1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah) by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth, and to all the [a]saints (God’s people) throughout Achaia (southern Greece):
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. 6 But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [b]experience. 7 And our [c]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about [d]our trouble in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], how we were utterly weighed down, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life [itself]. 9 Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death [and were convinced that we would die, but this happened] so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 10 He rescued us from so great a threat of death, and will continue to rescue us. On Him we have set our hope. And He will again rescue us [from danger and draw us near], 11 while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then thanks will be given by many persons on our behalf for the gracious gift [of deliverance] granted to us through the prayers of many [believers].
12 This is our [reason for] proud confidence: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [in general], and especially toward you, with pure motives and godly sincerity, not in human wisdom, but in the grace of God [that is, His gracious lovingkindness that leads people to Christ and spiritual maturity]. 13 For we write you nothing other than what you read and understand [there is no double meaning in what we say]. And I hope you will [accurately] understand [divine things] until the end; 14 just as you have [already] partially understood us, [and one day will recognize] that you can be proud of us just as we are of you, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
15 It was with this confidence that I planned at first to visit you, so that you might receive twice a token of grace; 16 that is, [I wanted] to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and [then] to come back to you [on my return] from Macedonia, and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 So then, was I indecisive or capricious when I was [originally] planning this? Or the things I plan, do I plan [e]in a self-serving way like a worldly man, ready to say, “Yes, yes” and “No, no” [at the same time]? 18 But [as surely as] God is faithful and means what He says, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No” [at the same time]. 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 has proved to be “Yes” in Him [true and faithful, the divine “Yes” affirming God’s promises]. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; 22 it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].
23 But I call on God as my soul’s witness, that it was to spare you [pain and discouragement] that I did not come again to Corinth— 24 not that we rule [like dictators] over your faith, but rather we work with you for [the increase of] your joy; for in your faith you stand firm [in your strong conviction that Jesus of Nazareth—the Messiah—is the Son of God, through whom we obtain eternal salvation].
- 2 Corinthians 1:1 All born-again believers are saints, that is, they are set apart for God’s special use.
- 2 Corinthians 1:6 Lit suffer.
- 2 Corinthians 1:7 In the NT the word “hope” expresses a cherished desire along with the confident assurance of obtaining that which is longed for.
- 2 Corinthians 1:8 In general, the editorial plurals used in this letter refer only to Paul.
- 2 Corinthians 1:17 Lit according to the flesh.