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The God of All Comfort

Paul, an apostle of King Jesus through God’s will, and Timothy our brother; to God’s assembly in Corinth, with all God’s people in the whole of Achaea: grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord, King Jesus!

Let us bless God, the father of our Lord, King Jesus; he is the father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our trouble, so that we can then comfort people in every kind of trouble, through the comfort with which God comforts us. Just as we have an overflowing share of the Messiah’s sufferings, you see, so we have an overflowing share in comfort through the Messiah. If we are troubled, it’s because of your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it’s because of your comfort, which comes about as you bear patiently with the same sufferings that we are going through. And our hope about you remains firm, because we know that, just as you’ve shared in our sufferings, so you will also share in our comfort.

Unbearably Crushed

You see, my dear family, we don’t want to keep you in the dark about the suffering we went through in Asia. The load we had to carry was far too heavy for us; it got to the point where we gave up on life itself. Yes: deep inside ourselves we received the death sentence. This was to stop us relying on ourselves, and to make us rely on the God who raises the dead. 10 He rescued us from such a great and deadly peril, and he’ll do it again; we have placed our hope in him, that he’ll do it again! 11 But you must co-operate with us through prayer for us, so that when God gives us this gift, answering the prayers of so many, all the more will give thanks because of what’s happened to us.

12 This is what we boast of, you see; this is what our conscience is telling us: that our conduct in the world, and in particular in relation to you, has been marked by holiness and godly sincerity, not in merely human wisdom but in God’s grace. 13 We are not writing anything to you, after all, except what you can read and understand. And I hope you will go on understanding right through to the end, 14 just as you have understood us already – well, partly, at least! We are your pride and joy, just as you are ours, on the day of our Lord Jesus.

Paul’s Plans and God’s ‘Yes’

15 I was quite sure of this. That’s why I wanted to come to you again, so that you could have a double blessing. 16 I intended to go on to Macedonia by way of you, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judaea.

17 Was I just fooling around when I was making plans like this? Was I concocting schemes in a merely human way, prepared to say ‘Yes, yes’, and ‘No, no’, at the same moment? 18 God can bear me faithful witness that our word to you was not a mixture of Yes and No. 19 The son of God, Jesus the Messiah, who was proclaimed among you by Silvanus, Timothy and myself, wasn’t a Yes-and-No person; in him it’s always Yes! 20 All God’s promises, you see, find their Yes in him; and that’s why we say the Yes, the Amen through him when we pray to God and give him glory. 21 It’s God who strengthens us with you into the Messiah, the anointed one; and he has anointed us, too. 22 God has stamped his seal on us, by giving us the spirit in our hearts as a first payment and guarantee of what is to come.

Painful Visit, Painful Letter

23 For my own part, I call on God as witness, against my own life, that the reason I haven’t yet come back to Corinth is because I wanted to spare you. 24 This isn’t because I am making myself the lord and master over your faith; your faith is the reason you stand fast! Rather, it’s because we are co-operating with you for your joy.