“But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke, ’ we also believe, therefore also we speak” 2 Corinthians 4:13
The apostle Paul, while enumerating the afflictions, perplexities, and persecutions that come from preaching the gospel, along with the constant risk of death for the name of Jesus, cites a passage from the book of Psalms.
The original inspired utterance is found in chapter 116, verse 10. “I believed when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ “
If you take the opportunity to read the context of Psalm 116, you’ll note it was the perfect Psalm that the Spirit moved Paul to recall and reference for the sake of the church at Corinth.
The Psalmist had experienced trouble a plenty as Paul was presently undergoing. The writer noted that the cords of death had encompassed him, the terrors of Sheol had found him along with distress and sorrow (Ps. 116:3). If you read the context previous to our chosen text of the second letter to the Corinthians, you’ll spot the obvious similarities to Paul’s trials. The psalmist was grateful and thankful for the privilege of the LORD hearing His prayers as a means of deliverance (Ps. 116:1-2, 4) Paul too, had placed his trust in God, Who he said, “delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us” (1 Cor. 1:10) Paul’s thankfulness towards the Lord was augmented by the church in their “joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many.” (1 Cor. 1:11)
Because of the LORD’s deliverance in dealing bountifully towards him, the psalmist’s fears had been alleviated and his soul had been returned to rest. His anxieties removed, at peace and confident in the Almighty’s power to protect and make him “walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 116:9) Paul, secure in the blessings, promises, and hope of the New Covenant, recognized that even if the Lord decided to deliver him over to death, he was confident in “knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you” (2 Cor. 4:14) Paul, with full conviction and faith in the power of God, knew he would be entering into the true heavenly land of the living, where those in Christ walk before the Lord eternally.
The result of God’s great compassion and power to deliver developed a strong faith in the psalmist, moving him to speak. This faith willingly faced down affliction in the form of the threat of death. We see the same strength in the faith of Paul as it moved him to labor tirelessly and journey from place to place to preach the gospel. Although constantly exposed to the peril of death and ultimately bearing the brand marks of Jesus upon his body for so doing, he did not shrink back from declaring “the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27)
Both inspired writers revealed their true heart condition by willingly speaking the truth of God. Jesus stated the principle this way: “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matt. 12:34b)
With conviction and confidence coupled to the character and truth in the Lord, they were compelled to speak. Both faithful men’s afflictions and how through faith they “powered” through it are recorded in the word of God for our benefit. Paul, through the Spirit, says so. First in the context of his letter to the Corinthians. “For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15) He reinforced it to the Ephesians, “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” and he clarified what the psalmist’s utterances were designed to do: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4) Now catch what follows this statement by Paul through the Spirit. “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 15:5-6) Their example, brethren, is designed to encourage us, give us hope, and build our faith that when we are faced with affliction, we too, will stand and say, “I Believed, therefore I spoke.” Will you resolve to use your voice to glorify God? Amen.