Comfort in our suffering

Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God in Corinth and all his holy people in Achaia: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, because he comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can give comfort to others. When they are troubled, we are to offer them the same comfort that God has given us. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation. For if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope in you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

We think you ought to know, brothers and sisters, about the trouble we experienced in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we despaired of life itself. In fact, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened so that we should stop relying on ourselves and rely on God, who raises the dead. He rescued us from that mortal danger, and he will yet rescue us again. On him we have placed our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many people will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favours granted to us in answer to the prayers of many.

We can say with confidence, and our conscience also bears witness, that we have conducted ourselves in the world with honesty and integrity. We have done so by relying upon God’s grace, and not on our own worldly wisdom. For we haven’t written anything to you that you can’t read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can be proud of us, just as we will be proud of you on the day when the Lord Jesus returns.

Because I was so confident of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— first, on my way to Macedonia, and again, when I returned from Macedonia, so you could help me on my way to Judea.

You may be wondering why I changed my plans. Perhaps you think that I make my plans carelessly? Perhaps you think I’m like those worldly people who in the same breath say “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? As surely as God is faithful, our word isn’t “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – that is, Silas, Timothy, and me – was not “Yes” and “No,” because he is always “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all “Yes” in Christ. So through him the “Amen” is affirmed by us to the glory of God.

Now it is God who enables both us and you to stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and placed the Holy Spirit in our hearts as deposit that guarantees he will complete what he’s begun.

Paul

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