4:1 Therefore 1 seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we a faint not;
(1) Now he plainly witnesses that both he and his
associates (through the mercy of God) do their vocation and duty uprightly and
sincerely, neglecting all dangers.
(a) Though we are broken in pieces with miseries
and calamities, yet we do not yield.
4:2 But have renounced the b
hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of
God c deceitfully; but by manifestation
of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of
(b) Subtilty and every type of deceit which men
hunt after, as it were dens and lurking holes, to cover their shameless
(c) This is that which he called in the former
chapter, making merchandise of the word of God.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
(2) An objection: many hear the Gospel, and yet
are no more enlightened by it than by the preaching of the Law. He answers,
"The fault is in the men themselves, whose eyes Satan plucks out, who
rules in this world." And yet nonetheless he and his associates set forth
the most clear light of the Gospel to be seen and beheld, seeing that Christ
only whom they preach, is he in whom God will be known, and as it were seen.
4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded
the minds of them which believe not, lest the d
light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the e
image of God, should shine unto them.
(d) The light of plain and enlightening
preaching, which shows forth the glory of Christ.
(e) In whom the Father sets himself forth to be
seen and beheld.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your
servants for f Jesus' sake.
(3) He removes according to his accustomed
manner, all suspicion of ambition, affirming that he teaches faithfully, but
as a servant, and witnessing that all this light which he and his associates
give to others, proceeds from the Lord.
(f) To preach this self same Jesus to you.
4:6 For God, g
who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to
[give] the h light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(g) Who made with his word alone.
(h) That being enlightened by God, we should in
the same way give that light to others.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, 5
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
(4) He takes away a stumbling block, which
darkened among some, the bright shining of the ministry of the Gospel, that
is, because the apostles were the most miserable of all men. Paul answers that
he and his associates are as it were, earthen vessels, but yet there is in
them a most precious treasure. (5) He brings
marvellous reasons why the Lord does so afflict his principal servants, to the
end, he says, that all men may perceive that they do not stand by any man's
power, but by the singular power of God, in that they die a thousand times,
but never perish.
6 Always bearing about in the body the i
dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in
(6) An amplification of the former sentence, in
which he compares his afflictions to a daily death, and the power of the
Spirit of God in Christ to life, who oppresses that death.
(i) So Paul calls that miserable estate and
condition that the faithful, but especially the minsters, are in.
4:11 For we which k
live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our l
(k) Who live that life, that is, by the Spirit of
Christ, among so many and so great miseries.
(l) Subject to that miserable condition.
So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
(7) A very wise conclusion: as if he would say,
"Therefore, to be short, we die that you may live by our death",
because they ventured into all those dangers for the building of the
Church's sake, and they ceased not to strengthen and encourage all the
faithful with the examples of their patience.
We having the same m spirit of faith,
according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also
believe, and therefore speak;
(8) He declares the former sentence, showing that
he and his associates die in a way to purchase life for others, but yet
nonetheless they are partakers of the same life with them: because they
themselves do first believe that which they offer to others to believe, that
is, that they also will be saved together with them in Christ.
(m) The same faith, by the inspiration of the
For all things [are] for your sakes, n
that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the
glory of God.
(9) He shows how this constancy is preserved in
them, that is, because they are doing it for God's glory, and the salvation
of the churches committed to them.
(n) When it will please God to deliver me, and
restore me to you, that exceeding benefit which will be poured upon me will in
like sort result to the glory of God, by the thanksgiving of many.
4:16 For which cause we faint not; 10
but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is o
renewed day by day.
(10) He adds as it were a triumphant song, that
he is outwardly afflicted, but inwardly he profits daily: and he is not
bothered by all the miseries that may be sustained in this life, in comparison
of that most constant and eternal glory.
(o) Gathers new strength so that the outward man
is not overcome with the miseries which come freshly one after another, being
maintained and upheld with the strength of the inward man.
4:17 For our p
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding
[and] eternal weight of q glory;
(p) Afflictions are not called light, as though
they were light in themselves, but because they pass away quickly, as indeed
our whole life is not of very long continuance.
(q) Which remains forever firm and stable, and
can never be shaken.