4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
That we may be able to comfort There can be no doubt, that, as he had a little before cleared his afflictions from reproach and unfavorable reports, so now he instructs the Corinthians, that his having come off victorious through heavenly consolation was for their sake and with a view to their advantage, that they may stir themselves up to fellowship in suffering, instead of haughtily despising his conflicts. As, however, the Apostle lived not for himself but for the Church, so he reckoned, that whatever favors God conferred upon him, were not given for his own sake merely,  but in order that he might have more in his power for helping others. And, unquestionably, when the Lord confers upon us any favor, he in a manner invites us by his example to be generous to our neighbours. The riches of the Spirit, therefore, are not to be kept by us to ourselves, but every one must communicate to others what he has received. This, it is true, must be considered as being applicable chiefly to ministers of the Word.  It is, however, common to all, according to the measure of each. Thus Paul here acknowledges, that he had been sustained by the consolation of God, that he might be able himself to comfort others
1 - "Pour son proufit particulier;" -- "For his own private advantage."
2 - "It is not enough for the ministers of the gospel to have devoured many books of learning, to be able to decide polemical questions in divinity, to convince gainsayers, to be doctors angelical, subtle or profound; to be mallei hereticorum -- the hammer of heretics. Unless also they have the experimental works of God's Spirit upon their own souls, they are not able to apply themselves to the hearts of others. Paul had not been able to comfort others, if the Lord had not practically acquainted him with heavenly consolations." -- Burgesse on 2-Corinthians 1, p. 178 -- Ed.
Who comforteth us - Paul here doubtless refers primarily to himself and his fellow apostles as having been filled with comfort in their trials; to the support which the promises of God gave; to the influences of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter; and to the hopes of eternal life through the gospel of the Redeemer.
That we may be able to comfort - Paul does not say that this was the only design which God had in comforting them that they might be able to impart comfort to others; but he does say that this is an important and main purpose. It is an object which he seeks, that his people in their afflictions should be supported and comforted; and for this purpose he fills the hearts of his ministers with consolation; gives them personal experience of the sustaining power of graco in their trials; and enables them to speak of what they have felt in regard to the consolations of the gospel of the Lord Jesus.
By the comfort - By the same topics of consolation; by the same sources of joy which have sustained us. They would have experience; and by that experience they would be able to minister consolation to those who were in any manner afflicted. It is only by personal experience that we are able to impart consolation to others. Paul refers here undoubtedly to the consolations which are produced by the evidence of the pardon of sin, and of acceptance with God, and the hope of eternal life. These consolations abounded in him and his fellow apostles richly; and sustained by them he was able also to impart like consolation to others who were in similar circumstances of trial.
Who comforteth us - Who shows himself to be the God of tender mercy, by condescending to notice us, who have never deserved any good at his hand; and also the God of all consolation, by comforting us in all our tribulation - never leaving us a prey to anxiety, carking care, persecution, or temptation; but, by the comforts of his Spirit, bearing us up in, through, and above, all our trials and difficulties.
That we may be able to comfort them - Even spiritual comforts are not given us for our use alone; they, like all the gifts of God, are given that they may be distributed, or become the instruments of help to others. A minister's trials and comforts are permitted and sent for the benefit of the Church. What a miserable preacher must he be who has all his divinity by study and learning, and nothing by experience! If his soul have not gone through all the travail of regeneration, if his heart have not felt the love of God shed abroad in it by the Holy Ghost, he can neither instruct the ignorant nor comfort the distressed. See 2-Corinthians 1:6.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, (3) that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
(3) The Lord comforts us to this end and purpose, that we may so much the more surely comfort others.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,.... The apostle in this verse gives a reason of the former thanksgiving, and at the same time confirms the above character of God, as "the God of all comfort", by his own experience, and that of his fellow ministers; who, though they had been in great tribulation and affliction for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, yet were not left destitute of divine help and support under their trials; but had much consolation and sweet refreshment administered to them by the presence of God with them, the application of his promises to them, the shedding abroad of his love in them, and the fellowship and communion they enjoyed with Father, Son, and Spirit. The end of this, or why God was pleased to comfort them in such a manner, was not so much on their own account; though it showed that they were loved, and not hated and rejected of God, but for the good of others:
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God; many are the troubles and afflictions of the saints in this life, but it is the will of God that they should be comforted: and the persons he employs and makes use of in this way are his ministering servants, whose principal work and business it is to speak comfortably to the people of God; see Isaiah 40:1, and that they may be able to do so, that they may be fitted and furnished for so good a work, they are blessed with a rich experience of divine consolation in themselves, under the various troubles and exercises they are attended with in the course of their ministry; and such persons are, of all others, the fittest, and indeed the only proper persons to speak a word in season to weary souls.
us--idiomatic for me (1-Thessalonians 2:18).
that we may . . . comfort them which are in any trouble--Translate, as the Greek is the same as before, "tribulation." The apostle lived, not to himself, but to the Church; so, whatever graces God conferred on him, he considered granted not for himself alone, but that he might have the greater ability to help others [CALVIN]. So participation in all the afflictions of man peculiarly qualified Jesus to be man's comforter in all his various afflictions (Isaiah 50:4-6; Hebrews 4:15).
Who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any affliction - He that has experienced one kind of affliction is able to comfort others in that affliction. He that has experienced all kinds of affliction is able to comfort them in all.
*More commentary available at chapter level.