Beloved, by the time the Apostle Paul arrived in Corinth, he had many reasons to be discouraged. In city after city Paul’s life had been threatened and he needed to be encouraged.
We have seen how on his first missionary journey in Pisidia Antioch – persecution instigated by the Jews arose and Paul had to shake the dust off his feet. In Lystra, where Paul healed the lame man, he was stoned and left for dead.
In addition, there was the painful parting of ways with Barnabas over the issue of taking John Mark. The jealous opposition and painful persecution in Philippi; hidden by Jason and the brethren in Thessalonica from the angry mob and snuck out of town to Berea; and fled to Athens where he ministered all alone against a bunch of intellectuals who ended up mocking the message of the resurrection.
So, by the time Paul gets to Corinth, he is lonely and ministering by himself. He is physically exhausted and probably still suffering from earlier beatings. He also has new challenges ahead because of the depressing sinful state of this commercial hub and seafaring town; plus, he is out of money and would not have much time for ministry because of the need to work to support himself. Paul needed some perseverance and some encouragement. The Lord was going to provide both!