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Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Seeing we have this ministry," (dia touto, echontes ten diakonian) "Therefore, having or holding this (kind of) ministry," the ministry or ministration of the Spirit, or of the new covenant.

2) "As we have received mercy," (kathos pleethemen) "just as we obtained mercy," of an extraordinary kind and degree to fit us, 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25.

3) "We faint not," (ouk egkakoumen) "We faint not," do not fall by the wayside, or lose heart when things do not go smoothly, Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 4:5; Acts 20:23-24.

Verse 2

1) "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,” (alla apeipametha ta krupta tes aischenes) "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame;" Paul insisted on openness and candor and affirmed that his ministry had been of this nature, Acts 15:12; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22; John 3:20.

2) "Not walking in craftiness," (me peripatountes en panourgia) "not living, or conducting ourselves, in craftiness," 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Ephesians 4:14.

3) "Nor handling the Word of God deceitfully," (mede dolountes ton logon tou theou) "nor polluting, that is adulterating, the Word of God," to please any party, or curry the favor of any, 2 Corinthians 10:3; Colossians 2:4.

4) "But by manifestation of the truth," (alla te phanerosei tes aletheis) "But by the manifestation of the truth," telling it like it is, and living it as it is told we should, Galatians 6:7-8; John 8:32.

5) "Commending ourselves to every man’s conscience, " (sunistanontes heautous pros pasan suneidesen anthropon) "commending ourselves to or toward the conscience of every man," as set forth, Acts 20:27; 1 Corinthians 9:22.

6) "In the sight of God," (enopion tou theou) "in the face (sight, open to) of God;" we work as if in His presence, as if God were looking on, not merely as men-pleasers, Colossians 3:22-25.

Verse 3


1) "But if our gospel be hid," (ei de kai estin kekalummenon to evangelion hemon) "But if indeed our gospel has been hidden," or "even if our gospel is hid, that is "veiled;" Thus Paul returns to the usage of the "law-veil" metaphor of 2 Corinthians 3:12-18.

2) "It is hid to them that are lost;" (en tois apollumenois estin kekalummenon) "It is having been hidden in those who are lost," or it is veiled, not clear to the perishing or lost ones, for whom Jesus died, John 3:15-16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; Luke 19:10.

Verse 4

1) "In whom the god of this world," (en hois ho theos tou aionos toutou) "in whom the god of this age," Satan, the Devil, Prince of the power of the air, chief ruler over deranged spirits, fallen angels, John 12:31; Matthew 4:8-9; Revelation 12:9.

2) "Hath blinded the minds of them which believe not," (etuphlosen ta noemata ton apiston) "Blinded (has blinded) the thoughts of the unbelieving ones," or untrusting ones, by means of false teachers who pre-occupied their minds, Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 4:18; Ephesians 6:12; Acts 26:17-18.

3) "Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ," (eis to me-ton photismon tou euangeliou tes dokses tou Christou) "Lest the enlightenment of the gospel of the glory of Christ," the radiance of the glory of Christ, Colossians 1:27; Psalms 119:130; John 8:12; 2 Timothy 1:10.

4) "Who is the image of God," (hos estin eikon tou theou) "who is (exists as) the image (icon) of God;" John 1:14; John 1:18; John 14:9; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3. As the image (icon) of God Jesus appeared to show what God is, in all His attributes, including holiness, justice, and love.

5) "Should shine unto them," (augasai) "Should shine forth," (unto them), that they might turn to Him and be saved, Luke 19:10; John 1:3-5; John 1:9-12.

Verse 5

1) "For we preach not ourselves," (ou gar heautous kerussomen) "For we proclaim not ourselves;" as heads of the Lord’s church or lords of God’s heritage, because God gave this honor and position to Jesus only, Ephesians 1:22-23.

2) "But Christ Jesus the Lord," (alla Christon lesoun kurion) "But Christ Jesus (as) Lord;" no man can say Jesus is "Lord," but in the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:3. Jesus is the believer’s savior and the obedient believer’s Lord, Master, and King whose work is to be done by His servants and subjects, John 12:13; Luke 6:46; John 15:14; Ephesians 6:9.

3) "And ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake,” (heautous de doulous humon dia lesoun) "and ourselves your slaves (servants) on account of Jesus," or on behalf of, for Jesus’ sake, 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; 2 Corinthians 5:13-20; Matthew 20:25-28.

Verse 6

1) "For God who commanded," (hoti ho theos ho eipon) "Because God (is) the one saying, "commanding, Genesis 1:3.

2) "The light to shine out of darkness," (ek skatous phos lampsei) "out of darkness light shall shine," out of evening came light, and dawn, and morning, and day" Psalms 112:4; This light was Jesus Christ of whom prophets spoke in hope, Isaiah 9:1-2; Isaiah 42:6-7; Matthew 4:13-16.

3) "Hath shined in our hearts;" (hos elampsen en tais kardiais (hemon) "is the on o shone in our hearts;" to turn from darkness to light; John 8:12; 2 Peter 1:19.

4) "To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God," (pros photismon tes gnoseos tes dokses tou theou) "To (give) enlightenment of the knowledge (understanding) of the glory of God;" Those who have salvation’s light are called to let it shine, to share it with others, Matthew 5:15-16; Acts 26:16-20.

5) "In the face of Jesus Christ," (en prosopo Christou) “In the face (presence) of Christ;” as the Lord who is looking on," beholding the evil and the good," Proverbs 15:3; As He looked upon, beheld the work of members of the seven churches of Asia, He beholds our labors today, Revelation 2:1 to Revelation 3:22.

Verse 7

1) "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels," (echomen deton thesauron touton en ostrakinois skeuesin) "and we have this treasure in earthenware vessels;" this treasure of light, the living Christ, and the Holy Spirit of covenant promise, 1 John 4:13; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:14-16. Tho the earthly vessel be weak it bears precious treasure, 1 Corinthians 2:3-5.

2) "That the excellency f the power," (hina he huperbole tes dunameos) "In order that the excellency of the dynamic power;" Romans 1:16. The saving, transforming, sustaining power, John 1:11-12.

3) "May be of God," (e tou theou) "may be of God," as an energizing source, or origin of source, may be seen to be of God, 2 Corinthians 3:5.

4) "And not of us," (kai me eks hemon) "and not out of us," or not originating in us, Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:13.

Verse 8


1) "We are troubled on every side," (en panti thlibomenoi) "Being, existing, afflicted in every (way or manner)," we are pressed by our foes, 2 Corinthians 7:5. Man is still "born for trouble as sparks fly upward," Job 5:7; Genesis 3:17-19.

2) "Yet not distressed," (all’ ou stenochoroumenoi) "But not (being or existing in) a restrained state or condition," "not hemmed in," as a fish, fowl, or tiger in a net, or suffocated by entrapment. We can still fight and struggle for truth and right, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

3) "We are perplexed," (aporoumenoi) "Being or existing in the midst of difficulties;" as all that will "live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," 2 Timothy 3:12.

4) "But not in despair," (all’ ouk eksaporoumenoi) "But not despairing," of our own accord, or groveling in self-pity, not forsaken by Him who promised "I will never leave thee or forsake thee," Hebrews 13:5.

Verse 9

1) "Persecuted, but not forsaken," (diokomenoi all’ ouk egkataleipomenoi) "Being persecuted but not being deserted," or in a deserted state or condition, Hebrews 13:5-6; Psalms 37:24.

2) "Cast down, but not destroyed," (kataballomenoi all’ ouk apollumenoi) "Being cast down but not perishing," or in a "lost, destroyed, or perishing state or condition of passivity;" thrown down by foes, but not killed. Foes may even kill the body but they can not kill or destroy the soul of the saint, Matthew 10:28; John 10:27-29. None as a sinner or backslider may fall so low that God in love will not pardon, rescue, and use the soul that in remorse and repentance asks for pardon through faith in Jesus Christ, Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 55:6-7; Romans 10:9-13.

Verse 10

1) "Always bearing about in the body," (pantote en to somati peripherontes) "always, actively, bearing about in the body," in keeping the body under subjection to the spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

2) "The dying of the Lord Jesus," (ten nekrosin tou leosou) "The dying of Jesus," the putting to death, emptiness, barrenness, the deeds and fruits of the flesh on account of which Christ died, Colossians 3:1-3.

3) "That the life also of Jesus," (hina kai he zoe tou lesou) "in order that also the (real) life of Jesus," Romans 6:2; Galatians 2:20.

4) "Might be made manifest in our body," (en to somati hemon phanorothe) "in our body might be manifested," by the very way we reside or live in our bodies. If one lives in Christ, in the Spirit, he is called upon to walk that way, Galatians 5:25; Colossians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 8:36.

Verse 11

1) "For we which live." (gar hemeis oi zontes) "For we, the ones who live," while we live, as long as we live. For "to live is Christ," and every believer must share in His earthly experiences of rejection by the world, Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21.

2) "Are alway delivered unto death," (aei paradidometha) "always are being delivered," in a state or condition of deliverance to death, for Jesus’ sake. For the servant is not greater than his Lord. As our Lord was hounded, despised and rejected of men unto death, such is the lot of true saints, John 15:18-21.

3) "For Jesus’ sake," (dia lesoun) "on account of Jesus," for Jesus’ sake; For Jesus sake, the believer is to die daily, 1 Corinthians 15:31; and "to be killed all the day long;" Romans 8:36.

4) "That the life also of Jesus," (hina kai he zoe tou lesou) "in order that the life of Jesus also," the power of the living, risen savior, eternal life, might radiate through us, Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:10; Romans 12:1-2.

5) "Might be manifest in our mortal flesh," (phanerothe en te thnete sarki hemon) "might be (exist as) manifested in the mortal (old man) flesh of us all;" Oh, that men might see the living, loving, caring Redeemer in every believer! It is the living, helping, coming judge and King that men must be helped to see. That He died avails, only because He lives to forgive, to pardon, to love, and sustain, Romans 8:17; Revelation 1:20; 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Verse 12

1) "So then death worketh in us," (hoste ho thanatos en humin energeitai) "So then death operates in us;" as we "die daily," putting to death the "old man," others are helped to live, Romans 6:11.

2) "But life in you," (he de zoe en humin) "But the life (genuine) in you all;" growth of spiritual stature, maturity, and Christian fruit appeared in the lives of the Corinthian brethren, as a result of the labors of Paul and his missionary helpers, 2 Corinthians 1:6; Philippians 2:17.

Verse 13

1) "We having the same spirit of faith," (echontes de to auto pneuma tes pisteos) "and having, holding, or possessing the same spirit;" the spirit of faith, and commitment to Christ, Psalms 116:8-10.

2) "According as it is written," (kata to gegrammenon) " according to the thing that has been written;" In the book of Psalms 116:1-2; Psalms 116:12.

3) "I believed, and therefore have I spoken," (episteusa dio elalesa) "I believed, therefore I spoke;” Psalms 116:13-19.

4) "We also believe, and therefore speak," (kai hemeis pisteuomen dio kai laloumen) "we also believe, therefore we also speak." From our experience of faith in Jesus Christ, Acts 4:19-20; Acts 4:29-31; Acts 5:29; Acts 5:40-42.

Verse 14

1) "Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus," (eidotes hoti ho egeras ton kurion lesoun) "Perceiving that the one having raised the Lord Jesus," God raised Him up, Acts 2:24; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30; Acts 13:33-34; Acts 13:37; Acts 17:31; Romans 4:24; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 1:21.

2) "Shall raise up us also by Jesus," (kai hemas sun lesou egerei) "Shall also raise us up with Jesus," Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

3) "And shall present us with you," (kai parastesei sun humin) "and will present us (stand us up beside) with you." In close affinity of fellowship with you all," members of the Corinth church, and others of like faith and order in every locality, 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:17; Judges 1:24-25.


As a cripple would rejoice to hear that his limbs should be restored perfect, or the beggar that he should be clad in silk and gold; so much more, ought Christians to rejoice to hear of the restoration of the integrity and innocency of the body in the resurrection.

- Cawdray


One may occasionally see a plant which, through being under more favorable circumstances than its companions, appears with an early blade or leaves, while around it all others are torpid in the cold of winter, Such a plant is, as it were, the "first fruits of those that slept," - the promise that the verdure of spring and the ripeness of summer will again cover the face of the earth.

-Bib. Treas.

Verse 15

1) "For all things are for your sakes " (ta gar panta di’ humas) "For all things are on account of you," The care of others was Paul’s concern, 1 Corinthians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 1:6; Colossians 1:24; 2 Timothy 2:10.

2) "That the abundant grace," (hina he charis) "In order that grace," 2 Corinthians 8:19; 2 Corinthians 9:11-12.

3) "Might through the thanksgiving of many," (pleonasasa dis ton pleionon eucharistian) "Through many, many, (the majority), the larger portion, the thanksgiving might be increased;" because of benefits they received thru the ministry of the missionary brethren.

4) "Redound to the glory of God," (perissense eis ten doksan tou theou) "may cause to abound to the glory of God;" 2 Corinthians 9:7-11; 2 Corinthians 9:14-15.

Verse 16

1) "For which cause we faint not," (dio ouk egkakoumen) "Wherefore we faint not," don’t quit, fall by the wayside, or fall out, lest our labors be in vain, Galatians 6:9; 2 John 1:8.

2) "But though our outward man perish," (all’ ei kai hoekso hemon anthropos disphtheiretai ) "But if indeed the outward man of us is being, or exists in, a disabled state or condition," a condition of weakness. It is often in physical weakness, bodily affliction and under pain one may be strongest in the Lord, 2 Corinthians 12:10.

3) "Yet the inward man is renewed," (all’ ho eso hemon anakainoutou) "yet the inner (esoteric, spiritual man) is being renewed," rejuvenated," Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16. The inward man may be renewed in knowledge "day by day", one day at a time, Colossians 3:10; Romans 12:2.

4) "Day by day," (hemera kai hemera) "day even by day," or one day at a time, Ephesians 4:22-23; 2 Peter 3:18, as the earthen vessels decay day by day, even so the spiritual man may grow, mature, be empowered anew every day, Matthew 6:33.

Verse 17

1) "For our light affliction," (to gar elaphron tes thlipseos) “For the light affliction, tribulation, trouble," the persecutions we face and burdens we bear for Christ, Matthew 5:12; Romans 8:18 - Light in degree and duration.

2) "Which is but for a moment," (parautika) present," temporary, which is for a moment," in comparision with the weighty troubles of the unsaved in hell forever. 1 Peter 1:6; 1 Peter 5:10; Matthew 5:11-12.

3) "Worketh for us," (katergazetai hemon) "works for us," actively, progressively, by keeping us near God on whom we may cast our cares and find relief, 1 Peter 5:7; Psalms 37:5.

4) "A far more exceeding," (kath’ huperbolen eis huperbolen) "Excessively (even to) excess," surpassing all power of human description, which eye hath not seen, ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of any! 1 Corinthians 2:9.

5) "An eternal weight of glory," (aionion Baros dokses) an eternal glory weight;" Romans 8:17; Matthew 5:11-12; 1 Peter 5:10; Hebrews 12:10.

Verse 18

1) "While we look not at the things which are seen," (me skopounton hemon ta blepomena) "while we do not consider the things being seen," present things, the temporal things, things of the present world order that pass away, 1 John 2:15-17; James 1:10; James 4:14; 1 Peter 1:24, neither the present trials nor momentary gains of the flesh of this life are to hold our gaze.

2) "But at the things which are not seen," (alla ta me Blepomena) "but (at) the things not being seen," the intangible, unseen. These we love. These we are to behold, the unseen triumphs and victories yet awaiting those who love the coming of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 2:9; Hebrews 11:1.

3) "For the things which are seen are temporal," (ta gar Blepomena proskaira) “For the things being seen (what we look upon) are temporary," of short and passing duration, including our bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:40.

4) "But the things which are not seen are eternal," (ta de me Blepomena aionia) "But the thing not being seen are eternal;" Matthew 25:46; Including our new bodies, angels to serve us; Philippians 3:20-21.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-corinthians-4.html. 1985.
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