2 Corinthians 1

The Word Made Fresh

1From Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by God’s will, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia:

2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of consolation, 4who comforts us when we are distressed so that we may comfort others who are suffering with the help we ourselves are receiving from God. 5Christ suffered for us so that we might console others through him. 6If we are troubled it is for your comfort and your salvation. If we are being comforted it is for your sake, and you will be consoled when you go through the same trials that have afflicted us. 7Our hope for you is secure because we know that if you share our suffering you also share our assurance.

8We don’t want you to be unaware of the trouble we suffered in Asia. We were so troubled that we felt crushed in our despair, and we thought we might die. 9We actually thought that we had been sentenced to death, and we felt we must trust in God to raise us from the dead. 10But now we know that the One who rescued us from our perils will continue to come to our aid, and we have placed our hope in him to rescue us again. 11You have also helped us through your prayers, and many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessings given to us through you.

12We boast, for we know we have behaved in the world with holiness and sincerity toward God, and even more toward you. 13We only write to you about things you can understand. I have hope that you will understand until the end comes. 14You know that on the day of the Lord Jesus we brag about you as you have boasted in us.

15I was certain of this, and wanted to come to you first to grant you a double favor: 16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and then come back to you and have you send me on to Judea. 17Was I hesitating to do this; was I making my plans according to human standards, always ready to say “yes” and “no” at the same time? 18As surely as God is faithful, we haven’t said “yes and no” to you. 19Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of whom Silvanus and I preached to you, was not “yes” and “no”, but in him it is always “yes.” 20In Christ every one of God’s promises is a “yes.” And that is why we say the “amen” to the glory of God through him.

21It is God who has placed us with you in Christ, and has blessed us 22by placing his seal on us and placing his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

23As God is my witness, I didn’t come again to Corinth because I meant to spare you. 24I’m not saying that we are above you; we are your coworkers, and joyfully so because you have stood firm in the faith.


1-2: A standard salutation begins the letter. At the end of 1 Corinthians Paul had begged them to send Timothy on to him should he pass through Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:10-12). Now we find that he and Timothy have indeed been reunited.

3-7: The greeting continues with a word of gratitude for God’s involvement in the lives of the believers (compare Romans 1:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 1:4-9). Paul hints that he has been enduring much suffering since last they communicated, and he understands that they, too, have had some difficulties. He emphasizes God’s great heart of compassion and consolation to comfort them as well as himself.

8-11: Indeed, it would seem that he and his companions have truly been put upon to the point of discouragement. It is impossible to match these verses with any specific occasion of persecution in Paul’s ministry — there were so many of them!

12-14: As to his relationship with them, his conscience is clear. He is convinced that all he has done on their behalf has been motivated by his determination to serve only God. He hopes that they can boast about each other when Jesus returns.

15-22: Paul had planned to make two visits to Corinth, but decided against it. He has apparently received some criticism for this, and defends himself, saying that he was not vacillating. His intentions were always positive towards coming to them, for it was God who brought them together.

23-24: What changed his mind about visiting them was the fear that his visit would not be a happy one.


Scholars are divided over whether 2 Corinthians represents one letter or is an amalgamation of several letters. These are questions that need not concern the casual reader but is an interesting debate for those who wish to dig deeper. A primary difference between 1 and 2 Corinthians is that 2 Corinthians is mainly concerned with what is going on inside the church, while 1 Corinthians was deeply concerned with the relationship the believers have with those outside the church. The church needs to be involved in the community around it. How else can the Good News be spread?