“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God be blessed (eulogetos, praised). The original word is used, in the New Testament, only of God. Why was Paul praising God? The answer is that God had comforted Paul and Timothy (“us” cf. 2 Corinthians 1:1) and Silvanus (“us” cf. 2 Corinthians 1:19).
How did God comfort them? (1) Comfort is provided by God’s revelation, which came through inspired men like Paul and Timothy (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). Is this in view? Paul wrote, in this very book, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Paul knew of “the things which are not seen” by revelation. (2) Comfort came to Paul, and his company, by the coming of Titus, and Titus’ report. Notice: “When we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance… For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: what diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:5-11). This I believe fits the context. God’s inspired message through Paul had brought these brethren to repentance. This bought comfort to Paul.
Paul’s attitude was that those who had received comfort, should help comfort others. Adam Clark comments, “Even spiritual comforts are not given for our use alone; they, like all the gifts of God, are given that they may be distributed, or become instruments to help others” (Clark’s Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 314). Consider this: The revelations given to men like Paul, was not given for the benefit of these men alone (cf. Romans 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:13; Ephesians 3:1-7; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
God gives the Christians comfort even in the face of difficulties (cf. John 16:3; Romans 15:4). The spiritually mature find this comfort. It is their duty to help others also experience this comfort. Consider these passages: (1) “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18); (2) “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). (3) “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all… pursue what is good both for yourself and all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15).