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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Abundance

2 Corinthians 1:5 can be at the same time discouraging and incredibly encouraging.  One of the things I stress in the workshops is the importance of observation.  One of the aids I share is the importance of observing the structure of the text.  Observing structural markers is a way to note that structure.
How can Paul tell us that we can comfort those in any affliction?
In most of the versions verse 5 starts with the word “for.”  This structural marker signals that Paul substantiating or giving the reason he could state what he did in 3 – 4 (I wrote about these verses a few days ago).  How could he say that we are comforted and can comfort any affliction?  He answers that here.

In Romans 6:1 – 7, Paul shares that when we are joined with Christ we are joined into both His death and resurrection.  Paul is echoing that here.  We are joined in the abundance of Christ’s suffering.  That is the not so good news.  The good news is that we are also afforded in Him the abundance of His comfort.  It is from that abundance that we are able to comfort others.

In this culture we tend to be encouraged to be independent, loners, mavericks.  This passage, Philippians 2, and others speak against that aspect of our culture.  We are to aggressively engage with people that are afflicted to comfort them even ahead of our needs.  That seems to be the direction of the message and the example of Paul’s life…

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