Introduction and 2 Corinthians 1:1-6
Corinth was one of the most wicked cities in ancient times. It was about 50 miles (80 km) west of Athens. In the first century it was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire and by the second century it was one of the most richest cities in the known world. It was a center of paganism and the chief religion was the worship of Aphrodite and her temple stood on a hill called Acrocorinth and housed 1,000 prostitutes. It was also a major port where merchants and sailors from many nations and languages would come to sell and ship their goods.
The second epistle to the Corinthians was written about a year after first Corinthians, which would be approximately 55-56 A.D. There had seemed to be some people in this church who had questioned the life of the Apostle Paul and many times in this epistle he reaffirms the fact that he is a true apostle. He gave many instances in his life where God sustained him during tough times. He gives further instruction concerning the man who sinned in 1 Corinthians 5 and speaks much about giving, plus he speaks about separating themselves from evil influences. It is the least doctrinal of all Paulís letters and a very personal one as he lays his life bare before the Corinthians. The letter was written from Philippi in Macedonia.
2 Cor 1:1 (KJB)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Paul opens this letter with a greeting which affirms that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God and not by his own will. He gives greetings from Timothy to all those in the church of God at Corinth plus all the Saints which are in Achaia. Achaia was the province in Greece where the city of Corinth was located.
2 Cor 1:2 (KJB)
Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be unto you is the beautiful salutation which means, ďMay God grant you the joy of His great salvation.Ē Notice he also wishes them grace and peace. In the Jewish setting the Jews would greet with Shalom and Paul is continuing the greeting to both Jew and Gentile, while realizing there is no difference in Christ. Paul is wishing these believers peace. First, there is the peace we have with God upon salvation when the war between us is over. (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Secondly, after salvation, we have the peace that God gives to His children that can under gird us as we go through life. (Psa 29:11 KJV) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
2 Cor 1:3 (KJB)
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Blessed - Praised
Mercies - Compassions or pities
Comfort - Encouragement or consolation
Here Paul tells us that that God is to be praised as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ but He is also our Father especially since He is the Father of all mercies. (Psa 103:13 KJV) Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. He is also the Father of all comfort which is encouragement or consolation. (Acts 9:31 KJV) Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
2 Cor 1:4 (KJB)
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to (1)comfort them which are in any trouble, by the (2)comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Comforteth, (1) comfort, comforted - Encouraging or we are being encouraged
(2) Comfort - Encouragement
Tribulation - Oppression or affliction
Whenever the Christian faces the times of tribulation in their life, we can always count on God to be there to comfort us. He is always encouraging us to the fact that no matter what hardships come into our life, He is in control and the believer can take great comfort in the fact. Tribulation is not something that runs out of control in the believerís life as God always places a limit on our afflictions. He is not trying to tear us down but to build up our faith and many times to prepare us for some type of ministry which lies ahead. Whatever tribulation we face today, is never abstract and wasted as it is always preparation for something. That something may be to comfort others in their times of affliction. If we have gone through something in the past that someone is going through now, we will be able to comfort others in reality and not just book theory. Before my father died in 2007, he had experienced dementia and just recently someone had called me and is going through the same thing with their parent, so I was able to give them advice on what to expect, from experience and not theory.
2 Cor 1:5 (KJB)
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Abound, aboundeth - Have an abundance or to be more than enough
Consolation - Encouragement
Paul states that he and his cohorts have been called to suffer the same sufferings that Christ has endured, we are called to suffer these things for the sake of the gospel. So when the Christians in Corinth were suffering persecution for the sake of the gospel, Paul could state that his comfort came by the Lord Jesus Christ. The very one we suffer for is the very one who comforts us in our afflictions. Since Christ is the one who comforts us in our afflictions, He is able to comfort us above and beyond whatever we are enduring at that time. As intense as the tribulation is, it is never above and beyond the comforting power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Cor 1:6 (KJB)
And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
Afflicted - To press or oppress
Is effectual - Be in active operation
Paul is stating here that whether they are afflicted it is for the encouragement and the building up of the Corinthians in their salvation. It will help strengthen their testimony. Paulís afflictions were being endured by the Corinthian Christians as they were also suffering persecution. Those who are truly saved will be able to endure the persecution in the same manner the Apostle Paul was enduring it, and that was through the power of the risen Christ. Our salvation life is never passive but is always active, whether under persecution or whether we are ministering unhindered. So Paul basically states that whether he is afflicted or comforted, it is for the benefit of the Corinthian Christians. Sometimes affliction in the life of the believer can be brought about by sinning but most of the time it is brought about just for naming the name of Christ and Paul wants them to know that no matter what, the tribulation will build them in the faith and not hurt them, even though for the moment it is unpleasant. (Heb 12:5 KJV) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: