Introduction: The main theme of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s defense of his apostolic credentials and authority. Certain false apostles had mounted an effective campaign against Paul in the church at Corinth and Paul was forced to take a number of steps to overcome the opposition. Of all Paul’s letters, none is more personally revealing of his heart than 2 Corinthians.
Paul’s Thanksgiving to God
Verse 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.
Paul wrote several letters to the Corinthian church, and the first letter was lost. The second letter was 1 Corinthians, the third letter was 2 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote to deal with divisions in the church, which were not dissolved, so he went there. He then planed to visit a third time, but delayed it and wrote 2 Corinthians.
Verse 2 – Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
Verse 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.
Believers are to be channels in which mercies and blessings are passed on to others. We are a conduit.
Verse 5 – For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Do you remember when Christ appeared to Paul the first time, and He asked him why he was persecuting Him. That showed that when Paul was persecuting believers, Christ also suffered.
verse 6 – Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same suffering which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
Verse 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.
Paul and his companions suffered many things in order to bring the gospel and salvation to the Corinthians, but they were comforted by God, just as the Corinthians would be comforted when they suffered.
Paul’s Trouble in Asia
Verse 8 – For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
Paul was almost killed in Lystra, but made a miraculous recovery. This could also have been when Demetrius and his friends, mentioned in Acts 19, and Paul was compelled to leave the city.
Verse 9 – Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
Verse 10 – who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
Verse 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.
Satan will always challenge those who are making an impact on God’s kingdom. That is why we need the prayers of others. We cannot do the things we are called to do in our own strength.
Paul’s Original Plan
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Sincerity and purity are possible only by grace. This letter of 2 Corinthians is a reminder that the Spirit inspired authors of Scripture intended to write what average believers could understand.
Verse 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.
Verse 15 – And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit –
Verse 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.
Verse 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?
Verse 18 – But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.
verse 19 – For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me, Silvanus, and Timothy – was not Yes and Noe, but in Him was Yes.
All of God’s promises are Yes, meaning they are always true, faithful, and do come to pass! Paul wanted to be as faithful in his ministry as Christ was in His.
Verse 20 – For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the gory of God through us.
Everyone of God’s promises in Scripture is fulfilled directly or indirectly in Christ. Amen means “so be it” or “this is true!” God’s glory is displayed in Christ as well as believer’s confession of Him!
Verse 21 – Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us in God,
verse 22 – who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.
Paul’s change of Plans
Verse 23 – Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.
Verse 24 – Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
By calling on God, Paul says he is telling the truth.