Heavenly Father, we pray for persistence, perseverance, commitment, and diligence to journey with You in this journey of faith into the epistle of 2 Corinthians through the eyes apostle Paul. We pray for open, soft, receptive, teachable, and obedient hearts, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia, 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul revealed himself as the author. He spelled out his credential, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. Greek for apostle is “apostolos”, which means a messenger, someone sent out on a mission. Paul acknowledged Timothy, his co-worker, protégé, and spiritual god-son in the faith. He identified his recipients as Christians in Corinth and Achaia. Corinth is the city. Achaia is the region or state. Christians are called saints. Greek for saint is “hagio”, which means holy, sanctified, or set apart. Paul’s opening salutation was grace and peace. Grace is the common Greek greeting, “charis”. Peace is the common Hebrew greeting, “shalom”. Grace precedes peace. Grace is the result of justification. Peace is the result of reconciliation.
VV 3-4, 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Greek for blessed is “eulogeo” which means praise. The English word eulogy is derived from the Greek word “eulogeo”. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the God of praise, mercies, and comfort. God comforts us in our sufferings so that we can identify with and comfort other people who are suffering.
VV 5-7, 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
Christ comforts and restores us in our sufferings. Paul identified with his audience’s sufferings because of his suffering. There is a higher purpose in suffering. Suffering helps us to help others in their suffering. Paul encouraged his audience to share in his suffering and consolation.
VV 8-11, 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
Paul listed out his troubles, trials, tribulations, persecutions, and sufferings in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Paul used the personal pronouns, us, our, and we, to include his co-workers Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, and others in his team. They had suffered beyond imaginations, to the point of exhaustion, desperation, despair, and depression. There were times when they thought they would not make it out alive. They relied on God for deliverance out of these perilous times. God had delivered them from death in the past, was delivering them in the present, and would continue to deliver them in the future. Paul thanked his audience for their prayer support.
VV 12-14, 12 For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul and his co-workers conducted themselves with humility, honesty, integrity, simplicity, godly sincerity, and spiritual wisdom. They dared not boast of anything except to boast concerning the day of the Lord’s second coming.
VV 15-17, 15 And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit, 16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No?
Paul planned to travel from Ephesus to Corinth, to Macedonia, to Corinth and then to Judea, visiting Corinth twice. Paul asked 2 rhetorical questions to prove his sincerity and integrity.
VV 18-22, 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Everything that Paul said and do was either yes or no. All the promises of God are Yes and Amen. Amen in the beginning of a sentence means “surely”. Amen at the end of a prayer means, “so be it”. God had established, anointed, and sealed Christians in Christ with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Greek for seal is “sphragis”, which means the impression of a signet ring on wax.
The seal is the authority of God to signify ownership. Christians are owned by God. Greek for guarantee is “arrabona”, which means earnest deposit or down payment. The Holy Spirit is God’s earnest deposit to Christians until Christ’s second coming.
VV 23-24, 23 Moreover I call God as a witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
Paul declared the genuineness of his dealings by calling on God as his witness. He did not dominate or oppress anyone but considered all as his fellow workers in the kingdom of God.
There is a higher purpose in suffering. When we go through sufferings, Christ comforts, rescues, and restores us. Sufferings help us to help others in their suffering. Suffering allows us to identify with other people’s suffering.
We are sealed with the Holy Spirit, God’s down payment to us until Christ’s second coming.
Our dealings and conducts with others must always be above board. Our answers to others should be either yes or no. We should not give ambiguous, misleading, dishonest, or vague answers to get out of difficult situations.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have done for us in our lives. Thank You for delivering us from perilous, critical, and dangerous life situations. Thank You for rescuing us through the various storms of lives. Thank You for delivering us in the past, ij the present, and in the future, in Jesus’ name, Amen.