2 Corinthians 1:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 1:9, NIV: Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9, ESV: Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9, KJV: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

2 Corinthians 1:9, NASB: Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead,

2 Corinthians 1:9, NLT: In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9, CSB: Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

What does 2 Corinthians 1:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Since Paul's last letter to the Corinthians, he and his traveling companions had experienced something "in Asia," perhaps in Ephesus. The end of 1 Corinthians mentions that the door to effective work had opened to him there, but also that there were many adversaries to the gospel (1 Corinthians 16:8–9). Did they attack Paul and his team? We don't know.

Whatever happened, they were weighed down beyond their strength and felt that they would die. Now Paul adds that they thought they had received the death sentence. The situation was so devastating it literally brought Paul to his knees.

The Greek of this statement is translated very literally by the NASB, which says, "we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." The situation was so dire, Paul and his companions lost all hope in their own ability to hold on to life. This meant they were forced to rely on the God who raises the dead.

Paul finds this to be another value of the experience. It was so severe that it brought him and his companions to the end of themselves. They were helpless and forced to put all their hope, even to keep breathing, in God. Suffering can do the same for any believer, removing whatever we falsely hope in and landing all our hope in the powerful God we trust.

Once again, Paul connects his suffering to that of Jesus. Jesus received the death sentence from the Romans. He died and was raised back to life.