Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2 Corinthians 1 & 2

According to wikipedia, there is evidence that there are at least 4 letters from Paul to the Corinthians. Apparently chapters 10-13 are very harsh compared to the rest and it is speculated it was actually a different letter. Very interesting.

God of All Comfort

God comforts us when we are afflicted so that we may comfort others when they are afflicted. We share in the sufferings of Christ as well of the comfort of Christ. When we were in Asia, we were so burdened that we thought we would die, but that was to force us to rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead and delivered us from that deadly peril. We want you to pray for us.

So we suffer for the purpose that we can be comforted later. There is some logic to this, if we are always happy then it won't seem like happiness but it will just be what is normal. But if we are sometimes sad it brings meaning to the happiness. Or something like that. There is some logic to this idea, but it appears to me that this is supposed to be an explanation for the pain and suffering in the world, and to me it falls flat. For everyday stuff, sure, dealing with some pain and anguish might help you appreciate the good times that come later, but what about people who don't come out of it? What about people with debilitating diseases (like MS for instance)? I suppose a Christian might say that they will find comfort in heaven later or something, but this only works if the person who has the disease is also a Christian.

Another thing here, it seems to try to equate raising the dead from bringing back from the brink of death. We can all understand bringing people back from the brink of death, but to have someone actually die and be brought back is another thing entirely. Trying to talk of them as if they are the same is slight of hand.

Paul's Change of Plans

It appears that Paul had planned on visiting Corinth a second time and did not show up. This passage seems to be justifying the fact that he did not show up.

I do not follow the whims of the flesh and say yes and no at the same time. I wanted to come a second time, but I knew that I would cause you pain, and this would cause me pain in turn. I am writing you now so that when I come later we can all rejoice together.

Seems to me that Paul didn't come and now he is justifying it. 

Forgive the Sinner (ch 2)

If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it to all of you. Therefore, you should forgive and comfort him or he will be overwhelmed by excess sorrow.

This sounds really good. The idea that we are all harmed when someone in our community is harmed is a good one. We should all strive to help each other out and the world would be a better place.

This is how I am testing you, anyone that you forgive I will also forgive.

What the hell is this? If the lesson is that you are supposed to forgive everyone, shouldn't Paul follow this and forgive everyone, regardless of whether or not the other Corinthians have forgiven them?

Triumph in Christ

We spread the true word of God unlike so many other 'peddlers of God's word'. We have the fragrance of God on us, we smell of life to believers and death to non-believers.


For the overview post

2:5-7 Be quick to forgive and comfort those who have done wrong


  1. What kind of god would allow us to suffer just so he can comfort us? That is the sign of a god that is certainly not omni-benevolent, but rather quite devious. He "creates" suffering so that he can swoop in and be the hero? That just doesn't work for me.


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