2 Corinthians 1: A Ministry of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1: A Ministry of Comfort

Where do you turn when you are despondent and in despair? If you are in need of encouragement, 2 Corinthians 1 provides comfort in the face of adversity, reminding us of the truth of the gospel in the midst of false teaching. Not only that, it teaches us how to transform the comfort we receive from Christ into comfort for our fellow believers.

A Letter for Today

Paul wrote 2 Corinthians as a thanksgiving that the unrepentant sinners he had addressed in his previous letter had repented and turned to Christ. However, there was still a minority that opposed the gospel, so Paul took the time in this letter to defend his apostolic calling and the truth of the gospel against false teachers. As he writes, his letter often takes a tone of joy at the triumph of the message of Jesus Christ.

Although it may not seem as though this letter relates to us—after all, Paul wrote to address a specific situation in a historical church—we face many of the same heresies today. Old heresies put on new faces and masquerade in our society as the truth. Paul’s defense ought to encourage us, because it addresses the same issues we see today.

One such issue is that of authority: we like to see ourselves as the ultimate authority, choosing truth for ourselves. But Paul reminds us that there is a true authority, that of Jesus Christ. There is such a thing as truth, and it is not up to us to decide. When He comes again, we will recognize His authority and the truth of the gospel.

A Ministry of Comfort

As we struggle with spiritual warfare, Paul reminds us to turn to other Christians for fellowship. We do not have to face the world, the flesh, and the devil alone. Instead, God gives us fellow believers to remind us to look to Him. We are bound together by the Holy Spirit as one Body in Christ.

Paul reminds us in this chapter that we can mediate the comfort we receive from Christ to others. As we experience trials, we can better empathize with those who face similar difficulties. Paul writes that Jesus “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:4–5).

For more on suffering, read Shaped by Suffering by Ken Boa and Jenny Abel.

Suffering reminds us to ask the following questions:

  • Who is God?
  • What has He done for us?
  • Where would we be without Him?
  • What does He want to do in us and through us?

As you answer these questions and receive comfort from God, you are given a ministry. Your suffering is redemptive; it allows you to comfort others.

The truth of the gospel is that our adversity does not have the final word. It drives us to grace, and it binds us together with fellow believers. It reminds us of the basics of the gospel: the love of the Father and the suffering of the Son for our sake. The truth of the gospel is a comfort in the midst of sorrow.

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This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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