Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6

The “ins” in the above passage all do a decent job of conveying Paul’s message, but the original parts of speech do more to indicate the directions troubles were coming from. Paul says he and his companions are comforted “upon” their troubles, so they can comfort those “within” trouble. The sharing in the suffering of Christ is phrased best in the New American Bible Revised Edition: “For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.”

So the apostle’s group had suffering and encouragement overflowing to them from Christ, so they, from the time of their troubles, turn and direct the comfort they also receive to those pinned down inside of trouble. So when they endured trouble, it was for comfort but when they enjoyed comfort, it was for their comfort.

So suffering and comfort both ultimately came from the connection to Jesus with what result? Endurance! Withstanding trouble for the sake of the source of our comfort bridges the confusion that would otherwise come from leaving easy times and facing difficulty. Jesus is the source, and the outcome is to our benefit.

Ethan Kirl