ;

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:17 This, therefore, counselling, did I then use the lightness; or the things that I counsel, according to the flesh do I counsel, that it may be with me Yes, yes, and No, no?

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I show fickleness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the yea yea and the nay nay?

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:17 So when I planned this, was I irresponsible? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" simultaneously?

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:17 Do you think that my planning to make this trip was an instance of fickleness on my part? Or do I plan things, therefore, merely by carnal considerations, talking out of both sides of my mouth at the same time?

  • I was not vacillating : Judges 9:4 Jer 23:32 Zep 3:4 
  • according to the flesh: 2Co 1:12 2Cor 10:2-3  Joh 8:15 Ga 1:16 2:2 1Th 2:18 
  • yes: 2Co 1:18-20 Mt 5:37 Jas 5:12 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S CHANGED ITINERARY WAS NOT
"TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH"

The English idiom talk out of both sides of one's mouth is defined as giving completely different advice or opinions about something in different situations. 

CBL

When Paul altered his plans to revisit the church at Corinth his opponents used his perfectly legitimate change from two short visits to one long visit as an excuse to charge him with insincerity and unreliability. (Complete Biblical Library – Romans-Corinthians)

Therefore - Term of conclusion. The conclusion (which is presented in the form of a question) is based on the fact that Paul did change his mind, but this is not stated in the immediate context. It can only be discerned by deduction. He had planned to come twice but had a change of plans. 

I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? - The Greek interrogative particle (meti) expects a negative response from the Corinthians. Robertson even says "An indignant negative answer is called for by meti." NET = "when I was planning to do this, I did not do so without thinking about what I was doing, did I?" (EXPECTED ANSWER - "NO") MIT - "Do you think that my planning to make this trip was an instance of fickleness on my part?" Amplified = "Now because I changed my original plan, was I being unstable and capricious?" Paul's point is that he had fully intended (determined) to come to visit the Corinthians twice. The fact that he had a change of plans did not indicate his character was vacillatory, fickle or capricious. While he does not say so here, it is obvious that Paul's opponents would "jump on" this change of plans and paint it in the worst light possible! They would accuse Paul of being unreliable. 

Vacillating is two words in the Greek, a verb Chraomai  and a noun Elaphria. 

(1) Chraomai (5530) means to use. Thus the literal rendering would be "Did I use lightness (vacillation)?"

(2) Elaphria (1644) is from elaphros (1645) light not heavy, easy to bear) means literally lightness in regard to weight. In the figurative use (only NT use) in 2Cor 1:17 elaphria conveys the idea of that which lacks stability in behavior. It describes one's behavior as characterized by caprice or instability. BDAG says it describes the "condition of treating a matter frivolously, as by irresponsible change of mind." So here in the only NT use by Paul in a question (expecting a negative answer) Paul is questioning the Corinthians as to whether he was vacillating or fickle.

Intended (to will, want, wish, intend) (1014boulomai refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion. To will, to wish, to will deliberately, to intend, to have a purpose, to be minded. Boulomai underlines the preset determined intention which drives one's planning, wishing, resolving. Boulomai expresses the idea of the deliberate and specific exercise of volition (an act of making a choice or decision). Stated another way boulomai conveys the sense of more than simply wanting a desire or wish to be fulfilled. It conveys the stronger sense of choosing one thing over another or of preference of one thing before another. For example the first NT describes Joseph's reaction when he discovered Mary was pregnant and so he "planned (boulomai) to send her away secretly." (Mt 1:19). 

CBL - These two parallel rhetorical questions (IN VERSE 17) imply that Paul's ministry had not been carried out kata sarka ("according to flesh"), i.e., he had not been controlled by worldly or selfish considerations. Paul's ministry was always "according to the Spirit." This was in keeping with what he professed and what he lived. (Complete Biblical Library – Romans-Corinthians)

Guzik - The Corinthian Christians accused Paul of being fickle and insisted that if Paul were a man of integrity he would have come in person. Paul’s change in plans made the Corinthian Christians say that Paul must be a man who says Yes but means No and says No but means Yes. Paul was criticized as a man who couldn’t decide on a plan or who could not carry through on a plan. His enemies among the Christians in Corinth seized on these circumstances to make Paul look bad. It was all right for the Corinthian Christians to be disappointed that Paul didn’t come and visit them. But they were wrong in trying to blame Paul for the disappointment. They needed to see Paul’s heart and God’s hand in the circumstances.

Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh (sarx) so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time MIT = "Or do I plan things, therefore, merely by carnal considerations talking out of both sides of my mouth at the same time?." Amplified = "Or what I plan, do I plan according to the flesh [like a worldly man], ready to say Yes, yes, [when it may mean] No, no?" CSB = Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" simultaneously?" Purpose...purpose are both bouleuo which means to purpose after deliberation. The alternative to according to the flesh is according to the Spirit, the implication being that Paul had been led by the Spirit to change his plans even though they accused him of fleshly behavior doing what was convenient. But Paul was a Spirit filled, Spirit led man (Gal 5:18+). In this case his being led to not come created a problem with the Corinthians and gave Paul's adversaries a chance to denigrate his integrity and character. But remember that the God of providence always has a higher purpose for His saints and His glory.

Ray Stedman - One of the major problems among Christians, especially younger Christians, is that they have not yet seen that what ought to be characteristic of them is faithfulness to their commitments. If you say you are going to be somewhere, then either be there or let someone know why you cannot be there. It is amazing, and discouraging sometimes, to me to see how many Christians, even older Christians, will say they are going to do something, or be some place, and then never show up, never let anyone know, and show no sense of responsibility for fulfilling the promise and the commitment they made.That, of course, as Paul puts it here, is the characteristic of a "worldly man," of a non-Christian. It shows no sense of the faithfulness, the responsibility that a Christian ought to have. Paul now begins to explain what the true situation was (in 2 Cor 1:18-2:4). Paul's explanation of what is going on falls into two major divisions: 1:18 through 1:22, and then 1:23 through 2:4.(When You Are Misunderstood)

POINT TO PONDER -- if Paul had followed his original plan and sailed across the Aegean Sea from Ephesus to Corinth, (about a 350 mile journey) would we now have this incredible epistle of Second Corinthians? Just a thought to ponder! 

I purpose....I purpose (1011)(bouleuo from boule = a plan resulting from of inner deliberation)  is only found in the middle voice (reflexive) and conveys the meaning of to think to oneself, with the purpose of planning or deciding on a course of action.

2 Corinthians 1:18  But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:18 But as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:18 πιστὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς ὅτι ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν ὁ πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἔστιν ναὶ καὶ οὔ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:18 As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between "Yes" and "No."

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:18 πιστὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς ὅτι ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν ὁ πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἔστιν Ναὶ καὶ Οὔ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:18 and God is faithful, that our word unto you became not Yes and No,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yea and nay.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:18 As God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes and no."

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:18 But God is faithful to substantiate the fact our message to you is not (philosophically) dialectical.

  • as: 2Co 1:23 2 Cor 11:31  Joh 7:28 8:26 1Jn 5:20 Rev 3:7,14 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 11:31+ The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

1 Corinthians 1:9+ God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

1 Corinthians 10:13+ No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 

AS GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY
SO IS OUR WORD

But as God is faithful (trustworthy, reliable), our word to you is not yes and no - Amplified = "As surely as God is trustworthy and faithful and means what He says, our speech and message to you have not been Yes [that might mean] No." Phillips paraphrases it "We solemnly assure you that as certainly as God is faithful so we have never given you a message meaning “yes” and “no”." NLT = "As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between "Yes" and "No." Paul does not say "yes" and mean "no," which is what some were saying about him. Wuest  = "But as God is faithful, our word to you is not a yes and a no." The implication is that some might begin to think "Well if he is so vacillating on his plans to come visit us twice, then there might be reason to doubt anything that he says." In other words the saints at Corinth might be led to question the inerrancy and sufficiency of God's Word spoken by Paul. God was trustworthy as was His Word and as were Paul's words. As Matthew Poole says "As God is true to His promises, so He hath taught me to be true to mine.” 

Robertson -  He is not a Yes and No man, saying Yes and meaning or acting No. Paul calls God to witness on this point.

Ray Stedman - Notice he does not say, "Yes OR No." There is nothing wrong with saying "No" sometimes. We have to say "No" to many invitations to make a commitment. But if you say "Yes," then intend to fulfill it; that is what Paul is saying. Or if you say "No," then mean it. Jesus said this, didn't he? "Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one," (Mt 5:37NIV+). As Christians we must learn to keep our word on these matters. What is wrong is saying "Yes" but meaning "No," telling somebody you are going to be some place but really having no intention of being there, going to do something but having no intention of doing so, or saying you will not do something and yet having every intention of doing it....Paul is basically saying that no Christian can give a Yes and No commitment. That is contrary to the nature of a Christian, because it is contrary to the nature of God. God is not like that; He is faithful, Paul says. When God says "Yes," then it is an eternal "Yes." He will never take it back. When God says "No," He means "No." He never says "Yes" and means "No."(When You Are Misunderstood)

Faithful (Trustworthy) (4103pistos from peitho = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc Pistos means dependable (worthy of reliance or trust), trustworthy, steadfast, unswerving.  

2 Corinthians 1:19  For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, Who was preached among you by us--by me and Silvanus and Timothy--was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us– by me and Silvanus and Timothy– was not "Yes" and "No," but it has always been "Yes" in him.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:19 ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ γὰρ υἱὸς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν δι᾽ ἡμῶν κηρυχθείς, δι᾽ ἐμοῦ καὶ Σιλουανοῦ καὶ Τιμοθέου, οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ καὶ οὒ ἀλλὰ ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between "Yes" and "No." He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God's ultimate "Yes," he always does what he says.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes."

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:19 ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ γὰρ υἱὸς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν δι᾽ ἡμῶν κηρυχθείς, δι᾽ ἐμοῦ καὶ Σιλουανοῦ καὶ Τιμοθέου, οὐκ ἐγένετο Ναὶ καὶ Οὔ ἀλλὰ Ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:19 for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, among you through us having been preached -- through me and Silvanus and Timotheus -- did not become Yes and No, but in him it hath become Yes;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yea and nay, but in him is yea.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us-- by me and Silvanus and Timothy-- did not become "Yes and no"; on the contrary, a final "Yes" has come in Him.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:19 For God's son, Jesus Christ, was proclaimed among you by us—by me, by Silvanus and Timothy—not dialectically with contradictory assertions, but as an affirmation in him.

  • the Son: Ps 2:7 Mt 3:17 16:16,17 17:5 26:63,64 27:40,54 Mk 1:1 Lu 1:35 Joh 1:34,49 3:16,35,36 6:69 19:7 20:28,31 Ac 8:37 9:20 Ro 1:3,4 2Pe 1:17 1Jn 1:3 5:9-13,20 2Jn 1:9 Rev 2:18 
  • by me and Silvanus and Timothy: Ac 18:5, Silas
  • was not: Ex 3:14 Mt 24:35 Joh 8:58 Heb 1:11 13:8 Rev 1:8,11,17 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Cor 1:22-24+ (PAUL PREACHED CHRIST CRUCIFIED) For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,  24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Cor 2:1-2+ And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

BACKGROUND - Paul preached the Son of God, Christ Jesus on his second missionary journey as Silvanus (Silas) was traveling with him (Acts 15:36-41+). Timothy joined them when they visited Lystra (Acts 16:1-3+), and eventually they went to Corinth. (Read about the birth of the church at Corinth - Acts 18:1-19+)

For (gar) introduces a term of explanation which should always prompt the question "What is being explained (why?, etc)?" Paul is explaining why the word Paul had spoken (preached) to the Corinthians was not a "wavering word," that is declaring one thing and meaning another. 

Robertson - Paul appeals to the life of Christ to sustain his own veracity.

Barclay -  Paul's enemies had promptly accused him of being the kind of man who made frivolous promises with a fickle intention and could not be pinned down to a definite yes or no. That was bad enough, but they went on to argue, "If we cannot trust Paul's everyday promises, how can we trust the things he told us about God?" Paul's answer is that we can rely on God and that there is no vacillation in Jesus between yes and no.

MacArthur adds that "Having slanderously accused Paul of being untrustworthy because of his change in travel plans, they also alleged that his teaching on the Lord Jesus was untrustworthy." (MNTC-2 Cor)

The Son of God, Christ Jesus, Who was preached among you by us--by me and Silvanus and Timothy--was not yes and no, but is yes in Him - NLT = "For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between "Yes" and "No." He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God's ultimate "Yes," he always does what he says." Phillips Paraphrase = "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Whom Silvanus, Timothy and I have preached to you, is Himself no doubtful quantity, He is the divine “yes”."  Wuest - "for the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who among you was proclaimed by us, through me and Silvanus and Timothy, did not become yes and no, but in Him yes has become yes and remains so." Paul explains that the message of Jesus is stable, rock solid, secure and therefore by implication is trustworthy. Opponents might seek to use Paul's change of itinerary to call into question the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ and Paul immediately seeks to destroy that vain speculation even as he wrote later in this letter that he was "destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor 10:5+)

Guzik has an interesting point - Paul alludes to an important principle: The message affects the messenger. Paul could not so sincerely and so strongly preach a Jesus who is not Yes and No and be untouched by that Jesus. Understanding this should have made the Corinthian Christians more trusting towards Paul.

Utley - “Silvanus” Silas, or Silvanus, was the man Paul chose to go with him on the second missionary journey after Barnabas and John Mark went back to Cyprus.

    (1)      He is first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 15:22, where he is called a chief man among the brethren of the Jerusalem Church.
    (2)      He was also a prophet (cf. Acts 15:32).
    (3)      He was a Roman citizen like Paul (cf. Acts 16:37).
    (4)      He and Judas Barsabbas were sent to Antioch by the Jerusalem Church to inspect the situation (cf. Acts 15:22, 30–35).
    (5)      Paul mentions him in 2 Cor. 1:19 as a fellow gospel preacher.
    (6)      Later he is identified with Peter in writing I Peter. (cf. 1 Pet. 5:12).
    (7)      Both Paul and Peter call him Silvanus while Luke calls him Silas (the Aramaic form of Saul). It is possible that Silas was his Jewish name and Silvanus his Latin name (cf. F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, p. 213).

Related Resources:

2 Corinthians 1:20  For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:20 For every one of God's promises are "Yes" in him; therefore also through him the "Amen" is spoken, to the glory we give to God.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:20 ὅσαι γὰρ ἐπαγγελίαι θεοῦ, ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ ναί· διὸ καὶ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἀμὴν τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν δι᾽ ἡμῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:20 For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:20 ὅσαι γὰρ ἐπαγγελίαι θεοῦ, ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ Ναί· διὸ καὶ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸ Ἀμὴν τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν δι᾽ ἡμῶν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:20 for as many as are promises of God, in him are the Yes, and in him the Amen, for glory to God through us;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:20 For how many soever be the promises of God, in him is the yea: wherefore also through him is the Amen, unto the glory of God through us.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:20 For every one of God's promises is "Yes" in Him. Therefore, the " Amen" is also spoken through Him by us for God's glory.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are God's promises, they are affirmative in Christ. Therefore, through him a glorious amen to God resonates through us.

CJB 2 Corinthians 1:20  For however many promises God has made, they all find their “Yes” in connection with him; that is why it is through him that we say the “Amen” when we give glory to God.

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:20  for it is he who is the "Yes" to all of God's promises. This is why through Jesus Christ our "Amen" is said to the glory of God.

TLB 2 Corinthians 1:20  He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are; and we have told everyone how faithful he is, giving glory to his name.

BBE 2 Corinthians 1:20  For he is the Yes to all the undertakings of God: and by him all the words of God are made certain and put into effect, to the glory of God through us.

AMP 2 Corinthians 1:20  For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.

  • For as many as are the promises of God: Ge 3:15 Ge 22:18 Ge 49:10 Ps 72:17 Isa 7:14 9:6,7 Lu 1:68-74 Joh 1:17 14:6 Ac 3:25,26 13:32-39 Ro 6:23 15:8,9 Ga 3:16-18,22 Heb 6:12-19 7:6 9:10-15 11:13,39,40 13:8 1Jn 2:24,25 5:11 
  • Amen: Isa 65:16 *Heb: Joh 3:5 Rev 3:14 
  • to the glory of God: 2Co 4:6,15 Ps 102:16 Mt 6:13 Lu 2:14 Ro 11:36 15:7 Eph 1:6,12-14 Eph 2:7 3:8-10 Col 1:27 2Th 1:10 1Pe 1:12 Rev 7:12 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 1:2 (GOSPEL OF GOD) which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

JESUS CHRIST - 
THE ULTIMATE PROMISE KEEPER

Spurgeon - We might never have had this precious verse if Paul had not been so ill-treated by these men of Corinth. They did him great wrong, and caused him much sorrow of heart … yet you see how the evil was overruled by God for good, and through their unsavoury gossip and slander this sweet sentence was pressed out of Paul.”

Ray Stedman - This passage is rather obscure in the King James Version, where it says, "For all the promises of God in him [Christ] are yea, and in him Amen" -- as though Christ is saying both the "'yes" and the "Amen." But the Revised text here makes it very clear that it is God who in Christ says, "Yes," and it is we who are to add the "Amen." That is why I love to preach in black churches. I get a lot of "Amens." It is very dull preaching to white people because they just sit and look at you. But it is encouraging to get an "Amen" once in a while, which is our way of saying, "I agree. I believe that. I accept that. That is for me." What the text is saying here is that God gives you a promise in Christ. There are hundreds of them, and he offers you something in every one. When you read one and you say, "That's for me Lord. I want that," and on the basis of that you begin to obey the qualification or the commitment that promise demands, then the promise begins to be real in your life. It is we who say the "Amen." God's positive supply actually appears when we obey from the depths of our being and say a resounding "Amen" to what he has said. The way to find God's blessing, then, is to respond to his promise by stepping out on what he says, taking it to yourself, and saying, "Lord, that is mine. Amen, I believe." (When You Are Misunderstood)

MacArthur points out "Throughout the history of the church, heretics have always assaulted the nature of Christ, and the false apostles at Corinth appear to be no exception in their effort to diminish Him. Having slanderously accused Paul of being untrustworthy because of his change in travel plans, they also alleged that his teaching on the Lord Jesus was untrustworthy....How utterly absurd, Paul argued, to accept and experience the gospel message as reliable, but consider those who preached it unreliable. How ridiculous to trust Paul’s word about eternal things, but not about mundane things like travel plans. The apostle who was exacting in communicating the true gospel of Christ was also exacting in the lesser matters of life. God did not choose an unstable, unreliable apostle to preach His truth."

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes - TLB = "He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are." In Jesus all the promises of God reach their fulfillment. NLT = "For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!"" In a word ("yes") in Christ ALL the promises of God are true. As the NIV says "no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ."

God always keeps His promises.

Guzik - Can we imagine God the Father ever saying “no” to God the Son? God the Father will always say Yes to the Son and will always affirm what the Son says (Amen).

Matthew Henry - And the promises of God in Christ are not yea and nay, but yea and amen...The apostle, having mentioned the stability of the divine promises, makes a digression to illustrate this great and sweet truth, that all the promises of God are yea and amen

Vincent on in Him they are yes - The meaning is that how many soever are God’s promises, in Christ is the incarnate answer, “yea!” to the question, “Will they be fulfilled?” (2 Corinthians 1)

Barclay writes that Paul "puts the matter in a vivid phrase - "Jesus is the yes to every promise of God." He means this--had Jesus never come we might have doubted the tremendous promises of God, might have argued that they were too good to be true. But a God who loves us so much that he gave us his Son is quite certain to fulfil every promise that he ever made. He is the personal guarantee of God that the greatest and the least of his promises are all true.

Kistemaker - The Old Testament message is that God Who makes promises ultimately fulfills them through the coming of the Messiah. (NTC-2 Cor)

Therefore also through Him is our "Amen" (SO BE IT, THIS IS TRUE) to the glory (doxa) of God through us MIT = Therefore, through Him a glorious amen to God resonates through us."  Through Him signifies through Christ, through our Great High Priest Who mediates between us and His Father.  We utter the "Amen" which serves to attest to the truth of the message about Christ and brings glory to God.

Barclay It is through Jesus that we say "Amen" to the promises of God. We finish our prayers by saying, "through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." When we have read scripture we frequently conclude it by saying, "Amen." Amen means So let it be, and the great truth is that it is not just a formality and a bit of ritual; it is the word that expresses our confidence that we can offer our prayers with every confidence to God and can appropriate with confidence all his great promises, because Jesus is the guarantee that our prayers will be heard and that all the great promises are true.

Amen (281amen  is a transliteration from the Hebrew word amen which in turn is from the Hebrew verb aman = to be firm, to believe, this word conveying the idea of certainty) Amen is transliterated into Latin and English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. In fact amen has been called the best-known word in human speech. To say “Amen” confirms a statement by someone else. Renn notes that Amen "indicates the solemn affirmation of the divine will and purpose in about one-third of the nearly 150 occurrences of the term. The remaining uses of the term yield the adverbial meaning "truly." (especially from the lips of Jesus - Amen, amen - e.g., Jn 1:51+)


QUESTION - Why do we end our prayers with ‘Amen’?

ANSWER - The Hebrew word translated “amen” literally means “truly” or “so be it.” “Amen” is also found in the Greek New Testament and has the same meaning. Nearly half of the Old Testament uses of amen are found in the book of Deuteronomy. In each case, the people are responding to curses pronounced by God on various sins. Each pronouncement is followed by the words “and all the people shall say Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:15-26). This indicates that the people applauded the righteous sentence handed down by their holy God, responding, "So let it be." The amen attested to the conviction of the hearers that the sentences which they heard were true, just, and certain.

Seven of the Old Testament references link amen with praise. The sentence “Then all the people said ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the LORD,’” found in 1 Chronicles 16:36, typifies the connection between amen and praise. In Nehemiah 5:13 and Neh 8:6, the people of Israel affirm Ezra’s exalting of God by worshiping the Lord and obeying Him. The highest expression of praise to God is obedience, and when we say “amen” to His commands and pronouncements, our praise is sweet music to His ears.

The New Testament writers all use “amen” at the end of their epistles (Ro 16:27, 1 Cor 16:24, Gal 6:18, 2Pe 3:18, Jude 1:25, Rev 22:21). The apostle John uses it at the end of his gospel, his three letters, and the book of Revelation, where it appears nine times (ED: NOTE TEXTUS RECEPTUS HAS "AMEN" AT END OF BOOKS BUT NOT FOUND IN THE NESTLE-ALAND TEXT - e.g. 1Th 5:28 vs 1Th 5:28KJV - SEE TECHNICAL NOTE BELOW FROM NET BIBLE). Each time it is connected with praising and glorifying God and referring to the second coming and the end of the age. Paul says “amen” to the blessings he pronounces on all the churches in his letters to them, as do Peter, John and Jude in their letters. The implication is that they are saying, “May it be that the Lord will truly grant these blessings upon you.”

When Christians say “amen” at the end of our prayers, we are following the model of the apostles, asking God to “please let it be as we have prayed.” Remembering the connection between amen and the praise of obedience, all prayers should be prayed according to the will of God. Then when we say “amen,” we can be confident that God will respond “so be it” and grant our requests (John 14:13; 1 John 5:14).GotQuestions.org


TECHNICAL NOTE ON AMEN - Most witnesses, including a few important ones (א A D1 Ψ 1739c 𝔐 lat sy bo), conclude this letter with ἀμήν (amēn, “amen”). Such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Ro 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 1:25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. Further, the witnesses for the omission are sufficiently early and diffuse (B D* F G 0278 6 33 1739* 1881 it sa) to render the verdict against the particle here. (NET Bible Notes on 1 Th 5:28)


The Eternal Goal By Oswald Chambers

By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing…I will bless you… —Genesis 22:16-17

Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.

My goal is God Himself…
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.

“At any cost…by any road” means submitting to God’s way of bringing us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God’s revelation of Himself to me is influenced by my character, not by God’s character.

’Tis because I am ordinary,
Thy ways so often look ordinary to me.

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.


Spurgeon - The promises of God are to the believer an inexhaustible mine of wealth. Happy is it for him if he knows how to search out their secret veins, and enrich himself with their hid treasures! They are an armory, containing all manner of offensive and defensive weapons. Blessed is he who has learned to enter into the sacred arsenal, to put on the breast-plate and the helmet, and to lay his hand to the spear and to the sword! They are a surgery in which the believer will find all manner of restoratives and blessed elixirs; nor lacks there an ointment for every wound, a cordial for every faintness, a remedy for every disease. Blessed is he who is well skilled in heavenly pharmacy, and knoweth how to lay hold on the healing virtues of the promises of God! The promises are to the Christian a storehouse of food. They are as the granaries which Joseph built in Egypt, or as the golden pot wherein the manna was preserved. Blessed is he who can take the five barley-loaves and fishes of promise, and break them till his five thousand necessities shall all be supplied, and he is able to gather up baskets full of fragments!


Luther - Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.


Beaumont - All the promises in the Bible are so many bills of exchange drawn by God the Father in heaven upon His son Jesus Christ, and payable to every pious bearer,—to every one that comes to the mercy-seat, and offers the promise or bill for acceptance, and pleads in the way of obedient faith and prayer. Jesus, the High Treasurer of heaven, knows every letter of His Father’s handwriting, and can never be imposed upon by any forged note. He will ever honor His Father’s bills: He accepts them all. It is for His Father’s honor that His bills never fail of acceptance and payment.


Can a Saint Falsely Accuse God? By Oswald Chambers

All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen… —2 Corinthians 1:20

Jesus’ parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30  was a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacities. This parable has nothing to do with natural gifts and abilities, but relates to the gift of the Holy Spirit as He was first given at Pentecost. We must never measure our spiritual capacity on the basis of our education or our intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured on the basis of the promises of God. If we get less than God wants us to have, we will falsely accuse Him as the servant falsely accused his master when he said, “You expect more of me than you gave me the power to do. You demand too much of me, and I cannot stand true to you here where you have placed me.” When it is a question of God’s Almighty Spirit, never say, “I can’t.” Never allow the limitation of your own natural ability to enter into the matter. If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be exhibited in us.

The servant justified himself, while condemning his lord on every point, as if to say, “Your demand on me is way out of proportion to what you gave to me.” Have we been falsely accusing God by daring to worry after He has said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”? (Matthew 6:33). Worrying means exactly what this servant implied— “I know your intent is to leave me unprotected and vulnerable.” A person who is lazy in the natural realm is always critical, saying, “I haven’t had a decent chance,” and someone who is lazy in the spiritual realm is critical of God. Lazy people always strike out at others in an independent way.

Never forget that our capacity and capability in spiritual matters is measured by, and based on, the promises of God. Is God able to fulfill His promises? Our answer depends on whether or not we have received the Holy Spirit.


2 Corinthians 1:20

Promises You Can Bank On

Read: 2 Chronicles 6:1-11

For all the promises of God in [Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. —2 Corinthians 1:20

After a global financial crisis, the US government enacted stricter laws to protect people from questionable banking practices. Banks had to change some of their policies to comply. To notify me of such changes, my bank sent me a letter. But when I got to the end I had more questions than answers. The use of phrases like “we may” and “at our discretion” certainly didn’t sound like anything I could depend on!

In contrast, the Old Testament quotes God as saying “I will” numerous times. God promises David: “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). No uncertainty in those words. Recognizing God’s faithfulness to His promises, King Solomon says in his prayer of dedication for the temple: “You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand” (2 Chron. 6:15). Centuries later, the apostle Paul said that all of God’s promises are “yes” in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).

In a world of uncertainty, our trust is in a faithful God who will always keep His promises. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whatever trouble may assail,
Of this we can be sure:
God’s promises can never fail,
They always will endure.
—Hess

Faith knows that God always performs what He promises.

2 Corinthians 1:21  Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

NET  2 Corinthians 1:21 But it is God who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed us,

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:21 ὁ δὲ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς θεός,

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us,

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:21 ὁ δὲ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς θεός,

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:21 and He who is confirming you with us into Christ, and did anoint us, is God,

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:21 Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God;

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who strengthens us, with you, in Christ and has anointed us.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:21 God is the one who affirms us with you in Christ; and he anointed us.

CJB 2 Corinthians 1:21  Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; he has anointed us,

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:21  It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ; it is God himself who has set us apart,

TLB 2 Corinthians 1:21  It is this God who has made you and me into faithful Christians and commissioned us apostles to preach the Good News.

BBE 2 Corinthians 1:21  Now he who makes our faith strong together with you, in Christ, and has given us of his grace, is God;

AMP 2 Corinthians 1:21  But it is God Who confirms and makes us steadfast and establishes us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and has consecrated and anointed us [enduing us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit];

  • establishes: 2Co 5:5 Ps 37:23-24 Ps 87:5 Ps 89:4 Isa 9:7 49:8 62:7 Ro 16:25 Col 2:7 1Th 3:13 2Th 2:8,17 3:3 1Pe 5:10 
  • anointed: Ps 45:7 Isa 59:21 Isa 61:1  Joh 3:34 Ac 10:38 Ro 8:9 1Jn 2:20,27 Rev 1:6 3:18 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Psalms 37:23-24  The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.  24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. 

Romans 16:25  Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,

Colossians 2:7+ having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith (IN FAITH, IN CHRIST - A DOUBLE DEFENSE FROM FALLING), just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Isaiah 61:1+ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed (Lxx - chrio) me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 

Acts 10:38+  “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed (chrio) Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:5  Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, Who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 

Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. 

1 John 2:20,27+  but you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (2:27+) As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 

AUTHENTICATION OF
PAUL'S MINISTRY

In these next 2 verses Paul describes spiritual truths about Paul and the saints at Corinth which should have served to demonstrate how the accusation of vacillation was incompatible with Paul's character and personal integrity.

MacArthur on vv 21-22 - The authenticity of Paul’s spiritual life and that of every genuine believer is verified by these 4 divine works (“establishes us,” “anointed us,” “sealed us,” “gave us the Spirit”) accomplished in their lives. For the critics to attack Paul’s authenticity was equal to tearing down God’s work as well as the church’s unity. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Ray Stedman feels that this next section on the Holy Spirit is related to Paul's mentioning the promises of God in 2Cor 1:20 -  Paul further adds that God has given provision for understanding that promise, and for obeying it by the presence of the Spirit in our lives. As you meditate on the promises of God, the Spirit of God is given to you to teach you what that means, and how it applies to you. That is the work of the Spirit. He is not given to us to give us a good feeling now and then, or to take us to heaven when we die, though he does all those things. He is given to us to open our minds to understand how the promises of God affect us, and what God is saying to us in them. And it is always in line with grammatical rules and interpretative principles. The Spirit never denies that; he understands the rules of language, grammar, etc., and it is helpful to us to know them. But, nevertheless, ultimately it is the Spirit of God who brings a promise home to us and makes it alive to us, and who then offers to empower us to obey it. Many times when we are faced with a promise of God, because we are sinful creatures, we do not want to obey. I have many times had this experience of knowing that there was something God wanted me to do (or perhaps not to do), and I did not want to obey him. I knew there would be a promise of relief, or help, or blessing if I would do it, but every fiber of my rebellious being cried out against doing it; and I found it difficult to make myself do it. Well, that is where the Spirit comes in. A non-Christian would simply not do it. Non-Christians live by their feelings: "Whatever feels good, I give myself to. Whatever does not feel good, I do not want any part of." That is the way of the world, but a Christian is not to do that; he is to obey God. If he has difficulty doing so he is to rely upon the fact that the Spirit of God is in him to give him ability to act when he wills to act (ED: SEE THIS WONDERFUL TRUTH ABOUT THE CONTINUAL SUPERNATURAL ENERGIZING EFFECT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN Php 2:13NLT+). When you choose to obey, the power to do so is always given by the Spirit of God (ED: "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible"). You can do what God wants. This is what Paul is bringing out here. Let us now link this with the context. Why did Paul change his plan? That is what the Corinthians wanted to know. Why did he say he was going to come directly to Corinth, and would come twice to the city, but instead did not come directly -- he went by way of Macedonia -- and he came only once? Well, Paul has been saying because the Spirit of God opened his eyes to see factors in the situation that made him change his mind. He could see that the great promises of blessing that God had for this church at Corinth would only be fulfilled if he did not come directly to Corinth, but instead went to Macedonia and waited for Titus there. So, convinced of the Spirit, and in obedience to what he saw of the Spirit's teaching in this regard, with a clear conscience, Paul changed his original plan and went instead to Macedonia instead of Corinth. (When You Are Misunderstood)

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God - Note Paul's use of US which suggests that Paul is linking himself with the YOU as the saints at Corinthians. Both he and they were placed by God's grace in (eis = into) Christ, in a firm union with Christ and thus they were fellow members of each other, members of His Body with Christ as the Head. (See notes on in Christ) To attack Paul's authenticity would be tantamount to destroying the unity of the Body of Christ.

Note that anointed applies to Paul and the Corinthians and is not a special enduement for a select few but is the gift of God for every believer. In the NT, anointing in context speaks of the anointing by the Holy Spirit, the idea being that every saint is supernaturally prepared and empowered for supernatural service for God.

The OT describes the anointing to prophets, priests and kings, and so in a very real sense every believer shares in each of these aspects - prophets - in sense of speaking forth God's Word something all saints can do independent of the gift of prophecy) , priests (1Pe 2:9) and kings (Rev 5:10)

Hughes writes that Chrysostom draws attention to the fact that in Old Testament times it was customary for prophets, priests, and kings to be anointed for the performance of their particular offices, whereas all three diginities are combined in the believer, who is a prophet to whom things that eye hath not seen nor ear heard have been revealed (1 Cor. 2:9) and whose duty it is to proclaim the message of the Gospel (Acts 1:8); a priest whose spiritual service is to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God (Ro. 12:1; cf. 1 Pet. 1:5); and a king over whom sin shall not have dominion (Ro 6:12, 14) and whose destiny is to reign with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12; cf. also 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). (2 Corinthians)

As MacArthur says "Since Paul was their spiritual father (1 Cor. 4:15), to deny his authenticity was, figuratively, to saw off the branch on which they were sitting." 

Establishes is the verb bebaioo (present tense - continually establishes = a progressive experience) which was used in secular Greek as a legal technical term meaning "to designate properly guaranteed security". Its use in a legal sense therefore gives it great force here, indicating that there cannot be the slightest doubt about the salvation offered. The main point then is that this is truth that can be trusted without hesitation or reservation. Note where believers are "established" -- in Christ. In covenant with Him, in oneness with Him, in union with Him, in communion with Him, indelibly, eternally, irrevocably bound together with the Lord of lords. Amazing grace indeed!  Note the same verb bebaioo was used in 1 Corinthians 1:8+ where Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers with the truth that God "will also confirm (bebaioo) you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Vincent on establishes us with you in Christ  The present participle with eis (into Christ) indicates the work as it is in progress toward a final identification of the believers with Christ.. (2 Corinthians 1) (ED: ALL BELIEVERS ARE POSITIONALLY IN CHRIST BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, BUT THERE IS AN EVER INCREASING EXPERIENTIAL REALIZATION OF THIS UNION [GROWTH IN CHRISTLIKENESS] WHICH WILL REACH ITS CULMINATION/CONSUMMATION WHEN WE SEE HIM FACE TO FACE [GLORIFICATION], JOHN WRITING AT THAT TIME "WE WILL BE LIKE HIM, BECAUSE WE WILL SEE HIM JUST AS HE IS." 1 Jn 3:2+)

In the New Testament anointing is always an act performed by God and signifies that the one anointed has been assigned to a task, with the implication of supernatural sanctions, blessing and endowment. The same verb anointed (chrio) is used to describe Jesus' anointing for ministry ("to preach the gospel to the poor," in Lk 4:18+). In that Lucan passage we note the Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus, and in context, the believer is also anointed by God with the Spirit. John writes that believers "have an anointing (chrisma) from the Holy One" (1 Jn 2:20+) and then adds that "the anointing (chrisma) which you received from Him (present tense - continually) abides in you (THE SPIRIT WILL INDWELL BELIEVERS THROUGHOUT ETERNITY! cf "forever" in Jn 14:16, cf Mt 28:20)." (1 Jn 2:27+)

MacArthur - The Holy Spirit sets apart believers and empowers them for the service of gospel proclamation and ministry (cf. Acts 1:8; 1Jn 2:20, 27).  (MacArthur Study Bible)

Hughes explains the importance of this truth in the context of Corinthian accusations that Paul's word was unreliable - Thus he is speaking of something which is concrete (establishes us with you in Christ) in their own experience. To suspect (Paul's) reliability was, in fact, to cast a shadow over their own stability, for it is a case of “us with you in Christ”, not “us different from you”, but all dynamically united in the unchanging Son of God. But God, further, had also anointed Paul, thereby declaring another respect in which he was closely bound to Christ; for the title “Christ” means precisely “the Anointed One”.(2 Corinthians)

Establishes (950bebaioo from bebaios = sure, fixed, standing firm on the feet, steadfast, maintaining firmness or solidity. In classical Greek from the 5th cent. B.C. bebaios acquires the meaning of firm, durable, unshakeable, sure, reliable, certain; and in the legal sphere, valid, legal.Bebaios is derived from baino = fit to tread on = having a firm foundation) is a verb which means to make sure or certain, to prove valid or reliable or to verify and (in legal language) to guarantee. Bebaioo - 8v in NT - Mk. 16:20; Ro 15:8; 1Co. 1:6; 1Co. 1:8; 2 Co. 1:21; Col. 2:7; Heb. 2:3; Heb. 13:9

Anointed (5548chrio see Christos = Christ - Hebrew - מָשַׁח mashiach/masiyah = Messiah in Isa 61:1+ where Lxx =  chrio) means literally to daub, smear, anoint with oil or ointment, to rub oneself with oil. The figurative use means to consecrate or set apart for sacred work. It means to assign a person to a task, and in the present context conveys the implication of supernatural sanctions. Anointing was used to as part of a commissioning ceremony of prophets, priests and kings. Friberg - "figuratively in the NT, of God’s activity in appointing someone to an office, function, or privilege; appoint, assign, give a task; (1) of Jesus, the Christ (Lk 4.18); (2) of Christian workers (2Cor 1.21)" Chrio used in 5v - Lk. 4:18; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38; 2 Co. 1:21; Heb. 1:9

J Vernon McGee has a lengthy comment on the Holy Spirit in 2 Cor 1:21-22 - Now you have here not only the faithful God, the true God, and the sure Lord Jesus, but you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. And I believe, very candidly, that you have here in this statement the total ministry of the Holy Spirit today.

“He which stablisheth us.” Now how do you become established? When Paul had written his first letter to these Corinthians—and they had been so fickle—he concluded by saying, “… be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58+). What does it mean to be established? We believe that is the work of the Holy Spirit. First of all, the Holy Spirit convicts. The Lord Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came into the world, He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And the second thing that He would do (if, having been convicted, we confessed our sin and accepted Christ as our Savior) would be to regenerate us, you see. And He not only would regenerate us, He would indwell us. And not only would He indwell us, but He would baptize us.

And by the way, this expression here is quite interesting: “Now he which stablisheth us with you in [into] Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.” God who? God the Holy Spirit, if you please.

Sometimes, especially at funerals, we hear the song, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.” Well, the word here is not safe in the arms of Jesus. When you are put into Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you are a part of His body. Rather than being safe in His arms, you are as safe as an arm of Jesus Christ. You are as safe as a member of His body. What a wonderful security that is!

In speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit, Paul uses the present tense. This is what He is doing for you today, my friend: He convicts you, He regenerates you, He indwells you, and He baptizes you. (ED: AND I WOULD ADD HE CONTINUALLY "SPIRITUALLY ENERGIZES" US! SEE Php 2:13+ WHERE THE WORD "WORKS" IS GREEK energeo IN THE PRESENT TENSE - SO HE IS CONTINUALLY "SPIRITUALLY, SUPERNATURALLY ENERGIZING OUR HEARTS! AMAZING GRACE INDEED!)

“Now he which … hath anointed us, is God.” The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a neglected truth in our day. In 1 John 2:20 we are told, “But ye have an unction [that is, an anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” That anointing is the Holy Spirit. It takes the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:27). This ministry of the Holy Spirit is very important. He doesn’t give you a mail–order degree, nor does this knowledge come in a gift–wrapped box. You have the Holy Spirit to teach you, Christian friend, and He alone can open the Word of God to you. That is the reason this is a miracle Book. The Lord Jesus said to His own men, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:12–13). He wants to guide you into all truth.

“Who hath also sealed us”—that is a marvelous ministry of the Spirit. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). Is it possible to grieve Him away? No, He has sealed us and is going to deliver us someday. This is somewhat like taking a letter down to the post office. Occasionally some of the mail is lost and never does get delivered. If we want to be very sure that a certain piece of mail arrives, we have that letter registered and a seal put on it. The postal service guarantees that they will get the letter to the person to whom it is addressed. Also, all legal documents bear a seal—“In witness thereof I set my seal” is the phraseology that has come down to us from old English. It is also a brand, a mark of ownership. In the early days of the West, when there were no fences, the cattlemen would brand their cattle. The brand was a mark of ownership.

The Holy Spirit puts a brand on you to show that you belong to God. My friend, if you are little sheep of His, you are not going to get lost. Oh, you may stray away, but He will come to find you. The Holy Spirit is pictured in Luke’s parable as the woman sweeping the floor, looking for the lost coin until she found it (see Luke 15:8+).

“And given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” would be better translated: you are “given the earnest, which is the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” You know that “earnest money” indicates there will be more to follow. When you put down earnest money on a piece of property, it is a pledge that you are going to pay more money on that property. In such a way, God has given us the Holy Spirit, which indicates there is more to follow. This is a wonderful thing.

When people buy on the installment plan, there is a possibility that the buyer may later defect, even though he has put a down payment on the merchandise. But there is no defection in this Buyer. He has purchased us with His blood. He has put down a purchase price, which guarantees that the saved soul will be delivered safely to the Father. It means that the saved soul is in escrow today.

God has put His Holy Spirit into every believer. He is the earnest. He has come into the life of the believer to bring the fullness of God to bear in our experiences. What is it that you need today? You know that He is rich in mercy—He is the Father of mercies. What do you need? Why don’t you go to Him and ask Him for it? Do you need power? Do you need joy? Do you need wisdom? Do you need help? These are comforts—He is the God of all comfort. Paul knew this; he had experienced it. Also, this writer (J Vernon McGee) knows it; he has experienced it. (2 Corinthians 1 Commentary)


Lion Oil 

He who . . . has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. — 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:12-22

The ritual of anointing is practiced in almost every religion and among all races. Although application of oil may sometimes be done for medicinal reasons, frequently it is also thought to imbue a person with certain desired qualities or powers. Some people in East Africa, for example, pour lion oil on themselves, hoping to gain courage and strength for some great task.

The Bible speaks of an anointing that enables a person to take on the characteristics of another, but it is not with the oil of lions. Instead, it is the coming of the Holy Spirit into a person’s life (2 Cor. 1:21-22).

This divine anointing is performed by God Himself on all who have the wonderful privilege of becoming His children. It accompanies the conversion of those who trust in Christ. Paul said that the Spirit indwells every believer, and His presence is the guarantee of our future glory in heaven (v.22). As a result of His indwelling presence, we have the ability to become more like Christ (3:17-18).

We who are born of God have no excuse for remaining as we are. We can be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ by yielding ourselves to God’s anointing—the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. By:  Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, thank You for Your Spirit—
Fill us with His love and power;
Change us into Christ's own image
Day by day and hour by hour.
—Anon.

The Father gave the Spirit to make us like His Son.

2 Corinthians 1:22 Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:22 ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:22 ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:22 He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:22 He also set his seal on us as a deposit-guarantee by putting his spirit in our hearts.

CJB 2 Corinthians 1:22  put his seal on us, and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future.

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:22  who has placed his mark of ownership upon us, and who has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us.

TLB 2 Corinthians 1:22  He has put his brand upon us—his mark of ownership—and given us his Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to him and as the first installment of all that he is going to give us.

BBE 2 Corinthians 1:22  And it is he who has put his stamp on us, even the Spirit, as the sign in our hearts of the coming glory.

AMP 2 Corinthians 1:22  [He has also appropriated and acknowledged us as His by] putting His seal upon us and giving us His [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise].

  • sealed: Joh 6:27 Ro 4:11 Eph 1:13-14 Eph 4:30 2Ti 2:19 Rev 2:17 7:3 9:4 
  • as a pledge: 2Co 5:5 Ro 8:9,14-16,23 Eph 1:14 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Ephesians 1:13-14+  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed (aorist tense; passive voice = past completed action by God when we believed - sphragizo) in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Who is given as a pledge (arrabon) of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession (OUR GLORIFICATION - "FUTURE TENSE REDEMPTION" AS IN Eph 4:30+), to the praise of His glory. 

Ephesians 4:30+ Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed (aorist tense; passive voice = past completed action by God when we believed - sphragizo) for the day of redemption.

2 Corinthians 5:5+  Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, Who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge (arrabon). 

John 6:27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal (sphragizo).”

2 Ti 2:19+ (SEAL IDENTIFYING GENUINE BELIEVER)  Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands,(present tense - continually)  having this seal (sphragis), “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” 

GOD'S SPIRIT - SEAL OF APPROVAL &
PLEDGE GUARANTEEING "FULL PAYMENT"

Note the Trinity in 2 Cor 1:21-22. 

Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge - God supernaturally sealed us (stamped us with His identifying "mark" of His Spirit) when we placed our faith in Jesus and by this act marked us as (eternally) secure as well as*(eternally) belonging to Him (cf Rev 7:3+). In Paul's day a seal signified ownership, authenticity, and protection.

The Spirit is also the Father's gift (pledge) to serve as His "earnest money" (so to speak), the guarantee consisting of the Spirit Who is God's "Surety" of better things (our future "inheritance" cf 1 Pe 1:4-5+) to come when we leave this sinful world and pass instantly into the glorious presence of the Glorious One we have been waiting to behold (cf 1 Jn 3:2+). Stated another way, the pledge of the Spirit is the Father's "deposit" ("down payment") which is a guarantee that He will pay (so to speak) the full amount and looks forward to greater things to come!

MacArthur - God set both Paul and all believers on the unshakable and eternal promise of salvation in Christ. God has guaranteed that promise of eternal inheritance through the indwelling Holy Spirit. How foolish it was, in light of Paul’s preaching those glorious, eternal divine realities, to question his legitimacy as an apostle because of a minor change in his travel plans! (MNTC-2 Cor)

Regarding sealed Lightfoot makes an interesting comment that “the thing given is related to the thing assured—the present to the hereafter—as a part to the whole. It is the same in kind”. In other words the Spirit is the first installment of the Spirit, the "firstfruits" (as described in Ro 8:23) which awaits the complete "harvest" of "fruits" which every believer will ultimately and eternally enjoy! Amazing grace indeed! In fact Lightfoot goes on to add that "the actual spiritual life of the Christian is the same in kind (NOW) as his future glorified life; the kingdom of heaven is a present kingdom; the believer is already seated on the right hand of God (Eph 2:6).… Nevertheless the present gift of the Spirit is only a small fraction of the future endowment.!" That truth ought to evoke a veritable "Hallelujah chorus" from your heart beloved of God!

Robertson - It is God, says Paul, who has done all this for us and God is Paul’s pledge that he is sincere. He will come to Corinth in due time. This earnest of the Spirit in our hearts is the witness of the Spirit that we are God’s.

Hughes summarizes the import of verses 21 and 22 regarding the accusations against Paul - The consideration that he is established, together with them (THE CORINTHIAN SAINTS), in Christ, and has been anointed, sealed, and given the earnest of the Spirit, should convince the Corinthians how groundless are the charges of fickleness and instability which certain ill-disposed persons have been muttering against him. This is the thrust of his argument.  (2 Corinthians)

Steven Cole writes that "God gives us the Holy Spirit as the down payment or earnest of the full blessing of our future redemption. In one sense, we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7+). But, in another sense, our redemption is not complete until we get to heaven (ED: "FUTURE TENSE REDEMPTION"). Right now we can begin to enjoy the inheritance that is ours in Christ. But it’s just a foretaste of future glory. We don’t get the complete inheritance until we go to heaven (CF Eph 4:30+ = "you were sealed for the day of redemption.").(Secure in Him - Ephesians 1:13-14).

Matthew Henry - An earnest (pledge) secures the promise, and is part of the payment. The illumination of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life; and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting joy. Note, The veracity of God, the mediation of Christ, and the operation of the Spirit, are all engaged that the promises shall be sure to all the seed, and the accomplishment of them shall be to the glory of God (v. 20) for the glory of his rich and sovereign grace, and never-failing truth and faithfulness.

Barclay on pledge - Paul speaks about what the King James Version calls the earnest of the Spirit. The Greek word is arrabon. And an arrabon was the first instalment of a payment, paid as a guarantee that the rest was sure to follow. It is a common word in Greek legal documents. A woman selling a cow receives 1,000 drachmae as arrabon that the rest of the purchase price will be paid. Some dancing girls being engaged for a village festival receive so much as arrabon, which will be included in the final payment, but which is a present guarantee that the contract will be honoured and the full money paid. A certain man writes to his master that he has paid Lampon, the mouse-catcher, an arrabon of 8 drachmae so that he will start work and catch the mice while they are still with young. It was the first instalment and the guarantee that the rest would be paid. Everyone knew this word. It is the same idea as is in the Scots word arles which was a token payment made when a man was employed or a house bought, and a guarantee that the full contract would be honoured. When Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit as an arrabongiven us by God, he means that the kind of life we live by the help of the Holy Spirit is the first instalment of the life of heaven and the guarantee that the fullness of that life will some day open upon us. The gift of the Holy Spirit is God's token and pledge of still greater things to come.

Sealed (4972) sphragizo from sphragis = seal, engraved object used to make a mark - denoting ownership, approval, or closure of something normally done by pressing into heated wax usually attached to a document or letter) means to enclose with a seal, to set a seal upon or to mark with a seal. To mark so as to certify that something is so. Seals were used to make something secure, to serve as a guarantee of the correctness of the contents, to indicate authenticity, to indicate ownership. Goods were sealed as a guarantee indicating not only ownership but also the correctness of the contents Sacrificial animals were examined and sealed if perfect. Jars, sacks of fruit or grain were sealed. To mark with a seal as a means of identification in Greek secular writings was used to mark all kinds of animals, so that the mark denoting ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner. The affixing of the royal seal to an object gave it complete security (cf. Da. 6:17; Mt. 27:66); letters and legal documents that had been sealed were proof from interference and forgery (cf. 1 Ki 21:8; Jer. 32:10–14; Esther 3:12); so, too, God has set His seal upon those who are His: they are known to Him and in Him they are secure for all eternity (cf. 2 Ti 2:19+). Sphragizo - 14v - Mt 27:66; Jn. 3:33; Jn. 6:27; Ro 15:28; 2 Co. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30+; Rev. 7:3; Rev. 7:4; Rev. 7:5; Rev. 7:8; Rev. 10:4; Rev. 20:3; Rev. 22:10

One form of arrabon was used for an engagement ring! God's bestowal of His Spirit is the church's irrevocable pledge, her "divine engagement ring" giving her firm assurance that she is immutably betrothed to Christ's. In the NT arrabon is used only in a figurative sense and is used to describe the Holy Spirit Who the Father has given to believers in this present life to assure them of their future and eternal inheritance

Pledge (728arrabon  is the payment of part of a purchase price in advance. Literally was a legal and commercial technical term, representing an advance transaction that guarantees the validity of a contract or a full purchase price. The corresponding modern term is "earnest money", "down payment", installment or deposit that guarantees full amount will be paid.  All 3 NT uses of arrabon refer to the Holy Spirit as God's pledge. Marvin Vincent refers to arrabon as "caution-money, deposited by a purchaser in pledge of full payment." NET Bible notes "The Greek word arrabon denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God.... In the "already - not yet" scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers ("already") can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future ("not yet").

Related Resources:


“Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 5:5)

This is a fascinating concept and a wonderful reality. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is said to be an “earnest”—that is, a pledge or deposit—on an ultimate fulfillment of a magnificent promise from God Himself. The word translated “earnest” (Greek arabown), translated “pledge” in the Old Testament (see Genesis 38:17-20).

Now if the guiding presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, is merely an earnest payment, the fulfillment must be glorious beyond comprehension. This “selfsame thing,” as our test calls it, is a wonderful “house which is from heaven,” the spiritual body we shall receive when we go to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1,2).

The phrase also occurs in 2 Corinthians 1:11: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” In context, the earnest payment here is associated with the “sealing” of God and the assurance that “all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

The third and last use of this word in the New Testament is in Ephesians 1:13,14: “.in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” We are “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17, and He is to inherit all things.

Thus, the Holy Spirit, a present possession of all who have received Christ as Savior, is also God’s pledge of a glorious future—a perfect body, a great inheritance and the certain fulfillment of all of God’s gracious promises. - HMM


The Intrigue Of The Ark

[God] has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts. — 2 Corinthians 1:22

Today's Scripture: Exodus 25:10-22

There has always been an element of mystery and intrigue surrounding the ark of the covenant. This carefully crafted box was built by the Israelites to be placed in the tabernacle during their wandering years in the wilderness. Inside it were the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and a golden jar of manna (Heb. 9:4). Atop the ark, on what was called the mercy seat, were two golden cherubim. The ark was situated inside the Most Holy Place, where once a year the high priest would stand in the very presence of God.

We don’t know what eventually happened to the ark and its contents, but it is intriguing to hear various reports claiming that it could still be in existence.

As interesting as those unproven reports are, the real intrigue of the ark is its symbolism of God’s presence. The people of Israel could experience God’s presence vicariously through the high priest. That must have been a heart-pounding encounter! Yet we have it better. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, we have the very presence of God in our heart—through the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21-22).

Yes, the ark is surrounded by intrigue, but it doesn’t compare with God’s presence in our lives. By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Almighty, matchless, glorious God,
Inhabiting eternity,
I bow to You and give You praise,
In awe that You can live in me.
—Sper

To know God's presence is to know God's power.

2 Corinthians 1:23  But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.

Amplified 2 Corinthians 1:23  But I call upon God as my soul's witness: it was to avoid hurting you that I refrained from coming to Corinth—

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:23 Now I appeal to God as my witness, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:23 Ἐγὼ δὲ μάρτυρα τὸν θεὸν ἐπικαλοῦμαι ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμὴν ψυχήν, ὅτι φειδόμενος ὑμῶν οὐκέτι ἦλθον εἰς Κόρινθον.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn't return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:23 But I call God to witness against me-- it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:23 I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:23 Ἐγὼ δὲ μάρτυρα τὸν θεὸν ἐπικαλοῦμαι ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμὴν ψυχήν, ὅτι φειδόμενος ὑμῶν οὐκέτι ἦλθον εἰς Κόρινθον.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:23 And I for a witness on God do call upon my soul, that sparing you, I came not yet to Corinth;

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:23 But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I forbare to come unto Corinth.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:23 I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:23 I invoke God as witness to the motives of my soul that it was to take pressure off of you that I have not yet come to Corinth.

CJB 2 Corinthians 1:23  I call God to witness — he knows what my life is like — that the reason I held back from coming to Corinth was out of consideration for you!

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:23  I call God as my witness—he knows my heart! It was in order to spare you that I decided not to go to Corinth.

TLB 2 Corinthians 1:23  I call upon this God to witness against me if I am not telling the absolute truth: the reason I haven’t come to visit you yet is that I don’t want to sadden you with a severe rebuke.

BBE 2 Corinthians 1:23  But God is my witness that it was in pity for you that I did not come to Corinth at that time.

  • I call: 2Co 1:18 2 Cor 11:11,31 Ro 1:9 9:1 Ga 1:20 Php 1:8 1Th 2:5 
  • that: 2Co 2:1-3:18 10:2,6-11 12:20 13:2,10 1Co 4:21 5:5 1Ti 1:20 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages

2 Cor 13:2,10 I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, (13:10) For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. 

1 Corinthians 4:21+  What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

GOD WITNESSES PAUL'S
REASON FOR CHANGE OF PLANS

Paul explains why he had planned to come but then did not come.

But I call God as witness to my soul - NLT = "Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth." Paul appeals to the most trustworthy Witness anyone could summon, God Who is truth and knows Paul's innermost being. God would testify that what Paul is getting ready to explain in the following phrase is absolutely true. To my soul is literally upon (epi) my soul and Lietzmann says the idea is "He should punish me if I lie," a sense which is picked up in the NIV and NEB rendering "I stake my life on it." Mace NT adds "and may I die if it is not true." New Testament in Modern Speech has "as my soul shall answer for it." 

Vincent on I call God as witness  A common classical idiom. Compare Plato: “Next will follow the choir of young men under the age of thirty, who will call upon the god Paean to testify to the truth of these words” (“Laws,” 664). Homer: “For the gods will be the best witnesses” (“Iliad,” xxii., 254). Compare Ro 1:9; Gal. 1:20; Phil 1:8; 1 Th. 2:5, 10; Ge 31:50, Sept. This particular form of expression occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The verb is often translated appeal as Acts 25:11, 12. Also to call upon in the sense of supplication, Ro 10:12, 13, 14; 1 Cor. 1:2. (2 Corinthians 1

Witness (3144) (martus/martys) basically describes one who remembers something and testifies concerning what they remember.

That to spare you I did not come again to Corinth - Amplified = "it was to avoid hurting you that I refrained from coming to Corinth." Paul is saying he had  refrained himself (middle voice = reflexive) from making the trip to Corinth, a trip which with his use of the words "spare you" presumably would have been to give a personal rebuke which would have been painful for them to receive. TLB paraphrase adds "the reason I haven’t come to visit you yet is that I don’t want to sadden you with a severe rebuke." Paul is explaining why he did not come as originally planned (cf 2 Cor 1:15-17, alluded to in first letter = 1 Cor 16:5-7+). Paul's point in delaying was to give the Corinthians time to repent and correct their attitude toward him and other problems, so when he did come he would not have to use a "rod of discipline."

MacArthur - He did not come earlier because he wanted them to have time to repent of and correct their sinful behavior....He waited instead for a report from Titus before taking further action (see chap. 7), hoping he would not have to come again, as he had earlier, to face their rebellion.   (MacArthur Study Bible)

J Vernon McGee - Paul says that if he had come earlier, he would have done what he did in his first epistle. You have seen that 1 Corinthians is filled with correction. Paul was really stern in that epistle. In effect, he is saying, “If I had come, I would have been stern with you. But I wanted to spare you that; I wanted to see if you would work this thing out yourselves.” (2 Corinthians 1 Commentary)

Ray Stedman  -   In Verse 23 of Chapter 1 on through Verse 4 of Chapter 2, he tells us the two things the Spirit showed him that made him change his mind. You are getting a very practical passage here on how the Spirit of God works to help us understand. Here is the first reason (TO SPARE YOU) That is reason number one. He did not come because he wanted to spare them. (When You Are Misunderstood)

Barclay on to spare you - Paul used severity and rebuke very unwillingly. He used them only when he was driven to use them and there was nothing else left to do. There are some people whose eyes are always focussed to find fault, whose tongues are always tuned to criticize, in whose voice there is always a rasp and an edge. Paul was not like that. In this he was wise. If we are constantly critical and fault-finding, if we are habitually angry and harsh, if we rebuke far more than we praise, the plain fact is that even our severity loses its effect. It is discounted because it is so constant. The more seldom a man rebukes, the more effective it is when he does. In any event, the eyes of a truly Christian man seek ever for things to praise and not for things to condemn. When Paul did rebuke, he did it in love. He never spoke merely to hurt. There can be sadistic pleasure in seeing someone wince at a sharp and cruel word. But Paul was not like that. He never rebuked to cause pain; he always rebuked to restore joy. When John Knox was on his deathbed he said, "God knows that my mind was always void of hatred to the persons of those against whom I thundered my severest judgments." It is possible to hate the sin but love the sinner. The effective rebuke is that given with the arm of love round the other person. The rebuke of blazing anger may hurt and even terrify; but the rebuke of hurt and sorrowing love alone can break the heart.

As severity is ready to punish the faults which it may discover,
so charity is reluctant to discover the faults which it must punish”
-- Augustine

Spare (5339) pheidomai means to treat leniently, to forbear, to spare. To avoid or refrain from doing something. To save someone from trouble, loss or discomfort. 

2 Corinthians 1:24  Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.

Amplified 2 Corinthians 1:24   Not that we have dominion [over you] and lord it over your faith, but [rather that we work with you as] fellow laborers [to promote] your joy, for in [your] faith (in your strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God) you stand firm.

KJV  2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

NET  2 Corinthians 1:24 I do not mean that we rule over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because by faith you stand firm.

BGT  2 Corinthians 1:24 οὐχ ὅτι κυριεύομεν ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως ἀλλὰ συνεργοί ἐσμεν τῆς χαρᾶς ὑμῶν· τῇ γὰρ πίστει ἑστήκατε.

NLT  2 Corinthians 1:24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.

ESV  2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

NIV  2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

GNT  2 Corinthians 1:24 οὐχ ὅτι κυριεύομεν ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως ἀλλὰ συνεργοί ἐσμεν τῆς χαρᾶς ὑμῶν· τῇ γὰρ πίστει ἑστήκατε.

YLT  2 Corinthians 1:24 not that we are lords over your faith, but we are workers together with your joy, for by the faith ye stand.

ASV  2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we have lordship over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for in faith ye stand fast.

CSB  2 Corinthians 1:24 I do not mean that we have control of your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand by faith.

MIT  2 Corinthians 1:24 We do not make a power play over your faith. Rather, we are coworkers concerned for your joy. By faith you have stood and will continue to stand.

CJB 2 Corinthians 1:24 We are not trying to dictate how you must live out your trust in the Messiah, for in your trust you are standing firm. Rather, we are working with you for your own happiness.

TEV 2 Corinthians 1:24  We are not trying to dictate to you what you must believe; we know that you stand firm in the faith. Instead, we are working with you for your own happiness.

BBE 2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we have authority over your faith, but we are helpers of your joy: for it is faith which is your support.

  • that: Mt 23:8-10 24:49 1Co 3:5 2Ti 2:24-26 1Pe 5:3 
  • are: 2Co 2:1-3 Ro 1:12 Php 1:25,26 
  • for: 2Co 5:7 Ro 5:2 11:20 1Co 15:1 Eph 6:14-16 1Pe 5:8,9 
  • 2 Corinthians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

1 Peter 5:1-3+   Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over (present tense of katakurieuo) those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

MINISTERS DO NOT LORD
IT OVER THEIR FLOCK

Not that we lord it over your faith MNT = "not that I would arbitrarily prescribe what you should believe." NLT = "But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice." CJB = "We are not trying to dictate how you must live out your trust in the Messiah." Paul is saying he was not the lord of the Corinthians and thus was not seeking to "dominate (them) by telling (them) how to put (their) faith into practice" (NLT Paraphrase). In this context faith (literally "the faith") seems to refer to what they believe and how they should put it into practice. Obviously Paul gives certain guidelines in his epistles from practicing one's faith, but the working out is left to the individuals. In short, Paul is making this statement to defuse any accusations that he is trying to exert dominion over the faith of the Corinthians.

Ray Stedman  -  What he is saying is, he refrained from coming in order to preserve their freedom to act only as they were convinced the Lord wanted them to act, and not because he said so. Now this is a very important principle, because here the apostle is challenging one of the widespread misunderstandings in the church in our day. Paul says, "Look, I am not your boss. If I had come to Corinth the way I had originally planned, after having already paid you a painful visit, it's very likely that my powerful personality, my strong will, my position as a respected apostle would have put such pressure upon you that you would have obeyed me, but not out of conviction that was what the Lord wanted you to do. So I did not come, in order that you might preserve freedom to do what God wants, not what I want." If he had come he would have given them the impression that he had authority over them. But that is not true, he says, "We are not lords over your faith. We are not your boss. We have no authority to tell you what to do or what to say or how to act, but rather" (in a beautiful phrase he puts it), "we are helpers of your joy." That is wonderful, isn't it? Paul sees himself as a fellow worker, standing alongside them, helping them to understand what God wants so they would enter into the joy of the Lord. But he is not their boss. One of the major problems the church is facing in our day is the widespread tendency to misunderstand the nature of authority and leadership within the church, the practice of having somebody who is regarded as the ultimate boss, and everybody has to get directions and permission from him to do anything. I run into this everywhere. I have often said that if we Protestants are right when we say to the Catholics that God never intended to have one man, a pope, over the whole church, it is no improvement to have one in every church. Leaders in the church are not bosses. This is a common misconception in our day. Many churches look to the pastor -- you never see that term in Scripture; there are pastors, but never the pastor -- these churches look to the pastor for authority, for permission even to exercise their spiritual gifts. More and more now, as I travel around the country, I am telling congregations, "Look, you do not have to ask your pastor whether you can teach in your home or not. You do not have to go to the pastor to get permission to use your spiritual gift. He did not give it to you. The Lord did, and you are responsible to him for the exercise of that spiritual gift, not to the pastor. Now the pastor is your helper; he is there to encourage you and to help you to understand what these gifts are, how to recognize yours, etc., but you are not responsible to him for exercising it. He is responsible to his Lord to help you put it together with others and to maintain unity within the church, but not to govern what ministry you have. That comes from the Lord himself. He is the Head of the church, the body." I hardly know any principle or concept in the church that is more missing and misunderstood than that concept today. In First Peter, Chapter 5, Peter says that elders are not to be "lords over God's heritage," (1 Peter 5:3 KJV). That is what Paul is referring to here. We are not lords, he says, not that we lord it over your faith. The word "heritage" there, in 1 Peter 5, kleros, "inheritance," is the word from which we get our English word, "clergy." It is interesting, is it not, that Peter is saying to the men whom we call "clergy" not to lord it over the real clergy, the laity. It is the people who are the ministers of God. It is the people who are to carry on the work of the church, and exercise its ministry out in the world, in every place. It is not up to anybody to be boss in the church. As Jesus himself put it, "One is your Master, and all you are brothers..." (Matthew 23:8 KJV). We are to help one another. Even the mighty Apostle Paul himself clearly acknowledges this here. So he says, "That is why I did not come. I did not want to disturb that relationship. I did not want to preempt authority over you that belonged only to the Lord himself." As he himself put it in Romans 14: "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand," (Romans 14:4RSV). I love Philip's rendition of that, "God is well able to transform men into servants that are satisfactory." (When You Are Misunderstood)

Anonymous - Faith may live in a storm, but it will not suffer a storm to live in it. As faith rises, so the blustering wind of discontented, troublesome thoughts goes down. In the same proportion that there is faith in the heart, there is peace also: they are joined together. “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Barclay writes that "When Paul rebuked, the last thing he wanted was to domineer. In a modern novel, a father says to his son, "I'll beat the fear of the loving God into you." The great danger which the preacher and the teacher ever incur is of coming to think that our duty is to compel others to think exactly as we do and to insist that if they do not see things as we see them, they must be wrong. The duty of the teacher is not to impose beliefs on other people, but to enable and to encourage them to think out their own beliefs. The aim is not to produce a pale copy of oneself, but to create an independent human being. One who was taught by that great teacher, A. B. Bruce, said, "He cut the cables and gave us a glimpse of the blue waters." Paul knew that as a teacher he must never domineer, although he must discipline and guide.

Philip E Hughes - The Apostle, clearly, is so painfully conscious of the facility with which his statements, even in their most amicable form, are prone to be misconstrued by those who wish to present him in a bad light in Corinth that, having said that his reason for not coming was that he might spare the Corinthians, he immediately feels the need for anticipating any derogatory use which might be made by his detractors of this explanation. These cavillers would readily draw from his wish to spare them the inference that he claimed to exercise a lordship or dictatorship over their faith: he who spares is also the master who punishes and disposes in accordance with his arbitrary decision. And so Paul explains further that there is no question of his lording it over the Corinthians in the realm of their faith. There is but one Lord and one faith (Eph. 4:5), and that one Lord Alone has lordship over the faith of every Christian. It is not Paul’s office to lord it over the servant of another; to his own lord each man stands or falls (Ro 14:4), and the Christian’s Lord and Master is Christ, not an apostle, nor any other creature. As Christ is the object of faith, so also He is the Lord of faith. He alone has lordship over both the dead and the living (Ro 14:9); it is before His judgment-seat that all must stand (Ro 14:10; 2 Co 5:10). Lording it over others is, in fact, a mark of the potentates of this world, who arrogantly attempt to assert their own lordship to the exclusion of the Lordship of God. Christian greatness, however, is not of this kind, but displays itself in the humility of service (Lk. 22:25f.). And, no matter what may be the appearance of things in this fallen world, Christ is and will ultimately prove Himself to be “the Lord of those who act the lord” (1 Tim. 6:15). (2 Corinthians)

Calvin says faith "acknowledges no subjection except to the Word of God and is not at all liable to the rule of men”. 

MacArthur says Paul "claimed no authority over their faith, which was a private matter between them and God. Saving faith is a personal matter between the believer and the Lord. No one but the Lord has authority over that relationship. Salvation is an individual matter and does not come through a hierarchical ecclesiastical organization." (MNTC-2 Cor)

Guzik - It has been said that God reserves three things to Himself:  First, to make something of nothing. Second, to know future events.   Third, to have dominion over men’s consciences.  Sadly, there are far too many that are entirely willing to take dominion over other believers in a manner that Paul would not. 

Adam Clarke puts it this way - The sacred writings, and they alone, contain what is necessary to faith and practice; and that no man, number of men, society, church, council, presbytery, consistory, or conclave, has dominion over any man’s faith. The Word of God alone is his rule, and to its Author he is to give account of the use he has made of it (cf 2Ti 2:15+) (2 Corinthians 1)

Lord over (master) (2961) (kurieuo from noun kurios = master - power of control rather than physical strength) means to rule or have dominion over and speaks of individuals who exercise authority or have control over others (Lk 22:25, Ro 14:9, 2Co 1:24). The term is often used to speak of powerful political lords who had certain legal rights to authority based on their lordship. They were authorized to exercise power and control over those of lesser degree. Kurieuo was used in the Lxx of Genesis 3:16 where God decrees that Adam would  “rule over” Eve (not as a dictator, but as a loving leader).

Faith (4102)(pistis) means trust, trustworthiness, reliability; confidence, assurance, conviction; belief, doctrine. Pistis is one of the most important terms in Scripture. The pagan Greeks even used pistis to describe “faith” in the existence of their (non-existent) gods as opposed to belief in no gods at all (pagan atheism). Faith gets us into the Kingdom and enables Spirit filled kingdom life (cf Gal 3:3). In many passages faith is yoked inseparably with obedience. Of course faith alone saves a soul, but faith is shown to be true saving faith by its association with obedience/works. Swindoll says it this way "The term implies both knowledge and action. One may receive knowledge of a certain truth and may even offer verbal agreement, but “trust” or “confidence” is not said to be present until one’s behavior reflects that truth."  It has well been said that faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that’s superstition—but obeying in spite of circumstances and consequences. (See multiple articles on Saving Faith)

But - Term of contrast. Contrast of "lord" with "co-worker." A far cry from trying to be "lord" over the Corinthians, Paul clearly states is on their level (so to speak) serving intimately with them as fellow workers in the faith. 

DIVINE SYNERGISM

Synergy describes the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm - Amplified = "but [rather that we work with you as] fellow laborers [to promote] your joy, for in [your] faith (in your strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God) you stand firm." Workers with you uses the preposition sun/syn (speaks of close/intimate association) in the compound word sunergos (Eng = synergy!) which describes an intimate association between Paul and the saints at Corinth. 

For your joy speaks of Paul's seeking the best for the Corinthians, recalling that joy is a supernaturally enabled feeling of "happiness" which is independent of what "happens." In other words joy is an experience that comes not necessarily from favorable circumstances (e.g., Paul's joy in affliction! - 2Co 7:4+, 1Th 1:6+) but as a gift from God, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22+). Joy is a part of God’s own nature and Spirit which He bestows on and in His children. Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. There is a chorus from an old spiritual song that is apropos..."Happiness happens But joy abides." 

Here faith (pistis) speaks of the Corinthians' belief in Jesus (past tense salvation) and by extension belief in the Spirit of Jesus to enable them to live the Christian life (present tense salvation - progressive sanctification). Paul encourages the saints at Corinth with his assessment that they were standing firm which is in the perfect tense indicating their continuing state of steadfastness. Note that it was not just a "positive" mindset but was based on their faith. And ultimately faith has an object, that object in Christianity being the Living Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8+, cf Heb 13:5+). The truth about Jesus "catalyzed" (so to speak) their faith and this in turn resulted in their standing firm against the inveterate enemies,  the world, the flesh and the devil (and the false apostles he would describe later in this letter - 2 Cor 11:13+).

J Vernon McGee - Paul is saying, “I am not the bishop of your souls. I am not trying to lord it over you. You have complete freedom in Christ. I just want to be a helper of your joy; ‘for by faith ye stand.’ ” You and I too must stand in our own faith, my friend. Paul stayed away so that their faith might be strengthened and that they might grow in the Lord. And this is one of the reasons God permits many of us to undergo certain hardships and certain difficulties in our lives.(2 Corinthians 1 Commentary)

Joy (5479chara)  is a feeling of great pleasure, inner gladness,  delight, emanating from a sense of well-being and energizing a deep feeling of happiness and contentment. Joy in the NT is virtually always used to signify a feeling of "happiness" that is based on spiritual realities (independent of what "happens"). Supernatural Joy is independent of circumstances as in 1 Th 1:6+ which describes the saints experiencing "much tribulation (ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES) with the (SUPERNATURAL) joy of (ENERGIZED BY) the Holy Spirit." The first NT use in Mt 2:10+ describes the wise men's reaction when they saw the star for they knew it pointed to Jesus the ultimate Source of Joy.  Chara occurs 5x in 2 Corinthians (none in 1 Corinthians) -  2Co. 1:24; 2Co. 2:3; 2Co. 7:4; 2Co. 7:13; 2Co. 8:2;

ILLUSTRATION - A conference at a certain church in Omaha. People were given helium-filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. This church wasn’t normally free to express themselves w/an “Hallelujah or a Praise the Lord.” All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go! Joy is a gift, but gifts still need to be received to be enjoyed (pun intended)!