We begin this study by looking at 2 Corinthians 1:1-7. All comments are based on the NKJV.
The congregation in Corinth was made up of both Jews and Gentiles. The city of Corinth, a port city, comprised of many different types of people. It was a city where people would pass through as they travelled from one place to another. Unfortunately, Corinth was a very wicked place – a place that focused upon self (the flesh) rather than upon the Spirit. Paul wrote two long epistles to this congregation to encourage them to base their lives on the truth of G-d – a truth that would help them to overcome wickedness, licentiousness, and the sin that was so prevalent around them (just like it is around us today).
In this first chapter Paul speaks about suffering, tribulation, persecution – the source of which is satanic. The Word of G-d warns faithful believers that we will suffer tribulation (tribulation and the wrath of G-d are two completely different things. Although we suffer tribulation, we will never experience the wrath of G-d). However, the Word of G-d also reveals that G-d will comfort us during the trials and worldly tribulations that we will go through. This epistle is very relevant for us today in the epoch of time that we are living in.
To also introduce these first two chapters: we are going to soon see that there is a backstory to this epistle. Someone in this congregation in Corinth sinned (possibly a leader failed morally). The congregation had taken steps to deal with this man and the majority were ok with the result. There were a minority, however, that weren’t happy, and they wrote to Paul asking him to come and deal with it again (?unhappy with their local leadership decisions and wanted to bring in the “big guns”). Paul debated the wisdom of this and eventually reached the conclusion that it would cause more harm than good to go and rehash a sin that had already been dealt with. He affirmed this congregation’s way of dealing with the issue. Presumably the man had repented because then Paul encouraged them to love this man and encourage him so he wouldn’t drown in sorrow and regret.
v1: Paul: The primary author of this epistle.
- An apostle: Paul was not the only apostle of Yeshua but was one of them. He doesn’t emphasise his call here but, though he was mightily used by G-d, he humbly puts himself on a par with all of the apostles.
- An apostle … by the will of G-d: Paul did not call himself to be an apostle but was made an apostle through the will of G-d.
- Timothy: Co-authored this epistle with Paul.
- Our brother: This is a unique way to introduce someone in Paul’s writings and therefore stands out. Timothy was a young man who came from a mixed marriage. He is a great example of what a brother in the L-rd should be.
- Church: Ecclesia. Those who are called out (called out of this world, and its way of living and thinking, into the Kingdom of G-d).
v2: Grace … peace: These two things are uniquely connected – grace works in a believer’s life so that G-d’s will is done in it. Peace comes as a fulfilment of G-d’s will.
- G-d our Father and the L-rd Messiah Yeshua: A father is a provider. When G-d is revealed in the Scripture as Father it is a reminder to us that He provides those things that we need to serve Him, to walk with Him, to live in this world. The way that we find access to these things is by recognizing Yeshua, not just that He is our Saviour but that He is our L-rd – we need to recognise the authority of Yeshua in our lives, and we need to submit to it. When we recognize the authority of Messiah it brings G-d’s provision into our lives.
v3: The Blessed G-d: To translate this phrase ‘blessed be the G-d’ would be grammatically incorrect. This is not a call to bless G-d (although we should), but this Scripture tells us that G-d is Blessed, in and of Himself. He is the Blessed G-d. It is within G-d’s nature and character to bless. 2 Chron 16:9 tells us that G-d is looking to and fro throughout the earth seeking those to whom He can impart goodness and strengthen to. G-d wants to empower us and give us insight in order that we can carry out His purposes and be an instrument of His glory.
- Father of our L-rd: This in no way detracts from the trinity – G-d the Father, G-d the Son and the Holy Spirit are ONE. The ONE G-d has revealed Himself in three persons.
- Mercies…comfort: G-d provides comfort for us. It is His comfort that causes us to endure and overcome all tribulations and get through those times of suffering. As believers, we all have a call to suffer – like Yeshua suffered.
v4: We may be able to comfort: G-d works in our lives (He brings comfort to us) so that we can comfort others. Comforting others provides a testimony to them.
v5: Sufferings: Written in the plural.
- The sufferings of Messiah abound in us: This should be the normal experience of a believer – that, like Messiah, we experience a lot of suffering. A true disciple of Messiah is going to be persecuted and is going to encounter much tribulation.
- Our consolation (comfort) also abounds: It is because of our faith and obedience in Messiah that we suffer, but it is also through Messiah that we are comforted. We share in His sufferings but as the sufferings abound so to, in a proportional way, does our comfort or consolation abound. Therefore, we never have to be worried about what we may have to endure for Him – He will match what we must go through by giving us an equal measure of comfort.
v6: If: This should not be translated ‘if’ but should be translated ‘since’. The word ‘if’ introduces doubt into a text. It is not a question of ‘if’ we suffer, but it is a question of when…since we ARE going to suffer.
- We are afflicted for your consolation (comfort) and salvation: Like Paul, we have all received a call to obey G-d and to be a blessing to others in every way possible. Many times, being a blessing to others involves personal sacrifice, enduring hardships for their sake etc.
- Consolation and salvation: Paul is addressing believers. Believers have already received salvation, but here Paul is using the word ‘salvation’ as a word that refers to victory. This comfort that we receive causes us to persevere, endure, or move forward and overcome in a victorious way. What Paul is revealing here is this: Although Paul and his companions go through suffering, they also receive G-d’s comfort. This comfort helps them to endure through the suffering. This should give the Corinthians assurance and comfort that in the same way that G-d works in Paul’s life is the same way that He will work in their lives.
- If (SINCE) we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation: G-d works faithfully regardless of the circumstances. He moves in a way to keep His covenantal promises in order that people are encouraged to remain obedient to Him. The way Paul suffered we will suffer, but the way Paul was comforted is an example to us of how we will be comforted.
v7: Hope: The reason why we endure is because we have hope. Biblical hope is ALWAYS related to the promises of G-d. We have faith that G-d will keep His Word, and His promises (when we endure and overcome) will become a reality in our lives.
- Steadfast: It (hope) does not waver. This hope does not waver because it is rooted in the Word of G-d.
- Consolation: G-d-given comfort. This word has been emphasised over and over again in this passage.Whatever we have lost, whatever we have endured, G-d will make up for it (Luke 6:38).