He Will Deliver Us- 2 Corinthians 1:10

In our previous post, we examined how God used the circumstances which Paul was facing to produce “despair” in Paul. What this essentially means is that Paul could see no way out of this situation, which brought Paul to the place where he saw that he needed to rid himself of his fleshly pattern of self-reliance and learn to rely upon God instead. , In the following verse, we find Paul telling us something else which he learned in the midst of this difficult situation, that God “has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us”. The Greek word translated as “deliver” here in the NIV is rhyomai, and the use of this English word here may actually be a bit misleading. We will examine this word more closely, especially as it is used by Paul, in order to come to a clearer understanding of what it is Paul may be trying to tell us here. We will begin our study by looking at how this term is most commonly used in the Greek language, and we find that it is used by ancient Greek writers as to “cover, protect, ward off, set free”. We find further that its verbal form was used in reference to inanimate objects such as helmets and fortresses, which serve to cover or protect from danger. So we see that its primary usage in the Greek language was as to cover or protect. But we must then ask whether this is how Paul uses the same term in the New Testament? The verb rhyomai is used twelve times in Paul’s letters. Three of these are in quotations of the Old Testament and would not be part of our study. We will quickly examine the other nine, for we will see that they reinforce our conclusion that Paul is using the verb here in the same way. In Romans 7:24, Paul asks “Who will deliver (rhyomai) me from this body of death. In this passage, Paul is describing his battle with the flesh, and crying out to God to deliver him from it, or to protect him from himself. In Romans 15:31, Paul asks his readers to pray that he might be “rescued” (rhyomai) from unbelieving Jews when he travels to Jerusalem, again here as Paul seeking protection from those who may be his enemies. In 2 Thessalonians 3:2, Paul prays that he “may be delivered (rhyomai) from wicked and evil people”, again here as a plea for protection from those who may be his enemies. In 2 Timothy 3:11, we find Paul discussing his persecutions in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, and how the Lord “rescued (rhyomai) him from all of them”, again here as reference to the Lord protecting him from enemies. In 2 Timothy 4:17-18, Paul tells us that He “was delivered (rhyomai) from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue (rhyomai) me from every evil attack”. In Colossians 1:13, Paul tells us “God has rescued (rhyomai) us from the dominion of darkness”, here in refence to his being set free once for all from the dominion of darkness, and to his ongoing protection from its schemes. So as we return to the passage at hand, in which we find the remaining three uses of rhyomai, we now may conclude with some assurance that the translation as “deliver” may not be the best. This can become an issue because our common understanding of the English word to deliver is primarily in reference to being removed out of or from a situation, but what Paul has in mind here is not being removed from a situation in which others seek his destruction, but rather being protected in a situation in which others seek his destruction. God may , in fact, as we have seen in verses 8-9, be using the situation to help Paul become more like Christ, and removal from the situation may end up thwarting this process, but protection in it will ensure Paul’s survival, and bring him out on the other side as a more Christlike disciple. God is sovereign, and He has sent the “situation” for a reason, so it would really not make sense for Him to “deliver” us from it, but rather to “protect” us in it.

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