Sunday, July 23, 2017


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, Who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Our God is the God of consolation. He comforts us in all our afflictions. So says Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. But what does that mean? Let's take a look at the original Greek for some clues. 

The two verses quoted here begin with a blessing, eulogētos in the Greek. We are praising God, acknowledging Him, showing our commitment to Him. Why? Because He is worthy of our praise and adoration simply because of Who He is in Himself. He is God, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-wise, all-everything. So we begin with praise.

Then we recognize what God does for us. He is the “Father of mercies and the God of all consolation.” The Greek word for “mercies” is oiktirmos, and it points to the deep love God has for us. He knows our miseries, and He is compassionate toward us because of them. He understands us perfectly, and He sympathizes with us in all our difficulties. Even more He empathizes with us, for He became one of us and stepped into the midst of our human suffering. 

Further, this “God of all consolation” actually “consoles us in all our affliction...” The Greek noun and verb used here are paraklēsis and parakaleō, and they are both characterized by intimacy. The consolation or comfort or encouragement that God gives us is personal, designed especially for us and emanating from the God Who is closer to us than we are to ourselves. God meets us in the midst of our suffering, wraps His arms around us, and comforts us in a way that is exactly suited to our situation. He loves us deeply for who we are, each and every one of us, and He treats us as the individuals we are, giving us precisely what we need, first and foremost, intimate contact with Him.

But Paul doesn't stop there. We have a task, too. Actually we have two tasks. First, we must accept God's consolation and respond to it. We must allow ourselves to be comforted, to open ourselves to God's love, and to trust Him to console and encourage us in the way He knows is best. Then, we must pass that consolation on. We must give to others what we have received from God. We must step into another's suffering and love that person in the midst of it. We must offer a personal comfort out of love that expresses true sympathy and even empathy for the situation of another. 

In other words, we who are God's children must imitate our Father, loving as He does and passing along the great gifts we receive from Him, especially the abundant consolation He provides in all our afflictions. 

(Information about Greek vocabulary comes from

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