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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's SECOND letter to the Corinthians

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 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Corinthians 4

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


FRAMEWORKS: 2 Cor 4: Preaching & Apostolic Weakness


v.1-6 Preaching Light into Darkness

v.7-12 Apostolic Weakness

v.13-18 Apostolic Renewal


[Chapter Synopsis: They bring the gospel in an open and honest manner, to bring light to those who will receive it (although unbelievers are blinded by Satan) so that they can find God in Christ. Nevertheless they always felt very weak, if not under the threat of death, and it was only Christ who sustained them and renewed them.]



v.1-6 Preaching Light into Darkness


v.1 (our ministry is from God and that keeps us going) Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

v.2 (we don't exercise it using human means using deception, rather we are open and honest in our proclamation of the truth) 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 everyone's conscience in the sight of God.

v.3 (if it's difficult to receive it is only to those destined to perish) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

v.4 (Satan blinds unbelievers to stop them seeing Christ's glory) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

v.5 (we don't preach ourselves but the lordship of Christ) For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

v.6 (and this gospel sheds light, the knowledge of God through Christ) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” [Gen. 1:3] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.


[Passage Synopsis: Exercising their God-given ministry, the apostles declare the truth in an open and honest manner. It is only unbelievers blinded by Satan who struggle to receive it, but believers are enlightened to see God in Christ.]



v.7-12 Apostolic Weakness


v.7 (yet we are like fragile pots so the glory and power is seen to be from God) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

v.8,9 (we get dumped upon but he never lets us be destroyed) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

v.10 (we carry the weakness of Christ on the Cross, so he will be revealed through us) We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

v.11 (we constantly despair of death but his life is constantly revealed through us) For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

v.12  (so we experience death so you can experience life) So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.


[Passage Synopsis: The ministry of an apostle was one of weakness in themselves but it revealed Christ's strength, power and glory through them. If felt like daily death for them but that brought life to their listeners.]



v.13-18 Apostolic Renewal


v.13,14 (their ministry only existed through their faith, trusting Jesus to deliver them) It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” [Psa 116:10] Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 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 to himself.

v.15 (this happens for the benefit of their listeners who received God's grace through them) 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.

v.16 (so they don't give up because even though they feel they are being exhausted daily, Christ renews them daily) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

v.17 (what they suffer will result in eternal glory) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

v.18 (so they look to Christ in heaven because he alone is lasting) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


[Passage Synopsis: The fragility of their ministry is only able to continue because of the faith they have and trust in Christ that enables them to reach more and more people as he renews them daily in their weaknesses, that will see them through to eternal glory, and that keeps them going.]


Chapter Brief Summary/Recap:

Ch. 4: Preaching & Apostolic Weakness

•  this ministry is delivered with integrity and brings light to believers

•  unbelievers are blinded by Satan who prevents them believing

•  the apostles were like clay pots that contained God's glory

•  although they frequently felt exhausted God renewed them



Continue to Chapter 5