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2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – Affliction and Consolation Shared

Summary

Paul blesses God and reports that God offers consolation amidst suffering.

Analysis

Paul begins this letter by blessing God. Such blessing is a common Jewish form of prayer. In this prayer, Paul gives thanks for God's mercy and consolation. Suffering is also a theme as the letter opens. In 2 Corinthians 1:5, Paul is probably talking about the abundant sufferings associated with knowing and testifying to Jesus as the Christ, rather than the sufferings that Jesus himself underwent. In 2 Corinthians 1:6-7, he includes the Corinthians with himself. Identifying the Corinthians' experience with his own has the rhetorical effect of creating a bond between speaker (or writer) and audience.

Paul's news about God here is that God consoles those who suffer. In a religious environment that would have seen suffering as an indication of God's wrath toward the one afflicted, Paul assures the Corinthians that God is "the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:3) and that both his affliction and theirs will be relieved by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 6If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

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10 February 2011

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