1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. Also from Timothy our brother in Christ.
To the church of God in Corinth, and to all of God’s people everywhere in Southern Greece:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul Gives Thanks to God
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. 4He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. 5We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ. 6If we have troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation, and if we have comfort, you also have comfort. This helps you to accept patiently the same sufferings we have. 7Our hope for you is strong, knowing that you share in our sufferings and also in the comfort we receive.
8Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the trouble we suffered in Asia. We had great burdens there that were beyond our own strength. We even gave up hope of living. 9Truly, in our own hearts we believed we would die. But this happened so we would not trust in ourselves but in God, who raises people from the dead. 10God saved us from these great dangers of death, and he will continue to save us. We have put our hope in him, and he will save us again. 11And you can help us with your prayers. Then many people will give thanks for us—that God blessed us because of their many prayers.
The Change in Paul’s Plans
12This is what we are proud of, and I can say it with a clear conscience: In everything we have done in the world, and especially with you, we have had an honest and sincere heart from God. We did this by God’s grace, not by the kind of wisdom the world has. 13-14We write to you only what you can read and understand. And I hope that as you have understood some things about us, you may come to know everything about us. Then you can be proud of us, as we will be proud of you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
15I was so sure of all this that I made plans to visit you first so you could be blessed twice. 16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and again on my way back. I wanted to get help from you for my trip to Judea. 17Do you think that I made these plans without really meaning it? Or maybe you think I make plans as the world does, so that I say yes, yes and at the same time no, no.
18But since you can believe God, you can believe that what we tell you is never both yes and no. 19The Son of God, Jesus Christ, that Silas and Timothy and I preached to you, was not yes and no. In Christ it has always been yes. 20The yes to all of God’s promises is in Christ, and through Christ we say yes to the glory of God. 21Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.
23I tell you this, and I ask God to be my witness that this is true: The reason I did not come back to Corinth was to keep you from being punished or hurt. 24We are not trying to control your faith. You are strong in faith. But we are workers with you for your own joy.