*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound -- This statement may be explained in two ways -- actively and passively. If you take it actively, the meaning will be this: "The more I am tried with various afflictions, so much the more resources have I for comforting others." I am, however, more inclined to take it in a passive sense, as meaning that God multiplied his consolations according to the measure of his tribulations. David also acknowledges that it had been thus with him: According to the multitude, says he, of my anxieties within me, thy consolations have delighted my soul. (Psalm 94:19.) In Paul's words, however, there is a fuller statement of doctrine; for the afflictions of the pious he calls the sufferings of Christ, as he says elsewhere, that he fills up in his body what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ. (Colossians 1:24.) The miseries and vexations, it is true, of the present life are common to good and bad alike, but when they befall the wicked, they are tokens of the curse of God, because they arise from sin, and nothing appears in them except the anger of God and participation with Adam, which cannot but depress the mind. But in the mean time believers are conformed to Christ, and bear about with them in their body his dying, that the life of Christ may one day be manifested in them. (2-Corinthians 4:10.) I speak of the afflictions which they endure for the testimony of Christ, (Revelation 1:9,) for although the Lord's chastisements, with which he chastises their sins, are beneficial to them, they are, nevertheless, not partakers, properly speaking, of Christ's sufferings, except in those cases in which they suffer on his account, as we find in 1-Peter 4:13. Paul's meaning then is, that God is always present with him in his tribulations, and that his infirmity is sustained by the consolations of Christ, so as to prevent him from being overwhelmed with calamities.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us - As we are called to experience the same sufferings which Christ endured; as we are called to suffer in his cause, and in the promotion of the same object. The sufferings which they endured were in the cause of Christ and his gospel; were endured in endeavoring to advance the same object which Christ sought to promote; and were substantially of the same nature. They arose from opposition, contempt, persecution, trial, and want, and were the same as the Lord Jesus was himself subjected to during the whole of his public life; compare Colossians 1:24. Thus, Peter says 1-Peter 4:13 of Christians that they were "partakers of Christ's sufferings."
So our consolation also aboundeth by Christ - By means of Christ, or through Christ, consolation is abundantly imparted to us. Paul regarded the Lord Jesus as the source of consolation, and felt that the comfort which he imparted, or which was imparted through him, was more than sufficient to overbalance all the trials which he endured in this cause. The comforts which he derived from Christ were those, doubtless, which arose from his presence, his supporting grace, from his love shed abroad in the heart; from the success which he gave to his gospel, and from the hope of reward which was held out to him by the Redeemer, as the result of all his sufferings. And it may he observed as an universal truth, that if we suffer in the cause of Christ, if we are persecuted, oppressed, and calumniated on his account, he will take care that cur hearts shall be filled with consolation.
The sufferings of Christ - Suffering endured for the cause of Christ: such as persecutions, hardships, and privations of different kinds.
Our consolation also aboundeth - We stood as well, as firmly, and as easily, in the heaviest trial, as in the lightest; because the consolation was always proportioned to the trial and difficulty. Hence we learn, that he who is upheld in a slight trial need not fear a great one; for if he be faithful, his consolation shall abound, as his sufferings abound. Is it not as easy for a man to lift one hundred pounds' weight, as it is for an infant to lift a few ounces? The proportion of strength destroys the comparative difficulty.
For as the (c) sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
(c) The miseries which we suffer for Christ, or which Christ suffers in us.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us,.... By "the sufferings of Christ" are not meant those which he suffered in his own person for the sake, and in the room and stead of his people, the fruits and effects of which abound to them, and in them; but those which he suffers in his members, or which they suffer for his sake; and which are said to "abound in" them, because of the variety and greatness of them; though not as if they were more or greater than what Christ suffered in his soul and body, when he was made sin and a curse for his people: yet notwithstanding the abundance of them, such is the goodness and grace of God, that he proportions comforts to them; as their afflictions increase, so do their comforts; as their sufferings for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, are more and greater,
so, says he,
our consolation aboundeth by Christ: meaning, either that consolation which they felt and enjoyed in their own souls, under all their tribulations, which abundantly answered to them, and which they ascribe to Christ, from and by whom it comes to them; or else that consolation, which, by preaching Christ, abounded to the relief of others who were in distress and trouble.
sufferings--standing in contrast with "salvation" (2-Corinthians 1:6); as "tribulation" (distress of mind), with comfort or "consolation."
of Christ--Compare Colossians 1:24. The sufferings endured, whether by Himself, or by His Church, with which He considers Himself identified (Matthew 25:40, Matthew 25:45; Acts 9:4; 1-John 4:17-21). Christ calls His people's sufferings His own suffering: (1) because of the sympathy and mystical union between Him and us (Romans 8:17; 1-Corinthians 4:10); (2) They are borne for His sake; (3) They tend to His glory (Ephesians 4:1; 1-Peter 4:14, 1-Peter 4:16).
abound in us--Greek, "abound unto us." The order of the Greek following words is more forcible than in English Version, "Even so through Christ aboundeth also our comfort." The sufferings (plural) are many; but the consolation (though singular) swallows up them all. Comfort preponderates in this Epistle above that in the first Epistle, as now by the effect of the latter most of the Corinthians had been much impressed.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us - The sufferings endured on his account. So our comfort also aboundeth through Christ - The sufferings were many, the comfort one; and yet not only equal to, but overbalancing, them all.
*More commentary available at chapter level.