In these verses the apostle speaks for the encouragement and edification of the Corinthians; and tells them (2 Cor. 1:7) of his persuasion or stedfast hope that they should receive benefit by the troubles he and his companions in labour and travel had met with, that their faith should not be weakened, but their consolations increased. In order to this he tells them, 1. What their sufferings had been (2 Cor. 1:8): We would not have you ignorant of our trouble. It was convenient for the churches to know what were the sufferings of their ministers. It is not certain what particular troubles in Asia are here referred to; whether the tumult raised by Demetrius at Ephesus, mentioned Acts 19:24-41, or the fight with beasts at Ephesus, mentioned in the former epistle (1 Cor. 15:32), or some other trouble; for the apostle was in deaths often. This however is evident, that they were great tribulations. They were pushed out of measure, to a very extraordinary degree, above the common strength of men, or of ordinary Christians, to bear up under them, insomuch that they despaired even of life (2 Cor. 1:8), and thought they should have been killed, or have fainted away and expired. 2. What they did in their distress: They trusted in God. And they were brought to this extremity in order that they should not trust in themselves but in God, 2 Cor. 1:9. Note, God often brings his people into great straits, that they may apprehend their own insufficiency to help themselves, and may be induced to place their trust and hope in his all-sufficiency. Our extremity is God’s opportunity. In the mount will the Lord be seen; and we may safely trust in God, who raiseth the dead, 2 Cor. 1:9. God’s raising the dead is a proof of his almighty power. He that can do this can do any thing, can do all things, and is worthy to be trusted in at all times. Abraham’s faith fastened upon this instance of the divine power: He believed God who quickeneth the dead, Rom. 4:17. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust in God, who can bring back not only from the gates, but from the jaws, of death. 3. What the deliverance was that they had obtained; and this was seasonable and continued. Their hope and trust were not in vain, nor shall any who trust in him be ashamed. God had delivered them, and did still deliver them, 2 Cor. 1:10. Having obtained help of God, they continued to that day, Acts 26:22. 4. What use they made of this deliverance: We trust that he will yet deliver us (2 Cor. 1:10), that God will deliver to the end, and preserve to his heavenly kingdom. Note, Past experiences are great encouragements to faith and hope, and they lay great obligations to trust in God for time to come. We reproach our experiences if we distrust God in future straits, who hath delivered as in former troubles. David, even when a young man, and when he had but a small stock of experiences, argued after the manner of the apostle here, 1 Sam. 17:37. 5. What was desired of the Corinthians upon this account: That they would help together by prayer for them (2 Cor. 1:11), by social prayer, agreeing and joining together in prayer on their behalf. Note, our trusting in God must not supersede the use of any proper and appointed means; and prayer is one of those means. We should pray for ourselves and for one another. The apostle had himself a great interest in the throne of grace, yet he desires the help of others’ prayers. If we thus help one another by our prayers, we may hope for an occasion of giving thanks by many for answer of prayer. And it is our duty not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received.
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