2 Corinthians 1:4
4 Who acomforts us in all our baffliction that we may be 1able to comfort those who are in every affliction through the ccomforting with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
41 We must first experience God's comforting; then we are able to comfort others with the comfort from God that we have experienced.
The first Epistle to the Corinthians was the apostle's argument, an argument that defeated and subdued the distracted and confused Corinthians. Now the second Epistle brought them back into the experience of Christ, who was the subject of his argument in the first Epistle. Hence, the second Epistle is more experiential, more subjective, and deeper than the first. In the first, Christ, the Spirit with our spirit, the church, and the gifts are covered as the major subjects. In the second, Christ, the Spirit with our spirit, and the church are developed further, but the gifts are not even mentioned. The gifts are replaced in this book by the ministry, which is constituted with, and produced and formed by, the experiences of the riches of Christ gained through sufferings, consuming pressures, and the killing work of the cross. This Epistle gives us a pattern, an example, of how the killing of the cross works, how Christ is wrought into our being, and how we become the expression of Christ. These processes constitute the ministers of Christ and produce the ministry for God's new covenant. The first Epistle deals negatively with the gifts; the second speaks positively about the ministry. The church needs the ministry much more than the gifts. The ministry is for ministering the Christ whom we have experienced, whereas the gifts are just for teaching the doctrines concerning Christ. Not the gifts but the ministry produced and formed by the experience of the sufferings, the afflictions, of Christ is the proof that the apostles are ministers of Christ.