We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.2 Corinthians 1:8-12
We are pressed on every side by troubles, perplexed, hunted down, knocked down, beaten, imprisoned, faced angry mobs, exhausted, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food, living close to death, 5 different times given thirty-nine lashes, 3 times beaten with rods, once stoned, 3 times shipwrecked, a whole night and a day adrift at sea, in danger from rivers and from robbers, danger from the Jews, danger from the Gentiles, danger in the cities, danger in the deserts, danger on the seas, worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights, been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food, shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep warm.
What does Paul mean when he refers to Asia?
The Roman province of Asia included the greater part of western Asia Minor, including the older countries of Mysia, Lydia, Caria, and a part of Phrygia, also several of the independent coast cities, the Troad, and apparently the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Patmos, Cos and others near the Asia Minor coast. It is exceedingly difficult to trace the exact borders of the province of Asia. The province of Asia was really formed by Rome in 129 BC. Its first capital was Pergamos, the old capital of Mysia, but in the time of Augustus, when Asia had become the most wealthy province of the Empire, the seat of the government was transferred to Ephesus.
In 285 AD the province was reduced in size, as Caria, Lydia, Mysia and Phrygia were separated from it, and apart from the cities of the coast little remained. The history of Asia consists almost entirely of the history of its important cities, which were Adramyttium, Assos, Cnidus, Ephesus, Laodicea, Miletus, Pergamos, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, Thyatira, Troas, etc.
To which of these events is he referring?
There has been considerable diversity of opinion as to the “troubles” to which Paul refers here. Some think he refers to the persecutions at Lystra [Acts 14:6, Acts 14:19-20] from which he had been recovered as it were by miracle. As that happened so long before this, it seems improbable that he should here refer to it. There is every mark of freshness and recentness about this event; and Paul evidently referred to some danger from which he had been lately delivered, and which made a deep impression on his mind when he wrote the Corinthian letter.
Others suppose that he refers to the lying in wait of the Jews for him when he was about to go to Macedonia, mentioned in Acts 20:3. Most commentators have supposed that he refers to the disturbances which were made at Ephesus by Demetrius and his friends, mentioned in Acts 19, and by reason of which he was compelled to leave the city. But this uproar lasted just for one day and could not be a reason why he had not yet come to Corinth. Others feel he refers to the danger to which he was exposed in Ephesus on another occasion, when he was compelled to fight with wild beasts. Some have thought it refers to all the troubles he met with in Asia, for the space of three years, whereby he was detained longer than he expected. But it seems as though some single affliction is here particularly designed.
“pressed out of measure, above strength” – The original is exceedingly emphatic. We were weighed down beyond what is credible, even beyond what any natural strength could support. There is no part of Paul’s history known to us which can justify these strong expressions, except his being stoned at Lystra; which if not what is here intended, the facts to which he refers are not on record. But it is very likely that the reference is to some terrible persecution which he had endured some short time before his writing this epistle; and with the outlines of which the Corinthians had been acquainted.
Why does he make such references?
This section connects both the segment before and the one after as well. It is the reason for the comfort Paul has received. It is also the reason as to why Paul was not able to visit the Corinthians and his counter to the claims that he can’t make up his mind and vacillates. More to come on that in a few days.
Why all this focus on his sufferings/struggles?
Watch this space! You struggle with it initially!
Spiritual Maturity Is Not The Ability To Hear God’s Voice, But The Discipline To Execute His Intentions.Robb Thompson
If you want to be successful, you must be faithful.Bob Gass