Friday, September 29, 2017

2nd Corinthians, part 1, the Comfort of the Holy Spirit

Major Theme

2nd Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul. Its major theme is always to be faithful to Christ. This epistle shows Paul’s state of physical weakness, weariness, and pain as well as his great anguish of heart over the distrust felt toward him by Jews and Jewish Christians. The letters tells us of Paul’s principles of action for ministry, the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem and Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority.
2nd Corinthians teaches that God loves a cheerful giver. There are two whole chapters on the virtue of giving. The ministry of reconciliation is also a major theme.

Read 2nd Corinthians 1:1-6:
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 the saints throughout Achaia:
      To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:
 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 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.
Wow, right away in the opening of this letter we get the symbolism of comfort and that’s because 2nd Corinthians is the last of the three books that link up with the Hebrew letter gimel. This Hebrew letter symbolizes the Holy Spirit [the Holy Ghost], the Comforter. Would it surprise you to know that we have in 2nd Corinthians the greatest density of the word comfort in the whole Bible? Jesus said in John 14:26 that God would send the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, and here we find an amazing example of the evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible and how God has woven it together in such complexity.
Our other two gimel books, Leviticus and Lamentations, were linked by the theme of great sorrow. Here in 2nd Corinthians we see the sorrow of Lamentations reflected in this letter which has been called the “epistle of tears”.  In fact, the words sorry and sorrow come up over a dozen times in this short letter.
There are several verses in Lamentations like these from the King James version: “mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me”, “Zion spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her”, “they have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me”. Whereas Lamentations specifically declares that the Comforter is missing, we just saw that the promise of a Comforter dominated the opening of 2nd Corinthians. How marvelously are the books of His Holy Word linked!

More next week in part 2