1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Timothy our brother joins me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of God's church in Corinth. It is also for all of God's people everywhere in Achaia.2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
God Gives Comfort
3Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him.4He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves have received comfort from God.5We share the sufferings of Christ. We also share his comfort.6If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through.7Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us.8Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we suffered in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die.9In fact, in our hearts we felt as if we were under the sentence of death. But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life.10God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us.11You must help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us. They will thank God for his kindness to us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul Changes His Plans
12Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God's holy and honest ways. That is how we live in the world. We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you. Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world. But it is in keeping with God's grace.13We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope.14Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now I hope that someday you will be able to take pride in us, just as we will take pride in you on the day the Lord Jesus returns. When you are able to do that, you will understand us completely.15I was sure of those things. So I planned to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice.16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea.17When I planned all of that, did I do it without much thought? No. I don't make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says, “Yes! Yes!” and “No! No!”18But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”19Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say “Yes” and “No” at the same time. The message of Christ has always been “Yes.”20God has made a great many promises. They are all “Yes” because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say “Amen.” We want God to receive glory.21He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us.22He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.23I call God as my witness. I wanted to spare you. So I didn't return to Corinth.24Your faith is not under our control. You stand firm in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (Ro 15:5; Ro 15:6; Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:3)4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (Isa 51:12; Isa 66:13)5For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2Co 4:10; Php 3:10; Col 1:24)6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. (2Co 4:15; 2Co 12:15; Eph 3:13; 2Ti 2:10)7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (Ro 8:17)8For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (Ac 19:23; 1Co 15:32)9Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (Ps 2:12; Ps 25:2; Ps 26:1; Lu 18:9; 2Co 4:14)10He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. (Ro 15:31; 1Ti 4:10)11You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (Ac 12:5; Ro 15:30; 2Co 4:15; 2Co 9:11; Php 1:19; Phm 1:22)
Paul’s Change of Plans
12For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (Ac 23:1; 1Co 2:4; 1Co 2:13; 2Co 2:17; 2Co 4:2; 1Th 2:10)13For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand—14just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. (1Co 1:8; 1Co 9:15; 2Co 2:5; 2Co 5:12; 2Co 9:3; Php 2:16; Php 4:1; 1Th 2:19)15Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. (Ac 18:1; Ro 1:11; 1Co 4:19)16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. (Ac 19:21; 1Co 16:5)17Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? (2Co 10:2)18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. (1Co 1:9; 2Co 2:17)19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. (Mt 14:33; Ac 15:22; Heb 13:8)20For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (Ro 15:8; 1Co 14:16; Heb 10:23; Re 3:14)21And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, (1Jo 2:20; 1Jo 2:27)22and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (Ro 8:16; 2Co 5:5; Eph 1:13; Eph 1:14; Eph 4:30)23But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. (Ro 1:9; 1Co 4:21; 2Co 2:1; 2Co 2:3; Ga 1:20)24Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (Mt 23:8; Ro 11:20; 1Co 15:1; 2Co 4:5; 1Pe 5:3)