2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – Affliction and Consolation Shared
SummaryPaul blesses God and reports that God offers consolation amidst suffering.
AnalysisPaul 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.