2 Corinthians 1:4 MEANING

2 Corinthians 1:4
(4) Who comforteth us.--For the writer, the name "God of all comfort" was the outcome of a living personal experience. He had felt that ever-continuing comfort flowing into his soul, and he knew that it had not been given to him for his own profit only, but that it might flow forth to others. Heathen poets had asserted one side of the truth. Sophocles had said--

"They comfort others who themselves have mourned;"


and Virgil--

"Not ignorant of ill, I, too, have learnt

To succour those that suffer."--'n. i. 630.

There was a yet deeper truth in the thought that the power to comfort varies with the measure in which we have been comforted ourselves. Sorrow alone may lead to sympathy, but it falls short of that power to speak a word in season to them that are weary (Isaiah 1:4), which is of the very essence of the work of comforting. The words imply that he had passed through a time of tribulation himself. They imply also that he knew of their troubles. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:7-11.)

Verse 4. - Who comforteth us. The "us" implies here, not only St. Paul and Timothy, but also the Corinthians, who are one with them in a bond of Christian unity which was hitherto undreamed of, and was a new phenomenon in the world. St. Paul always uses the first person in passages where he is speaking directly of individual feelings and experiences. In other passages he likes to lose himself, as it were, in the Christian community. The delicate play of emotion is often shown by the rapid interchanges of singular and plural (see vers. 13, 15, 17; 2 Corinthians 2:1, 11, 14, etc.). The present, "comforteth," expresses a continuous experience, with which the Christians of the first age were most happily familiar (John 14:16-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17). In all our affliction. The collective experience of affliction is sustained by the collective experience of comfort. That we may be able to comfort. Thus St. Paul takes "a teleological view of sorrow." It is partly designed as a school of sympathy. It is a part of the training of an apostle, just as suffering is essential to one who is to be a sympathetic high priest (Hebrews 5:1, 2). In any trouble. The original more forcibly repeats the words, "in all affliction." Wherewith we ourselves are comforted. By means of the comfort which God gives us, we can, by the aid of blessed experience, communicate comfort to others.

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.Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,.... The apostle in this verse gives a reason of the former thanksgiving, and at the same time confirms the above character of God, as "the God of all comfort", by his own experience, and that of his fellow ministers; who, though they had been in great tribulation and affliction for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, yet were not left destitute of divine help and support under their trials; but had much consolation and sweet refreshment administered to them by the presence of God with them, the application of his promises to them, the shedding abroad of his love in them, and the fellowship and communion they enjoyed with Father, Son, and Spirit. The end of this, or why God was pleased to comfort them in such a manner, was not so much on their own account; though it showed that they were loved, and not hated and rejected of God, but for the good of others:

that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God; many are the troubles and afflictions of the saints in this life, but it is the will of God that they should be comforted: and the persons he employs and makes use of in this way are his ministering servants, whose principal work and business it is to speak comfortably to the people of God; see Isaiah 40:1, and that they may be able to do so, that they may be fitted and furnished for so good a work, they are blessed with a rich experience of divine consolation in themselves, under the various troubles and exercises they are attended with in the course of their ministry; and such persons are, of all others, the fittest, and indeed the only proper persons to speak a word in season to weary souls.

Courtesy of Open Bible