Suffering 1

2 Corinthians

Hanson* cites S. Weil that Christianity did not profess to cure suffering but did profess to use it.

Christianity faces it [suffering] by making suffering the means by which healing and rescue were brought to the world, and the very stock-in-trade and accustomed diet of Christians, yet to Christians suffering is not a deliberately contrived instrument for atonement as it is to the Indian fanatic who tortures himself in order to gain the peace of detachment, but and evil force in the world which yet by Christ’s atonement can be used for redemption and healing, even in the individual’s personal life.

Garland says, “This conviction helps explain why Paul never tried to explain the problem of suffering as many try to do today, he did not welcome it, but he never asked why bad things happen to good people… he embraces it.”

Many in Corinth doubted Paul’s ability to minister because of his own weaknesses and suffering. Why would God use someone so weak in speech and physical features? Why would God bless him with the ministry of the Gospel and also cause him so many tribulations on his travels? In 2 Corinthians Paul spends much of the letter explaining how God makes His power more obvious through these weaknesses, which is completely contrary to the Corinthian’s perspective, especially when compared to the super-apostles. (2 Corinthians 11:5)

*Hanson, II Corinthians, 34.

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