1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Timothy our brother joins me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of God's church in Corinth. It is also for all of God's people everywhere in Achaia.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
God Gives Comfort
3Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. 4He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves have received comfort from God. 5We share the sufferings of Christ. We also share his comfort.
6If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through. 7Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us.
8Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we suffered in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die. 9In fact, in our hearts we felt as if we were under the sentence of death.
But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life. 10God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us.
11You must help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us. They will thank God for his kindness to us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul Changes His Plans
12Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God's holy and honest ways. That is how we live in the world. We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you. Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world. But it is in keeping with God's grace.
13We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope. 14Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now I hope that someday you will be able to take pride in us, just as we will take pride in you on the day the Lord Jesus returns. When you are able to do that, you will understand us completely.
15I was sure of those things. So I planned to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice. 16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea.
17When I planned all of that, did I do it without much thought? No. I don't make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says, "Yes! Yes!" and "No! No!"
18But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say "Yes" and "No" at the same time. The message of Christ has always been "Yes."
20God has made a great many promises. They are all "Yes" because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say "Amen." We want God to receive glory.
21He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us. 22He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.
23I call God as my witness. I wanted to spare you. So I didn't return to Corinth. 24Your faith is not under our control. You stand firm in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy.