2 Corinthians 1:3
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Blessed be God . . . the Father of mercies.—The opening words are spoken out of the fulness of the Apostle’s heart. He has had a comfort which he recognises as having come from God. The nature of that comfort, as of the previous sorrow, is hardly stated definitely till we come to 2Corinthians 2:13; 2Corinthians 7:6-7. At present the memory of it leads him to something like a doxology, as being the utterance of a more exulting joy than a simple thanksgiving, such as we find in 1Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3. The same formula meets us in Ephesians 1:3, where also it expresses a jubilant adoration. Two special names of God are added under the influence of the same feeling. He is “the Father of mercies,” the genitive being possibly a Hebraism, used in place of the cognate adjective; in which case it is identical with “God, the merciful Father,” in Jewish prayers, or with the ever-recurring formula of the Koran, “Allah, the compassionate, the merciful.” It seems better, however, to take the words more literally, as stating that God is the originator of all mercies, the source from which they flow. So we have the “Father of lights” in James 1:17. The precise phrase does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament; but we have the same noun in “the mercies of God” in Romans 12:1.

The God of all comfort.—The latter word, of which, taking the books of the New Testament in their chronological order, this is the earliest occurrence, includes the idea of counsel as well as consolation. (See Note on Acts 4:36.) It is used only by St. Paul, St. Luke, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and is pre-eminently characteristic of this Epistle, in which it occurs twelve, or, with the cognate verb, twenty-eight, times.

In the balanced structure of the sentence—the order of “God” and “Father” in the first clause being inverted in the second—we may trace something like an unconscious adoption of the familiar parallelism of Hebrew poetry.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Blessed be God, &c. — A solemn and beautiful introduction, highly suitable to the apostolical spirit; even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — Who is his only-begotten Son, both as to his divine and human nature; see Hebrews 1:2; Luke 1:35; and as he is Mediator, appointed, authorized, and qualified by the Father for that office. The Father of mercies — From whose paternal compassion and readiness to forgive the penitent, that sincerely believe in and turn to him, all our hopes are derived; and the God of all comfort — Whose nature it is ever to have mercy; and who knows how to proportion his supports to the exigence of every trial. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation — Bestows comfort on us, his apostles and ministers, for the sake of others; that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble — He that has experienced one kind of affliction is able to comfort others in that affliction: he that has experienced all kinds of afflictions, is able to comfort others in all. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us — The sufferings endured for his sake, which he accounts his own; so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ — “The consolation of which the apostle speaks was derived from the presence of Christ with him in his affliction; from a sense of the love of Christ shed abroad in his heart; from the joy which the success of the gospel gave him; from the assured hope of the reward which was prepared for him; from his knowledge of the influence of his sufferings to encourage others; and from the enlarged views which he had of the government of God, whereby all things are made to work for good to them who love God; so that he was entirely reconciled to his sufferings;” finding by experience, that his consolation quite overbalanced them all. Whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation — Namely, when you see with what Christian courage and patience we are enabled to bear afflictions; and salvation — By encouraging you to undergo the like, and so to obtain salvation; or, for your present comfort, and present and future salvation; which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings — That is, the prospect or hope of which salvation is of sufficient power to enable you to endure the like sufferings which we have endured, if you should be called thereto; see 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; Romans 8:18. Or whether we be comforted, it is for your comfort — That we may be the better able to comfort you. And our hope of you — Grounded on your patience in suffering for Christ’s sake; is steadfast — Firm and unshaken; knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings — By Christian sympathy, and enduring the like yourselves; so shall ye be also of the consolation — Which arises from principles and hopes which are not peculiar to us, who are apostles, or to other ministers of the gospel, but common to all sincere believers, such as I trust you in general are.

1:1-11 We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience, and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings are given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God, who can bring back even from death. Their hope and trust were not in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord. Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.Blessed be God - This is the commencement properly of the Epistle, and it is the language of a heart that is full of joy, and that bursts forth with gratitude in view of mercy. It may have been excited by the recollection that he had formerly written to them, and that during the interval which had elapsed between the time when the former Epistle was written and when this was penned, he had been called to a most severe trial, and that from that trial he had been mercifully delivered. With a heart full of gratitude and joy for this merciful interposition, he commences this Epistle. It is remarked by Doddridge, that 11 out of the 13 epistles of Paul, begin with exclamations of praise, joy, and thanksgiving. Paul had been afflicted, but he had also been favored with remarkable consolations, and it was not unnatural that he should allow himself to give expression to his joy and praise in view of all the mercies which God had conferred on him. This entire passage is one that is exceedingly valuable, as showing that there may be elevated joy in the midst of deep affliction, and as showing what is the reason why God visits his servants with trials. The phrase "blessed be God," is equivalent to "praised be God;" or is an expression of thanksgiving. It is the usual formula of praise (compare Ephesians 1:3); and shows his entire confidence in God, and his joy in him, and his gratitude for his mercies. it is one of innumerable instances which show that it is possible and proper to bless God in view of the trials with which he visits his people, and of the consolations which he causes to abound.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - God is mentioned here in the relation of the "Father of the Lord Jesus," doubtless because it was through the Lord Jesus, and him alone, that He had imparted the consolation which he had experienced, 2 Corinthians 1:5. Paul knew no other God than the "Father of the Lord Jesus;" he knew no other source of consolation than the gospel; he knew of no way in which God imparted comfort except through his Son. That is genuine Christian consolation which acknowledges the Lord Jesus as the medium by whom it is imparted; that is proper thanksgiving to God which is offered through the Redeemer; that only is the proper acknowledgment of God which recognizes him as the "Father of the Lord Jesus."

The Father of mercies - This is a Hebrew mode of expression, where a noun performs the place of an adjective. and the phrase is synonymous nearly with "merciful Father." The expression has however somewhat more energy and spirit than the simple phrase "merciful Father." The Hebrews used the word "father" often to denote the author, or source of anything; and the idea in phraseology like this is, that mercy proceeds from God, that he is the source of it, and that it is his nature to impart mercy and compassion, as if he originated it; or was the source and fountain of it - sustaining a relation to all true consolation analogous to that which a father sustains to his offspring. God has the paternity of all true joy. It is one of his special and glorious attributes that he thus produces consolation and mercy.

And the God of all comfort - The source of all consolation. Paul delighted, as all should do, to trace all his comforts to God; and Paul, as all Christians have, had sufficient reason to regard God as the source of true consolation. There is no other real source of happiness but God; and he is able abundantly, and willing to impart consolation to his people.

3. This thanksgiving for his late deliverance forms a suitable introduction for conciliating their favorable reception of his reasons for not having fulfilled his promise of visiting them (2Co 1:15-24).

Father of mercies—that is, the SOURCE of all mercies (compare Jas 1:17; Ro 12:1).

comfort—which flows from His "mercies" experienced. Like a true man of faith, he mentions "mercies" and "comfort," before he proceeds to speak of afflictions (2Co 1:4-6). The "tribulation" of believers is not inconsistent with God's mercy, and does not beget in them suspicion of it; nay, in the end they feel that He is "the God of ALL comfort," that is, who imparts the only true and perfect comfort in every instance (Ps 146:3, 5, 8; Jas 5:11).

It is a usual form of thanksgiving, Romans 1:25 9:5. It is in use with us, signifying our sincere and hearty desire that both we ourselves might be enabled, and others by our examples might be quickened, to speak well of God, and to praise his name. This God is called

the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is, by eternal generation: he is also called

the Father of mercies, because he is the Fountain of all that good which floweth to poor creatures. And upon the same account he is also called

the God of all comfort.

Blessed be God,.... This is an ascription of praise and glory to God, for he can only be blessed of men, by their praising and glorifying him, or by ascribing honour and blessing to him: and in this form of blessing him he is described, first by his relation to Christ,

even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: whose Son Christ is, not by creation, as angels and men, nor by adoption, as saints, but in such a way of filiation, as no creatures are, or possibly can be: he is his only begotten Son, his own proper Son, his natural and eternal Son, is of the same nature with him, and equal to him in perfections, power, and glory. This is rightly prefaced by the apostle to the other following characters, since there is no mercy nor comfort administered to the sons of men but through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour of sinners. And next he is described by his attribute of mercy, and the effects of it, or by his merciful disposition to his creatures,

the Father of mercies. The Jews frequently address God in their prayers (a) under the title or character of, , "Father of mercies". The plural number is used, partly to show that God is exceeding merciful; he delights in showing mercy to poor miserable creatures, and is rich and plenteous in the exercise of it: nothing is more common in the Talmudic writings, than to call him "the merciful", and this is partly to express the multitude of his tender mercies, of which he is the "Father", author, and giver, both in a temporal, and spiritual sense; for there are not only innumerable providential mercies which the people of God share in, and partake of, but also a multitude of spiritual mercies. Such as redemption by Christ, pardon of sin through his blood, regeneration by his Spirit, supplies of grace out of his fulness, and the word and ordinances; all which are owing to the mercy of God, which they have abundant reason to be thankful to him, and bless him for, being altogether unworthy and undeserving of them. God is also described by his work of comforting the saints,

and the God of all comfort; most rightly is this character given him, for there is no solid comfort but what comes from him; there is none to be had in, and from the creatures; and whatever is had through them it is from him: and all spiritual comfort is of him; whatever consolation the saints enjoy they have it from God, the Father of Christ, and who is their covenant God and Father in Christ; and the consolation they have from him through Christ in a covenant way is not small, and for which they have great reason to bless the Lord, as the apostle here does; for it is from him that Christ, the consolation of Israel, and the Spirit, the Comforter, come, and whatever is enjoyed by the Gospel.

(a) Seder Tephillot, fol. 55. 8. Ed. Basil. fol. 77. 1. & passim, Ed. Amstelod. Sapher Shaare Zion, fol. 54. 1. Vid. Kabbala Denudata, par. 1. p. 7.

{2} {a} Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of {b} mercies, and the God of all comfort;

(2) He begins after this manner with thanksgiving, which nonetheless (otherwise than he was accustomed to) he applies to himself: beginning his epistle with the setting forth of the dignity of his apostleship, forced (as it should seem) by their importunity which took an occasion to despise him, by reason of his miseries. But he answers, that he is not so afflicted but that his comforts do exceed his afflictions, showing the ground of them, even the mercy of God the Father in Jesus Christ.

(a) To him be praise and glory given.

(b) Most merciful.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 1:3. Ὁ Θεὸς κ. πατ. κ.τ.λ.] God, who is at the same time father of Jesus Christ. See on 1 Corinthians 15:24; Romans 15:6. Against the connection of τοῦ κυρίου κ.τ.λ. also with ὁ Θεός (Hofmann), see on Ephesians 1:3.

ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν] אֲבִי הַרַחֲמִים, i.e. the Father, whose fatherly frame of mind and disposition is compassionateness,—the compassionate Father (μάλιστα ἴδιον Θεοῦ καὶ ἐξαίρετον καὶ τῇ φύσει συγκεκληρωμένον, Chrysostom). Comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:8 and Ephesians 1:17. It is the qualitative genitive, such as we find in the language of the Greek poets (Seidl. ad Electr. 651; Herm. ad Viger. p. 890 f.). Rückert (comp. before him Theodoret) takes it as the genitivus effecti: “The Father from whom all compassion comes” (comp. 2 Corinthians 13:11; Romans 15:5; Romans 15:13, al.). But, since οἰκτιρμοί (comp. Plato, Polit. p. 305 B) is the subjective compassion (Tittm. Synon. 69 f.), it would have to be explained: “The Father who works in us compassion, sympathy,” and this sense would be altogether unsuitable to the connection. On the contrary, τῶν οἰκτιρμ. is the specific quality of the Father, which dwells in Him just as the Father of Christ, and in consequence of which He is also Θεὸς πάσης παρακλ.; and this genitive is that of the effect which issues from the Merciful One: “The compassionate Father and God who worketh every consolation.” This rendering, differing from that of the first genitive, is demanded by 2 Corinthians 1:4 (in opposition to Hofmann); comp. 2 Corinthians 7:6; Romans 15:5. As to οἰκτιρμοί, see on Romans 12:1. Observe that the characteristic appellation of God in this passage is an artless outflow of the experience, which was still fresh in the pious heart of the apostle, 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11. A conciliatory introduction,—an effusion of affectionate emotion (comp. Ephesians 1:3) out of the fulness of special and still recent experience. There is no hint of a set purpose in it; and it is an arbitrary supposition, whether the purpose be found in an excuse for the delay of his journey (Chrysostom, Theophylact), or in a confirmation of his apostolic standing (Beza, comp. Calovius, Mosheim), or in an attestation of the old love, which Paul presupposes also on the part of the readers (Billroth), and at the same time in a slight alienation which had been suggested by his sufferings (Osiander).

2 Corinthians 1:3. εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς κ.τ.λ.: blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Note that τοῦ Κυρίου is dependent on Θεός as well as on πατήρ; cf. Ephesians 1:17, and John 20:17, Revelation 1:6. This is the starting-point of the Christian revelation, that the Supreme is “the God and Father” of Jesus Christ; He is εὐλογητός (בָּרוּךְ), the Object of His creatures’ blessing. The verb is not expressed, but the analogy of 1 Peter 4:11 would indicate that ἐστίν rather than ἔστω should be understood. A doxology is not a prayer, but (cf. Matthew 6:13, and John 12:13, a close parallel) a thankful and adoring statement of the Divine goodness and power.—ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν: the Father of mercies, sc., from whom merciful acts proceed; οἰκτιρμός, compassion, is the very characteristic of a Father’s providence; see reff. and Luke 6:36.—καὶ Θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως: and God of all comfort, sc., from whom every consolation proceeds. We have παράκλησις applied to God in O.T., e.g., in Ps. 93:19, αἱ παρακλήσεις σου ἠγάπησαν τὴν ψυχήν μου; and the word is adopted in the N.T. for the Divine comfort not only by St. Paul (see reff.), but by St. Luke (Luke 2:25 and Acts 9:31), and by St. John, who describes alike the Spirit (John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16:7) and the Son (1 John 2:1) as the παράκλητος.

3–14. The mutual interdependence of St Paul and the Corinthian Church

3. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] Two feelings rise at once in the Apostle’s mind. The first is an overwhelming gratitude for his deliverance from his distress, the second the keen sense of his entire unity of heart and soul with the Corinthian Church, and his desire to impart to them whatever blessing he had received from God. Our version follows Wiclif here, substituting, however, even for and. The other English versions have God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, save the Rhemish, which renders accurately by the God and Father, &c. See John 20:17; 1 Peter 1:3 and note on 1 Corinthians 15:24the Father of mercies] Either (1), with Chrysostom, the God Whose most inherent attribute is mercy, or (2) the source from whence all mercies proceed. But perhaps the former involves the latter, a sense, however, of which the fact that ‘mercies’ is in the plural forbids us to lose sight. Cf. Ephesians 1:17; James 1:17. Even if we regard the phrase ‘Father of mercies’ as a Hebraism, it is stronger than the expression ‘merciful Father.’ So Estius, “valde multumque misericordem et beneficum.”

and the God of all comfort] Why does St Paul say ‘the Father of mercies and the God of comfort?’ Because the term ‘Father’ implies mercy, suggesting as it does the close and affectionate relation between God and man. See the O. T. passim, and especially Psalm 103:13. Compare also ‘Our Father which art in heaven.’ God is called ‘the God of comfort’ (see next note) because it comes from Him.

comfort] This word, or the verb compounded from it, occurs ten times in this and the next four verses. In our version, which here follows Tyndale, they are rendered indifferently by comfort and consolation, a rendering which considerably lessens the force of the passage. For consolation the Rhemish substitutes exhortation, and Wiclif monestynge (i.e. admonishing) and monestid, after the Vulgate, which renders indifferently by exhortatio and consolatio here. Perhaps the best words which can be found to express the double meaning of consolation and exhortation conveyed by the Greek are encourage and encouragement. Cheer would be more appropriate still had not the noun become almost obsolete. The original sense of the English word (late Latin confortare) denotes strengthening.

2 Corinthians 1:3. Εὐλογητὸς, blessed) An elegant mode of introduction, and suited to the apostolic spirit, especially in adversity.—ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ Θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation) Mercies are the fountain of consolation: comp. Romans 12:1 : παρακαλεῖν is zusprechen, to console. The principle of exhortation and consolation is often them same; consolation is the proof [the evidence] of mercies. [And Paul makes mention of mercies and help, before he mentions afflictions.—V. g.] He exhibits his mercies in the very midst of calamity; and the calamity of the saints is neither contrary to the Divine mercy, nor does it beget suspicion against it in the minds of the saints: afterwards it even affords consolation; therefore πάσης, of all, is added.

Verse 3. - Blessed be God (Ephesians 1:3). This outburst of thanksgiving was meant to repress the relief brought to the overcharged feelings of the apostle by the arrival of Titus, with news respecting the mixed, but on the whole good, effect produced at Corinth by the severe remarks of his first letter. It is characteristic of the intense and impetuous rush of emotion which we often notice in the letters of St. Paul, that he does not here state the special grounds for this impassioned thanksgiving; he only touches upon it for a moment in 2 Corinthians 2:13, and does not pause to state it fully until 2 Corinthians 7:5-16. It is further remarkable that in this Epistle almost alone he utters no thanksgiving for the moral growth and holiness of the Church to which he is writing. This may be due to the fact that there was still so much to blame; but it more probably arose from the tumult of feeling which throughout this letter disturbs the regular flow of his thoughts. The ordinary "thanksgiving" for his readers is practically, though indirectly, involved in the gratitude which he expresses to God for the sympathy and communion which exists between himself and the Church of Corinth. Even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek is the same as in Ephesians 1:3, where, literally rendered, it is, "Blessed be the God and Father." The same phrase is found also in 1 Peter 1:3; Colossians 1:3. The meaning is not, "Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (although the expression, "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ," occurs in Ephesians 1:17: comp. John 20:17), but "Blessed be God, who is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," and who is therefore "our Father" by adoption and redemption, as well as our God by creation. The Father of mercies. This corresponds to a Hebrew expression, and means that compassionateness is the most characteristic attribute of God, and emanation from him. He is the Source of all mercy; and mercy

"Is an attribute of God himself." He is "full of compassion, and gracious, tong-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15). "The Law," says the Talmud, "begins and ends with an act of mercy. At its commencement God clothes the naked; at its close be buries the dead" ('Sotah,' f. 14, 1). Thus every chapter but one of the Koran is headed, "In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful;" and it is an Eastern expression to say of one that has died that. "he is taken to the mercy of the Merciful." Comp. "Father of glory," Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:8 ("of spirits," Hebrews 12:9; "of lights," James 1:17). The plural, "compassions," is perhaps a plural of excellence, "exceeding compassion" (Romans 12:1), and may be influenced by the Hebrew word rachamim, often literally rendered by St. Paul "bowels." The article in the Greek ("the Father of the compassions") specializes the mercy. The God of all comfort. So in 2 Corinthians 13:11 God is called "the God of love and peace;" Romans 15:5, "the God of patience and of comfort;" 2:15, "the God of hope." This word "comfort" (unfortunately interchanged with "consolation" in the Authorized Version) and the word "affliction" (varyingly rendered by "trouble" and "tribulation" in the Authorized Version), are the keynotes of this passage; and to some extent of the whole Epistle. St. Paul is haunted as it were and possessed by them. "Comfort," as verb or substantive, occurs ten times in vers. 3-7; and "affliction" occurs four times in succession. It is characteristic of St. Paul's style to be thus dominated, as it were, by a single word (comp. notes on 2 Corinthians 3:2, 13; 4:2; see note on 2 Corinthians 10:8). The needless variations of the Authorized Version were well intentioned, but arose from a false notion of style, a deficient sense of the precision of special words, and an inadequate conception of the duties of faithful translation, which requires that we should as exactly as possible reflect the peculiarities of the original, and not attempt to improve upon them. 2 Corinthians 1:3The Father of mercies (ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν)

Equivalent to the compassionate Father. Compare the phrases Father of glory, Ephesians 1:17; spirits, Hebrews 12:9; lights, James 1:17. Οἰκτιρμός mercy, from οἶκτος pity or mercy, the feeling which expresses itself in the exclamation οἴ oh! on seeing another's misery. The distinction between this and ἔλεος, according to which οἰκτιρμός signifies the feeling, and ἔλεος the manifestation, cannot be strictly held, since the manifestation is often expressed by οἰκτιρμός. See Sept., Psalm 24:6; Psalm 102:4; Psalm 118:77.

All comfort (πάσης παρακλήσεως)

The earliest passage in the New Testament where this word comfort or its kindred verb is applied to God. Compare παράκλητος comforter, advocate, of the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, John 14:26, etc. All is better rendered every: the God of every consolation.

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