"He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." NIV translation
With all of Paul's travels and writings it is easy to forget that he was a great man of prayer. He explains how God has answered all of their prayers for his ministry and that because of their prayers many more have become citizens of the kingdom of God. Sometimes we get caught up in actions and forget the fact that prayer is the most valuable thing that we can give someone. We also see that, when we pray for another ministry, we are even credited with being a part of that ministry team.
"Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace." NIV translation
Their was slander of his character being spread in Corinth. Paul tells them that his conscience is clear and that they should know better.
He had spent eighteen months with them where he discipled them (see Acts 18). During that time, they had seen his character firsthand.
"For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus." NIV translation
Paul reminds them that they had not been taught vague philosophies and big words that they couldn't understand. It was not man's wisdom but it was God's grace that was shared with them. He also explains that they are all on the same team and they will be counted as such on the day of judgment.
Oh, if the church would grab hold of what Paul is saying here! There is so much competition and backbiting in ministry that should not be. As long as we pray for each other, then, we are counted as part of the teams that we pray for. It is all about team Jesus and not another ministry name or denomination.
"Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea." NIV translation
Paul explains his original plans for visiting them twice but, as we shall see, his plans were changed by God. The believers were somewhat hurt by the change in plans and it was used by some to slander Paul. This happens, even today in the ministry, when you are dealing with those who do not understand walking in the power and Spirit of God. Paul did not want to disappoint the believers in Corinth but there was nothing that was going to change his mind when He knew the will of God.