2 Corinthians, 1
Greetings from Paul And Timothy
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: 2: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
B The Comfort of God – Christian living (Life’s plans)
Praise and blessing to God
3: Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 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. 5: For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 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. 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. 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: 9: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 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.
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. 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; 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. 15: And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 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. 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? 18: But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 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. 20: For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21: Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22: Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 23: Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 24: Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
This is the second letter to the Corinthian church that the Holy Spirit has designated to be recorded and included in the Scriptures. This letter is specifically a defence of Pauls Apostolic authority. And so Pauls greeting begins Paul, An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. He is saying this apostleship of mine was not my idea. I did not aspire to it. It was God that called me and sent me forth as an apostle of Jesus Christ. However having said that, Paul includes Timothy in his greeting. This is very significant. Paul never considered himself to be above his brethren. In fact he considered himself to lest that the least of his brethren. He recognised his unique calling but he had great respect for others and in this case Timothy. He knew Timothy’s faults and the failings of his natural disposition yet he sees in him great virtues and sees in him his successor in many ways. We would need to turn to two NT letters written specifically for Timothy to see the high regard he had for him. Pauls letter is to the Church at Corinth and to all believers in all Greece. Pauls greeting is a combination of the Christian and Jewish Greeting - Grace and Peace. Then Paul breaks into a hymn of praise and blessing on God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. It seems that Paul is addressing the believers in a time of persecution. He applies God’s blessing to them in the sense that in their trials they might know Gods mercy and comfort. He says God comforts us in our tribulation so that we might comfort those who are in trouble. Some might ask, why do christians face trouble and persecution? Well one of the reasons why we suffer is so that we might comfort those who are suffering. And how can we comfort those in trouble? We can comfort them with the comfort which we receive ourselves from God. The idea of comfort is of wrapping around with strength, from com and fort. God wraps his arms around us to give us the realisation of his presence and protection. We are to put our arms around those who need it. Paul says as our sufferings in Christ increase so Christ gives us more comfort. And Paul reminds them that he suffers so that they might be blessed and for their deliverance. And Paul says we know that God will deliver you knowing that your suffering might be the road to blessing. Then Paul recounts some of the trouble that he has faced in Asia (Turkey) He says we were faced with unbearable pressure, beyond our ability to endure it, in that we thought we would be murdered. But the sentence of death caused us not to trust in ourselves but in God who is able even if we die for the faith to be raised again in glory. God has delivered us and will continue to deliver us and we are trusting in him for our future. Your prayers have been a great blessing to us and your gift of money have been the means of great thanksgiving. Our rejoicing is in this that we have a clear conscience before the Lord and that in simplicity and godly sincerity and not in human cleverness but by the Grace of God this is how we lived in the world. Paul here describes the three key aspects of his life in this world. 1. Living with a clear conscience before his Lord. 2. Simplicity in the sense that he is generous with his resources. 3. Sincerity in the sense that Paul had nothing hidden - everything was genuine. What you saw is what he was – with Paul. Paul says, what you read here, is what l think and l have nothing written different anywhere else. And l believe you will always find this the case, forever. I know that some of you have acknowledged our ministry to you and rejoice in us and let me say, we will rejoice in you when the Lord comes for us all. I wanted to come to visit you before this so that you might have a second benefit of my ministry. I wanted to pass by you to visit Macedonia and then afterward to come to visit you, and then after seeing you to go to Judea. Was l joking? Or was l just inking as this world thinks? Doing what l think is best? But God is true and our ministry to you was not yes and no and maybe. We, Timothy and Silas, preached the Son of God Jesus Christ to you. We were not in any doubt as to the truth of the message we brought it was definite and clear and with no doubts. All the promises of God are definitely going to be fulfilled – so let them be. The one who establishes us with you in Christ and who has anointed us is God. God has also placed his mark of ownership on us and given us a token of blessing – the Holy Spirit put into our hearts. And more than this l call on God to witness that l have not come to Corinth yet to spare you. Not that we are in charge of you but we want to help you so that you might rejoice in the Lord because it is by trusting in God that you stand form.