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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Comfort and Affliction 2

Yesterday I asked you to take a look at 2 Corinthians 1:3 – 5 and see what was repeated there.  You noticed that “comfort” and affliction or suffering was repeated 10 and 7 times respectively.  I then posed a few questions for you to ponder.  It is not enough to just observe one has to ask what the observations tell one about the text.
Repetition in the Word helps us to unwrap the author's intent more effectively...

Not all of the questions you ask the text need to be answered.  In some cases the questions will serve as a crowbar to make further observations.  I am going to address the second and third questions I asked yesterday.  Why does Paul repeat these term and why here specifically?  There may be more than one possible answer for this.  Here is my take:

In the sweep of the book Paul spends a lot of time defending his apostleship to the Corinthians.  They have apparently moved away from him and begun to follow the teaching of other people for whom Paul does not seem to care much.  The repetition of these terms here in the book does several things.  First, it emphasizes that suffering is one of the marks of an apostle in contrast to the “super” apostles whom the Corinthians have begun to follow.  Second, it tacitly invites the Corinthians into that same experience of suffering for the gospel.  Thirdly, it strongly emphasizes that while one suffers for the gospel of Christ, one is at the same time comforted and that comfort translates to the platform for ministry to others.

The post yesterday and today demonstrate at a basic level how to use repetition and questions about that repetition to unpack what the author is saying.

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