5. Treasures in Clay Pots (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (37:11)

Adamo Tadolini, 'St. Paul' (1838) statue in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican, Rome, 18.2 feet high.
Adamo Tadolini, "St. Paul" (1838) statue in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican, Rome, 18.2 feet high.

In earlier chapters, Paul has been reflecting on his ministry "“ fragrance of Christ, sincerity, and a reliance on the Holy Spirit. In this passage, Paul continues to lay out his own personal philosophy of ministry in the face of troubles and difficulties, unbelief and struggle.

Ministry by God's Mercy (4:1)

He begins by identifying the source of his ministry: God's mercy.

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." (4:1)

It is possible for God's servants to "lose heart" (NIV) or "faint" (KJV). The word is ekkakeō, "to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted, lose heart."[119] I've been there, and perhaps you have too. Paul himself had experienced those feelings, as we'll see later in this lesson (4:7-12). One reason he can recover from hurt and discouragement, however, is his sincerity of motive. He is doing what God called him to do and knows it "“ "through God's mercy we have this ministry!"

A Plain and Open Ministry (4:2)

There's a saying in sports, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."[120] People who play only to win will do anything to win "“ especially if they don't think they'll get caught. The end, however, doesn't justify the means. Paul is clear about his ministry ethics:

"We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (4:2)

I was once in a congregation where I sometimes served the "catcher" when people were "slain in the Spirit," that is, they collapsed to the floor under the presence of God. I often saw the real power of God, but once I observed a guest speaker who was giving people a gentle push to help them fall so that his ministry might appear more effective.[121] I've seen pastors and evangelists manipulate people. I've seen leaders say the most misleading, ingenuous, vicious, and utterly false things "“ all to achieve their goals, to win. No! This is not what we're called to do!

Paul sets the example for us. He has "renounced" (NIV, KJV), that is, "refused to practice" (NRSV)[122] various kinds of behavior that characterize his opponents:

  1. "Shameful" (NIV, NRSV), "dishonest," (KJV) is aischynē, "a sensitivity respecting possibility of dishonor, modesty, shame," here, "what one conceals from a feeling of shame."[123]
  2. "Deception" (NIV), "cunning" (NRSV), "craftiness" (KJV) is panourgia, "rascally, evil" ... "cunning, craftiness, trickery," literally, "readiness to do anything."[124]
  3. "Distort" (NIV), "falsify" (NRSV), "handle deceitfully" (KJV) is doloō, generally, "to beguile by craft," then, "to make false through deception or distortion, falsify, adulterate."[125]

In contrast, Paul ministers by clear, open, honest communication.[126] He doesn't have to trick people into a response. He trusts the Holy Spirit to speak to their consciences. After all, to convict and convince is the Holy Spirit's ministry, not ours (John 16:8-11).

 Dear friend, if you've been sleazy in your ministry, repent now! You serve a God who is far bigger than your smallness! If you've been hurt by a leader's sins, don't let it fester any longer. Put it into God's hands and move on. Life is too short to let Satan immobilize you by someone else's shameful example. God has plans for you!

Q1. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2) How do questionable ethics and ministry practices hurt the work of Christ? What is Paul's alternative in verse 2b?

Satan Has Blinded Unbelievers (4:3-4)

After all, our ministry is not about human manipulation. Rather, it is a spiritual ministry by the Holy Spirit that appeals to the inner person. That doesn't mean, however, that all respond. Paul picks up on his previous comments about the veil over Moses' face and over the unbelieving Jews' eyes (3:13-18):

"3 And even if our gospel is veiled,[127] it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (3:3-4)

For the past year and a half, verse 4 has burned in my heart. Currently, I'm serving as interim pastor in a small town known for its rampant New Age inclusiveness "“ occult practices, Tarot readings held in a coffee shop across the street from a church, open marijuana use, statues of the Hindu god Shiva displayed in many shop windows, worship of ancient gods and goddesses, and an annual psychic festival! For our congregation to bear spiritual fruit in this community, the answer isn't to just shout louder. Victory will come only through learning to pray more powerfully. This is the spiritual warfare that Paul talked about in the great, but demon-ridden, cities where he ministered:

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)

Spiritual struggle isn't limited to my city "“ it just seems concentrated there. It exists in cities and towns around the world "“ and even where you live. But it has certainly got my attention.

Look at these verses with me.

The subject is lost people, "unbelievers" (verse 4), "those who are perishing" (verse 3). "Perishing" (NIV, NRSV), "lost" (KJV) is apollymi, a present middle/passive participle, indicating an ongoing condition. The verb means, "perish, be ruined, die," especially of eternal death.[128] Perishing / lost means that men and women, boys and girls are in the process of spiritual death "“ forever and ever. This is a life and death struggle we're engaged in for the souls of mankind. The stakes couldn't be higher!

The culprit is "the god of this age," that is, the false god worshipped by the world around us "“ Satan. Jesus called him "the prince of this world" (John 14:30; 16:11). Paul called him, "the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:2). He currently exercises his power is this world (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:12-13). He is a deceiver, "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). People don't realize that they are obeying Satan and worshipping him (Ephesians 2:2); they're just going with the flow of society. A true Satanist is rare, even in California where I live. But even though people are deceived by Satan, that doesn't mean that they won't reap the bitter fruits of their deception. This is no game; this is real life.

It is important, however, to realize that Satan does not have a right to this world! He is a usurper, seeking to encroach on God's property.

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

Satan's strategy is deception, blinding man's mind. Blinding means "to deprive of sight."[129] People think they see clearly, but "they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (3:3-4). They don't get it. Their minds[130] seem veiled.[131] They can't comprehend the gospel. It doesn't make sense to them. Instead of seeing in the gospel "the glory of Christ," it seems to them like a mere fairy tale. They have no sense of the awfulness of sin, of the judgment upon their lives, or of their own desperate situation. They have no sense of holiness, of God's love, or of Christ's humbling himself to take upon himself the sin of the world. They parody the gospel. They make fun of people who fear God.

They can't see it. Why? Two factors, I believe:

  1. Blinding by Satan and
  2. Deliberate refusal to believe."

People aren't just dupes of Satan. They bear responsibility for their guilt. Paul says of the end time:

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

They refused to grasp, receive, take hold of[132] the truth they do have. As a result, they are dead meat. They are not innocent unbelievers, but culpable and responsible for the truth they have heard.

The counterinsurgency strategy. What should we do in the face of this deceptive, spiritual blindness that is maintained over lost mankind by the evil one? We do what Paul did:

  1. We fight with prayer and spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:10-20). We undergird a ministry of evangelism with earnest prayer and intercession.
  2. We are open and honest in our own communication (4:2), not deceptive or manipulative. We're not going to "save" people, even if we can "get" them to pray the sinner's prayer. This is God's work.
  3. We declare the good news of Jesus Christ with clarity and his death for our sins "“ even if it is met with disdain (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). We fight falsehood with truth: the "belt of truth" and "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:14, 17). There is spiritual power in the gospel for those who are being saved! Paul said,

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Romans 1:16)

  1. We love our unsaved friends with the degree of intensity that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...." (John 3:16). I've heard hateful, blaming street-corner sermons that only serve to turn people away, rather than communicate "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (4:4)

Nobody said ministry is easy, friends. To minister to the lost is to engage in the spiritual battle as a determined participant, rather than a bystander "“ or worse, a spiritually blinded and neutralized believer.

We've spent a lot of time on verse 3 and 4, but they contain an important key to understanding the lay of the spiritual land.

Q2. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Since Satan has blinded people's eyes to the truth, is there any hope for them? What strategies must we use to overcome spiritual blindness? How many people are likely to find Christ without intercessory prayer?

Christ, the Glory of God (4:5-6)

Paul continues,

"5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, β€˜Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." (4:5-6)

This isn't about us, says Paul. We point to Christ. We are only your servants for Jesus' sake, that is, out of our love for Jesus and his mission. It is God's sovereign work to bring spiritual enlightenment, to make the message clear to people's blinded minds. It is an act of creation of the God who spoke his creative word: "Let light shine out of darkness" (Genesis 1:3, 14). But it is our job to declare it.

Treasure in Clay Jars (4:7)

Now Paul talks about the reality of ministry. We bear the precious and awesome "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (4:6), but we are just weak, human vessels, subject to imperfection and breakage. It's a paradox. Paul says,

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (4:7)

Again "“ this is not about us! "Jars of clay" (NIV, cf. NRSV) or "earthen vessels" (KJV, RSV) are pottery containers. The verse contains four key words that I'd like to highlight.

The first word is ostrakinos, "made of earth/clay."[133] You probably have a few kiln-fired flower pots at your house. The least expensive ones are made of red clay, formed and fired. The best have a colorful glaze on the surface that bring beauty. But when you look at the bottom of a glazed pot you can see that it is still just clay "“ nothing exotic. Archaeological digs have found many, many thousands of pieces of broken pottery. Pottery vessels are useful for a while, but have a limited working life. Then they fail, crack, break, and ultimately dissolve.

The second word is skeuos, "vessel, jar, dish, a container of any kind," then figuratively, "a human being exercising a function, instrument, vessel."[134] Again: The focus shouldn't be on about. We're just the container. The focus should be on the contents: "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (4:6), the "all-surpassing power" of God at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

A third word describes the contents, hyperbolē, "all-surpassing" (NIV), "extraordinary" (NRSV), "excellency" (KJV), which we see also in 1:18; 12:17; and will examine later in this lesson at 4:17. It means, "a state of exceeding to an extraordinary degree a point on a scale of extent, excess, extraordinary quality/character."[135]

A fourth word names the contents, dynamis, "power."

No, it's not about us.

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (4:7)

This is about Christ, his love, and his power! Have you ever felt weak, powerless in yourself. I'm sure that Paul did, too. But the One who indwelt Paul "“ and now, you "“ is not weak and powerless. You are a limited vessel. He is the unlimited contents of that vessel poured out to quench the spiritual thirst of lost humankind. It's not about you! It's about him!

Q3. (2 Corinthians 4:7) What truth is Paul seeking to communicate by this analogy of a treasure in a pottery jar? What does the clay jar represent? What does the treasure represent? What's the paradox here?

Pressures on Every Side (4:8-9)

Now Paul talks about some of the pressures of the Christian life and ministry. He has alluded to them before (1:8-9) and will speak more about them later (11:22-28). He says,

"8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (4:8-9)

In this sentence, Paul lays out four pairs of words "“ first, the difficulty the "clay" faces, then second, the hope the "treasure" affords.

Word Pair 1. Pressure

"Hard pressed" (NIV), "afflicted" (NRSV), "troubled" (KJV), not just in one area at a time but "on every side." There are multiple pressures. The verb is thlibō, which has the basic idea of "to press, compress, make narrow." Here it is used figuratively, "to cause to be troubled, oppress, afflict."[136] Have you ever had a sinus headache, when your head seemed to be in a vise? This is a spiritual headache "“ from multiple sources!

"But not crushed" (NIV, NRSV), "not distressed" (KJV) is the negative particle plus stenochōreō. The verb means basically, "to confine or restrict to a narrow space, crowd, cramp, confine, restrict." Figuratively, it means, "to be in a circumstance that seems to offer no way out, be distressed."[137] Yes, you are under pressure, says Paul, but you have a way out "“ you aren't restricted to only that narrow space. You find freedom in God!

Word Pair 2. Confusion

"Perplexed" is aporeō. It has the basic meaning, especially found in ancient Greek papyrus documents, of "to be without resources." From this evolved the meaning, "to be in a confused state of mind, be at a loss, be in doubt, be uncertain."[138] You can identify with that! You wonder: What in the world is going on?

"Not in despair" (NIV, KJV), "not driven to despair" (NRSV). The verb is exaporeō, a compound word from the root of aporeō, the first word in the pair. The preposition ex- compounded to this verb adds the idea of "entirely, utterly"[139] to the original verb: "to be utterly at a loss, be utterly destitute of measures or resources, to renounce all hope, be in despair."[140]

Yes, Paul was confused at times "“ perplexed, at a loss for what to do. But he found God's help in it so that he wasn't without someone to turn to.

Word Pair 3. Persecuted

"Persecuted" is diōkō. Literally, it means, "to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away." But most of the time in the New Testament, it means, "to harass someone," especially because of beliefs, "trouble, molest, persecute."[141] In ancient Greek papyrus documents it sometimes means, "to accuse."[142]

"Abandoned" (NIV), "forsaken" (NRSV, KJV) is enkataleipō, "to separate connection with someone or something, forsake, abandon, desert."[143] We have God's promise: "I will never leave you or forsake (enkataleipō) you" (Hebrews 13:5, NRSV, quoting Deuteronomy 31:6).

Sometimes we feel alone, but we are not. Jesus said to us disciples, "surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Word Pair 4. Struck Down

"Struck down" (NIV, NRSV), "cast down" (KJV) is kataballō, "to strike with sufficient force so as to knock down, throw down, strike down."[144] It probably happened to Paul literally, considering all the physical violence directed his way (11:23-25). But in its figurative sense, this happens to us a lot. We "get the wind knocked out of our sails." We "take a hit" that "throws us for a loop." We have devastating circumstances that we don't bounce back from right away. We think that we can never endure this! Paul felt that way:

"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." (1:8-9)

"Not destroyed" is apollymi, "destroyed," here in the passive voice, "perish, be ruined." We saw this same word in 2:15 and earlier in this lesson at 4:3 in the sense of eternal destruction. But here, Paul is probably talking more in physical and psychological terms.

The Message paraphrase renders these word pairs in the vernacular:

"We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized;
we're not sure what to do, 9 but we know that God knows what to do;
we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side;
we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken."

In the natural order, we'd be wiped out by all this conflict and pressure, threat and blows. But we are not to be incapacitated. Jesus said:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Death in Us, Life in You (4:10-12)

Everyone in the world is seeking to be happy. It's natural to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. But paradoxically, that can be a deceptive path. The saying, "No pain, no gain," applies to physical exercise, but also to spiritual growth and to serving God. In the verses that follow, Paul shares this unique "“ and unpopular "“ insight.

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." (4:10)

Everyone "“ even sinners "“ experiences problems. Christians too. But they also share in Christ's sufferings, especially when we take righteous actions that expose others' sin and selfishness. Paul told Timothy:

"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12)

Jesus told his disciples:

"No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:20)

Given the fact of suffering, it's instructive to see how Christ can use it to work out his purposes.

"10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." (4:10-12)

When we are exposed to struggle, stress, and pain, our inner self is exposed. People can see us for what we are. If we're sniveling cowards, that will become obvious. If we exhibit God's grace under pressure, people will see that as well. When we suffer, people can see Jesus' work within us and will be attracted to the authenticity they see. That's why Paul talks about his weaknesses and sufferings so much. His opponents at Corinth, the so-called "super-apostles" (11:5; 12:1), boasted without cause and had never suffered for Christ.

Paul knew that his sufferings revealed Christ's reality to others. So he was able to be transparent and real. Christ's life "may be revealed in our mortal body," if we are surrendered to him. We experience problems, but others are blessed by seeing God's grace in action in our lives.

Trouble has a way of cracking the earthenware pot, but that just allows others to see the glory of the treasure that lies within (4:7).

Q4. (2 Corinthians 4:8-12) How does it encourage you to know that Paul went through tremendous stress and pressure? What effect did these sufferings have on the way people could see Christ in Paul? Why is pain necessary to spiritual growth? How does our pain allow others to assess our authenticity as Christians?

Faith in the Resurrection (4:13-14)

Now Paul refers to a passage that recounts the words of a suffering psalmist:

"It is written: β€˜I believed; therefore I have spoken.'" (4:13a)[145]

Paul claims the same kind of wisdom that arises from faith that has suffered yet prevailed:

"13b With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence." (4:13b-14)

Faith considers the long view. Life is more than present happiness. A life well-lived in Christ, no matter how much pain has been endured, will be rewarded in resurrection at Christ's coming. Pain is only temporary. Christ wins!

Outer Deterioration, Inner Renewal (4:15-16)

Pain can tempt us to get discouraged, to lose heart "“ the words with which Paul began this chapter (4:1). Perspective helps:

"15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (4:15-16)

Paul outlines two reasons not to lose heart in suffering:

  1. Others benefit from our suffering. Selfish people don't care if others benefit from their suffering. They're just plain miserable. But Paul looks to what will benefit[146] the Corinthians the most. As a result of seeing others benefit, Paul doesn't lose heart.
  2. We benefit from our own suffering. Look at verse 16 once more.

"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (4:16b)

Wasting Away. If we live long enough "“ or go through enough persecution "“ our bodies gradually develop chronic problems. Our joints and organs begin to wear out. Our eyesight and hearing dim. "Outwardly" (literally, in "our outer man") we're breaking down. "Wasting away" (NIV, NRSV), "perish" (KJV) is the verb diaphtheirō in the present tense, which indicates continuous ongoing action. The word means, "to cause the destruction of something, spoil, destroy," and is used to describe the action of rust and of food spoiling, as well as the ongoing physical deterioration suggested in this passage.[147]

Being Renewed. At the same time, "inwardly" (literally, in "our inner man") we are being "renewed." Anakainoō, properly means, "to cause to grow up (ana-) new, to make new."[148] We see the same word in Colossians:

 "[You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:10)

This is an ongoing process. It happens "day by day," a little bit at a time. Your body gradually loses vigor, but at the same time, in Christ, you gain in vigor and power and faith. This, dear friends, is simply another way of describing the process of sanctification.

Focusing on Eternal Glory (4:17-18)

Paul concludes this section with a pair of marvelous promises and insights.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (4:17, NIV)

If you've just gone through some terrible experience and the pain is fresh, you may be offended by Paul's description of "light and momentary troubles." That may seem too callous. But Paul is speaking in comparative terms. The NRSV is a bit more literal so you can see the contrasts:

"For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure." (4:17, NRSV)

  1. Light/slight[149] affliction[150] vs. weight[151] of glory
  2. Momentary[152] vs. eternal.

Nor are these just equal pairs. The long-term glory exceeds the momentary light trouble by so much that the comparison is trivial "“ beyond all measure![153]

Fix Your Eyes on the Eternal (4:18)

If we just look at our present troubles, we fall into despair. We must see our current problems in the light of our glorious inheritance in heaven. This is the secret of ever-increasing faith!

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (4:18)

This phrase "fix our eyes" (NIV), "look at" (NRSV, KJV) is skopeō (from which we get our English word "scope"), "to pay careful attention to, look (out) for, notice someone or something."[154] Paul is recommending thought control, selective attention. Don't be discouraged by the problems you can see in this physical world. They are "temporary" (NIV, NRSV) or "temporal" (KJV), lasting only for a time.[155]

The world usually operates on a very time-bound point-of-view, a human perspective that can be skewed and mistaken (5:18). Its philosophy: Live every moment to the fullest now. Grab the gusto now; you only pass this way once. You don't have tomorrow; you only have today. Carpe diem ("seize the day"). But though this may get you to take some action, since it lacks perspective, the action you choose may be the wrong one. Paul suggests, rather, live your lives now with an awareness of eternity. View your troubles with an awareness of heaven to come.

Dear friend, even if you have been enduring a very heavy burden for what seems to be a very long time, in view of eternity this will be just a split second and light as a feather when compared to the weightiness of the riches God will bestow upon you in his Presence.

Q5. (2 Corinthians 4:15-18) In what way do problems and physical deterioration help us toward "an eternal weight of glory"? Why is it so easy to focus on temporal matters to the exclusion of eternal things? Why is a focus on eternal things so important to our spiritual growth? What can we do to help shift our focus?

2 Corinthians: Discipleship Lessons, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Also available in e-book and paperback


Father, so often I see things from a human point of view. I don't see the big picture, so I'm overwhelmed by today's gritty details. Please broaden my faith and my perspective. Teach me to fix my eyes on what is important and lasting, not on what is trivial and fleeting. Help me, O God, to see things as you see them, and so transcend my time-bound world to live in Christ in heavenly places. In Jesus' name, I plead. Amen.

Key Verses

This week's lesson has a number of memorable verses!

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:18)

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." (2 Corinthians 4:10)

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16)

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17)

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)

End Notes

[119] Ekkakeō, BDAG 303, Thayer 195.

[120] The saying is attributed to UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell ("Red") Sanders about 1950, according to Wikipedia.

[121] Some of my thoughts on spiritual phenomena are found in my essay, "Spirit Baptism, the New Birth,
and Speaking in Tongues"

[122] Apeipon, "disown, renounce" (BDAG 100).

[123] Aischynē, BDAG 29, 1.

[124] Panourgia, BDAG 754.

[125] Doloō, BDAG 256.

[126] "Setting forth plainly" (NIV), "open statement" (NRSV), "manifestation" (KJV) is phanerōsis, "disclosure, announcement" (BDAG 1048).

[127] "Veiled" (NIV, NRSV), "hid" (KJV) is kalyptō, "to cause something not to be known, hide, conceal, keep secret" (BDAG 505, 2b).

[128] Apollymi, BDAG 116, 1bα. I explore this word and concept rather thoroughly in an article, "People Aren't Really 'Lost' ... Are They?" (www.joyfulheart.com/evang/lost.htm).

[129] "Blinded" is typhloō, "to deprive of sight, to blind" (BDAG 1021).

[130] "Minds" is noēma, "the faculty of processing thought, mind, understanding" (BDAG 675, 2).

[131] "Veiled" (NIV, NRSV), "hid" (KJV) is kalyptō, "to cause something not to be known, hide, conceal, keep secret" (BDAG 505, 2b).

[132] Dechomai in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 means, "receive, grasp," here, "to indicate approval or conviction by accepting, be receptive of, be open to, approve, accept" (BDAG 222, 5).

[133] Ostrakinos, BDAG 430.

[134] Skeuos, BDAG 928, 2 and 3.

[135] Hyperbolē, BDAG 1032.

[136] Thlibō is used three times in 2 Corinthians: here and at 1:6 and 7:5 (BDAG 457, 3).

[137] Stenochōreō, BDAG 492, 2.

[138] Aporeō, BDAG 119.

[139] Ex, Thayer 192, VI, 6.

[140] Exaporeō, Thayer 222; "to be at a loss psychologically, be in great difficulty, doubt, embarrassment" (BDAG 345).

[141] Diōkō, BDAG 254, 2; Thayer 153, 2.

[142] A. Oepke, diōkō, TDNT 2:229-230.

[143] Enkataleipō, BDAG 273, 2.

[144] Kataballō, BDAG 514, 2.

[145] The full reference is as follows: "I believed; therefore I said, β€˜I am greatly afflicted'" (Psalm 116:10).

[146] Your benefit" (NIV) is more literally, "for your sake" (NRSV, KJV), using the preposition dia, here a "marker of something constituting cause, the reason why something happens, results, exists; because of, for the sake of" (BDAG 225, 2a).

[147] Diaphtheirō, BDAG 239, 1.

[148] Anakainoō, Thayer, p. 38. This Greek word is unique to Paul.

[149] Elaphros, "having little weight, light" in weight, "insignificant" (BDAG 314, 1).

[150] Thlipsis, "trouble that inflicts distress, oppression, affliction, tribulation" (BDAG 457, 1).

[151] Baros, "weight, burden," here "fullness" (BDAG 167, 3). In Hebrew "glory" carries the idea of heaviness, substance, so "weight of glory" to a Hebrew speaker doubles the idea of weightiness.

[152] "Momentary" is parautika, "pertaining to a point of time immediately subsequent to another point of time, on the spot, immediately, for the present" (BDAG 772).

[153] The Greek uses the idiom "from excess to excess," which we also see in 3:18, "from one degree of glory to another." Eis, "marker of degree, up to" (BDAG 289, 3).

[154] Skopeō, BDAG 932.

[155] Proskairos, "lasting only for a time, temporary, transitory" (BDAG 880), from pros-, "to, for," of a thing adjusted to some standard + kairos, "time" (pros, Thayer, 543, IV, 5).

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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