God’s Renewing Word of Unity in Christ Jesus
2 Corinthians 1:1-11: For the next twenty days, we will be reading the apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, which was written during a difficult period in Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian community. While some members of the church had made strong attacks against him, he expresses his deep longing for reconciliation. He begins this letter with a formal introduction that names him and Timothy as the ones sending the letter and God’s people in Corinth and Achaia as the ones receiving it. This greeting is followed by Paul’s thanksgiving prayer to God for comfort in times of great suffering.
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and from our brother Timothy—
To the church of God in Corinth, and to all God’s people throughout Achaia:
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Gives Thanks to God
3Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God. 5Just as we have a share in Christ’s many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God’s great help. 6If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. 7So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive.
8 We want to remind you, friends, of the trouble we had in the province of Asia. The burdens laid upon us were so great and so heavy that we gave up all hope of staying alive. 9We felt that the death sentence had been passed on us. But this happened so that we should rely, not on ourselves, but only on God, who raises the dead. 10From such terrible dangers of death he saved us, and will save us; and we have placed our hope in him that he will save us again, 11as you help us by means of your prayers for us. So it will be that the many prayers for us will be answered, and God will bless us; and many will raise their voices to him in thanksgiving for us.
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:4
He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.
Reread verses 8-11. At the time of Paul, Asia was the name of a Roman province in the southwest part of what is now Turkey. Paul does not explain what kind of suffering he had experienced in Ephesus, but it probably included the threat of death. (Acts 19:21-41 describes an uproar that occurred while Paul was in Ephesus.) What kind of suffering do you see in the world today? How is God present amid great suffering? In what ways does God help us in our troubles?
Loving God, whenever and wherever your people suffer, you suffer with them. Empower your followers to aid and bring comfort to those who are suffering. Open my eyes and heart this day to those in need. May your love and justice reign throughout the world. Amen.
2 Corinthians 1:12-24: The apostle Paul tells the Corinthians of the change in his travel plans.