2 Corinthians, Chapter 1
© Copyright 2003 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved

2 Corinthians 1:1-2
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

It has always seemed odd to me that Paul begins many of his letters declaring himself to be an apostle. It is only in Philippians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, and Philemon that Paul does not establish his apostolic authority.

It also seems odd to me that he would include Timothy, and others, in his greeting when we all know that Paul wrote or dictated the letters.

The Corinthian Church was a spiritual mess, but it was the church of God.

This letter was sent to Christians in the area of Southern Greece.

You will notice that even at wild bunch of Corinthians are called "saints."

There are weak saints and string saints, rich saints and poor saints.

Godís grace is available to all who acknowledge Christ Jesus as Lord.

Jesus was sent to this earth to make saints out of sinners.

Let's discuss Grace. What is it?

According to the standard definition grace is God's unmerited favor. However, grace is far more than favor.

The Bible says that it is by grace that we are saved through faith.

Ephesians 2:8---For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Grace is an invaluable gift from God.

The English word "grace" appears only 4 times in the gospels.

Within the four Gospels it is never used in a sentence spoken by Jesus Himself.

The English word "Grace" is used once in Luke and 3 times in John all used to describe Jesus.

The Greek word that is often translated "grace" is used 8 times in Luke and 4 times is the Gospel of John.

The word grace is not found in Matthew or Mark.

By contrast, Paul used "grace" approximately 100 times.

The only time the KJV translators use the English word "grace," as spoken by Jesus, is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Speaking to Paul, Christ said, "My 'grace' is sufficient for thee."

Next, we come to peace. God's peace is not just an absence of open conflict.

God's peace is true serenity.

Serenity is not the exclusive domain of some guru sitting cross-legged on a mountaintop in India contemplating the meaning of the universe.

Peace is also far more than serenity.

God's peace is calm in the midst of conflict, and calm in the eye of the life's hurricanes.

Grace and peace walk hand in hand throughout Paul's writings.

They are alive in our day to day experiences.

Grace and Peace appear in tandem throughout Paul's writings.

Without God's grace, peace is impossible.

True peace is not peace with your next door neighbor.

True peace is peace with God.

Peace is available only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The grace and peace come from God "our" Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that God is called ďourĒ Father.

That does not mean that God is the universal spiritual father as in all people.

God is the Creator of all, but presently He is the Father of those who have been inducted into His personal family through faith in Christ Jesus.

Lord (Gr. kurios-kurioV) denotes an owner or proprietor.

According to the Bible, we are His "purchased possession" (Eph. 1:14).

Jesus is referred to as "Lord."

Because of His resurrection He is Lord of all.

If you acknowledge Christ it changes your position, not His.

Regardless of what you think, He is Lord!  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

It may seem odd for a man to bless God, but we should.

God has blessed us with so many blessings that a few reciprocals are in order.

How in the world can we "bless" God? 

By doing what He wants us to do.

Each and every day, God is the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort.

It is God who comforts us when we fall into adversity.

He comforts us so that we may comfort others.

Christ came to earth to learn about afflictions so that he could be empathetic toward us.

2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Let me tell you a fact.

The sufferings of Christ abound in all His siblings.

When we suffer for Christ, our relief from that suffering is found in Christ.

The comfort found in Christ is infinitely more abundant than our suffering for Him.  

2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

Most people do not like to hear the message of "suffering."

Without suffering, we cannot endure.

Enduring is found in Christ.  

If we run to Christ, we shall endure.

If we turn from Him we wonít.

All godly suffering is followed by comfort and salvation/deliverance from that which caused us to suffer.

However, all suffering is not for the cause of Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

Paulís hope for the Corinthians is that they would be "stedfast" (Gr. bebaia-bebaia), or stable.

We share the sufferings and calamities, and we shall share the comfort and salvation.  

2 Corinthians 1:8-11
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

Over and over, Paul told the first century Christians that he did not want them to "be ignorant." 

The suffering that Paul and the others had endured in Asia, the area East of the Mediterranean Sea, was beyond their effort to endure.

But, it was not beyond the comfort of Christ.

Prayers were answered when God delivered them from the conflicts.

Is prayer your first or last line of defense? 

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

Rejoicing (Gr. kaucheesis-kauchsiV) speaks of the act of boasting.

How can Christians boast when they are in the midst of turmoil?

Adversity is the best time to boast about what God has done for us.

One of the great Christian lessons may be learned from reading Dr. Seussí How the Grinch stole Christmas.

All the Whos in Whoville were faced with a terrible dilemma.

The only nice thing the Grinch did on Christmas Eve night was to get little Cindy-Lou Who a drink of water while stealing all those presents and trees, and stuffed them up the chimneys.

What was their response?

They sang!

That sounds as if Paul had visited Whoville before he facing imprisonment (Acts 16:25).

We should sing the praises of God and of His Christ.

Even in the face of suffering, Paul conducted himself in "simplicity" (Gr. aploteeti-aplothti).

When we consistently depend on Christ, Christian living is easy.

2 Corinthians 1:13-14 
13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

While teaching is supposed to challenge, we should never teach above our studentís ability to understand.

Some use difficult language because they trying to impress their students.

Others use difficult language because they think and speak in those terms.

Probably the greatest public speaker of the twentieth century was Winston Churchill.

If you analyze his speeches, you will find a simple, direct speech pattern.

Churchill was great because he used language that people could understand coupled with a magnificent delivery.

Paul wanted more than simple understanding.

His goal was to impart understanding that endured.

Matt 13:5-6
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. (KJV)

Understanding is good only when it lasts and leads the hearer to do the will of God. 

2 Corinthians 1:15-16 
15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.

Trusting in his mission to impart godly understanding to the Corinthians, Paul intended to go to Corinth.

"Second benefit" (Gr. deuteran charin-deuteran charin), indicates two blessings or graces.

The alternate translation would be, "so that you would be twice blessed."

Paul planned to visit them coming and going. In doing that he could twice bless them (v 16).   

2 Corinthians 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

Paul did not vary from the plan. We are to stick to the plans God has given us.

When Paul went to Jerusalem and Roman troops took him into protective custody, the Bible says that he "purposed in the spirit" (Acts 19:21).

It is my belief that it should read, "purposed in the Spirit."

Romans 8:14 tells us, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Paul was led by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.

As an ordinary Jewish evangelist, the Roman leaders could ignore him.

As a Roman citizen held in protective custody by Roman soldiers they would be forced to listen to his defense, which was the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

2 Corinthians 1:18-20 
18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is trustworthy, and the words delivered by His servants are also trustworthy. 

The phrase "for all" (Gr. osai gar-osai gar) is not the normal "panta" all.

Verse 20 implies that what we say is true "because many" of the promises of God have come to fruition in (Gr. en-en), because of Christ Jesus. 

The Greek text indicates a relationship.

Godís promises are ours due to our relationship with Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

These verses are a type of benediction.  

"Now He that establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God.

God has given us His seal of approval, and has given us the security pledge of the Spirit in our hearts."

In the Greek text, the use of the definite article (the) in reference to the Spirit indicates that Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit.

He dwells within all believers. 

2 Corinthians 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

Verse 23 is a continuation of verse 22, but for this, I have separated them.

The Greek may correctly be translated "moreover" or "but", however I prefer "that being considered."

That is not close to a literal, but the feeling is accurate. 

"That being considered, I call God to be the witness of my soulís intent. I will not come to Corinth in order treat you with leniency."

"Feel-Good theology" was not Paulís strong point.

If what you want is a 45-minute psychological ego lift, pay a Psychiatrist! 

2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

Paul wanted to proclaim Christ.

He did not want to play domination games.

There is a joy that only comes from standing firm in Christ.

In the knowledge of Christ, we can stand firm.  

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