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2 Corinthians 4 Commentary

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A verse by verse commentary with quotations from many different authors.
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  2 CORITHIAS 4 COMMETARY Edited by Glenn Pease Present Weakness and Resurrection Life1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 1. Barnes, “ Therefore - ∆ι τοτο   Dia touto . On account of this. That is, because the light of the gospel is so clear; because it reveals so glorious truths, and all obscurity is taken away, and we are permitted to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, 2Co_3:18. Since the glories of the gospel dispensation are so great, and its effects on the heart are so transforming and purifying. The object is, to show the “effect” of being entrusted  with such a ministry, on the character of his preaching. Seeing we have this ministry - The gospel ministry, so much more glorious than that of Moses 2Co_3:6; which is the ministry by which the Holy Spirit acts on the hearts of people 2Co_3:8; which is the ministry of that system by which people are justified 2Co_3:9; and which is the ministry of a system so pure and unclouded, 2Co_3:9-11, 2Co_3:18.  As we have received mercy - Tyndale renders this: “even as mercy is sure in us.” The idea is, that it was by the mere mercy and favor of God, that he had been entrusted with the ministry, and the object of Paul is doubtless to prevent the “appearance” of arrogance and self-confidence by stating that it was to be traced entirely to God that he  was put into the ministry. He doubtless had his eye on the fact that he had been a persecutor and blasphemer; and that it was by the mere favor of God that he had been converted and entrusted with the ministry, 1Ti_1:13. Nothing will more effectually humble a minister, and prevent his assuming any arrogant and self-confident airs, than to look over his past life; especially if his life was one of blasphemy, vice, or infidelity; and to remember that it is by the mere mercy of God that he is entrusted with the high office of an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Paul never forgot to trace his hope, his appointment to the ministerial office, and his success, to the mere grace of God.  We faint not - This is one of the effects of being entrusted with such a ministry. The  word used here ( κκακοµεν   ekkakoumen ) means, properly, to turn out a coward; to lose one’s courage; then to be fainthearted, to faint, to despond, in view of trial, difficulty, etc. - Robinson. Here it means, that by the mercy of God, he was not disheartened by the difficulties which he met; his faith and zeal did not flag; he was enabled to be faithful, and laborious, and his courage always kept up, and his mind was filled with cheerfulness; see note on 2Co_2:14. He was deterred by no difficulties; embarrassed by no opposition; driven from his purpose by no persecution; and his strength did not fail under any trials. The consciousness of being entrusted with “such” a ministry animated him; and the mercy and grace of God sustained him.  2. Clarke, “ Seeing we have this ministry - The Gospel, of which he gave that noble account which we read in the preceding chapter.  We faint not -  We meet with many tribulations, but are supported in and through all  by the grace of the Gospel. Instead of ουκ εκκακουµεν , we faint not, ουκ εγκακουµεν , we act not wickedly, is the reading of ADFG, and some others. Wakefield thinks it the genuine reading; it certainly makes a very good sense with what goes before and what follows. If we follow this reading the whole verse may be read thus: Wherefore, as we have obtained mercy, or been graciously intrusted, ηλεηθηµην , with this ministry, we do not act wickedly, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, etc. 3. Gill, “ Therefore seeing we have this ministry  ,.... The apostle having largely insisted on the difference between the law and the Gospel, the ministration of the one and of the other, proceeds to give an account of his own conduct, and that of his fellow apostles and ministers: we , says he, faint not ; under all the reproaches cast upon us, persecutions raised against us, and tribulations that attend us; we do not sink in our spirits, or give out from the ministry; we go on cheerfully in our work, in the thee of all opposition, encouraged by the consideration of the excellency of the ministry, which they had from the Lord, were put into, and continued in; which was so valuable in itself, and so useful in its effects; being the ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness, having in it such an excelling glory to the law, and attended with so much light and liberty: to which he adds the consideration of the mercy of God they were partakers of, as we have received mercy  ; which may refer either to the grace and mercy of God,  which they had received in conversion; a sense of which abiding upon them, so influenced their minds, to hold forth the riches of abounding grace and mercy to poor sinners in the Gospel, that nothing could deter them from it; or to the grace, favour, and good will of God, in making, supporting, and continuing them as ministers of the word; all which, they were sensible, was owing not to men, but God; not to their merit, but to his mercy; not to their worthiness, parts, learning, &c. but to his free gift, favour, and grace, by which only they were what they were, as preachers of the Gospel. 4. Henry, “ The apostle had, in the foregoing chapter, been magnifying his office,  upon the consideration of the excellency or glory of that gospel about which he did officiate; and now in this chapter his design is to vindicate their ministry from the accusation of false teachers, who charged them as deceitful workers, or endeavoured to prejudice the minds of the people against them on account of their sufferings. He tells them, therefore, how they believed, and how they showed their value for their office as ministers of the gospel. They were not puffed up with pride, but spurred on to great diligence: “  Seeing we have this ministry,  are so much distinguished and dignified, we do not take state upon ourselves, nor indulge in idleness, but are excited to the better performance of our duty.”I. Two things in general we have an account of: - Their constancy and sincerity in their  work and labour, concerning which observe, 1. Their constancy and perseverance in their  work are declared: “ We faint not   (2Co_4:1) under the difficulty of our work, nor do we  desist from our labour.” And this their stedfastness was owing to the mercy of God. From the same mercy and grace from which they received the apostleship (Rom_1:5), they received strength to persevere in the work of that office. Note, As it is great mercy and grace to be called to be saints, and especially to be counted faithful, and be put into the ministry  (1Ti_1:12), so it is owing to the mercy and grace of God if we continue faithful and persevere in our work with diligence. The best men in the world would faint in their work, and under their burdens, if they did not receive mercy from God.  By the grace of God I am what I am,  said this great apostle in his former epistle to these Corinthians, 1Co_15:10. And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end. 5. Jamison, “ 2Co_4:1-18. His preaching is open and sincere, though to many the Gospel is hidden.For he preaches Christ, not himself: the human vessel is frail that God may have the glory; yet, though frail, faith and the hope of future glory sustain him amidst the decay of the outward man. Therefore — Greek,  “For this cause”: Because we have the liberty-giving Spirit of the Lord, and with unveiled face behold His glory (2Co_3:17, 2Co_3:18). seeing we have this ministry  — “The ministration of the Spirit” (2Co_3:8, 2Co_3:9): the ministry of such a spiritual, liberty-giving Gospel: resuming 2Co_3:6, 2Co_3:8. received mercy  — from God, in having had this ministry  conferred on us (2Co_3:5). The sense of “mercy” received from God, makes men active for God (1Ti_1:11-13).  we faint not — in boldness of speech and action, and patience in suffering (2Co_4:2, 2Co_4:8-16, etc.). 6. Calvin, “Having this ministry. He now returns to a commendation of himself personally, from which he had digressed into a general discussion, in reference to the dignity of the gospel. As, therefore, he has been treating of the nature of the gospel, so he now shows how faithful and upright a minister of it he is. He has previously shown, what is the true gospel of Christ. He now shows what he preaches to be such. “Having,” says he, “this ministry” — that ministry, the excellence of which he had extolled in terms so magnificent, and the power and usefulness of which he had so abundantly shown forth. Hence, in order that he may not seem to extol himself too much, he premises that it was not by his own efforts, or by his own merits, that he had reached such a pinnacle of honor, but had been led forward by the mercy of God exclusively. ow there was more implied in making the mercy of God the reason of his Apostleship, than if he had attributed it to the grace of God. We faint not 423423 Instead of οὐκ ἐκκακοῦµεν, we faint not, ἐγκακοῦµεν, we act not wickedly, is the reading of ADFG, and some others. Wakefield thinks it the genuine reading; it certainly makes a very good sense with what goes before and what follows. If we follow this reading, the whole verse may be read thus — ‘Wherefore, as we have obtained mercy, or been graciously entrusted, ἠλεήθηµεν, with this ministry, we do not act wickedly, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty.” — Dr. A. Clarke. — Ed. that is, we are not deficient in our duty, 424424 “ous n’omettons rien de ce qui est de nostre office;” — “We do not omit any thing of what belongs to our office.” so as not to discharge it with fidelity.  7. Spurgeon, “ 2222  Corinthians 4: 1111 . Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;Stern was the labor of the apostles, but they felt that their work was so all-important, so divine, that they must not grow weary of it, though they were, doubtless, often weary in it.It is a very high privilege to be called to the work of the Christian ministry, and when the minister remembers what great mercy he has himself received, what sins have been forgiven, what favors have been bestowed, he has the very best incentives in all the world to pursue his ministry with diligence and with zeal. Wefaintnot,Wefaintnot,Wefaintnot,Wefaintnot, “ ” says the apostle. We do not hang our harps upon the willows. We do not pray to be allowed to retire from the battle, and give up the strife; but, feeling how great has been the mercy of God to our own souls, we are stirred up to press forward with holy zeal to win the victory. We long that others may taste of the same good things on which we have feasted.We are sometimes ready to faint, but we cast our fainting spirits into the arms of God, and our strength is again reserved at times, the very importance of an errand first weighs down the spirit of the messenger, yet afterwards it seems to impel him to more than ordinary exertion. So is it here, having been divinely entrusted with this ministry, and being ready to faint under the tremendous responsibility that it involves, we yet are roused to action by the very pressure which seems to deprive us of the wefaintnot;wefaintnot;wefaintnot;wefaintnot; power to act, and therefore “ ” - 2 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.
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