What does 2 Corinthians 1:8 mean?
ESV: For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
NIV: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.
NASB: For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction which occurred in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.
CSB: We don't want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed--beyond our strength--so that we even despaired of life itself.
NLT: We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.
KJV: 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:
Verse Commentary:
The Corinthians may have already heard details about the event Paul introduces in this verse. Perhaps they did not know how completely devastating it was for him. This event is what provoked the previous verses about affliction and God's comfort for those who are experiencing suffering.

We don't know what happened in Asia, exactly, though it likely involved opposition to the gospel of Jesus in some way. Paul spent some time in Ephesus, which was in the region of Asia. It's possible the event happened there. Whatever happened, it brought Paul to his knees. He describes himself and his team as being utterly burdened beyond their strength and sure they would die: they "despaired of life itself."

Though some felt an apostle should not suffer so much if he truly represented Christ, we see here another benefit of Paul's suffering. He understood how deep pain and a sense of loss can go. As he wrote in the previous verses, he had received God's comfort in the worst affliction; as a result, he could understand and offer God's comfort to anyone who was experiencing something similar.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 1:3–11 contains profound praise to God for His comfort of all in affliction. Paul connects Christian suffering to the sufferings of Christ. This shows the Corinthians how Paul's suffering and the comfort he has received from God during it have been for their benefit. Paul has experienced grave suffering recently, bringing him and his co-workers to the edge of death. The God who raises the dead has delivered them. Paul invites the Corinthians to participate in the celebration of God's power by continuing to pray for Paul and his companions and to give thanks for God's deliverance.
Chapter Summary:
Paul begins another letter to the Corinthians following a series of tumultuous events with them. He begins by praising God for His comfort to those who are in affliction, connecting Christian suffering to the sufferings of Christ. Paul insists that his suffering and the comfort he has received from God have been for the Corinthians' benefit. He defends both his integrity and sincerity in dealing with them and explains that he delayed his planned trip to visit them again for their sake.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 1 follows about a year after the end of 1 Corinthians, and much has happened between the two letters. Paul has had a painful visit with the Corinthians before traveling to Macedonia, where he wrote a painful letter. The text of which has not been kept. He writes this new letter from Macedonia, as well, after learning about a positive change of heart on their behalf. Paul begins by praising God for His comfort for those who are afflicted and defending himself against several complaints from some in the church.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 2/25/2024 10:30:38 AM
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