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1:1-11 INTRODUCTION AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Paul greets the Corinthian church, along with other Christians in Achaia, in the name of the God of all comfort (1:1-3). One reason why Christians suffer all kinds of troubles is that they may know how to sympathize with and help others who are similarly troubled. Just as they share in Christ’s sufferings, so they can share in his comfort (4-5). When the Corinthians see the divine comfort Paul experiences in his sufferings, they should be encouraged to bear their own sufferings (6-7).
The troubles that Paul suffered in the province of Asia were so severe that they almost led to his death. But they also caused him to see clearly that he himself was completely helpless, and therefore he needed to trust entirely in God (8-9). This gives him the assurance that in the future God will likewise deliver him. If the believers in Corinth pray for God’s protection over him in his work, they will also have good reason to give thanks when God answers their prayers (10-11).
1:12-2:17 PAUL EXPLAINS HIS RECENT ACTIONS
Reasons for changing his plans (1:12-2:4)
Certain people in Corinth had accused Paul of insincerity. According to them, Paul tried to give the impression through his conduct and his letters that he felt in a certain way, when he did not feel that way at all. Paul denies this. In all his behaviour, whether in dealing with people in general or in dealing with the Corinthians in particular, he has been sincere and straightforward. The same is true of his letter-writing. He hopes the Corinthians will believe this, so that in the coming judgment neither they nor he will feel shame on account of wrong attitudes (12-14).
In the recent past, Paul had twice been forced to change his plans for a visit to Corinth. His first plan was to go to Macedonia, down to Corinth and then to Jerusalem (Acts 19:21; 1 Corinthians 16:5-7; 1 Corinthians 16:5-7). His second plan was to go to Corinth first, up to Macedonia, back to Corinth and then to Jerusalem. The advantage of this second plan was that the Corinthians would benefit from his ministry twice. When he was forced to change this plan also, the Corinthians accused him of not keeping his word, of being like an ordinary person of the world who says ‘Yes’ one day and ‘No’ the next (15-17).
Again Paul denies the accusation. To act in such a way would be contrary to the character of Christ that Paul had preached to them. There was nothing uncertain about Christ. The fulfilment of all God’s promises in him shows that he always said ‘Yes’ to his Father’s will. And Christians add their ‘Yes’ by saying ‘Amen’, by which they mean ‘Yes, indeed, this person is the Truth of God’ (18-20). The Christian life is one of assurance and stability, because it is from God, it is in Christ, and it is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (21-22).
Paul’s decision against going to Corinth was not because he lacked certainty or courage. Rather it was because he wished to spare the Corinthians the unpleasantness of his stern treatment (23). He does not want them to think he is a dictator; but they must realize the importance of discipline if they are to have true happiness (24).
Neither Paul nor the Corinthians would have wanted him to pay them another painful visit. Paul’s desire was to enjoy fellowship with them, but this would not have been possible had they been full of sorrow. So instead of visiting them personally, he wrote to them. The purpose of the severe letter was not to hurt them, but to urge them to repent. He wrote out of love, so that his next visit to them would be an occasion for joy (2:1-4).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25