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2nd CORINTHIANS  1:8-11

"How Paul Handled Trouble!"

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

 "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."

 

 

 

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

LESSON 1:

Even the Apostle Paul at times became discouraged!

"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life."  2nd Corinthians 1:8

The verb "would" translates "thelo," a Greek word meaning "to desire or wish" something.

The noun "adelphos" literally means those who are from the "same womb."  Paul is here writing to Christians.  He has earlier called them "saints."  See 1st Corinthians 1:2.

"To be ignorant" is an expression derived from what eventually became our word "agnostic."  It means "not having knowledge."

And Paul's "trouble" is depicted by "thlipsis," a noun meaning pressure, distress or straits ... enclosed narrow places.

His trouble in Asia is likely a reference to his problems in Ephesus, where he remained for three years preaching and teaching the Word of God.  There he was nearly killed in a riot that broke out over one of their goddesses, Diana.

This trouble "came" to Paul, a verb meaning "was born" or "was created" or occasionally "was married!"  Paul certainly did not view this danger as a "chance" event!  It was "custom made" for him!  He knew he always world have such trials too ... being "married" to them even!  God had already forewarned Paul that he would suffer greatly for the sake of the Gospel!  See Acts 9:16.

"Pressed" translates "bareo" which means "to carry a heavy load!"  And "kata" is added to the verse here, intensifying the action of Paul's being "pressed!"

"Out of measure" is a noun meaning that which is "thrown beyond" the expected distance!  "Out of sight" we might say!  Maybe even "out of bounds!"

"Above strength" is in Greek "huper" (hyper to us) and "dunamis" ...beyond all human ability or power to cope!  This is a hopelessly difficult situation Paul is describing.

"Insomuch," the conjunction here, means "with the result that ...."  Or "therefore" or "thus."

The pressure under which Paul was laboring naturally made him ... "despair even of life!"

The verb "despair" is unusual.  It is a compound term, "exaporeomai," meaning "out of" (Greek = "ek") and "not" (Greek = "a") and "poreuomai" (Greek = "to travel a road")!  Putting it all together ... Paul had lost his will to keep on "traveling the road of life!"  He was ready to exit! 

Paul is about as "low" here, about as discouraged as I have ever seen him!

Of course it seems to be that hardships like this one were being used by Paul's enemies at Corinth to attack him.

They apparently were saying such things as: "If he were a real Preacher, a real Apostle, God would surely protect him from all these dangers!"

These words, very similar to those spoken by Job's three so-called "friends" proved to be false however!

Paul WAS indeed a man Of God, a real one!

And the Book of 2nd Corinthians proves it!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

Paul and the Resurrection!

He majored on that grand theme!

Jesus ... crucified, buried and risen again!

Paul took the Truth of the Resurrection of Jesus and applied it to nearly every area of the Christian life!

I even mean areas like "suffering!"

Listen to Preacher Paul:  "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."  2nd Corinthians 1:8-9

Paul's life was threatened ... many times ... as he preached the Word of God.

He has one particular occasion in mind here, likely the "silversmith" incident at Ephesus.  He feels that the "death sentence" had been passed upon him. Several times it had!  Paul was the victim of numerous plots and schemes, all of which were meant to harm him.

Let's today examine verse 9 above: "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."

The noun "sentence" is in Greek "apokrima" and means a judgment, a judicial pronouncement.  Apparently a death threat was made against Paul during that Ephesian riot described in Acts 19. 

Paul, condemned!

But instead of feeling sorry for himself or going into some kind of "pity party," the great Apostle sought to learn something spiritual and beneficial from the danger he was facing!

He thought, "I cannot trust myself in this matter.  I am as good as a dead man. The whole city is 'after' me.  I must trust One bigger than me!  I am but miserable mortal human flesh!"

"I know," reasons the Apostle, "I shall trust One who has conquered death!"

"My life is threatened ... that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."

I believe that Paul here is really saying that he had decided that if those folks had killed him ... and God had so desired ... He could have raised his preacher from the dead!

That would be nothing to the Almighty God!

After all, He has done that before!

He had even raised Paul from the dead once! 

Remember?  "And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe."   Acts 14:19-20  (Folks, Luke is a doctor!  He does not use the word "dead" casually!)

And Paul had seen ... visibly seen ... the resurrected Lord Jesus!  That happened on the way to Damascus that day in Acts 9!

Resurrection was a reality to this godly man!

Furthermore, there is good evidence that Paul has made one trip to paradise and back too! 

"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; such an one caught up to the third heaven.  And I knew such a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."  2nd Corinthians 12:2-5  (Paul here is obviously speaking of himself!)

Death did not frighten Paul!

He knew what was waiting on the other side!

He was confident of the resurrection!

So much so that when death came his way ... which it did often ... he didn't even flinch!

No sir!

He could confidently say ... "But whenever we had the sentence of death in ourselves, we did not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead!"

What faith!

What boldness!

What godliness!

What a way to transform a danger into a delight!

A problem into a pearl!

No wonder they call it "amazing" grace!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:         

What glowing praise Paul heaps upon our dear Lord in 2nd Corinthians 1:9. There he, having been in a place of extreme danger, says of our great God: "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us."

In other words, Paul just declared that he would have been dead for sure ... that Ephesian "riot" of Acts 19 is in view here I'm pretty sure ... but God "delivered" him!  And since then God had kept Paul "delivered" or safe day after day!  And Paul had the faith to believe that God would continue to "deliver" him for some time to come!

Talk about the "safety" of the Lord!

Proverbs 21:31 teaches us that:  "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD."

Three times in our verse for today Paul mentions the fact that God either had delivered him (past tense) or was currently delivering him (present tense) or would yet deliver him (future tense)!

"Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us."

The verb "trust" contains a form of the Greek word for "hope."  "Elpizo" actually here means "to put one's hope and trust and faith" in the Lord God Almighty!

God (again) has delivered Paul from death!

Now ... we must examine that word "deliver."

Remember it occurs three times in this short verse!

"Ruomai" means "to rescue!"

God has done so ... is still doing so ... and will yet again do so!  Do what? Deliver or rescue Paul!

The first time this word is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 6:13, during the Lord's Prayer, where we are taught to ask "deliver us from evil!"

In Romans 11:26 Jesus is called The Deliverer!

"We have been DELIVERED from the power of darkness" saved folks may truly claim.  That's according to Colossians 1:13.

We shall also be DELIVERED from the wrath to come, the great tribulation!  So says 1st Thessalonians 1:10.

And even more to the point, Paul asked his friends to pray that he would be DELIVERED from unreasonable and wicked men who were seeking to hinder the Gospel and harm its most powerful messenger!  2nd Thessalonians 3:2

And I found a parallel passage in 2nd Timothy (3:11) where Paul is again bragging about God's delivering power!  "But thou hast fully known my ... persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me."

And in recounting an Old Testament story, Simon Peter says that the Lord DELIVERED Lot out of the wicked city of Sodom!  See 2nd Peter 2:7.

The word "ruomai" has a beautiful history too!  In its earliest form it pictured "a circle of stones around a grave!"  To protect the resting place of the dead!  This concept reminds me of the Lord's protective "hedge of thorns" in Hosea 2:6.

Another picture the word portrays is that of a "castle."  That's a fortress of protection!

In ancient history it meant "to ward off" that which was dangerous!

God's "delivering" us carries the additional idea of His "snatching" us away from harm!

Think of the Rapture!

And in all the New Testament uses of "ruomai" the object of this deliverance is always man or woman ... and the Rescuer is always God!

Thank God for His delivering power!

He has cared for me again and again!

How about you?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

What close fellowship Paul has with the Corinthians in the last verse of our paragraph.  "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."  2nd Corinthians 1:11

"Ye ... helping together by prayer for us," is quite a statement!

The verb "helping together" is "sunupourgeo" and means "to work" ("ergo") beneath ("hupo") and in union ("sun") with another!  Additionally, this is a present participle!  Paul believes these folks pray for him regularly!

Wow!

Notice too that they are not the only ones praying for the godly Apostle.  He says, "Ye also helping together ...."  Others were involved in intercessory prayer as well.  Remember what Jesus said:  "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."  Matthew 18:19

"For" us, is "huper" and means "on one's behalf" or "for one's sake."

And the prayers are successful!

God hears ... and answers!

A "gift," exactly what has been sought in prayer, has been given Paul!

Maybe this "gift" (in Greek = "charisma") was Paul's safe deliverance from the danger in Asia.  Maybe it dealt with his health ... or travel ... or preaching ... or something else.  Anyway, God granted their request!

Many ("polus") prayed ... God responded! 

Now, here comes an unexpected benefit of answered prayer.  "Thanks will be given by many!"  Thanks ... to the Lord ... for the answer of God in meeting Paul's great need!

It looks to me like Paul automatically thought that all answered prayer would generate a flood of thanks and appreciation and gratefulness to God for His care and provision!  It certainly should!

The verb "give thanks" is "eucharisteo" and and is in the subjunctive mood, suggesting that this is Paul's desire anyway, his goal, the ideal!

Paul not only rejoices that he has been spared, and that the Corinthians have interceded on his behalf, BUT ALSO that many will now worship God by giving thanks for this outcome of grace!

Many prayed "for Paul."

Now many will thank God for answers to prayer "for Paul!"

And in it all ... the godly yet suffering Paul just keeps on rejoicing!

That's one more way Paul had learned to handle the pressures and trials of life ... enlist the prayers of God's people ... and when God answers ... rejoice in the avalanche of thanksgiving that is voiced to God for His goodness!

Paul is one thankful man!  Dozens of times he mentions the concepts of thankfulness or gratefulness or appreciation in his Epistles.

It even seems that such "thanksgiving" is therapeutic for this dear Man of God!

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

PAUL WAS AN UNUSUAL MAN!  HE FOUND MOTIVATION TO SERVE JESUS IN SOME STRANGE PLACES!

 

 

 

 

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