Wednesday 07 January 2015

Bible Book:
2 Corinthians

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation.” (v. 3)

2 Corinthians 1:3-12 Wednesday 7 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 149 


The opening thanksgiving of 2 Corinthians (verses 3-7) presentsPaul's wonderful celebration of the comfort - or "consolation" -that comes from God to those who follow Jesus and who share in theSpirit. Paul's expectation throughout his letters is that followingJesus will involve suffering, and here he points to one way inwhich God works through trials. When we experience God's comfort intimes of difficulty, then we find that we can comfort others goingthrough similar experiences.

In the second part of the passage (verses 8-12), Paul explainsto the Corinthians readers that he and his colleagues hadexperienced such affliction themselves. His teaching, then, is notsimply theoretical but practical and experiential. For Paul, theexperience of a severe trial that almost killed him led him and hiscolleagues to rely on God rather than themselves. Scholars disputewhat exactly Paul was referring to during his time in Asia (aprovince within Asia Minor), with some suggesting that he wasimprisoned. Whatever happened, Paul stresses that it was certainlya 'deadly peril' (v. 10).

Paul ends with emphasising that he had behaved with "franknessand godly sincerity" (v.12) to those he has taught. Paul had nottried to massage the truth into a form that would conceal itspotential offence. He has not tried to change the message of thecross into a message about something else. Rather, Paul speaksopenly about the grace of God. That, after all, is what he wascalled to do.

To Ponder

  • In what ways have you experienced the Spirit's comfort duringtimes of suffering?
  • How have your experiences in life helped you to encourageothers?
  • In what ways can we speak with "frankness and godly sincerity"today? 
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