2 Corinthians 1:3 MEANING

2 Corinthians 1:3
(3) Blessed be God . . . the Father of mercies.--The opening words are spoken out of the fulness of the Apostle's heart. He has had a comfort which he recognises as having come from God. The nature of that comfort, as of the previous sorrow, is hardly stated definitely till we come to 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7. At present the memory of it leads him to something like a doxology, as being the utterance of a more exulting joy than a simple thanksgiving, such as we find in 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3. The same formula meets us in Ephesians 1:3, where also it expresses a jubilant adoration. Two special names of God are added under the influence of the same feeling. He is "the Father of mercies," the genitive being possibly a Hebraism, used in place of the cognate adjective; in which case it is identical with "God, the merciful Father," in Jewish prayers, or with the ever-recurring formula of the Koran, "Allah, the compassionate, the merciful." It seems better, however, to take the words more literally, as stating that God is the originator of all mercies, the source from which they flow. So we have the "Father of lights" in James 1:17. The precise phrase does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament; but we have the same noun in "the mercies of God" in Romans 12:1.

The God of all comfort.--The latter word, of which, taking the books of the New Testament in their chronological order, this is the earliest occurrence, includes the idea of counsel as well as consolation. (See Note on Acts 4:36.) It is used only by St. Paul, St. Luke, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and is pre-eminently characteristic of this Epistle, in which it occurs twelve, or, with the cognate verb, twenty-eight, times.

In the balanced structure of the sentence--the order of "God" and "Father" in the first clause being inverted in the second--we may trace something like an unconscious adoption of the familiar parallelism of Hebrew poetry.

Verse 3. - Blessed be God (Ephesians 1:3). This outburst of thanksgiving was meant to repress the relief brought to the overcharged feelings of the apostle by the arrival of Titus, with news respecting the mixed, but on the whole good, effect produced at Corinth by the severe remarks of his first letter. It is characteristic of the intense and impetuous rush of emotion which we often notice in the letters of St. Paul, that he does not here state the special grounds for this impassioned thanksgiving; he only touches upon it for a moment in 2 Corinthians 2:13, and does not pause to state it fully until 2 Corinthians 7:5-16. It is further remarkable that in this Epistle almost alone he utters no thanksgiving for the moral growth and holiness of the Church to which he is writing. This may be due to the fact that there was still so much to blame; but it more probably arose from the tumult of feeling which throughout this letter disturbs the regular flow of his thoughts. The ordinary "thanksgiving" for his readers is practically, though indirectly, involved in the gratitude which he expresses to God for the sympathy and communion which exists between himself and the Church of Corinth. Even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek is the same as in Ephesians 1:3, where, literally rendered, it is, "Blessed be the God and Father." The same phrase is found also in 1 Peter 1:3; Colossians 1:3. The meaning is not, "Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (although the expression, "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ," occurs in Ephesians 1:17: comp. John 20:17), but "Blessed be God, who is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," and who is therefore "our Father" by adoption and redemption, as well as our God by creation. The Father of mercies. This corresponds to a Hebrew expression, and means that compassionateness is the most characteristic attribute of God, and emanation from him. He is the Source of all mercy; and mercy

"Is an attribute of God himself." He is "full of compassion, and gracious, tong-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15). "The Law," says the Talmud, "begins and ends with an act of mercy. At its commencement God clothes the naked; at its close be buries the dead" ('Sotah,' f. 14, 1). Thus every chapter but one of the Koran is headed, "In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful;" and it is an Eastern expression to say of one that has died that. "he is taken to the mercy of the Merciful." Comp. "Father of glory," Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:8 ("of spirits," Hebrews 12:9; "of lights," James 1:17). The plural, "compassions," is perhaps a plural of excellence, "exceeding compassion" (Romans 12:1), and may be influenced by the Hebrew word rachamim, often literally rendered by St. Paul "bowels." The article in the Greek ("the Father of the compassions") specializes the mercy. The God of all comfort. So in 2 Corinthians 13:11 God is called "the God of love and peace;" Romans 15:5, "the God of patience and of comfort;" 2:15, "the God of hope." This word "comfort" (unfortunately interchanged with "consolation" in the Authorized Version) and the word "affliction" (varyingly rendered by "trouble" and "tribulation" in the Authorized Version), are the keynotes of this passage; and to some extent of the whole Epistle. St. Paul is haunted as it were and possessed by them. "Comfort," as verb or substantive, occurs ten times in vers. 3-7; and "affliction" occurs four times in succession. It is characteristic of St. Paul's style to be thus dominated, as it were, by a single word (comp. notes on 2 Corinthians 3:2, 13; 4:2; see note on 2 Corinthians 10:8). The needless variations of the Authorized Version were well intentioned, but arose from a false notion of style, a deficient sense of the precision of special words, and an inadequate conception of the duties of faithful translation, which requires that we should as exactly as possible reflect the peculiarities of the original, and not attempt to improve upon them.

1:1-11 We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience, and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings are given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God, who can bring back even from death. Their hope and trust were not in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord. Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.Blessed be God,.... This is an ascription of praise and glory to God, for he can only be blessed of men, by their praising and glorifying him, or by ascribing honour and blessing to him: and in this form of blessing him he is described, first by his relation to Christ,

even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: whose Son Christ is, not by creation, as angels and men, nor by adoption, as saints, but in such a way of filiation, as no creatures are, or possibly can be: he is his only begotten Son, his own proper Son, his natural and eternal Son, is of the same nature with him, and equal to him in perfections, power, and glory. This is rightly prefaced by the apostle to the other following characters, since there is no mercy nor comfort administered to the sons of men but through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour of sinners. And next he is described by his attribute of mercy, and the effects of it, or by his merciful disposition to his creatures,

the Father of mercies. The Jews frequently address God in their prayers (a) under the title or character of, , "Father of mercies". The plural number is used, partly to show that God is exceeding merciful; he delights in showing mercy to poor miserable creatures, and is rich and plenteous in the exercise of it: nothing is more common in the Talmudic writings, than to call him "the merciful", and this is partly to express the multitude of his tender mercies, of which he is the "Father", author, and giver, both in a temporal, and spiritual sense; for there are not only innumerable providential mercies which the people of God share in, and partake of, but also a multitude of spiritual mercies. Such as redemption by Christ, pardon of sin through his blood, regeneration by his Spirit, supplies of grace out of his fulness, and the word and ordinances; all which are owing to the mercy of God, which they have abundant reason to be thankful to him, and bless him for, being altogether unworthy and undeserving of them. God is also described by his work of comforting the saints,

and the God of all comfort; most rightly is this character given him, for there is no solid comfort but what comes from him; there is none to be had in, and from the creatures; and whatever is had through them it is from him: and all spiritual comfort is of him; whatever consolation the saints enjoy they have it from God, the Father of Christ, and who is their covenant God and Father in Christ; and the consolation they have from him through Christ in a covenant way is not small, and for which they have great reason to bless the Lord, as the apostle here does; for it is from him that Christ, the consolation of Israel, and the Spirit, the Comforter, come, and whatever is enjoyed by the Gospel.

(a) Seder Tephillot, fol. 55. 8. Ed. Basil. fol. 77. 1. & passim, Ed. Amstelod. Sapher Shaare Zion, fol. 54. 1. Vid. Kabbala Denudata, par. 1. p. 7.

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