Online Bible Commentary
The Great Deliverer
2 Corinthians 1:1 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. 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. 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. 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. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. In Macedonia he visited churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.
Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of A.D. 56. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
This letter was written to the church at Corinth, Greece, in response to events happening in the church there. While Paul was in Macedonia Titus came to him from Corinth with news from the church there.
Titus reported that the church in Corinth was beset by false teachers. These false teachers were undermining Paul’s teachings and questioning his apostolic authority, and so Paul responded with this letter.
Paul begins the letter by reasserting his apostolic authority when he writes “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (v. 1a). He also mentions Timothy who is with him at the time of the writing (v. 1b).
Paul then states to whom he is writing; “the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia” (v. 1c). In 27 B.C. Greece, under the name of Achaia, was divided into a northern region and a southern region. The northern region became the Roman Province of Macedonia and the southern region, where Corinth was the capital, became the Roman Province of Achaia.
Next, Paul, as was his custom, greets his fellow Christians with “grace and peace” and sends this blessing from God the Father and Jesus, another affirmation of Paul’s apostolic authority (v. 2). He blesses God the Father of Jesus and “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (v. 3).
Paul writes that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (v. 4). We are not to just accept this comfort from God but we also are to pass it on to others who are in need of comforting.
Christians suffer in this world just as Christ suffered. However, we are consoled in our suffering by Christ (v.5). If we are afflicted and comforted it is so that we can benefit others who are going through the same things (v. 6).
This gives hope to Paul for his fellow Christians in Corinth (v. 7a). He knows that they are suffering from this false teaching but he also knows that they will be consoled in their suffering (v. 7b).
Paul then relates the “trouble which came” to him and his fellow workers in Ephesus (v.8a). He writes “that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength”, and even feared for their lives (vv. 8b-9a).
This is a reference to the riots in Ephesus which preceded Paul’s departure to Macedonia. Through it all they did “not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us (vv. 9b-10).
Not only was God still delivering them he was also still delivering the Corinthian Christians who had been praying for Paul and his fellow workers in Ephesus (v. 11a). Those who were praying would then have cause for giving thanks to God for answering their prayers (v. 11b).
God is the Great Deliverer. He delivers us through every stage of life. The same God who delivered us from every other stage of life will deliver us from this stage of life. He has a track record. God is faithful.