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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will
of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with
all the holy ones throughout Achaia:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, 2
who encourages us in our every affliction, so
that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the
encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
For as Christ's sufferings overflow to us, so
through Christ 3 does our encouragement also overflow.
If we are afflicted, it is for your
encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your
encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as
you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement. 4
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of
the affliction that came to us in the province of Asia; 5 we
were utterly weighed down beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of
Indeed, we had accepted within ourselves the
sentence of death, 6 that we might trust not in ourselves
but in God who raises the dead.
He rescued us from such great danger of death,
and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope (that) he will
also rescue us again,
as you help us with prayer, so that thanks may
be given by many on our behalf for the gift granted us through the prayers of
7 8 For our boast is this,
the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world,
and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, (and) not
by human wisdom but by the grace of God.
For we write you nothing but what you can read
and understand, and I hope that you will understand completely,
as you have come to understand us partially,
that we are your boast as you also are ours, on the day of (our) Lord Jesus.
With this confidence I formerly intended to
come 9 to you so that you might receive a double favor,
namely, to go by way of you to Macedonia, and
then to come to you again on my return from Macedonia, and have you send me on
my way to Judea.
So when I intended this, did I act lightly? 10
Or do I make my plans according to human considerations, so that with me it is
"yes, yes" and "no, no"?
As God is faithful, 11 our
word to you is not "yes" and "no."
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was
proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not "yes"
and "no," but "yes" has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their
Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for
12 But the one who gives us security with you in
Christ and who anointed us is God;
he has also put his seal upon us and given the
Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.
But I call upon God as witness, on my life,
that it is to spare you that I have not yet gone to Corinth. 13
Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we
work together for your joy, for you stand firm in the faith.
1 [1-11] The opening follows the
usual Pauline form, except that the thanksgiving takes the form of a doxology
or glorification of God (⇒ 2 Cor 1:3). This
introduces a meditation on the experience of suffering and encouragement shared
by Paul and the Corinthians (⇒ 2 Cor 1:4-7), drawn,
at least in part, from Paul's reflections on a recent affliction
(⇒ 2 Cor 1:8-10). The section ends with a modified
and delayed allusion to thanksgiving (⇒ 2 Cor
2  God of all encouragement: Paul
expands a standard Jewish blessing so as to state the theme of the paragraph.
The theme of "encouragement" or "consolation" (paraklesis)
occurs ten times in this opening, against a background formed by multiple
references to "affliction" and "suffering."
3  Through Christ: the Father of
compassion is the Father of our Lord Jesus (⇒ 2 Cor
1:3); Paul's sufferings and encouragement (or
"consolation") are experienced in union with Christ. Cf
⇒ Luke 2:25: the "consolation of Israel"
is Jesus himself.
4  You also share in the
encouragement: the eschatological reversal of affliction and encouragement that
Christians expect (cf ⇒ Matthew 5:4;
⇒ Luke 6:24) permits some present experience of
reversal in the Corinthians' case, as in Paul's.
5  Asia: a Roman province in
western Asia Minor, the capital of which was Ephesus.
6 [9-10] The sentence of death: it is
unclear whether Paul is alluding to a physical illness or to an external threat
to life. The result of the situation was to produce an attitude of faith in God
alone. God who raises the dead: rescue is the constant pattern of God's
activity; his final act of encouragement is the resurrection.
[⇒ 1:12-⇒ 2:13] The
autobiographical remarks about the crisis in Asia Minor lead into consideration
of a crisis that has arisen between Paul and the Corinthians. Paul will return
to this question, after a long digression, in ⇒ 2 Cor
7:5-16. Both of these sections deal with travel plans Paul had made,
changes in the plans, alternative measures adopted, a breach that opened
between him and the community, and finally a reconciliation between them.
8 [12-14] Since Paul's own conduct
will be under discussion here, he prefaces the section with a statement about
his habitual behavior and attitude toward the community. He protests his
openness, single-mindedness, and conformity to God's grace; he hopes that his
relationship with them will be marked by mutual understanding and pride, which
will constantly increase until it reaches its climax at the judgment. Two
references to boasting frame this paragraph (⇒ 2 Cor
1:12, ⇒ 14), the first appearances of a
theme that will be important in the letter, especially in 2 Cor 10-13; the term
is used in a positive sense here (cf the note on ⇒ 1 Cor
9  I formerly intended to come:
this plan reads like a revision of the one mentioned in ⇒ 1
Cor 16:5. Not until ⇒ 2 Cor
1:23-⇒ 2:1 will Paul tell us something his
original readers already knew, that he has canceled one or the other of these
10  Did I act lightly?: the
subsequent change of plans casts suspicion on the original intention, creating
the impression that Paul is vacillating and inconsistent or that human
considerations keep dictating shifts in his goals and projects (cf the
counterclaim of ⇒ 2 Cor 1:12). "Yes, yes"
and "no, no": stating something and denying it in the same or the
next breath; being of two minds at once, or from one moment to the next.
11 [18-22] As God is faithful: unable
to deny the change in plans, Paul nonetheless asserts the firmness of the
original plan and claims a profound constancy in his life and work. He grounds
his defense in God himself, who is firm and reliable; this quality can also be
predicated in various ways of those who are associated with him. Christ, Paul,
and the Corinthians all participate in analogous ways in the constancy of God.
A number of the terms here, which appear related only conceptually in Greek or
English, would be variations of the same root, mn, in a Semitic language, and
thus naturally associated in a Semitic mind, such as Paul's. These include the
words yes (⇒ 2 Cor 1:17-20), faithful
(⇒ 2 Cor 1:18), Amen (⇒ 2 Cor
1:20), gives us security (⇒ 2 Cor 1:21),
faith, stand firm (2 Cor 24).
12 [21-22] The commercial terms gives
us security, seal, first installment are here used analogously to refer to the
process of initiation into the Christian life, perhaps specifically to baptism.
The passage is clearly trinitarian. The Spirit is the first installment or
"down payment" of the full messianic benefits that God guarantees to
Christians. Cf ⇒ Eph 1:13-14.
13 [23-24] I have not yet gone to
Corinth: some suppose that Paul received word of some affair in Corinth, which
he decided to regulate by letter even before the first of his projected visits
(cf ⇒ 2 Cor 1:16). Others conjecture that he did
pay the first visit, was offended there (cf ⇒ 2 Cor
2:5), returned to Ephesus, and sent a letter (⇒ 2
Cor 2:3-9) in place of the second visit. The expressions to spare you
(2 Cor 2:23) and work together for your joy
(2 Cor 2:24) introduce the major themes of the
next two paragraphs, which are remarkable for insistent repetition of key words
and ideas. These form two clusters of terms in the English translation: (1)
cheer, rejoice, encourage, joy; (2) pain, affliction, anguish. These clusters
reappear when Paul resumes treatment of this subject in ⇒ 2
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