2 Corinthians 1:1–2:2 (NKJV)
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.2 Corinthians 1:1-7
Paul opens this epistle with a greeting and a blessing, offering grace and peace from the Father and the Son. He then blesses God who gives mercy and comfort in times of tribulation. This comfort then enables the one undergoing trials to offer comfort to others it turn. When sufferings occur in the life and ministry of one following Christ, the consolation of God abounds in response. Whether Paul and other ministers are afflicted or consoled, it is for the good of those to whom they minister. When members suffer along with the ministers, they consolation of the ministers will belong to the members as well. We console others, we suffer with them, and we suffer for them when necessary. That is the shared burden of the body of Christ, to bear one another up in arms of love and compassion.
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.
12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.2 Corinthians 1:8-14
Paul recounts the trouble that came to him and his team in Asia: burdens beyond measure, desperation, life-threatening conditions, but all was committed to God in complete trust in His ability to save. This death sentence ended in deliverance through Christ and the prayers of the people at Corinth. Paul boasts in there lives, and feels that they can boast in his. They have a symbiotic connection of care, faith, and prayer.
15 And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit—16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
23 Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
2:1 But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. 2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?2 Corinthians 1:15 – 2:2
Paul’s confidence in God and in the Corinthians love and care led him to plan to visit Corinth on his way to and from Macedonia. He intends to be faithful, not lightly planning a visit. He plans to come, because God’s example of faithfulness, His YES, is the example Paul follows in leading those in his care as well. All the promises of God are Yes and Amen, certain and dependable. God seals His promises and guarantees His word. Paul has not come thus far, because to do so would bring sorrow to Corinth. If he were to bring sorrow to Corinth, there would be no one to make him glad. His plan is to visit, but in a time when he may bring them joy. Paul’s care for the Christians in Corinth is admirable. He feels connected with them, and they bring him joy. He is willing to, and actually has, sacrificed for their sakes. This is true leadership, a care and concern and sacrifice that makes a difference. Paul’s opening to the second epistle is a great setup for his ministry to them through the rest of the letter.