Chapter One OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To understand the source and proper use of our comfort 2) To appreciate the value of prayer in working with God, and in producing thanksgiving in others 3) To see what are proper grounds for "boasting" SUMMARY Paul is joined by Timothy as he begins this epistle with greetings to the church in Corinth, and to all the brethren in Achaia (1-2). A feature common in Paul's epistles is to start with a few words of praise and/or thanksgiving, and in this epistle he includes both. He first praises God for the comfort offered through Christ in the midst of tribulation, and expresses his confidence that both the sufferings and comfort he receives because of Christ can work to the benefit of the brethren at Corinth (3-7). He then informs them of the wonderful deliverance God provided in Asia (perhaps referring to the "Diana incident" in Acts 19:23-41), telling them their prayers were instrumental as well, and that this will lead many people to give thanks (8-11). Paul's first order of business after his salutation and thanksgiving is to offer a defense of his integrity. He begins with a profession of sincerity and simplicity, both in his conduct and his writing, and then reminds them that they will have good reason to "boast" in each other when Christ comes (12-14). Evidently his sincerity had come in question because Paul had made a change of plans concerning his visit to them. Therefore he explains that his change was not due to fickleness, but as God and His promises in Christ are trustworthy, so is Paul, for God has anointed and sealed him with the Holy Spirit (15-22). With God as his witness, Paul states that his change of plans was an effort to spare them. This is not to suggest Paul exercises some sort of domination over them, for he considers himself as a fellow worker for their joy (23-24) OUTLINE I. SALUTATION & THANKSGIVING (1-11) A. SALUTATION (1-2) 1. From Paul and Timothy (1a) 2. To the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints in Achaia (1b) 3. Grace and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2) B. THANKSGIVING (3-11) 1. For comfort in the midst of affliction (3-7) a. From the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (3) b. So that we may comfort others in their trouble (4) c. Which like the sufferings of Christ, our comfort abounds through Christ, and both work for our salvation (5-7) 2. For deliverance in Asia (8-11) a. Burdened beyond measure, Paul had despaired of life, and was left with only his trust in God (8-9) b. But with the help of their prayers, God delivered him from death, resulting in much thanksgiving (10-11) II. PAUL DEFENDS HIS INTEGRITY (12-24) A. HIS PROFESSION OF SINCERITY (12-14) 1. In good conscience he has conducted himself with simplicity and godly sincerity toward them, and continues to do so in his writing to them (12-13a) 2. He hopes they understand that they have reason to boast in each other when the Lord returns (13b-14) B. THE CHANGED PLAN (15-22) 1. His original plan was visit them on his way to Macedonia, and to return on his way to Judea (15-16) 2. His planning was not done lightly (17-22) a. It was not done according to the flesh, in an unreliable manner (17) b. But as God is faithful, and the promises of God in Jesus are reliable, so were his words to them (18-20) c. Indeed, Paul (along with Silvanus and Timothy) has been... 1) Established with them in Christ and anointed by God (21) 2) Sealed by God, and given the Spirit in their hearts as a deposit (22) C. REASON FOR THE DELAYED VISIT (23-24) 1. To spare them, as God can confirm (23) 2. This is not to suggest an attitude of domination over them, for he views himself as one working for their joy, and he acknowledges that they stand on the basis of their faith (24) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Salutation and thanksgiving (1-11) - Paul defends his integrity (12-24) 2) Who joins Paul in writing this epistle? (1) - Timothy 3) What two groups of people does Paul address in his salutation (1) - The church of God at Corinth - All the saints who are in all Achaia (Greece) 4) How does Paul describe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? (3) - The Father of mercies and God of all comfort 5) What is the proper use of comfort we receive from God? (4) - To comfort those who are in any trouble 6) What two things abound in Christ? (5) - Sufferings - Consolation (comfort) 7) Where had Paul experienced some trouble? How serious was it? (8-9) - In Asia (modern day Turkey) - Such that he despaired of life, and could only trust in God who raises the dead 8) What had worked together with God in providing deliverance? What other effect did it have? (11) - Their prayers for him - Thanksgiving to be given by many people on his behalf 9) In what could Paul "boast"? (12) - The clear conscience that his conduct in the world was with simplicity and godly sincerity 10) What could Paul and the brethren in Corinth look forward to boasting in, when Christ comes again? (14) - Each other 11) What appears to be the reason Paul's integrity was in question? (15-17) - A change of plans in visiting them 12) Paul professes that his word is as faithful as what two things? (18-20) - God - The promises of God in Christ 13) What assurances does Paul offer that he is faithful? (21-22) - That God has established and anointed him, and sealed him by giving him the Holy Spirit in his heart as a deposit 14) Why had Paul changed his plans about coming to Corinth? (23) - To spare them
[2Co 1:1-24 NKJV] 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Comfort in suffering
3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you [is] steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also [you will partake] of the consolation.
Delivered from suffering
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver [us], 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift [granted] to us through many.
12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also [are] ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Sparing the church
15 And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit-- 16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18 But [as] God [is] faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us--by me, Silvanus, and Timothy--was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us [is] God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 23 Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.