1Paul, 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:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise to the God of all comfort
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6If 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. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,1:8 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 8:1; 13:11. 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. 9Indeed, 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. 10He 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, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul’s change of plans
12Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity1:12 Many manuscripts holiness and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13For we do not write to you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to let you send me on my way to Judea. 17Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’?
18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me, Silas1:19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas and Timothy – was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, but in him it has always been ‘Yes’. 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23I call God as my witness – and I stake my life on it – that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Timothy our brother joins me in writing.
We are sending this letter to you, the members of God’s church in Corinth. It is also for all God’s holy people everywhere in Achaia.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Praise to the God Who Gives Comfort
3Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. 4He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves receive comfort from God. 5We share very much in the sufferings of Christ. So we also share very much in his comfort. 6If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through. 7Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us.
8Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we had in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die. 9In fact, we felt as if we were under the sentence of death. But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life. 10God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us. 11You must help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us. They will thank God for his kindness to us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul Changes His Plans
12Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong tells us how we have acted. We have lived with honor and godly honesty. We have depended on God’s grace and not on the world’s wisdom. We lived that way most of all when we were dealing with you. 13We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope. 14Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now here is what I hope for when the Lord Jesus returns. I hope that your pride in us will be the same as our pride in you. When this happens, you will understand us completely.
15Because I was sure of this, I wanted to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice. 16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea. 17When I planned all this, was I ready to change my mind for no good reason? No. I don’t make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says both, “Yes! Yes!” and “No! No!”
18But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say “Yes” and “No” at the same time. The message of Christ has always been “Yes.” 20God has made a great many promises. They are all “Yes” because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say “Amen.” We want God to receive glory. 21He makes both us and you remain strong in the faith because we belong to Christ. He anointed us. 22He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.
23I call God to be my witness. May he take my life if I’m lying. I wanted to spare you, so I didn’t return to Corinth. 24Your faith is not under our control. You remain strong in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy.