2 Corinthians 1:1-11
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
This is the “comfort” passage. Here’s what I see: 1.) God is the source of all comfort. 2.) There is a purpose behind his comfort–we are in turn to comfort others. 3.) The more we suffer because of Christ, the more we are comforted by God. 4.) Comfort is to lead to patient endurance. And 5.) “Praying for’ is part of comforting.
This is a strong passage about our need to be connected. To comfort means to “stand with” someone. We can’t comfort or be comforted if we live in isolation. Yet that’s our tendency when troubled. So much of following Christ is to move away from our natural tendencies and do what we resist doing.