The Third Part of a Nine Part Series which began on February 10, 2016

There are three things that help a person stay mentally healthy. The First thing we all need is rest. And the Second . . .

We all need Comfort and Encouragement from God, and it usually comes through other people

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Paul knew that we need comfort in this life because we all face problems. The affliction, or pressure, that we face can result in deep discouragement and even depression. The word comfort, is used ten times by Paul in the six verses of 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (four as the verb parakaleo and six as the noun paraklasis). The verb is often translated to comfort, encourage, or cheer up, and the noun, comfort, encouragement, or help.

“Paul wanted his hearers to understand that the merciful Father is the author of all possible comfort and consolation. There is no enduring comfort apart from him. . . Paul was certainly one of the most afflicted men ever. He suffered cold, nakedness, beating, imprisonment, criminal assault, shipwreck, betrayal, desolation, desertion, and more. His was a life of perpetual death . . . “

(Hughes, R. K. (2006). 2 Corinthians Power in Weakness (pp. 23-24). Wheaton: Crossway).

Later in 2 Corinthians 7:6 Paul writes, “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” The emphasis of the Greek word for (downcast or) depressed tapeinos appears to be on humility, a lowliness of spirit brought on by the hammering of difficult circumstances. It especially carries the idea of discouragement.

(Guthrie, G.H. (2015). 2 Corinthians. Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

God is aware of our afflictions and provides comfort – and it usually comes through other people.

Dr James P Porowski     Raleigh NC     February 12, 2016