2 Corinthians 1
2 Corinthians 1
After his usual greetings, Paul emphasizes that God is the Father of Mercies and the God of all comfort! Which is good because then he starts talking about affliction & suffering both his, and his readers’. But the distinguishing theme of this first chapter, especially, is how Paul emphasizes the partnership he has with his Corinthian readers. He uses the pronouns: us 13 times, our(s) 19 times, we 10 times, and then several times he uses: you in combination with us, or your with our in phrases like “joining in” & “helping us through your prayers” (v.11) or “we are your reason to be proud” & “you also are ours” (v.14) “us with you in Christ” (v.21) & “with you for your joy” (v. 24). Bible scholars tell us that there was a letter before this one, but after 1 Corinthians, from Paul, that they call the ‘severe letter’ (2Cor. 2:4) in which he strongly admonishes the Corinthians for their behavior; whereas this one he starts off wanting to encourage them. In this letter Paul wants them to know how interdependent they are. This chapter contains the beautiful familiar truth that because the “God of all comfort…comforts us in our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (v.4) Further on in the letter, Paul is sharing with the Corinthians a great struggle he and Timothy went through in Asia (v. 4-11) one where they “were burdened excessively, beyond (their) strength…despair(ing) even of life” so that the ONLY way they were going to get out of it, was if GOD himself would deliver them. Paul indicates even in this struggle, the prayers of the Saints in Corinth helped them through.
With all the plural personal pronouns Paul uses, it is clear that we need to be in each other’s lives--encouraging and building one another up. Especially if we have already gone through something that another person is struggling with and can be an encouragement & comfort—we ought to be doing so!
We also need to remember that some things are just too BIG for us; and it is when we are at the end of ourselves—the end of all our resources—that’s when God can show up and save us! AND we should be praying for others when they are struggling.
God, Thank you for Joel’s new series Power to Change that encourages us to admit that we are powerless, and that our lives are unmanageable. The self sufficient man (or woman) in us doesn’t want to admit that; it goes against all that we are taught. Sometimes it isn’t necessarily because of an addiction, but just what life is throwing our way—no matter the reason we need YOU desperately to come into our mess and SAVE US. Help us to recognize when we CAN’T do it on our own & recognize that without You it isn’t, ultimately, going to get any better. Hear our prayers as we cry out to you, and when we can’t pray, please Lord, intercede for us. And Lord, help us to take our eyes off of ourselves even in the midst of our struggles & intercede for others as well. I know I am comforted when I pray for others—it is just good to talk to you, God. You bring peace. Thank you, for the fellowship of your suffering Jesus. We love you.
Posted on Fri, April 17, 2015
by joel king