Paul started answering his accusers immediately. He stressed that he was an apostle chosen by God, not men. He placed Timothy"s name with his in the introduction, perhaps because he had helped establish the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1; Acts 18:5) and had been sent to correct problems there (1 Corinthians 4:17). This letter was also addressed to "the whole of Achaia," which would include Athens in the Roman province, while the first letter seems to have been limited to the smaller Greek sense. This is thought because 1 Corinthians 16:15 calls Stephanas the "firstfruits", while inclusion of Athens would make some Athenian the firstfruits (2 Corinthians 1:1; Acts 17:34).
Paul prayed that the Corinthian church might have grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. It is interesting how the apostle adopted both the Greek and Hebrew terms of greeting. The combination certainly makes for an appropriate prayer for God"s people in all ages (2 Corinthians 1:2)
The God of All Comfort
Paul went on to thank God and honor him as the source of mercy and comfort. The singer of Israel sang of God in Psalms 86:15. "But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth." As McGarvey and Pendleton wrote, "Paul regarded affliction as a school wherein one who is comforted of God is thereby instructed and fitted to become a dispenser of comfort unto others." Comfort, according to G. Campbell Morgan, "literally means strengthened, sustained....This is more than consolation, it is underpinning. It is coming to the side of someone and disannulling all his loneliness and his difficulty--comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Just as Jesus suffered persecution and ridicule, so will Christians, his followers, suffer when they try to imitate Christ. Peter said, "But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ"s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13). That joy should arise from knowing the promise that all will work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). Also, if a Christian suffers, he will be greatly rewarded (2 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 4:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).
Paul endured persecution so others might hear the gospel message and be converted by his willingness to suffer to proclaim it. The comfort Paul received served to comfort those who also suffered since they knew God would aid them. Those who stood with Paul and the true gospel would likely face the same hardships Paul faced. However, the apostle knew that all would come out for their good since God would give them the same comfort he had received (2 Corinthians 1:6-7).
God Delivered Paul
During Paul"s trip to Ephesus, trouble arose between Paul and the devoted followers of Diana, who were led by Demetrius (Acts 19:23-41; Acts 20:1). There is no doubt he saw great opportunities to further the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). However, he told the Corinthian brethren that he feared for his life. Acts 20:1 pictures him as disturbed enough to leave Ephesus suddenly. It seems Paul"s escape was so narrow that he assumed he would die. He gave up on his own power to escape and placed complete reliance on God. He was greatly comforted by knowing that God can raise the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Paul knew God had delivered him and believed He would continue to deliver him until his purpose was accomplished. Such great evidence of God"s power caused Paul to trust God to deliver him from all enemies. The Corinthians had helped Paul during the times of trial by praying for him. Paul"s deliverance was granted, in part, by the prayers of many brethren. So, Paul says all should pray to God specifically thanking Him for that deliverance (2 Corinthians 1:10-11).
A Change in Plans
Since they had mutual pride and respect for one another, Paul had confidently planned to visit them on the way to and from Macedonia, but had changed plans to give them time to correct the problems he addressed in the first letter. If they made the corrections, their visit would obviously be better. Too, God had blessed him with a great opportunity in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:5-9; Acts 191-40. Because they were important to him, he had changed his plans from two short visits to one longer visit so they might receive extra teaching and strength. He thought so highly of them that he wanted the Corinthians to see him off on his journey to take money to the needy saints in Judea (2 Corinthians 1:15-16).
Paul asked the Corinthians if he acted like an unscrupulous person of this world who would promise one thing and do another with light regard for his honor. The apostle went on to tell them that he was just like the God he had preached to them. God was good to his word and so his servant Paul was true to his word. He, unlike a crooked politician, would not affirm and deny the same statement (2 Corinthians 1:17-18).
Silas, Timothy and Paul had all preached and worked together during the apostle"s first visit in Corinth (Acts 18:5). They had, on that first visit, preached a Christ who kept his promises. No matter how many promises God makes, he will keep them all. God also sent Jesus to be the "Amen". He came to say "So be it" to all of God"s promises (2 Corinthians 1:19-20).
God"s Verification of Paul"s Sincerity
God had established Paul"s sincerity by backing him with signs and miracles. Since God was a promise keeper, He would not support one who was dishonest. God had anointed Paul as an apostle and placed His seal on him to show His ownership. The Holy Spirit working through Paul was God"s way of putting up enough money to guarantee payment of His part of the bargain. The Spirit was evidence that Paul was working in God"s behalf (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
Paul called God as a witness since God knows all things and is able to search man"s heart. He wanted them to know that he did not come to Corinth when promised, to spare them added hardships. The apostle could not rule over their faith. Instead, he revealed the will of God to them in the hope that they would grow in faith. He wanted his trip to be with them to be a happy occasion, which it would be if they stood firm in God"s truth. Paul refused to come to them while they needed discipline for their weakness in the faith. He had made them sorry by the discipline of the earlier letter and was hoping to be made happy by their changed lives. His love for the church and desire to see them grow in faith made it well worth the wait before coming. Only those he had caused to be sorry could make him happy. Their standing firm in the faith would bring rejoicing (2 Corinthians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 2:1-2).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany