2 Corinthians 4 Commentary


2 CORINTHIANS - PAUL'S MINISTRY IN THE LIGHT OF THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll
A Third Chart 

Overview of
Second Corinthians

2Co 1:1-7:16
Character
of Paul
2Co 8:1-9:15
Collection
for the Saints
2Co 10:1-12:21
Credentials
of Paul
Testimonial & Didactic Practical Apologetic
Past:
Misunderstanding & Explanation
Present:
Practical Project
Future:
Anxieties
Apostle's Conciliation, Ministry & Exhortations Apostle's Solicitation for Judean Saints Apostle's Vindication
of Himself
Forgiveness, Reconciliation
Gratitude
Confidence Vindication

Ephesus to Macedonia:
Change of Itinerary
Explained

Macedonia: Preparation for Visit to Corinth

To Corinth:
Certainty and Imminence
of the Visit

2Co 1:1-7:16

2Co 8:1-9:15

2Co 10:1-12:21

2Corinthians written ~ 56-57AD - see Chronological Table of Paul's Life and Ministry

Adapted & modified from Jensen's Survey of the New Testament (Highly Recommended Resource) & Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible


INTRODUCTIONS TO SECOND CORINTHIANS:

2 Corinthians 4:1  Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,

  • seeing: 2Co 3:6,12 5:18 Eph 3:7,8 
  • as: 1Co 7:25 1Ti 1:13 1Pe 2:10 
  • we faint not: 2Co 4:16 Isa 40:30 Ga 6:9 Eph 3:13 Php 4:13 2Th 3:13 *marg: Heb 12:3 Rev 2:3 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:1

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,

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.

  • renounced: 1Co 4:5 
  • dishonesty: or, 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 
  • by: 2Co 5:11 6:4-7 7:14 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 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.

2 Corinthians 4:3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

  • our: Ro 2:16 1Th 1:5 1Ti 1:11 
  • it is: 2Co 4:4 2:15,16 3:14 Mt 11:25 1Co 1:18 2Th 2:9-11 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:3

 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing

2 Corinthians 4:4  in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

  • the god: Mt 4:8,9 Joh 12:31,40 14:30 16:11 1Co 10:20 Eph 2:2 6:12 1Jn 5:19 *Gr: Rev 20:2,3 
  • blinded: 2Co 3:14 1Ki 22:22 Isa 6:10 Joh 12:40 
  • lest: 2Co 4:6 3:8,9,11,18 Joh 8:12 12:35 Ac 26:18 Col 1:27 1Ti 1:11 Tit 2:13 
  • the image: Joh 1:14,18 12:45 14:9,10 15:24 Php 2:6 Col 1:15 Heb 1:3 
  • shine: 2Co 4:6 Ps 50:2 Isa 60:1,2 2Pe 1:19 1Jn 2:8 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:4

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

2 Corinthians 4:5  For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
6  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ

  • we: Mt 3:11  Joh 1:21-23 3:27-31 7:18 Ac 3:12,13 8:9,10 10:25,26 Ac 14:11-15 Ro 15:17,18 1Co 1:13-15,23 3:5,6 10:33 Php 1:15 1Th 2:5,6 Tit 1:11 1Pe 5:2-5 2Pe 2:3 
  • Christ: 2Co 1:19 Mt 23:8 Ac 2:36 5:31 10:36 Ro 14:8,9 1Co 1:23 2:2 8:6 1Co 12:3 15:47 Php 2:11 
  • and: 2Co 1:24 5:14,15 Mt 20:25-27 Lu 22:25,26 Joh 13:14,15 Ro 15:1,2 1Co 9:19-23 Ga 5:13 2Ti 2:10 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:5

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
6  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

  • who: Ge 1:3,14,15 Ps 74:16 136:7-9 Isa 45:7 
  • hath: Gr. is he who hath
  • shined: Eph 1:17 5:8 2Pe 1:19 
  • the light: 2Co 4:4 3:18 Ex 33:18-23 34:5-7 Ps 63:2 90:16 Isa 6:1-3 35:2 40:5 Isa 60:2  Joh 11:40 Ac 7:55,56 1Pe 2:9 
  • in the: Lu 10:22  Joh 1:14 12:41 14:9,10 Php 2:6 Col 1:15 Heb 1:3 1Pe 1:12 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

  • this: 2Co 4:1 6:10 Mt 13:44,52 Eph 3:8 Col 1:27 2:3 
  • in: 2Co 5:1 10:10 Jud 7:13,14,16-20 La 4:2 1Co 1:28 4:9-13 Ga 4:13,14 2Ti 2:20 
  • that: 2Co 3:5,6 12:7-9 13:4 1Co 2:3-5 Eph 1:19,20 2:5,8,9 Col 2:12 1Th 1:5 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves

2 Corinthians 4:8  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;

  • troubled: 2Co 1:8-10 6:4 7:5 11:23-30 
  • yet: 2Co 4:16,17 12:10 1Sa 28:15 30:6 Ps 56:2,3 Pr 14:26 18:10 Ro 5:3-5 Ro 8:35-37 Jas 1:2-4 1Pe 1:6,7 4:12-14 
  • not in despair: or, not altogether without help, or means, 1Sa 31:4 Job 2:9,10 Ps 37:33  Joh 14:18 1Co 10:13 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:8

we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing

2 Corinthians 4:9  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

  • but: Ps 9:10 22:1 37:25,28 Isa 62:4 Heb 13:5 
  • cast: 2Co 7:6 Job 5:17-19 22:29 Ps 37:24 42:5,11 Isa 43:2 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:9

persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

2 Corinthians 4:10  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

  • bearing: 2Co 1:5,9 Ro 8:17,18 Ga 6:17 Php 3:10,11 Col 1:24 
  • that: 2Co 13:4 Joh 14:19 Ac 18:9,10 Ro 8:17 2Ti 2:11 1Pe 4:13 Rev 1:17 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:10

always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:11  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

  • are alway: Ps 44:22 141:7 Ro 8:36 1Co 15:31,49 
  • our: 2Co 5:4 Ro 8:11 1Co 15:53,54 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:11

For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh

2 Corinthians 4:12  So death works in us, but life in you.

  • death: 2Co 12:15 13:9 Ac 20:24 1Co 4:10 Php 2:17,30 1Jn 3:16 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:12

So death works in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:13  But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak,

  • the same spirit of faith: Ac 15:11 Ro 1:12 1Co 12:9 Heb 11:1-40 2Pe 1:1 
  • I believed: Ps 116:10 (= "I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”)
  • we also believe: 2Co 3:12, Pr 21:28
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:13

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written

Kruse -  Paul is saying that despite death being at work in us we still operate in the same spirit of faith as the psalmist....There has been debate whether “spirit of faith” refers to a human disposition, as indicated when the initial letter is rendered as lowercase (“spirit”—so Augustine, ACCSC, 234; Thrall 1:339) or to the Holy Spirit in which case the initial letter would be uppercase (“Spirit”—so Hafemann 187, Seifrid 209; Barnett 240 n. 7). The former is the better option as Paul is saying that like the psalmist, his faith in God persists despite the sufferings he encounters. He is not making a point about the Holy Spirit being the one who inspires faith. (2 Cor-EGGNT)

"I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak,

Kruse -  Paul quotes Ps. 116:10 (LXX Ps 115:1) to say that despite the difficulties of his ministry he operates with the same “spirit of faith” as the psalmist did in the midst of his distress, and in this faith Paul goes on speaking, either when (like the psalmist) he poured out his heart to the Lord or as he proclaimed God’s word. (2 Cor-EGGNT)

THOUGHT - Paul was in great distress and affliction. Notice what Paul relied on when in dire straits. Paul held fast to the Scripture! And the Scripture held him fast. In this case it encouraged him to keep on believing and keep on speaking! Scripture will (or can) do the same in your life beloved when you are in dire straits! Try it! 

2 Corinthians 4:14  knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

  • that: 2Co 5:1-4 Isa 26:19 Joh 11:25,26 Ro 8:11 1Co 6:14 15:20-22 1Th 4:14 
  • shall present: 2Co 11:2 Eph 5:27 Col 1:22,28 Jude 1:24 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:14

knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

2 Corinthians 4:15  For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

  • all: 2Co 1:4-6 Ro 8:28 1Co 3:21-23 Col 1:24 2Ti 2:10 
  • the abundant: 2Co 1:11 8:19 9:11,12 Ps 50:14,23 Ga 1:24 Eph 3:20,21 Col 3:16,17 Heb 13:15,16 1Pe 2:9 4:11 Rev 4:8-11 5:8-14 19:4-6 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:15

For all things are for your sakes, so 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 Corinthians 4:16  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

  • we: 2Co 4:1 Ps 27:13 119:81 Isa 40:29 1Co 15:58 
  • though: 2Co 12:15 Job 19:26,27 Ps 73:26 Isa 57:1,2 Mt 5:29,30 
  • the: Ro 7:22 Eph 3:16 1Pe 3:4 
  • is: Ps 51:10 Isa 40:31 Ro 12:2 Eph 4:23 Col 3:10 Tit 3:5 
  • day by: Lu 11:3
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:16

 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day

2 Corinthians 4:17  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

  • our: 2Co 11:23-28 Ps 30:5 Isa 54:8 Ac 20:23 Ro 8:18,34,37 1Pe 1:6 4:7 1Pe 5:10 
  • worketh: Ps 119:67,71 Mt 5:12 Ro 5:3-5 Php 1:19 2Th 1:4,6 Heb 12:10,11 Jas 1:3,4,12 
  • far: 2Co 3:18 Ge 15:1 Ps 31:19 73:24 Isa 64:4 Lu 6:23 Ro 2:7 1Co 2:9 1Pe 1:7,8 5:10 1Jn 3:2 Jude 1:24 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2 Corinthians 4:17

"The pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity.

The optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty."

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

2 Corinthians 4:18  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

  • we: 2Co 5:7 Ro 8:24,25 Heb 11:1,25-27 12:2,3 
  • for: Mt 25:46 Lev 16:25,26 2Th 2:16 1Jn 2:16,17,25 
  • 2 Corinthians 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOR IN DEPTH COMMENT ON THIS VERSE CLICK 2Corinthians 4:18

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Henrietta Mears - Paul could sing as he suffered for he knew the wonderful grace of God. He was always conscious of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew that the greater the suffering in this present world, the greater the glory of eternity (2 Cor. 4:8-18). Paul lived with his eye on the future! Christ nowhere promises that a Christian will be free from suffering or sorrow. Rather do we hear that "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). Christ allows us to get into trouble that He may deliver us. He allowed Daniel to be put into the den of lions that He might pull him out. He allowed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to go into the fiery furnace that He might deliver them. He allowed Paul to be shipwrecked that He might save him. Our God is able to deliver!

THOUGHT - Wear are your eyes? On the present, passaging pagan world or on the perfect eternal world to come? It makes all the difference in how you meet adversity and difficulty in this present life. See Vertical Vision. May we resolve enabled by the Spirit to emulate Jonathan Edwards who wrote...

  • Where will all of our worldly enjoyments be, when we are laid in the silent grave?
  • Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, when I come to die.
  • Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, ten thousand ages hence.
  • Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!