Updated 4 Oct 2019
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2 Corinthians 1
Paul's first letter to the Corinthians was to answer questions that had been put to him by them. The second letter was more personal, where Paul explains in a humble way, some of the pressures and difficulties that he faced in ministry.
Paul indicates that his apostleship was in the will of God and that he was working at this time, with Timothy. He had a number of people with whom he ministered and he undoubtedly sought God's wisdom as to who to send to which place. Paul describes God's people as holy and, therefore, set aside exclusively for Him.
Paul always desired grace and peace to be the experience of God's people, in contrast to the legalism and strife that so often tries to disrupt church life.
The God of All Comfort
At some time or other, we all need God's comfort and Paul was no exception. He describes God the Father as the father of compassion and the God of all comfort. This comfort, therefore, is very personal and comes from the heart. It is not platitudes or empty words but it is solid, reliable and consistent.
We do not know the details of why Paul needed comfort but it seems to be very much linked with the persecution and trials that he encountered in his work of bringing the gospel to the unsaved.
Suffering for Christ
Paul knew what it was to suffer for Christ but he also knew the comfort of God. Paul encourages believers to comfort one another with the comfort of God. He was confident that others who shared in the sufferings of Christ, would also share in the comfort of Christ.
Paul reveals that he and his companions felt close to death during their time in Asia and wondered whether they would survive. However, God delivered them and Paul declares his continuing hope in God's deliverance. He came through those trials and believed that, if necessary, he could come through them again. He saw his trials in a positive way, as opportunities to trust God rather than himself. The key factor in his survival, he states, were the prayers of many of the saints. The power of prayer is extremely important and we must never underestimate the impact of our prayers, when we call upon God for others.
Paul's Change of Plans
Paul sought to plan his missionary work and, indeed, things often happened according to those plans. However, there were times when things had to change.
Paul was keen to maintain his integrity. He desired to be reliable, to speak the truth and to fulfil all of his commitments. He had fully planned a return visit to Corinth and desired to be straightforward in his dealings with God's people. He wanted to be clear and not to confuse, because he was confident that that was the way of Christ. "Yes" means yes and "No" means no.
God's Promises and Anointing
God has given us many promises and He will not forget any of them. Every one of them is backed by His love and integrity. The presence of God in our lives is a confirmation that He owns us and that we belong to Him. God's Holy Spirit is a guarantor and a deposit of so much more to come.
It seems that Paul knew that it would be be a difficult time when he visited the Corinthians again and that, maybe, some more confrontation would be needed. Paul himself, was always willing to do that but he appears to have sensed that a delay might give them the opportunity to sort themselves out without his intervention.His motivation in ministry to the church was not about exercising power and dictating to them but a genuine desire that they might all know the joy of the Lord and stand firm in their faith.
Points to Consider:
- How do you relate to God's people and help them to receive the comfort of God?
- How do we handle suffering for Christ?
- How often do you pray for Christians who are going through trials?
- When we share with God's people, how much effort do we make to avoid confusion and a lack of clarity?
- To what extent do we trust in the promises of God and seek the guidance of His Spirit when handling difficult situations?
- Consider your motives for ministry. Do you desire the best outcome for God's people or do you just think about yourself?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 1
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