Bible Study: Comforted to Be a Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

—2 Cor. 1:3–5

 The God of All Comfort

1. In the verses above, what “titles” are given to God? Underline them.

2. Are you quick to think of God as a God of comfort and compassion? When Jesus came, He said that if we had seen Him, we had seen the Father. In the following verses, what rises up in Jesus as He displays the Father’s heart?

Mt. 14:14

Mt. 20:29–34

Mt. 23:37

3. Do you experience this “rising up” of God’s compassion in you when you encounter someone in need?

yes
sometimes, but not often
no

4. If you answered “yes” or “sometimes,” describe a specific experience.

When Jesus was on earth, people who encountered Him encountered God Himself. Today, because we’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we live in the presence of God. God’s compassion can well up in us: We can feel His heart for the people around us, and we can bring His heart and presence into the lives of hurting people. Rather than being surprised when we encounter brokenness, we should expect it—in others’ lives and in our own.

What’s your trouble?

5. Read 2 Cor. 1:3–5 again. What seems to be a prerequisite for helping others?

Paul assumes that we will have troubles and that, rather than being left alone in them, we will receive comfort. We will give comfort after we have received it.

6. When you experience trouble, which of the following would you be most likely to do?

Collapse and throw a pity party
Shrug it off and tell yourself it’s no big deal
Turn to a friend who will make you feel better
Throw a scripture verse at it
Work harder

7. Often, we are kinder to other people who struggle than we are to ourselves. Jesus looked on people with compassion—are you able to join Him in having a compassionate look at your life? Right now, where do you need comfort?

8. Ask Jesus to reveal to you what rises up in Him when He sees you. (If the answer is condemnation or disgust, ask again.)

How do you receive comfort?

9. What are your favorite ways of comforting yourself?

10. Read Jer. 2:13. In what ways might some of our comforts be like these cisterns?

While our ways of comforting ourselves usually offer us some relief, rarely are they more than a stopgap until our cistern runs dry. That’s the problem with trying to comfort ourselves. We need someone else—we need comfort in the context of relationship.

11. God’s comfort is relational. In fact, the word translated “comfort” in 2 Corinthians 1 is parakaleo, which means “to call to one’s side.” Read Psalm 23. List the ways God comes near and gives comfort to His sheep.

12. Now look at Ezk. 34:15–16. What other ways does God shepherd His sheep?

13. What kinds of comfort have you received from God? List all you can remember.

14. Jesus promised that He was our shepherd, devoted to our care. In Jn. 14:25–27, what else did He promise us?

How can you give away comfort?

15. According to 2 Cor. 1:4, what will happen with the comfort that we receive? Why is there hope embedded in this?

16. Can you remember a time when you were facing trouble and received comfort through a person who had been in a similar situation? Describe it.

17. With so many needs facing us daily, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of people in our lives who need help. Read 2 Cor. 1:4 again. This verse encourages us to give away what we have received. Take a few minutes to consider the kinds of troubles you’ve faced and the comfort you’ve received. What patterns emerge?

Troubles:

Comfort:

18. What kind of comfort does that “qualify” you to give?

19. Can you think of a specific person who needs that comfort right now? What could you do this week to come alongside that person?

Person:

Practical Step:

The wonderful promise in 2 Corinthians 1 is that whether we need comfort or are faced with the needs of others, we don’t have to rely on our own strength. Instead we can freely receive from God and then give to others out of the overflow.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.” —Is. 51:12
___________________________________________________________________________
Related:
The God of All Comfort by Helen Crawford
Why does God permit you to suffer the pain of personal catastrophes? And what can you do during them?

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2 Responses to “Bible Study: Comforted to Be a Comfort”

  1. Marianne Says:

    Very good lesson.

    I see “healing ministries” many times trying to pray for healing, when they are not full of the compassion required for that healing.

    The result is that the sick are not healed.

    It is when we have so much compassion, as Jesus did, that we are lifted out of ourselves, that the Holy Spirit can move in unison with our spirits, and heal someone.

    We need more of this. We were commanded by Jesus to not just help the sick, but to heal them. This means, with a correct heart, it is possible to do so.

    What a wonderful testimony to the mercy of God to see a divine healing take place, and what a beautiful impact it would have on an unsaved person. We all need to pray that God uses us more in this way.

  2. Attili Sattibabu Says:

    Good post mate!! Keep ’em flowing!

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