The relationship between suffering and comfort
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia.
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those that are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, even so our comfort is also in abundance through Christ. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which works in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast. Knowing that, as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort.
8 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant in regards to the hardships which we encountered in Asia. We were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much so that we feared even for our lives. 9 Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in the God who raises the dead- 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. 11 You also helping together on our behalf by your prayers, so that it works out that for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf.
Paul’s change of travel plans
12 For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and Godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves in the world- and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even acknowledge, and I hope you will acknowledge to the end; 14 as also you did once partially acknowledge us, that we are your boasting, even as you are also ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
15 And in this confidence I had decided to come first of all to you, that you might have a second benefit; 16 and by you to pass into Macedonia and again from Macedonia to come to you, and from you proceed on my journey to Judea. 17 When I planned this, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, so that in the same breath I say, Yes, yes and then No, no? 18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yes and no; but in him is yes. 20 For no matter how many and whatever be the promises of God, in him is the ultimate Yes! Therefore also through him is the Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now he that establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts.
23 But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have lordship over your faith but are helpers of your joy. For in faith you must stand fast.
1:4 One reason for our sufferings is so that the comfort we are given for them we may share with others who are suffering the same. But this will only be possible if we are meaningfully in relationship with others; and suffering has a way of making us self-centred. Paul understood this principle so well that he could write that his sufferings were so that he could comfort the Corinthians (v. 6).
1:9 Sentence of death within ourselves- Paul may be referring to having received a death penalty from the local authorities, or to his recovery from a terminal illness.
1:13 ‘What we write is what you read’ may be a way of saying that they knew within their consciences, at first reading of his words, that there was congruence between Paul’s words and his actions- as there should be in our words too.
1:19 The totally positive nature of the Lord Jesus should be reflected in our positivity and sense of purpose in life (v. 17).