Sunday, December 16, 2012


3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercies) and the God [Who is the Source] of every consolation and comfort and encouragement;
4 Who consoles and comforts and encourages us in every trouble (calamity and affliction) so that we may be able to console (comfort and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the consolation (comfort and encouragement) with which we ourselves are consoled and comforted and encouraged by God.
5 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 and consolation and encouragement are also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.
6 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 and consolation and encouragement, which work [in you when you] patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.
7 And our hope for you-that is, our joyful and confident expectation of good for you-is ever unwavering, (assured and unshaken); for we know that just as you share and are partners in [our] sufferings and calamities, you also share and are partners in [our] comfort (consolation and encouragement). (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). [Amplified Bible].

Gratitude for divine comfort (1:3-7)

The paragraph embodies the chief emphasis of chs. 1-7: "comfort in the midst of affliction.'

3-4 Paul generally follows his salutation with thanksgiving for the divine grace evident in the lives of his converts and a summary of his prayers for them. Here, however, he offers praise to God for consoling and encouraging him, while later (v.11) he solicits their prayers for himself. This atypical preoccupation with his own circumstances shows the distressing nature of the experience in Asia from which he had so recently been delivered (vv.8-10). He highlights the aspects of God's character he had come to value in deeper measure as a result of personal need and divine response, namely, God's limitless compassion and never-failing comfort.
    Paul sees his suffering not merely as personally beneficial, driving him to trust God alone (v.9; 12:7), but also as directly benefiting those he ministered to: "God . . . comforts us . . . so that we can comfort. . ." To experience God's help, consolation, and encouragement in the midst of all one's affliction is to become indebted and equipped to communicate the divine comfort to others in any kind of affliction or distress.

5 This verse supplies the reason why suffering equips Christians to mediate God's comfort. Whenever Christ's sufferings were multiplied in Paul's life, God's comfort was also multiplied through the ministry of Christ. The greater the suffering, the greater the comfort and the greater the ability to share with others the divine sympathy. "The sufferings of Christ" cannot refer to the atoning passion of Christ that Paul regarded as a historical fact, a completed event. Rather, they include sufferings that befall the "man in Christ" (12:2) engaged in his service (cf. 4:11-12). They are Christ's sufferings not simply because they are similar to his but because they contribute to the fulfillment of the suffering destined for the body of Christ or because Christ continues to identify himself with his afflicted church.

6-7 Verse 6a restates and applies v.4b. Paul's affliction and endurance of his trials ultimately benefited the Corinthians in that he was now equipped to administer divine encouragement to them when they were afflicted and to ensure their perseverance when they underwent trials. Paul then makes explicit (v.6b) the divine comfort he received in the midst of affliction. Whether he suffered affliction or received comfort, the advantage remained the same for the Corinthians (cf. 4:8-12, 15). They too would know an inner revitalization, an infusion of divine strength that would enable them to endure patiently the same type of trial that confronted Paul (1 Pet 5:9).
    Since Paul realized that to share Christ's sufferings always involved the experience of God's comfort through that suffering, his hope that the Corinthians would be triumphant in their time of trial was securely grounded (v.7).
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].


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