2 Corinthians 1:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 1:4, NIV: who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:4, ESV: 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.

2 Corinthians 1:4, KJV: Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

2 Corinthians 1:4, NASB: who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT: He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

2 Corinthians 1:4, CSB: He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

What does 2 Corinthians 1:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

It makes sense that Paul begins by focusing on God's mercy and comfort to those who are in "affliction," meaning difficult suffering. Paul had experienced a traumatic event not long before writing this letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:8). He has described God as the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort.

He now continues that God comforts believers in all our affliction. Paul intentionally uses the word "all" three times in a row to show that God provides for Christians completely in every possible kind of suffering. God is never a partial solution to our pain, though He helps us in a variety of ways. He is the source of all mercy and comfort for those who are hurting.

The affliction Paul describes likely has something to do with persecution for faith in Christ or opposition to the gospel. We don't need to limit the application of these verses, though. God comforts His children when they are suffering, no matter the cause. Comfort here means more than just a temporary relief from pain or being at ease, as in the modern sense of the word. It involves being able to rest because God carries our burdens and gives us strength to keep going.

Suffering in this life often feels meaningless. Scripture immediately brings a sense of purpose to our suffering. Those who have been comforted by God—strengthened, encouraged, relieved of the burden—have opportunity to pass along comfort to others who are suffering. In that sense, God's comfort is reproducible and repeatable. God remains the source, but believers can keep distributing God's comfort to others who suffer as they have.

Who has more empathy and compassion for someone who is suffering, inwardly or outwardly, than a believer who has experienced that same suffering from that same cause? Who is better able to express how God comforted them in a similar moment than someone who has walked the same path?