2-Corinthians - 1:6

6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 2-Corinthians 1:6.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer:
Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation: or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.
But whether we are in tribulation, it is for your encouragement and salvation, wrought in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer,
and whether we be in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation, that is wrought in the enduring of the same sufferings that we also suffer; whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort and salvation;
But if, on the one hand, we are enduring affliction, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if, on the other hand, we are receiving comfort, it is for your comfort which is produced within you through your patient fortitude under the same sufferings as those which we also are enduring.
But if we are troubled, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which takes effect through your quiet undergoing of the same troubles which we undergo:
So, if we are in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation, or if we are in consolation, it is for your consolation, or if we are exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which results in the patient endurance of the same passion which we also endure.
If we meet with trouble, it is for the sake of your consolation and salvation; and, if we find consolation, it is for the sake of the consolation that you will experience when you are called to endure the sufferings that we ourselves are enduring;

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

Whether we are afflicted. From the circumstance that before the clause our hope of you is steadfast, there is introduced the connecting particle and, Erasmus has conceived the idea, that some word must be understood to correspond with those words -- for your consolation and salvation -- in this way, whether we are afflicted, IT IS for your consolation. I think it, however, more probable, that the connecting particle and is used here as meaning: Thus also, or in both cases. He had already stated, that he received consolation in order that he might communicate it to others. Now he goes a step farther, and says, that he has a steadfast hope, that they would be partakers of the consolation Besides, some of the most ancient Greek manuscripts introduce immediately after the first clause this statement -- and our hope of you is steadfast. [1] This reading removes all ambiguity. For when it is introduced in the middle, we must necessarily refer it to the latter clause, equally as to the former. At the same time, if any one wishes to have a complete sentence in each clause, by supplying some verb, there will be no great harm in this, and there will be no great difference as to the meaning. For if you read it as one continued statement, you must, at the same time, explain the different parts in this manner -- that the Apostle is afflicted, and is refreshed with consolation for the advantage of the Corinthians; and that he entertains, therefore, the hope, [2] that they will be at length partakers of the same consolation, with what is in reserve for himself. For my own part, I have adopted the way that I have judged the more suitable. It is, however, to be observed, that the word afflicted here refers not merely to outward misery, but also to that of the mind, so as to correspond with the opposite term comforted. (parakaleisthai ) Thus the meaning is, that the person's mind is pressed down with anxiety from a feeling of misery. [3] What we render consolation, is in the Greek paraklesis, -- a term which signifies also exhortation. If, however, you understand that kind of consolation, by which a person's mind is lightened of grief, and is raised above it, you will be in possession of Paul's meaning. For example, Paul himself would well-nigh have fallen down dead under the pressure of so many afflictions, had not God encouraged him, by raising him up by means of his consolation. Thus, too, the Corinthians derive strength and fortitude of mind from his sufferings, [4] while they take comfort from his example. Let us now sum up the whole matter briefly. As he saw that his afflictions were made by some an occasion of holding him in contempt, with the view of calling back the Corinthians from an error of this nature, [5] he shows in the first place that he ought to be in high esteem among them, in consideration of advantage redounding to themselves; and then afterwards he associates them with himself, that they may reckon his afflictions to be in a manner their own. "Whether I suffer afflictions, or experience consolation, it is all for your benefit, and I cherish an assured hope, that you will continue to enjoy this advantage." [6] For such were Paul's afflictions, and his consolations also, that they would have contributed to the edification of the Corinthians, had not the Corinthians of their own accord deprived themselves of the advantage redounding from it. He, accordingly, declares his confidence in the Corinthians to be such, that he entertains the assured hope that it will not be vain, that he has been afflicted, and has received consolation for their advantage. The false apostles made every effort to turn to Paul's reproach everything that befell him. Had they obtained their wish, the afflictions which he endured for their salvation, had been vain and fruitless; they would have derived no advantage from the consolations with which the Lord refreshed him. To contrivances of this nature he opposes his present confidence. His afflictions tended to promote the comfort of believers, as furnishing them with occasion of confirmation, on their perceiving that he suffered willingly, and endured with fortitude so many hardships for the sake of the gospel. For however we may acknowledge that afflictions ought to be endured by us for the sake of the gospel, we, nevertheless, tremble through a consciousness of our weakness, and think ourselves not prepared for it. [7] In that case, we should call to mind the examples of the saints, which should make us more courageous. On the other hand, his personal consolation flowed out to the whole Church, inasmuch as they concluded, [8] that God who had sustained and refreshed him in his emergency, would, in like manner, not be wanting to them. Thus their welfare was promoted in both ways, and this is what he introduces as it were by way of parenthesis, when he says -- which is made effectual in the endurance, etc. For he wished to add this clause, by way of explanation, that they might not think that they had nothing to do with the afflictions which he alone endured. Erasmus takes the participle goumenes in an active sense, [9] but a passive signification is more suitable, [10] as Paul designed simply to explain in what respect everything that befell him was for their salvation. He says, accordingly, that he suffers, indeed, alone, but that his sufferings are of use for promoting their salvation -- not as though they were expiations or sacrifices for sins, but as edifying them by confirming them. Hence he conjoins consolation and salvation, with the view of pointing out the way in which their salvation was to be accomplished.


1 - Dr. Bloomfield, who gives to this reading of the passage his decided preference, says of it: "The evidence in its favor is exceedingly strong; while that for the common reading is exceedingly weak." -- Ed.

2 - "Qu'il ha certain espoir;" -- "That he has a sure hope."

3 - "thlipsis", says Dr. Bloomfield, in his Notes on Matthew 24:9, "properly signifies compression, and figuratively constraint, oppression, affliction, and persecution." -- Ed.

4 - "Voyans les passions du sainct Apostre;" -- "Beholding the sufferings of the holy Apostle."

5 - "Afin d'oster aux Corinthiens ceste mauuaise fantasie;" -- "With the view of ridding the Corinthians of this wicked fancy."

6 - "Iusques en la fin;" -- "Until the end."

7 - "Et ne pensons point estre assez forts;" -- "And do not think that we are sufficiently strong."

8 - "Les fideles recueilloyent de là, et s'asseuroyent;" -- "Believers inferred from this, and assured themselves."

9 - "Traduisant, Qui oeuure ou besongne;" -- "Rendering it, Which works or labors."

10 - Dr. Bloomfield, in his Notes on 1-Thessalonians 2:13, explains energeitai, to mean -- "is made effectual," or "shews itself in its effects," and adds: "This view I find supported by the opinion of Schott, who maintains that energeisthai, is never in the New Testament used as a middle form, with an active sense; but always (especially in St. Paul's writings) as a passive. Indeed, Bp. Bull, Exam. p. 9, goes yet farther, and asserts, that it is scarcely ever so used, even in the Classical writers (I believe he might have said never) but always in a passive sense." -- Ed.

And whether we be afflicted - If we are afflicted; or, our affliction is for this purpose. This verse is designed to show one of the reasons of the sufferings which the apostles had endured; and it is a happy specimen of Paul's skill in his epistles. He shows that all his trials were for their welfare and would turn to their benefit. He suffered that they might be comforted; he was afflicted for their advantage. This assurance would tend to conciliate their favor, and strengthen their affection for him, as it would show them that he was disinterested. We are under the deepest obligations of gratitude to one who suffers for us; and there is nothing that will bind us more tenderly to anyone than the fact that he has been subjected to great calamity and trial on our account. This is one of the reasons why the Christian feels so tenderly his obligation to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is for your consolation and salvation - It will be useful for your consolation; or it is endured in order to secure your com fort, and promote your salvation. Paul had suffered in Ephesus, and it is to this that he here particularly refers. He does not mean to say that his sufferings there were particularly for the comfort of the Corinthians; but that they had been endured in the general purpose of promoting the salvation of people, and that they, together with others, would reap the benefit of his trials. He endured them in order to spread the true religion, and they would be benefitted by that, and be sides, he would be the better able by his trials to administer to them the true consolations of the gospel in their sufferings; and his example, and experience, and counsel, would enable them to bear up under their own trials in a proper manner.
Which is effectual - Margin, "wrought." The Greek word ἐνεργουμένης energoumenēs denotes here "efficacious, operating to, producing;" and the phrase denotes that their salvation would be effected, worked out, or secured by the patient endurance of such sufferings. Those sufferings were necessary; and a patient endurance of them would tend to promote their salvation. The doctrine that the patient endurance of affliction tends to promote salvation, is every where taught in the Bible; see the notes on Romans 5:3-5.
In the enduring - By your enduring; or by your patience in such sufferings. You are called to endure the same kind of sufferings; and patience in such trials will tend to promote your salvation.
Or whether we be comforted - One design of our being comforted is, that we may be able to impart consolation to you in the times of similar trial and calamity; see 2-Corinthians 1:4. The sentiment of the whole passage is, that their eternal welfare would be promoted by the example of the apostles in their trials, and by the consolations which they would be able to impart as the result of their afflictions.

And whether we be afflicted - See on 2-Corinthians 1:4 (note).
Which is effectual - There is a strange and unusual variation in the MSS. and versions in this passage. Perhaps the whole should be read thus: For if we be afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; and if we be comforted, it is also for your encouragement, which exerted itself by enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer.
This transposition of the middle and last clauses is authorized by the best MSS. and versions. The meaning seems to be this: While ye abide faithful to God, no suffering can be prejudicial to you; on the contrary, it will be advantageous; God having your comfort and salvation continually in view, by all the dispensations of his providence: and while you patiently endure, your salvation is advanced; sufferings and consolations all becoming energetic means of accomplishing the great design, for all things work together for good to them that love God. See the variations in Griesbach.

(4) And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is (d) effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.
(4) He denies that either his afflictions with which he was often afflicted, or the consolations which he received of God, may justly be despised, seeing that the Corinthians both ought and might take great occasion to be strengthened and encouraged by either of them.
(d) Although salvation is given to us freely, yet because there is a way appointed to us by which we must come to it, which is the race of an innocent and upright life which we must run, therefore we are said to work our salvation; (Philippians 2:12). And because it is God alone that of his free good will works all things in us, therefore is he said to work the salvation in us by that very same way by which we must pass to everlasting life, after we have once overcome all incumbrances.

And whether we be afflicted it is for your consolation,.... The apostle repeats and explains the end of both his comforts and his troubles, and shows, by a dilemma, a strong way of arguing, that the afflictions and consolations, the adversity and prosperity of him, and the other ministers of the Gospel, were for the good of the saints: and it is as if he should say, when you see us continue to preach the Gospel with so much boldness and cheerfulness, amidst so many reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions, you must be the more established in the faith, and confirmed in the truth of the Gospel; and this cannot fail of ministering much peace, satisfaction, and comfort to your minds. This animates you to hold fast the rejoicing of your hope, and the profession of your faith firm unto the end; and with the greater cheerfulness and pleasure meet with, and endure afflictions yourselves for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel: nay, he says, that the afflictions of Christ's ministers were not only for their consolation, but also for their
salvation, which is effectual, or is effectually wrought
in, or by
the enduring, patient bearing,
of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Not that the afflictions of the saints, or of others, and their patient enduring of them, are the cause of their salvation; for Christ is only the efficient cause, he is the sole author of spiritual and eternal salvation; but these are means the Spirit of God makes use of, as he does of the word and ordinances, to bring the saints to a satisfaction as to their interest in it, and are the ordinary way in which they are brought to the possession of it.
Or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation and salvation: for whatsoever comfort God is pleased to communicate to us, it is not kept in our breasts, and for our own use, but we immediately and readily impart it to you, that you may share with us the advantage of it, and be comforted together with us; that your faith in the doctrine of salvation may be established, your hope of it increased, and that you may be more comfortably assured you are in the way to it, and shall enjoy it.

we . . . afflicted . . . for your consolation--exemplifying the communion of saints. Their hearts were, so to speak, mirrors reflecting the likenesses of each other (Philippians 2:26-27) [BENGEL]. Alike the afflictions and the consolations of the apostle tend, as in him so in them, as having communion with him, to their consolation (2-Corinthians 1:4; 2-Corinthians 4:15). The Greek for "afflicted" is the same as before, and ought to be translated, "Whether we be in tribulation."
which is effectual--literally, "worketh effectually."
in the enduring, &c.--that is, in enabling you to endure "the same sufferings which we also suffer." Here follows, in the oldest manuscripts (not as English Version in the beginning of 2-Corinthians 1:7), the clause, "And our hope is steadfast on your behalf."

And whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation - For your present comfort, your present and future salvation. Or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort - That we may be the better able to comfort you. Which is effectual in the patient enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer - Through the efficacy of which you patiently endure the same kind of sufferings with us.

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