NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:2-7
Discussion Question: What’s your favorite comfort food?
Food for thought by Daniel Im:
After a hard day, we know certain things will help us relax, like:
— a hot bath,
— soft music,
— ice cream.
Some things just bring us comfort.
I was never a good source of comfort. When someone faced sickness or death, I’d offer sympathy because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I might even offer a prayer, but seldom would I visit them or attend the funeral. What good would it do for me to be there with nothing to offer? I’d be more of a nuisance than a help.
Then my niece died. After my niece passed away without warning, something changed inside of me. Now, when someone is sick, instead of just praying for them, I pray with them. I try to help in any way I can, even if that means just sitting with them in the hospital or funeral home. I have learned just what a comfort my presence can be to others.
The apostle Paul showed us the comforting role we can play in the lives of others. Paul followed the Greco-Roman practice of beginning his letter with a greeting, but he used two words that made this greeting unique — grace and peace.
— Grace: The common Jewish prayer combined mercy and peace, but Paul used grace instead of mercy. Mercy is certainly encompassed by God’s grace, and grace is the foundation for all we have in Christ. Grace expresses what Christ did for us in giving us salvation.
— Peace: Paul wrote to the Corinthians in Greek, but as a Jew he was surely familiar with the Hebrew word for peace, shalom. Shalom was the common greeting, expressing a wish for health, completeness and wholeness in a person’s life, both physically and spiritually. Paul intended an even deeper meaning for the word — the effect of God’s work in Christ. We have completeness and wholeness in Christ.
Paul used this new greeting to remind the church that:
— God’s grace will redeem their hurt and pain, and
— God’s peace will fill them with His comfort.
That’s a prayer we could all use.
How does God bring His comfort to us? God comforts us in many ways, including through His Word. He also comforts us through others. And as He comforts us, we have the wonderful opportunity to offer comfort to others. This is one of the great blessings of Christian community, for the church as well as those outside it. We bless others as God has blessed us. We become broken vessels bringing comfort to other broken vessels.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students, and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the Internet at