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Verse 3. Blessed be God. This is the commencement, properly, of the epistle; and it is the language of a heart that is full of joy, and that bursts forth with gratitude in view of mercy. It may have been excited by the recollection that he had formerly written to them, and that during the interval which had elapsed between the time when the former epistle was written and when this was penned, he had been called to a most severe trial, and that from that trial he had been mercifully delivered. With a heart full of gratitude and joy for this merciful interposition, he commences this epistle. It is remarked by Doddridge, that eleven out of the thirteen epistles of Paul begin with exclamations of praise, joy, and thanksgiving. Paul had been afflicted, but he had also been favoured with remarkable consolations; and it was not unnatural that he should allow himself to give expression to his joy and praise in view of all the mercies which God had conferred on him. This entire passage is one that is exceedingly valuable, as showing that there may an elevated joy in the midst of deep affliction, and as showing what is the reason why God visits his servants with trials. The phrase "blessed be God" is equivalent to "praised be God," or is an expression of thanksgiving. It is the usual formula of praise, (compare Eph 1:3;) and shows his entire confidence in God, and his joy in him, and his gratitude for his mercies. It is one of innumerable instances which show that it is possible and proper to bless God in view of the trials with which he visits his people, and of the consolations which he causes to abound.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is mentioned here in the relation of the "Father of the Lord Jesus," doubtless, because it was through the Lord Jesus, and him alone, that He had imparted the consolation which he had experienced, 2 Co 1:5. Paul knew no other God than the "Father of the Lord Jesus;" he knew no other source of consolation than the gospel; he knew of no way in which God imparted comfort except through his Son. That is genuine Christian consolation which acknowledges the Lord Jesus as the medium by whom it is imparted; that is proper thanksgiving to God which is offered through the Redeemer; that only is the proper acknowledgment of God which recognizes him as the "Father of the Lord Jesus."

The Father of mercies. This is a Hebrew mode of expression, where a noun performs the place of an adjective, and the phrase is synonymous nearly with "merciful Father." The expression has, however, somewhat more energy and spirit than the simple phrase "merciful Father." The Hebrews used the word father often to denote the author or source of anything; and the idea in phraseology like this is, that mercy proceeds from God, that he is the source of it, and that it is his nature to impart mercy and compassion, as if he originated it, or was the source and fountain of it—sustaining a relation to all true consolation analogous to that which a father sustains to his offspring. God has the paternity of all true joy. It is one of his peculiar and glorious attributes that he thus produces consolation and mercy.

And the God of all comfort, The source of all consolation. Paul delighted, as all should do, to trace all his comforts to God; and Paul, as all Christians have, had sufficient reason to regard God as the source of true consolation. There is no other real source of happiness but God; and he is able abundantly, and willing, to impart consolation to his people.

{d} "Blessed be God" Eph 1:3; 1 Pe 1:3

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