Finding Purpose in Pain and Suffering
Historical Connection between Paul and the Corinthians.
- Corinth was a significant Greek port city on the island/region of Achaia as part of the Roman Empire.
- Paul was the founder of the church in Corinth. Acts 18:1-18
- Paul wrote at least 4 letters to the Church in Corinth.
- Significant issues in regards to their gatherings and worship had arisen. Timothy was sent to address these issues. After Timothy’s visit the letter of 1 Corinthians was written and sent.
- Things were deteriorating among the congregation and leadership. A “severe letter” was written by Paul and sent along with Titus. 2 Corinthians 2:4-9
- Finally a good report was received by Paul from Titus (2 Corinthians 7:8-12) and then 2 Corinthians was written.
Purpose of 2 Corinthians.
- Forge a renewed trust and relationship between Paul and the Corinthian Church.
- Outline and encourage healthy relationships within the church and those abroad.
- Provide a vision for compassion and comfort within difficult and challenging trials.
- Comfort/Encouragement is mentioned 18x in 2 Corinthians and has the basic meaning “called to ones side to help.” BEC
God’s Character Revealed in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:1-4
- God is the Father of compassion. (3a)
- The initiator and creator of compassion.
- His compassion is lavished on us like a father to a child.
- God is the God of ALL comfort. (3b)
- His compassion and comfort is revealed in our troubles. (4a)
- We experience his comfort and compassion so that we can pay it forward to others. (4b)
There is Purpose in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:5-7
- Our trials align us with Christ. (5)
- Paul actually states his trials were to equip him for ministry to others. (6)
- To better comfort and to lead to salvation.
- Develops greater endurance and stamina in one’s faith.
- Our trials actually unite us together in hope. (7)
Discovering Purpose in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
- Paul’s example of great trial in Asia.
- Pressed beyond his personal capacity. (8)
- To the point life was in the balance. (8b-9a)
- In reflecting back, he saw it as God’s way of creating reliance on Him. (9b)
- With much success it is easy to become self-reliant.
- When we meet our limitations, we have to look up.
- God’s character is revealed in the present and as a result we can have confidence in him for the future. (10)
- Trials, pain, and suffering also arouse the church together to pray! (11)
2 Corinthians is a letter between Paul and a church that had a fractured relationship. He addresses many relational and deep personal issues that get below the surface and deal with heart of the matter. This book is such a good model on navigating challenging personal and relational issues!