*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
Blessed be God He begins (as has been observed) with this thanksgiving -- partly for the purpose of extolling the goodness of God -- partly, with the view of animating the Corinthians by his example to the resolute endurance of persecutions; and partly, that he may magnify himself in a strain of pious glorying, in opposition to the malignant slanderings of the false apostles. For such is the depravity of the world, that it treats with derision martyrdoms,  which it ought to have held in admiration, and endeavours to find matter of reproach in the splendid trophies of the pious.  Blessed be God, says he. On what account? who comforteth us  -- the relative being used instead of the causal particle.  He had endured his tribulations with fortitude and alacrity: this fortitude he ascribes to God, because it was owing to support derived from his consolation that he had not fainted. He calls him the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not without good reason, where blessings are treated of; for where Christ is not, there the beneficence of God is not. On the other hand, where Christ intervenes, by whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (Ephesians 3:15,) there are all mercies and all consolations of God -- nay, more, there is fatherly love, the fountain from which everything else flows.
1 - "Des martyres et afflictions des fideles;" -- "The martyrdoms and afflictions of believers."
2 - "Cherche matiere de mespris et diffamation aux enseignes magnifiques de victoire, lesquelles Dieu dresse à ses enfans;" -- "Seeks matter of contempt and defamation in those splendid tokens of victory, which God furnishes to His children."
3 - "Who is comforting (ho parakalon) -- that doth never cease to do it, that never withdraweth his consolations. It is his nature to be always comforting -- as the devil is called ho peirazon, because he is always tempting." -- Burgesse on 2-Corinthians p. 157 -- Ed.
4 - "Ce mot, Qui, est mis pour Car, ou, Pource que;" -- "This word, Who, being used instead of For, or, Because."
Blessed be God - This is the commencement properly of the Epistle, and it is the language of a heart that is full of joy, and that bursts forth with gratitude in view of mercy. It may have been excited by the recollection that he had formerly written to them, and that during the interval which had elapsed between the time when the former Epistle was written and when this was penned, he had been called to a most severe trial, and that from that trial he had been mercifully delivered. With a heart full of gratitude and joy for this merciful interposition, he commences this Epistle. It is remarked by Doddridge, that 11 out of the 13 epistles of Paul, begin with exclamations of praise, joy, and thanksgiving. Paul had been afflicted, but he had also been favored with remarkable consolations, and it was not unnatural that he should allow himself to give expression to his joy and praise in view of all the mercies which God had conferred on him. This entire passage is one that is exceedingly valuable, as showing that there may be elevated joy in the midst of deep affliction, and as showing what is the reason why God visits his servants with trials. The phrase "blessed be God," is equivalent to "praised be God;" or is an expression of thanksgiving. It is the usual formula of praise (compare Ephesians 1:3); and shows his entire confidence in God, and his joy in him, and his gratitude for his mercies. it is one of innumerable instances which show that it is possible and proper to bless God in view of the trials with which he visits his people, and of the consolations which he causes to abound.
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - God is mentioned here in the relation of the "Father of the Lord Jesus," doubtless because it was through the Lord Jesus, and him alone, that He had imparted the consolation which he had experienced, 2-Corinthians 1:5. Paul knew no other God than the "Father of the Lord Jesus;" he knew no other source of consolation than the gospel; he knew of no way in which God imparted comfort except through his Son. That is genuine Christian consolation which acknowledges the Lord Jesus as the medium by whom it is imparted; that is proper thanksgiving to God which is offered through the Redeemer; that only is the proper acknowledgment of God which recognizes him as the "Father of the Lord Jesus."
The Father of mercies - This is a Hebrew mode of expression, where a noun performs the place of an adjective. and the phrase is synonymous nearly with "merciful Father." The expression has however somewhat more energy and spirit than the simple phrase "merciful Father." The Hebrews used the word "father" often to denote the author, or source of anything; and the idea in phraseology like this is, that mercy proceeds from God, that he is the source of it, and that it is his nature to impart mercy and compassion, as if he originated it; or was the source and fountain of it - sustaining a relation to all true consolation analogous to that which a father sustains to his offspring. God has the paternity of all true joy. It is one of his special and glorious attributes that he thus produces consolation and mercy.
And the God of all comfort - The source of all consolation. Paul delighted, as all should do, to trace all his comforts to God; and Paul, as all Christians have, had sufficient reason to regard God as the source of true consolation. There is no other real source of happiness but God; and he is able abundantly, and willing to impart consolation to his people.
Blessed be God - Let God have universal and eternal praise:
1. Because he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the gift of his endless love to man, John 1:16.
2. Because he is the Father of mercies, ὁ Πατηρ των οικτιρμων, the source whence all mercy flows, whether it respect the body or the soul, time or eternity; the source of tender mercy; for so the word implies. See on Romans 12:1 (note). And,
3. Because he is the God of all comfort - the Fountain whence all consolation, happiness, and bliss flow to angels and to men.
(2) (a) Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of (b) mercies, and the God of all comfort;
(2) He begins after this manner with thanksgiving, which nonetheless (otherwise than he was accustomed to) he applies to himself: beginning his epistle with the setting forth of the dignity of his apostleship, forced (as it should seem) by their importunity which took an occasion to despise him, by reason of his miseries. But he answers, that he is not so afflicted but that his comforts do exceed his afflictions, showing the ground of them, even the mercy of God the Father in Jesus Christ.
(a) To him be praise and glory given.
(b) Most merciful.
Blessed be God,.... This is an ascription of praise and glory to God, for he can only be blessed of men, by their praising and glorifying him, or by ascribing honour and blessing to him: and in this form of blessing him he is described, first by his relation to Christ,
even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: whose Son Christ is, not by creation, as angels and men, nor by adoption, as saints, but in such a way of filiation, as no creatures are, or possibly can be: he is his only begotten Son, his own proper Son, his natural and eternal Son, is of the same nature with him, and equal to him in perfections, power, and glory. This is rightly prefaced by the apostle to the other following characters, since there is no mercy nor comfort administered to the sons of men but through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour of sinners. And next he is described by his attribute of mercy, and the effects of it, or by his merciful disposition to his creatures,
the Father of mercies. The Jews frequently address God in their prayers (a) under the title or character of, , "Father of mercies". The plural number is used, partly to show that God is exceeding merciful; he delights in showing mercy to poor miserable creatures, and is rich and plenteous in the exercise of it: nothing is more common in the Talmudic writings, than to call him "the merciful", and this is partly to express the multitude of his tender mercies, of which he is the "Father", author, and giver, both in a temporal, and spiritual sense; for there are not only innumerable providential mercies which the people of God share in, and partake of, but also a multitude of spiritual mercies. Such as redemption by Christ, pardon of sin through his blood, regeneration by his Spirit, supplies of grace out of his fulness, and the word and ordinances; all which are owing to the mercy of God, which they have abundant reason to be thankful to him, and bless him for, being altogether unworthy and undeserving of them. God is also described by his work of comforting the saints,
and the God of all comfort; most rightly is this character given him, for there is no solid comfort but what comes from him; there is none to be had in, and from the creatures; and whatever is had through them it is from him: and all spiritual comfort is of him; whatever consolation the saints enjoy they have it from God, the Father of Christ, and who is their covenant God and Father in Christ; and the consolation they have from him through Christ in a covenant way is not small, and for which they have great reason to bless the Lord, as the apostle here does; for it is from him that Christ, the consolation of Israel, and the Spirit, the Comforter, come, and whatever is enjoyed by the Gospel.
(a) Seder Tephillot, fol. 55. 8. Ed. Basil. fol. 77. 1. & passim, Ed. Amstelod. Sapher Shaare Zion, fol. 54. 1. Vid. Kabbala Denudata, par. 1. p. 7.
This thanksgiving for his late deliverance forms a suitable introduction for conciliating their favorable reception of his reasons for not having fulfilled his promise of visiting them (2-Corinthians 1:15-24).
Father of mercies--that is, the SOURCE of all mercies (compare James 1:17; Romans 12:1).
comfort--which flows from His "mercies" experienced. Like a true man of faith, he mentions "mercies" and "comfort," before he proceeds to speak of afflictions (2-Corinthians 1:4-6). The "tribulation" of believers is not inconsistent with God's mercy, and does not beget in them suspicion of it; nay, in the end they feel that He is "the God of ALL comfort," that is, who imparts the only true and perfect comfort in every instance (Psalm 146:3, Psalm 146:5, Psalm 146:8; James 5:11).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - A solemn and beautiful introduction, highly suitable to the apostolical spirit. The Father of mercies, and God of all comfort - Mercies are the fountain of comfort; comfort is the outward expression of mercy. God shows mercy in the affliction itself. He gives comfort both in and after the affliction. Therefore is he termed, the God of all comfort. Blessed be this God!
*More commentary available at chapter level.