v1-2 - The letter opens with a very customary greeting from Paul.
v3-7 - Like other letter, Paul begins with doxology - words of glory to God. Here it picks to significant attributes of God to focus upon:
God is the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort.
We are to model this compassion to others,
and it's in sharing in Christ's sufferings that we experience God's comfort.
v8-11 - Paul writes briefly on some of the troubles he's suffered through.
But it becomes clear that he's not complaining.
He writes these bad things have happened so that they would learn to become less reliant upon themselves and more.
v12-20 - The Bible contains thousands of God's promises (anywhere between 4,000 - 9,000 depending on who's counting system gets used).
But all of those promises get answered with one Word: CHRIST (v20).
Even promises God has made, for example, to make all things new again, that have not yet materialized still can be considered fulfilled. Remember, God exists outside of time & space, so things which are in the future for us are experienced in an eternal present for Him.
This is why Paul reminds us that we can be comforted by this compassionate omnipresent (present in all times and places at once) God.
v21-24 - It becomes very clear in this final passage that you need to base your identity in Christ. He:
Anointed you (in the same way that prophets, priests, and kings were anointed to show they were special);
Set His seal of ownership on you (the same way you hold title to your vehicles);
Put Himself (in the person of the Holy Spirit) inside of you -
as a down payment
that even better things are coming your way.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: God has a long history of marking people as His own. Ezekiel 9:3-4 is just one example.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul mentions two of his ministry assistants who helped him preach the gospel to the Corinthians. Who were these two men? (See verse 19.)
From what you see in this chapter, what are the essential requirements for being able to offer true comfort to others who are troubled?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles (v3-4)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Do not rely on worldly wisdom, but rather on grace (v12). Let your life and prayer be a resounding AMEN in Christ (v20).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: