2 Corinthians Chapter 1: The God of Comfort
Key Verses: (2 Corinthians 1:3–7)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
In this passage, Paul was responding to those in Corinth who felt that his suffering was evidence that he was not truly an Apostle. They felt that if he were an Apostle, God would not have let him suffer. We know from the history of Paul’s journeys as told in his letters that he indeed suffered greatly from imprisonment, assaults, beatings, desolation and more.
Paul’s message to those critics, in this short passage, is that his suffering and the resulting comfort he received from God, under all these afflictions, was instead validation of his role as an Apostle. He uses the terms “we” or “us” to refer to him and the term “you” to refer to the Corinthians. In verse 4, he goes further in saying that the comfort he received from God allowed him to comfort others in trouble.
Many consider this passage the Bible’s greatest text on the comfort God can provide to those who suffer. Remarkably, in just five verses, the word “comfort” is used nine times.
A Moment to Reflect
This passage turns upside down the concept that God is punishing those who are afflicted. Paul is suggesting the opposite — that those afflicted will realize God’s comfort and thereby strengthen their faith and their walk with Christ. Think about your own Christian journey to identify when your faith was most dramatically strengthened. Did it follow a period of suffering or struggling with life’s challenges?