2 Corinthians 1v1-7
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the Church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (ESV)
The 2nd letter to the Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul and addressed to the city of Corinth. At the time Paul was most likely in Macedonia. He had previously visited Corinth on his first mission but after his departure the church faced many challenges. This letter was written to address the issues in the church which are mentioned below. Paul aimed to encourage the Christians in their faith and provide guidance in Christian living. The overarching message is a call to reconciliation and restoration. In essence it serves as a pastoral letter to the congregation in Corinth to find encouragement in Christ alone. This letter speaks to the heart where we see the emotional tone of Paul come through. It has a unique personal tone where Paul opens up about his own struggles and hardships and he shares his vulnerabilities. Paul pleads for the collection of the Saints who were impoverished. He also defended his apostleship. He combines practical guidance on Christian discipleship. Paul was marked by two character traits: energy and encouragement. Paul had endless amounts of both of these. What empowered him in this regard? Some things that encouraged Paul included: God’s personal comfort for all who believe; the presence of God’s Spirit in all who believed; the transforming work of God’s Spirit in the believer (3v18); all who die in Christ will be resurrected with our Lord Jesus Christ (15v51) and that Heaven is real (2 Cor 12).
Through pain and pleasure we need encouragement. What do you need encouragement for?
Consider the following discouragements experienced by the Church:
- Division and Disunity
- False Teaching and Misinformation
- Suffering and Hardships
- Criticism and Opposition
Christian disciples will face criticism and opposition in their ministries.
- Materialism and Selfishness
People striving after the things of this world at the expense of others.
- Persecution and Marginalization:
We see this in many parts of the world today for Christians.
Paul’s letter can be summarized as follows:
- Paul explaining his ministry (Ch 1-7)
- Paul encourages generosity (Ch 8 & 9)
His principles of grace giving and promises for grace givers
- Paul enforces his authority (Ch 10-13)