2 Corinthians 4

Paul’s Perseverance in Ministry

1Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy,
Grk “just as we have been shown mercy”; ἠλεήθημεν (ēleēqēmen) has been translated as a “divine passive” which is a circumlocution for God as the active agent. For clarity this was converted to an active construction with God as subject in the translation.
we do not become discouraged.
Or “we do not lose heart.”
2But we have rejected
L&N 13.156; the word can also mean “to assert opposition to,” thus here “we have denounced” (L&N 33.220).
shameful hidden deeds,
Grk “the hidden things [deeds] of shame”; here αἰσχύνης (aischunēs) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
not behaving
Or “not conducting ourselves”; Grk “not walking” (a common NT idiom for conduct, way of life, or behavior).
with deceptiveness
Or “craftiness.”
or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God.
3But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe
Or “of unbelievers.”
so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel
Grk “the gospel of the glory”; δόξης (doxēs) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
of Christ,
Or “so that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ would not be evident to them” (L&N 28.37).
who is the image of God.
5For we do not proclaim
Or “preach.”
ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves
Traditionally, “servants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
for Jesus’ sake.
6For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,”
An allusion to Gen 1:3; see also Isa 9:2.
is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge
Grk “the light of the knowledge of the glory”; δόξης (doxēs) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
of God in the face of Christ.
‡ Most witnesses, including several early and important ones (Ƥ46 א C H Ψ 0209 1739c Maj. sy), read ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Iēsou Christou, “Jesus Christ”), while other important witnesses, especially of the Western text (D F G 0243 630 1739* 1881 lat Ambst), have Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ. The reading with just Χριστοῦ is found in A B 33 {sa} Tert {Or Ath Chr}. Even though the witnesses for the shorter reading are not numerous, they are weighty. And in light of the natural scribal proclivity to fill out the text, particularly with reference to divine names, as well as the discrepancy among the witnesses as to the order of the names, the simple reading Χριστοῦ seems to be the best candidate for authenticity. NA27 reads ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ with ᾿Ιησοῦ in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

An Eternal Weight of Glory

7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power
Grk “the surpassingness of the power”; δυνάμεως (dunameōs) has been translated as an attributed genitive (“extraordinary power”).
belongs to God and does not come from us.
8We are experiencing trouble on every side,
Grk “we are hard pressed [by crowds] on every side.”
but are not crushed; we are perplexed,
Or “at a loss.”
but not driven to despair;
9we are persecuted, but not abandoned;
Or “forsaken.”
we are knocked down,
Or “badly hurt.” It is possible to interpret καταβαλλόμενοι (kataballomenoi) here as “badly hurt“: “[we are] badly hurt, but not destroyed” (L&N 20.21).
but not destroyed,
10always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus,
The first clause of 2 Cor 4:10 is elliptical and apparently refers to the fact that Paul was constantly in danger of dying in the same way Jesus died (by violence at least). According to L&N 23.99 it could be translated, “at all times we live in the constant threat of being killed as Jesus was.”
so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible
Or “may also be revealed.”
in our body.
11For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible
Or “may also be revealed.”
in our mortal body.
Grk “mortal flesh.”
12As a result,
Or “So then.”
death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Grk “death is at work in us, but life in you”; the phrase “is at work in” is repeated in the translation for clarity.
13But since we have the same spirit of faith as that shown in
Grk “spirit of faith according to.”
what has been written, “ I believed; therefore I spoke ,”
A quotation from Ps 116:10.
we also believe, therefore we also speak.
14We do so
Grk “speak, because.” A new sentence was started here in the translation, with the words “We do so” supplied to preserve the connection with the preceding statement.
because we know that the one who raised up Jesus
‡ Several important witnesses (א C D F G Ψ 1881), as well as the Byzantine text, add κύριον (kurion) here, changing the reading to “the Lord Jesus.” Although the external evidence in favor of the shorter reading is slim, the witnesses are important, early, and diverse (Ƥ46 B [0243 33] 629 [630] 1175* [1739] pc r sa). Very likely scribes with pietistic motives added the word κύριον, as they were prone to do, thus compounding this title for the Lord.
will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence.
15For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including
Or “that is abounding to.”
more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase
Or “to abound.”
to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not despair,
Or “do not lose heart.”
but even if our physical body
Grk “our outer man.”
is wearing away, our inner person
Grk “our inner [man].”
is being renewed day by day.
17For our momentary, light suffering
Grk “momentary lightness of affliction.”
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison
18because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

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