2 Corinthians 1The Voice (VOICE)
1 Paul, an emissary[a] of Jesus the Anointed pressed into service by the will of God, and our brother Timothy to God’s church that gathers in Corinth and all the saints in the region of Achaia.
2 May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, surround you.
3 All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. 4 He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. 5 For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same. 6 If we are afflicted with such trouble and pain, then know it is so that you might ultimately experience comfort and salvation. If we experience comfort, it is to encourage you so that you can hold up while you endure the same sufferings we all share. 7 Remember that our hope for you stands firm, unshaken and unshakable. That’s because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so you will also share in our comfort.
8 My brothers and sisters, we have to tell you that when we were in Asia the troubles we faced were nearly more than we could handle. The burdens we bore nearly crushed us. Our strength dwindled to nothing. For a while, we weren’t sure we would make it through the whole ordeal. 9 We thought we would have to serve out our death sentences right then and there. As a result, we realized that we could no longer rely on ourselves and that we must trust solely in God, who possesses the power to raise the dead. 10 Miraculously God Himself delivered us from the cold hands of death. We again place our hope in Him alone, and we know He will deliver us. 11 Join us in this work. Lend us a hand through prayer so that many will give thanks for the gift that comes to us when God answers the prayers of so many.
Some believe that prosperity and comfort are the markers of a faithful Christian; in order to believe that, you have to ignore completely the life and writings of Paul, the emissary. It is only when you suffer that you can meet God as your comforter. In these letters, and often in our own lives, it is when we seem to have come to the end of ourselves that we see and experience the fullness of God in entirely new ways. This is not to say that any of us should or would seek out the kind of suffering Paul experienced; we do not long to be imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, or hunted by authorities. But when our dark days come, we should be ready to learn, grow, and experience the fullness of God in the midst of our troubles.
12 We are proud of the fact that we have lived before the world and especially before you with clear consciences, living holy lives mixed with genuine sincerity before God. We have not relied on any human wisdom but on the grace and favor of God. 13 We are not writing to you in anything resembling codes or riddles; we only write those lessons you are ready to read and understand. I hope you will study them, value them, and truly understand them until the end. 14 You have already begun to grasp what we mean in part; but on the day when our Lord Jesus returns, we will be as proud of you as you are of us.
15-16 In this spirit of trust and confidence, I was intending to come your way first on my current journey. So that you might have a double dose of this grace and assurance, my plan was to visit you on my way to Macedonia and return to you again on the journey back so that you could assist me on the trip to Judea. 17 But since this didn’t happen, was I just being indecisive? Were my plans made in the flesh rather than by God’s Spirit? How can I say “yes” and “no” in the same breath? 18 Because our God is always faithful to His promises, our word to you was not both “yes” and “no”—“Yes, I’ll come,” and then, “No, I’ve changed my mind.” 19 For the Son of God—Jesus the Anointed whom we (Silvanus,[b] Timothy, and I) have preached to you—was not both “yes” and then “no.” With Him the answer is always “yes.” 20 In Jesus we hear a resounding “yes” to all of God’s many promises. This is the reason we say “Amen” to and through Jesus when giving glory to God. 21 Remember that God has established our relationship with you in the Anointed One, and He has anointed and commissioned us for this special mission. 22 He has marked us with His seal and placed His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee, a down payment of the things to come.
23 If I were in court today, I’d call God as a witness to my soul. Here’s the truth: I decided not to come back to Corinth in order to spare you further pain and sorrow. 24 It’s not that we want to coerce you in any matter of faith; we are coworkers called to increase your joy because you have stood firm in faith.
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