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Articles

Comfort - 2 Corinthians 1

Comfort - 2 Corinthians 1

It is amazing to me how much information Paul can cram into a short section of writing. 2 Corinthians contains much history concerning Paul’s suffering as an apostle. It also contains much information concerning God’s care and concern for him. 

Paul speaks of suffering (1:5, 6, 7). He speaks of affliction (1:4, 6, 8). He writes of being ‘burdened beyond our strength’ to the point of despairing of life and feeling that he was under a death sentence (1:8-9). Add to this the long section later where he speaks of the history of such persecution, trial, and tribulations that he has experienced.

Yet, he is NOT discouraged for God has provided for his needs (cp. 1:8-10; 4:7-12; 11:23-29). He records that God responded not by removing the problem but by saying “My grace is sufficient for you”. God had delivered him and he was confident that God would continue to do so (1:10). Yet, even more than such deliverance is the fact that God has provided ‘comfort’ during such hard times.

The noun and verb form of the word translated ‘comfort’ in the ESV (parak─ôlsis, parakale┼Ź) occur ten times in the opening section (1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7). This word is actually used 18 times in  2 Corinthians and 6 times in 1 Corinthians. It is variously translated appeal, entreat, urge, encourage, comfort, and plead. It is that which not only God provides but is that which brethren provide for each other. 

Paul was comforted so that HE could then comfort (encourage, exhort, urge) others. Paul expected them to in turn comfort others. God is the father of all such, and it comes by way of Jesus, yet God often uses US to accomplish what is needed. 

We all at times need the comfort, encouragement, urging, and exhortation of friends and brethren. We all face affliction, tribulations, and suffering. This is part of our responsibility to each other as members of the same body. When one suffers, ideally ALL would not only suffer with him but offer encouragement and comfort. Together we make it through the difficult times of life. We all appreciate receiving such from our brethren, but many of us need to learn how to comfort others. Who have you been a comfort to lately? 

Hugh DeLong