From Paul, by God's will an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Timothy, who is their brother, to the Church of God which is at Corinth and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia; grace and peace be yours from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God who gives all encouragement. He it is who comforts us in all our trials; and it is this encouragement we ourselves receive from God which enables us to comfort others, whenever they have trials of their own. The sufferings of Christ, it is true, overflow into our lives; but there is overflowing comfort, too, which Christ brings to us. Have we trials to endure? It all makes for your encouragement, for your salvation. Are we comforted? It is so that you may be comforted. [Are we encouraged? It is for your encouragement, for your salvation.] And the effect of this appears in your willingness to undergo the sufferings we too undergo; making our hopes of you all the more confident; partners of our sufferings, you will be partners of our encouragement too.
Make no mistake, brethren, about the trial which has been befalling us in Asia; it was something that overburdened us beyond our strength, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, for ourselves we could find no outcome but death; so God would have us learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in him who raises the dead to life. It is he who has preserved us, and is preserving us, from such deadly peril; and we have learned to have confidence that he will preserve us still. Only you, too, must help us with your prayers. So thanks will be given by many on our behalf, and in the name of many persons, for the favour God has shown to us.
It is our boast, made in all good conscience, that we have behaved in the world, and towards you especially, with singleheartedness and sincerity in God's sight, not using human wisdom, but the light of God's grace. And we mean by our letters nothing else than what you read in them, and understand us to mean. I hope that you will come to understand us better, as you do already in some measure; are we not your chief pride, as you are our chief pride, in the day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes? It was with this confidence in you that I had made up my mind to give you a double opportunity of spiritual profit, coming to you first, then passing through Corinth to Macedonia, and so from Macedonia back to you; and you were to put me on my way to Judaea. When I thus made up my mind, do you suppose I did it lightly? Can it be said of me that the plans I form are formed by motives of human prudence, so that it is first Yes, I will, and then. No, I will not, with me? As God is faithful, the message we delivered to you is not one which hesitates between Yes and No. It was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that I, that Silvanus and Timothy preached to you; and that preaching did not hesitate between Yes and No; in him all is affirmed with certainty. In him all the promises of God become certain; that is why, when we give glory to God, it is through him that we say our Amen. It is God who gives both us and you our certainty in Christ; it is he who has anointed us, just as it is he who has put his seal on us, and given us the foretaste of his Spirit in our hearts.
With my soul as the forfeit I call this God to witness that if I did not, after all, visit you at Corinth, it was to give you a fresh chance. (Not that we would domineer over your faith; rather, we would help you to achieve happiness. And indeed, in your faith you stand firm enough.)