2 Corinthians 4:1 Commentary
Amplified: THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion. (Lockman)
Barclay: Since therefore this part of God’s service has been given to us, even as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. (Westminster Press)
God's Word: We don't become discouraged, since God has given us this ministry through his mercy. (GWT)
Easy English: God in his *mercy has given us this work to do. As a result, we do not lose hope.
ESV: Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. (ESV)
KJV: Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
NET: Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, we do not become discouraged. (NET Bible)
NIV: Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: This is the ministry of the new agreement which God in his mercy has given us and nothing can daunt us. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: Therefore, being engaged in this service and being mindful of the mercy which has been shown us, we are not cowards.
Wuest: Because of this, having this ministry [of the new testament] even as we were made the objects of mercy [in its bestowal], we do not lose courage, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Because of this, having this ministration, according as we did receive kindness, we do not faint,
for the Saints
|Testimonial & Didactic||Practical||Apologetic|
Misunderstanding & Explanation
|Apostle's Conciliation, Ministry & Exhortations||Apostle's Solicitation for Judean Saints||Apostle's Vindication
Ephesus to Macedonia:
Macedonia: Preparation for Visit to Corinth
Adapted & modified from Jensen's Survey of the New Testament (Highly Recommended Resource) & Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible
THEREFORE, SINCE WE HAVE THIS MINISTRY, AS WE RECEIVED MERCY, WE DO NOT LOSE HEART: Dia touto, echontes (PAPMPN) ten diakonian tauten, kathos eleethemen, (1PAPI) ouk egkakoumen, (1PPAI): (Since: 2Co 3:6,12 5:18 Eph 3:7,8) (As: 1Co 7:25 1Ti 1:13 1Pe 2:10) (We do not lose heart: 2Co 4:16 Isa 40:30 Ga 6:9 Eph 3:13 Php 4:13 2Th 3:13 Heb 12:3 Rev 2:3)
Alfred Plummer feels that...
William Barclay has an interesting introduction to this chapter noting that...
Therefore reflects the combination of two Greek words (dia touto) which together signify a term of conclusion and are rendered for this reason, because of this or therefore.
Dia touto - This idiom is used some 46 times in the NT - Mt 6:25 12:27 31 13:13 52 14:2 18:23 21:43 23:14 23:34 24:44 Mk 6:14 11:24 12:24 Lk 11:19 12:22 Jn 1:31 5:16 18 6:65 7:22 8:47 9:23 10:17 12:39 13:11 15:19 16:15 19:11 Ac 2:26 Ro 5:12 2Co 4:1 7:13 13:10 Ep 1:15 5:17 6:13 Col 1:9 1Th 3:7 Philemon 1:15 He 1:9 2:1 1Jn 3:1 4:5 Rev 7:15 12:12
Therefore - Refers back to the previous chapter in which Paul presented a superb synopsis of the surpassing glory of the ministry under the New Covenant as compared to the ministry of Moses under the Old Covenant. Alford feels this specifically "refers to the previous description of the freeness and unveiledness of the ministry of the Gospel."
Hughes adds that this New Covenant ministry so surpasses the Old Covenant because...
John MacArthur sees the "therefore" as pointing back to 2Co 3:18 commenting that...
We have this ministry - The present tense (have) speaks of this ministry as Paul's continual possession. But what is "this ministry"? What ministry? Paul had just reminded the saints that the ministry (diakonia) of the New Covenant which he had received (1Ti 1:12, Ac 9:15) was "the ministry (diakonia) of the Spirit" (2Co 3:8) and in chapter 5 adds that it was "the ministry of reconciliation" (2Co 5:18). He also succinctly documented the superiority of the New Covenant ministry compared to the Old Covenant ministry of Moses. (See chart summarizing the superior nature of the New Covenant)
A T Robertson feels that the use of the plural ("we") is the so-called literary plural and adds "Can he not speak for all of us?" Some feel that "we" instead of "I" is an expression of Paul's humility, which is a reasonable interpretation in view of the personal way in which he is forced to defend his ministry.
Note that "we have this ministry" implies that it was something he had received. It was a gift from God, a gift that was grounded in God's great mercy. None of us receive ministry based on anything meritorious we have done, and Paul never lost sight of this great truth. In his last written communication (2Timothy) we read...
Ministry (1248)(diakonia) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity.
Diakonia - Used 7x in 2Corinthians -2Co 5:18; 6:3; 8:4; 9:1, 12-13; 11:8
It is good to remember the cultural context for in Grecian through diakonia was not a dignified term. The service associated with diakonia involved dependence, submission, and constraints of time and freedom, which cause the Greeks to regard diakonia as degrading and dishonorable. Service for the public good was honored, but
To the Greek mind, mundane service was not considered to be a proper purpose for a man's life. The formula of the sophist expressed the prevalent Greek philosophy -- "How can a man be happy when he has to serve someone?". Paul would likely respond "How can a man be blessed unless he is a servant of all?" (cp Acts 20:35)
Surprisingly, Judaism had no philosophy of ministry involving diakonia. Instead, Judaism adopted a philosophy of service not unlike that of the Greeks. If service was rendered at all, it was done as an act of social obligation or as an act to those more worthy. A superior would not stoop to become a servant! Though Judaism in the time of Jesus knew and practiced its social responsibilities, e.g., to the poor, this was done mainly by alms, not by service (cf. Lk 10:30-35). Lowly service such as waiting on tables, was beneath the dignity of a free man (cf. Lk 7:44ff). Sometimes, the "greater" would wait on a table, but this was unusual. Thus Jesus' example introduced a radical new attitude toward diakonia.
In the NT, a diakonos is one who by choice comes under the authority of his Master and who serves even as did His Master (Mk 10:45, cp 1Co 4:16 11:1). Paul emphasized this philosophy of ministry in his parting words to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17) declaring...
In Acts 21 Paul presents a proper perspective for ministry writing...
We received mercy (1653) (eleeo from eleos [word study]) means to feel sympathy with the misery of another, especially such sympathy which manifests itself in deeds (action), less frequently in words. It describes the general sense of one who expresses compassion to someone in need. Mercy is a concern for an afflicted person that prompts one to give help. God's grace gives us what we don't deserve and His mercy does not give us what we do deserve.
Writing to Timothy Paul gave a parallel description of mercy he had received...
Paul's acknowledgment of his receipt of (and need for) mercy is a reflection of his continuing attitude of humility and dependence on God, recognizing that his holy calling as an apostle was not due to his works but was a result of his having received mercy.
A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring;
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.
Vincent writes that eleeo means
While the Dispenser of the mercy is not stated, this is certainly an allusion to the bestowal of bountiful mercy from our great "God (Who is) merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth." (Ps 86:15) (See discussion of God's attribute of Mercy)
Phillip Towner adds that
Spurgeon describes God's mercy as His...
Matthew Henry has a good reminder that...
Paul understood God's great mercy (1Pe 1:3-note) for he of all people had been in desperate need of mercy before salvation (Acts 8:1, 3, 9:3, 4, 5, 6, 22:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 10 26:9 10 11 12 12 14 15 16 17 18 19) and thereafter Paul never forgot God's saving mercy, living in daily dependence on and thankfulness for this same divine mercy that saved him on the Damascus Road. Do you live daily with a similar sense of great gratitude for having been shown such great mercy from so great a God? The longer Paul was a recipient of God's mercy, the greater was his sense of humility as he "progressed" from an apostle "not fit to be called an apostle" (1Co 15:9-note ~55AD), to "the very least of all saints" (Ep 3:8-note ~61AD) to the foremost of sinners (1Ti 1:15 - 63-66AD)
Hughes comments that...
We do not - The Greek word for "not" (ou/ouk) indicates absolute negation. Paul says we absolutely in no way are losing heart, we are not becoming discouraged or despondent with fear and we are not becoming faint with weariness and exhaustion. The present tense indicates that this is his abiding attitude in spite of the challenges to his character and conduct by the false teachers. Beloved, have you ever been falsely accused or had your motives for ministry impugned or unfairly questioned? Most of us who have been at this for a while have been unjustly treated or unfairly criticized. We need to remember that the same thing happened to Paul and of course to our Lord Jesus and we must continually strive to imitate them (1Co 11:1) walking in the steps our Savior trod (1Pe 2:21-note), so that we do not lose heart. (See 1Pe 5:8-note 1Pe 5:9-note, 1Pe 5:10-note)
Earlier Paul had affirmed that he had great boldness to speak forth the truth of the Gospel (2Co 3:12-note) and when he considered the greatness of his calling (having such a hope), it buoyed up his spirit and gave him courage to face all his adversaries and afflictions with a sense of confidence. Beloved, as those who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light, we often lose heart when we fail to remember the greatness of the hope (absolute assurance of future good) our calling (Ep 1:18-note Ep 4:4-note) with which God has called us in and for Christ Jesus (Ro 1:6-note, Jude 1:1) and we forget that we have the high privilege and purpose to proclaim His excellencies to those still lost in darkness. (1Pe 2:9-note, Acts 26:18)
Listen to Spurgeon's exhortation...
Lose heart (1573) (ekkakeo [word study] from ek = out of or intensifies meaning of... + kakos = bad) strictly speaking means to act or behave badly in some circumstance. On one hand, it can mean to give in to evil. On the other hand, it can convey the idea of to be weary in or become tired of doing something, to lose courage, to slacken their one's labor or exertion because of the weariness caused by prolonged effort. It can picture one who becomes fainthearted or despondent in the face of trial or difficulty.
It is worth noting that Paul begins and ends this section with this same verb "lose heart" (ekkakeo) emphasizing that despite the difficulties and detractions, he refused to lose heart, and steadfastly remained "energized" for the ministry for which he had been chosen (Ac 9:15, 16, cp 2Ti 1:1-note) ...
Wood comments that...
The UBS Handbook notes that...
MacArthur writes that ekkakeo was...
Rienecker writes that ekkakeo
Albert Barnes writes that ekkakeo...
Constable comments that...
Warren Wiersbe writes that...
Unmistakable Success - What would you think of a baseball player who played seven seasons without hitting the ball in fair territory? One of the best players of all time, Mickey Mantle, did the equivalent of that. His walks and strikeouts add up to more than 3,400 trips to the plate—seven seasons’ worth.
Or what would you think of an inventor who failed hundreds of times in his experiments? Thomas Edison, perhaps the greatest inventor in American history, spent many long months failing before he found a filament that would stay lit in his incandescent light.
The lesson behind these experiences is clear: We have to look beyond failures and keep persevering.
I can’t think of a better example of someone who persevered despite apparent failure than the apostle Paul. His list of failures would lead most of us to quit. For one, the people in a church he founded in Corinth stumbled badly. For another, he went to prison numerous times. Throw in the shipwrecks, beatings, and betrayals (2Co 11:23, 24, 25, 26 27), and you could have a picture of defeat. Yet Paul’s ministry is remembered for its unmistakable success.
Let’s learn to look past our failures. Because of God’s mercy, we need not lose heart (2Co 4:1). - May 20, 1996 — by Dave Branon
Are You Weary? - I read a story about a pastor of a small, rural church in Scotland. He had been forced out by his elders, who claimed they saw no fruit from his ministry. The village in which the pastor served was a difficult place. People’s hearts were cold and hostile to the truth. During the time the pastor served, there had been no conversions and no baptisms. But he did recall one positive response to his preaching.
When the offering plate was passed during a service, a young boy placed the plate on the floor, stood up, and stepped into it. When asked to explain, he replied that he had been deeply touched by the minister’s life, and while he had no money to give he wanted to give himself wholly to God.
The boy who stepped into the plate was Bobby Moffat, who in 1817 became a pioneer missionary to South Africa. He was greatly used of God to touch many lives. And it all started with that small church and the faithful work of that unappreciated pastor.
Perhaps you see no fruit from your work for the Lord. Remain faithful! Do not lose heart, but ask God to strengthen you with His power (2Corinthians 4:1,7). In His time and in His way, He will produce a harvest if you do not give up (Galatians 6:9). September 15, 2003 — by David H. Roper
Keep me faithful, keep me grateful,
2 Corinthians 4:2 Commentary
2 Corinthians 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek : alla apeipametha (1PAMI) ta krupta tes aischunes, me peripatountes (PAPMPN) en panourgia mede dolountes (PAPMPN) ton logon tou theou, alla te phanerosei tes aletheias sunistanontes (PAPMPN) heautous pros pasan suneidesin anthropon enopion tou theou.
Amplified: We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience. (Lockman)
Barclay: But we have refused to have anything to do with hidden and shameful methods. We do not act with unscrupulous cleverness. We do not adulterate the word which God gave us to preach. But by making the truth clear, we commend ourselves to the human conscience in all its forms in the sight of God. (Westminster Press)
God's Word: Instead, we have refused to use secret and shameful ways. We don't use tricks, and we don't distort God's word. As God watches, we clearly reveal the truth to everyone. This is our <letter of> recommendation. (GWT)
Easy English: We do not do things in secret and evil ways. We do not try to make people believe lies. We do not give a false meaning to the word of God. The opposite is true. We tell the truth clearly. We know that God sees everything. He sees everything that we do. Therefore, we live in a way that is attractive to everyone’s conscience.
ESV: But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. (ESV)
KJV: But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
NET: But we have rejected shameful hidden deeds, not behaving with deceptiveness or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience before God. (NET Bible)
NIV: Rather, 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. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: We use no hocus-pocus, no clever tricks, no dishonest manipulation of the Word of God. We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: Nay, we have renounced the secrecy which marks a feeling of shame. We practice no cunning tricks, nor do we adulterate God’s Message. But by a full clear statement of the truth we strive to commend ourselves in the presence of God to every human conscience.
Wuest: but we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not ordering the manner of our lives in the sphere of craftiness, nor even adulterating the word of God [by an admixture of error], but by means of an open declaration of the truth commending ourselves to every variety of the conscience of men in the sight of God. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but did renounce for ourselves the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor deceitfully using the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth recommending ourselves unto every conscience of men, before God;
|BUT WE HAVE RENOUNCED THE THINGS HIDDEN BECAUSE OF SHAME, NOT WALKING IN CRAFTINESS OR ADULTERATING THE WORD OF GOD: alla apeipametha (1PAMI) ta krupta tes aischunes, me peripatountes (PAPMPN) en panourgia mede dolountes (PAPMPN) ton logon tou theou: (renounced: 1Co 4:5) (shame, Ro 1:16 6:21 Eph 5:12) (not: 2Co 1:12 2:17 11:3,6,13-15 Eph 4:14 1Th 2:3-5) a
NO HOCUS POCUS
Phillips has a pithy summary of the three ministerial perversions Paul staunchly disavows...
But (alla) uses this conjunction to sound a strong contrast between God's ministry in and through him and the false ministers that had infiltrated the church at Corinth.
Renounced (550) (apeipomen from apó = from + eípon <> épo = speak) literally means to speak off or to speak out (against). To refuse, deny, renounce, spurn, disown with aversion.
Charles Hodge adds that what Paul denies of himself he affirms of the false teachers, their "lack of openness, adopting secret methods to achieve their ends, which they would be ashamed to admit openly."
Renounce (English definitions) to give up, refuse, or resign usually by formal declaration. To refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further. To disown; to disclaim; to reject; as a title or claim; to refuse to own or acknowledge as belonging to as to renounce a title to land or a claim to reward; to renounce all pretensions to applause. To renounce allegiance. To cast off or reject as a possession; to forsake.
David Lowery writes that...
M J Harris adds that...
Hidden (2927)(kruptos from krupto = keep secret; English ~ cryptic, etc) means concealed, secret, hidden either to protect it or for self-serving purposes. Krupto describes something that is unknown because it is being kept secret or hidden.
Liddell-Scott give an example of a secular use of kruptos -- "a trench covered and concealed by planks and earth".
Giving and praying are to be done in secret (Mt 6:4, Mt 6:6) for God sees all things and there is nothing hidden from Him so that all things will one day be brought to the light by Him (Mt 10:26 Mk 4:22 Lk 8:17 Lk 12:2 1Co 4:5). Kruptos conveys the idea of privately in Jn 7:4, 10, 18:20. Kruptos describes the "secrets" of men's hearts (Ro 2:16, 1Co 14:25). "The hidden person of the heart" in 1Pe 3:4 which Wuest explains is "the personality of the Christian woman as made beautiful by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in glorifying the Lord Jesus and manifesting Him in and through her life."
Krupto - 17x in 15v in NAS - Mt 6:4, 6; 10:26 Mk 4:22 Lk 8:17; 12:2 Jn 7:4, 10; 18:20 Ro 2:16, 29 1Co 4:5 14:25 2Co 4:2 1Pe 3:4. NAS = hidden(5), inwardly(1), secret(7), secrets(2), things hidden(2).
Hidden because of shame - Literally "the hidden things of shame" - Paul is referring to those things that are done only under cover and with the fear of shame if they were to be exposed.
The Amplified Version does an excellent job of "amplifying the meaning...
Shame (152) (aischune from aischos = shame, disfigurement, disgrace) means shame resulting from exposure of sin for example. Paul is describing that which brings humiliating disgrace or disrepute.
Aischune - 6x in 6v in NAS - Luke 14:9; 2 Cor 4:2; Phil 3:19; Heb 12:2; Jude 1:13; Rev 3:18. NAS = disgrace(1), shame(5).
Webster's 1828 on shame - A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by the exposure of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal. Shame is particularly excited by the disclosure of actions which, in the view of men, are mean and degrading. Hence it is often or always manifested by a downcast look or by blushes, called confusion of face.
UBS Handbook explains that...
J H Bernard...
Henry Alford adds that the meaning here is that...
Not walking in - Not living, not behaving, not conducting oneself. The preposition "in" (en) means in the sphere of (it's like a fish in a fish bowl - he lives in the sphere of the water that fish bowl). Wuest translates it as Paul saying we are "not ordering the manner of our lives in the sphere of craftiness", as were the false teachers.
Walking (4043)(peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk, tread) means literally to walk around, to go here and there in walking, to tread all around. The 39 uses in the Gospels always refer to literal, physical walking. Seven of the 8 uses in Acts are also in the literal sense (except Acts 21:21). (See Spurgeon's comments on what it means to walk) Paul uses peripateo only in the metaphorical sense (32 times in his Epistles) meaning to conduct one's life, to order one's behavior, to behave, to make one's way, to make due use of opportunities, to live or pass one’s life (with a connotation of spending some time in a place).
Craftiness (3834)(panourgia from pas = all + ergon = work) is literally "all working" or capable of all work. In the NT panourgia takes on a negative meaning and conveys the ideas of trickery involving evil cunning, cleverness, craftiness, shrewdness, craft or treachery. A crafty person is marked by subtlety and guile and is adept in the use of cunning. Beware! (see Paul's warning to the Ephesian elders - Acts 20:28).
Paul is saying that he scrupulously avoids clever manipulation of words so that error is made to look like truth (cp Ep 4:14-note). He is well aware of the fact that there are those who do practice panourgia, using subtle sophistries and specious statements because they are willing to do anything to achieve their unscrupulousness goals (to them this "end justifies the means" regardless of cunning the means are.)
Kent Hughes adds that craftiness is...
In 2Corinthians 11:3 Paul explains that one of the sought after effects of panourgia is to deceive the listener even as Satan deceived Eve (Ge 3:13)...
Satan's modus operandi has not changed that much so we do well to remain on "high alert" (1Pe 5:8-note cp 2Co 2:11 "we are not ignorant of his schemes") for his nefarious schemes. As Moses declared "the serpent was (still is) more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Ge 3:1).
Barnes writes that...
NIDNTT has the following note regarding the classic use of panourgia...
Here are the other 3 NT (out of 5) uses of panourgia...
A W Pink comments...
Adulterating (1389) (doloo from dolos which is derived from delo meaning to bait or to catch with bait) is used only here in the NT and means to use deceit, to bait, to ensnare, to corrupt with error, to distort, to falsify. The idea is changing something to cause it be be false (even while it appears to be "true"!). The goal is to beguile, to ensnare or to take by craft. It's like adding a touch of arsenic to pure, life giving water - now it is deadly poison!
The present tense pictures this falsification as an ongoing process, an apt description of false teachers, for even when they present the truth as Peter writes the "secretly introduce destructive heresies" (2Pe 2:1-note), where the verb pareisago (see word study) accurately describes their method of bringing in deadly error alongside the truth. This always reminds of the U S Treasury department's method of training their agents to recognize counterfeit $20 bills by having them intensely study real $20 bills.
Paul passed on the unadulterated Word of God to the saints, writing in his first epistle...
Doloo was used in secular Greek to describe the dishonest practice of adulterating wine with water. Here Paul is saying in essence "I don't water down the Word of Truth with half truths, funny stories, inappropriate language (which is sadly becoming all to accepted in modern, "hip", "authentic" evangelicalism!)!"
It is worth noting that the root word dolos literally refers to a fishhook, trap, or trick -- all of which are various "instruments" of deception. Dolos is a deliberate attempt to mislead, trick, snare or "bait" (baiting the trap in attempt to "catch" the unwary victim), in this case the bait being lies that are spoken that are counter to the Word of Truth (cp Jn 8:44, 2Co 11:13 14 15 2Pe 2:1-note 2Pe 2:2, 3-note). Dolos reflects a desire to gain advantage or preserve one's position by deceiving others. A modern term in advertising is called "bait and switch" where the unwary consumer is lured in by what looks like an price too good to be true!
William Barclay explains that...
Paul says I do not corrupt, debase, or make impure the precious (Ps 19:10-note, Ps 119:72-note, Ps 119:127-note, Job 23:12-note), persisting (Eternal - Mt 24:35 5:18-note), powerful (Lk 1:37ASV) Word of God by adding any genre of foreign or inferior elements! Dear preacher of the Word may I ask you a question? How much time do you devote to introducing your message each Sunday, before you begin to preach the Word? I routinely encounter sermons where from one quarter to one third of the "sermon" time is allocated to introductory illustrations calculated to make the Word more "authentic". Beloved, that is too long. The Word is authentic. I am not against salient, short introductions and illustrations, but when they begin to "cut in" on the time of the pure milk of God's Word then frankly the saints are being short changed and will likely walk away unsatisfied for only the Word brings genuine soul satisfaction. Personal stories and cute illustrations may generate an emotional response, but ultimately they only tickle the ears (2Ti 4:3,4-note) and produce "spiritual children" who are vulnerable to being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ep 4:14-note). God's Words through His prophet Jeremiah are relevant to much of the fare being offered from modern pulpits...
Guzik comments that...
C H Spurgeon addressed the age old tendency of preachers to change the words of the clear Gospel message in order to make it more "seeker friendly" or hip or acceptable ("culturally relevant") writing that...
John Calvin is quite blunt writing...
Earlier Paul had written...
Kent Hughes has some sobering thoughts on how even evangelical preachers "tamper with the Word of God" noting than instead of actually cutting out the Bible as crass liberal preachers are prone to do...
John MacArthur emphasizes how important it is that pastors and bible teachers constantly strive to derive...
Warren Wiersbe cautions all of us who handle the Word Truth to strive to rightly divide it (2Ti 2:15-note) ...
The Word of God - This phrase occurs 47x in 46v in the NAS - 1 Sam 9:27; 2 Sam 16:23; 1 Kgs 12:22; 1 Chr 17:3; Pr 30:5; Mt 15:6; Mark 7:13; Luke 3:2; 5:1; 8:11, 21; 11:28; John 10:35; Acts 4:31; 6:2, 7; 8:14; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 46; 17:13; 18:11; Rom 9:6; 1 Cor 14:36; 2 Cor 2:17; 4:2; Eph 6:17; Phil 1:14; Col 1:25; 1 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 4:5; 2 Tim 2:9; Titus 2:5; Heb 4:12; 6:5; 11:3; 13:7; 1 Pet 1:23; 2 Pet 3:5; 1 John 2:14; Rev 1:2, 9; 6:9; 19:13; 20:4
Word (3056) (logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. The Words of the Bible express the mind of God.
Paul gives us a wonderful "definition" of the unadulterated Word and its work (efficacy) in men...
THE POWER OF THE WORD - The renowned preacher C H Spurgeon once tested an auditorium in which he was to speak that evening. Stepping into the pulpit, he loudly proclaimed, "Behold the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." (Jn 1:29) Satisfied with the acoustics, he left and went his way. Unknown to him, there were two men working in the rafters of that large auditorium, neither one Christians. One of the men was pricked in his conscience by the verse Spurgeon quoted and became a believer later that day! Such is the penetrating power of God's eternal word! Little wonder that Paul is so insistent on our "preaching of the Word" (2Ti 4:2-note)!
BUT BY THE MANIFESTATION OF TRUTH COMMENDING OURSELVES TO EVERY MAN'S CONSCIENCE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD: alla te phanerosei tes aletheias sunistanontes (PAPMPN) heautous pros pasan suneidesin anthropon enopion tou theou: (by: 2Co 5:11 6:4-7 7:14)
But (alla) draws a marked contrast between the trickery and deceit of the false teachers and his open presentation of the Word of Truth. This is a good reminder to all of us that the best "antidote" for false teaching is the Word of Truth. Remember that spiritual warfare is not so much a "power" struggle as it is a truth struggle.
By the manifestation of (the) truth - ("by plain statement of the truths of the Gospel in public preaching" [Bernard]) By simple exhibition of the truth, stating it as it is, without "additives" (as with philosophies, traditions, etc, cp Col 2:8, 9-note), not taking a text out of its context, etc
In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul emphasized his approach to ministry writing that...
Manifestation (5321) (phanerosis from phaneroo = to make manifest) means a bringing to light or to full disclosure. ("the full light of truth")
Phanerosis describes the full exhibition of any thing by clear evidence, disclosing what is otherwise unseen or obscure. Here it describes Paul's open proclamation of the Word of Truth which stands in marked contrast to the shameful practices that must be hidden.
The only other NT use of this noun is 1Cor 12:7 describing spiritual gifts as "the manifestation of the Spirit".
Truth (225)(aletheia from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden, that which is not concealed so that it can be seen or expressed for what it really is. The basic understanding of aletheia is that it is the manifestation of a hidden reality. For example, when you are a witness in a trial, the court attendant says "Raise your right hand. Do you swear that you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?" And you say, "I do" and you sit down. The question the court attendant is asking is "Are you willing to come into this courtroom and manifest something that is hidden to us that only you know so that you will bear evidence to that?" Therefore when you speak the truth, you are manifesting a hidden reality. Does that make sense? An parallel example in Scripture is the case of the woman in the crowd who had touched Jesus (Read context = Mk 5:24-25, 26-27, 28-29, 30, 31-32), but when she became "aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth" (Mk 5:33) and nothing but the truth. She did not lie. She spoke no falsehoods.
Noah Webster defined truth as
Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe that reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, "what you see is what you get". Hence God's Word of Truth is His declaration which corresponds to reality in the visible and invisible world and for time and eternity. God’s Word of Truth is the source and measure not only of all spiritual and moral truth but of all truth of any sort on which it speaks.
Charles Spurgeon wisely said that
The Heart Of The Gospel - When E. Stanley Jones, well-known missionary to India, had the opportunity to meet with Mahatma Gandhi, he asked a searching question of India’s revered leader: “How can Christianity make a stronger impact on your country?” Gandhi very thoughtfully replied that three things would be required.
First, Christians must begin to live more like Jesus. Second, the Christian faith should be presented without any adulteration. Third, Christians should emphasize love, which is at the heart of the gospel. (Ed: Gandhi would have liked to meet Paul who lived in a way that was open and attractive to every man’s conscience.)
These insightful suggestions are the key to effective evangelism around the world. As messengers of God’s love, we are to be human mirrors who reflect without distortion a growing likeness to our Lord; we are not to walk in “craftiness” (2Co 4:2). If our lives reflect an image that is spiritually blurred, the truth of saving grace may not be clearly communicated (2Co 4:3, 4, 5). We are also to share the biblical essentials of our faith clearly. We must not handle the Word of God “deceitfully” (2Co 4:2). And our lives are to be marked by love for God and others (1Jn 5:1, 2).
Let’s be sure that we reflect a clear image of Jesus’ likeness, the truth of God, and love. — by Vernon C. Grounds
Lord, teach us from Your holy Word
If you know the truth,
Commend ourselves - Note Paul's use of the plural - not "myself" but "ourselves". Again he goes to great lengths to minimize any accusation of self adulation.
Commend (4921)(sunistemi/sunistao from sun/syn = together with + hístemi = set, place, stand) means literally to set, place or put together. To bring together. When one brings together someone with another person, the idea of this verb is that it is a way of presenting or introducing them and this gives way to the meaning of commend, which means to recommend as worthy of notice, regard, kindness or confidence. When we commend someone we speak in favor of them, present them as worthy or recommend them.
The present tense indicates this is Paul's continual practice to present himself to men as an "open book". He has nothing to hide as do the false teachers.
It is notable that more than 50% of the uses of sunistemi occur in 2Corinthians - 2Co 3:1 4:2 5:12 6:4 7:11 10:12,18 12:11.
Barnes comments on commending ourselves to every man's conscience...
Conscience (4893) (suneidesis is derived from sun/syn = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. Suneidesis describes the process of thought which distinguishes what it considers morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad.
In this verse Paul presents himself to every man's conscience as one who has openly and accurately handled the Word of Truth.
Suneidesis - Used 8x in the first letter to the Corinthians 1Co 8:7, 10, 12; 10:25, 27 28 29 (twice) and 3x in 2Co 1:12; 4:2; 5:11
Webster's 1828 Dictionary says conscience is
The conscience of men who saw and heard Paul's ministry made an internal judgment of whether it was good or bad. Paul had no fear that he would be accused of any of the aspects he has just renounced, for he "knew that both his ministry and his message found approval in the conscience of every man, even if they would not admit it." (Guzik)
John MacArthur adds that...
UBS Handbook adds that...
The Disciples Study Bible writes that...
In the sight of (enopion from en = in + ops = face, eye, countenance) vividly pictures one in the face of God and so in front of Him as if in His presence. Coram Deo - before the face of God (See Dr R C Sproul's answer to What Does Coram Deo Mean?).
Paul's Coram Deo mindset reminds me of Peter's exhortation to us as believers that..
Paul's ministry is "clear and clean" not only before the saints at Corinth but before the Omniscient God of the universe, an "Audience of One"! God is the "Onlooker". The One Who discerns, searches and tests our heart (Study - 1Sa 16:7 Jer 17:10 1Ki 8:39 1Chr 28:9 Ps 7:9 44:21 139:23,24 Pr 17:3 Jer 11:20 20:12 Ro 8:27 Rev 2:23).
Hughes writes that...
Paul's adversaries and critics could hardly have accused him of arrogant self-commendation for not only was his ministry an "open book" to the consciences of all men, but more important he constantly conducted himself with a strong sense that God was continually watching his ministry (cp Paul's statement "I [continually] serve [God] with a clear conscience" - 2Ti 1:3-note).
Guzik adds that...
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul alluded to his continual "Coram Deo" mindset writing that...
Paul has a similar statement in the next chapter...
Speaking For God - Despite my best efforts to write clearly, sometimes I’m misunderstood. I feel bad about my failure and try to improve my skills. Occasionally, however, readers take words out of context or read into them something that bears no resemblance to the intended meaning. This is frustrating because there’s no way to control how people use words once they are published.
This brings to mind a much more serious offense—that of misusing the words of the Lord. The prophets in Jeremiah’s day did this. They put their own words into God’s mouth by claiming He said things they wanted to be true but that God had never said. So the Lord told His people, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. . . . They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Je. 23:16). Then the Lord warned the people that He would forsake those who pervert His words and cast them from His presence (Jer 23:36,39).
In contrast, the apostle Paul made a point of saying that he did not handle the Word of God deceitfully (2Co 4:2). He knew the danger of preaching his own ideas rather than God’s.
All of us need to be careful to use God’s Word for His purpose, rather than for our own agenda. October 16, 2010 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Lord, keep us faithful to Your Word,