Monday, June 28, 2010

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Questions to consider:
  • State what Paul says concerning the (a) nature and (b) activities of God.
  • How does comfort relate to the nature and activities of God?
  • How does Paul understand afflictions in relation to the comfort of God?
  • How do you respond in times of difficulty and stress? Why?
  • Why does God allow difficult circumstances to enter Paul’s life?
  • If Paul is sure that he will be released from prison, why, do you think, does he ask for prayer from the Corinthians?

Possibilities for prayer:

Being willing to rely on God rather than on ourselves is often a step of courage. It doesn’t seem like it should be, since God, as Paul writes, raises people from the dead. But God often feels less tangible than our own actions and abilities--which can make it a little more difficult to simply and completely trust in Him. Today, let’s ask for the confidence and courage to put our trust in a God who raises the dead, no matter what our life circumstances may look like.