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4. The Second Corinthians Letter

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In Lessons One and Two, we learned about Christ from Romans and 1 Corinthians.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians: Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.

In this lesson, we will see Christ as our comforter.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

The Key Question

What makes you sad? When you are hurting deep inside or having a tough time, what helps you to feel better? Do you feel loved when someone gives you a hug while you are sad? What gives you comfort when you need it the most?

As you might guess, the key word for our lesson today is comfort. The question to ask is: “How does Christ give us comfort?” Some of Paul’s friends in Corinth needed to understand why God allows hurtful things in the lives of those He loves and how He gives comfort to ease the hurt.

The People and Their Need

On his second missionary journey, Paul spent a lot of time in the big city of Corinth in southern Greece, not far from Athens. From the last lesson, you learned that Greek people were especially interested in listening to traveling teachers so they could learn the latest ideas. As Greeks, the Corinthians loved getting knowledge and discussing ideas. But, they worshiped idols and were a very immoral people, doing some very bad things and not caring who got hurt in the process.

Paul spent a year and a half teaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection in Corinth. Quite a few Corinthians believed, and a church was formed.

A couple of years after Paul left Corinth, he heard about some misbehavior in the church there and wrote a letter to them during his third missionary journey to encourage them to do a better job of loving one another.

After Paul wrote that letter called First Corinthians (Lesson 3), some bad teachers crept into the church giving the Corinthians very wrong ideas about Jesus and even tried to turn the people against Paul. They said that God must not really be with Paul because Paul was going through some troubles such as getting beaten and thrown in jail. They said that God would never let hurtful things happen to someone He truly loved and who was living the right way.

Paul knew better. So, while he was in Macedonia, he wrote this letter we call Second Corinthians to the people living not only in the city of Corinth but also in the whole surrounding area of Achaia. It is a gift from God to us. In it, Paul says to them and to us that Christians who are loved by God will suffer some troubles in this world, but Christ is our comforter when we hurt.

The Answer: Christ Is Our Comforter

1. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

  • What does God do for us when we have trouble and why?
  • What does it mean to comfort someone or be a comforter for someone?

In 2 Corinthians, Christ is our comforter. We share in the comfort Christ gives us when we need it (verse 5). And verse 4 says that Christ comforts us in ALL our troubles. That includes those we cause because of wrong choices we make and those that just seem to happen to us. It also includes those that result from our living out our faith. Paul had experienced the comfort of Christ many times. Let’s see what he shares with the Corinthians.

2. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.

  • What do you learn about the troubles Paul and his companions experienced?
  • What did Paul say is the purpose for God letting us go through hurtful times (verse 9)?

God wants us to learn to not depend on ourselves but to depend on God and His great power, which raised Jesus from the dead. He wants us to put our hope in Him and count on His work to deliver us when we are in the midst of troubles.

3. Read 2 Corinthians 1:11.

  • What can you do to help someone who is having trouble?
  • Why will many people give thanks?

4. Read 2 Corinthians 6:4-7. What good things did Paul learn through his troubles?

  • Good character displayed—
  • Difficulties experienced—

5. Who gives us the power to stand firm, to keep doing right, and to continue serving God?

That’s a key. None of us can endure troubles without depending on the Spirit’s power inside of us to help us get through it without wanting to do the wrong things. Or, even wanting to just quit. It’s God’s power in us that makes us strong during those times.

6. Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

  • Three times, Paul asked for one of his troubles to be taken away. What was God’s answer to this man whom God loved dearly?
  • What was Paul’s response to God’s decision?
  • Explain what you think that means and how that might have brought comfort to Paul.

Let’s go back to our discussion at the beginning.

7. Is there anything in your life right now that is very tough, sad, or otherwise painful?

8. Do you believe that God loves you even though He allows you to go through that pain?

Remember that the best and most loving parents still must let their children hurt sometimes (cutting teeth, riding a bike, gaining and losing friends) in order for them to live as adults. God, who loves you even more than the best parents could every day, wants you to learn how to live as His child, depending on Him for the comfort and strength that flows from God’s grace for you.

Human parents raise their children to be less dependent on them and more independent. God raises His children to be less independent and more dependent on Him.

9. Do you want to do like Paul and depend on God’s power to help you do the right thing?

10. Will you let Christ be your comforter as you endure pain and suffering?

11. Read John 16:33. What does Jesus say that His followers will all experience?

Christians who are loved by God will suffer some troubles in this world, but Christ is our comforter when we hurt.

Consider those areas of your life where you are needing Christ’s comfort right now. Often God uses our Christian brothers and sisters to share Christ’s comfort with us.

12. With whom have you shared your pain? Have you allowed them to pray for you? To assist you? To give you comfort?

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Turn to Christ for comfort in your pain. Trust in the Holy Spirit’s power in you to give you strength to do what is right in the midst of your troubles. Thank God for His faithfulness and kindness to work in your life.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Corinthians chapter 6. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Reflect on what you read.

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