2 Corinthians chapter 4

Paul shares insights on dealing with discouragement in ministry. Ministry is a paradox. We humans are entrusted with the eternal Good News of Jesus Christ. [UPDATED]

 


 

DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT IN MINISTRY

 

VERSE 1. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don’t faint.

we have this ministry. Like all Christian believers, Paul was given a ministry.

as we obtained mercy. Our ministry was given to us at the moment we first came to faith in Jesus Christ.

we don’t faint. Ministry can be a difficult endeavor. Things can happen that cause us to loose heart. In those moments, we anchor ourselves in the fact of our own conversion and our own call to ministry.

For Paul, a great source of discouragement was the terrible state of the believers in Corinth. Nonetheless, he had not lost heart.

 

VERSE 2. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

hidden things of shame. In the difficult arena of ministy, some ministers have lost heart. They turn to secret and shameful ways:

walking in craftiness. They deceive their own people.

handling the word of God deceitfully. They distort the Scriptures.

 

VERSE 3. Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who are dying,

our Good News is veiled. Many people are not able to comprehend the Good News of Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, we do not distort the message to make it more palatable for them.

 

VERSE 4. in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.

blinded the minds of the unbelieving. Nonbelievers are not able to behold Jesus Christ. To them, he was just a teacher or just a good person, just a prophet or just an rabbi.

 

VERSE 5. For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake,

KJV translation: For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

we don’t preach ourselves. Some Christian leaders are always talking about themselves. However, for an authentic apostle, the Christian message is not about self.

but Christ Jesus as Lord. The gospel all is about Jesus Christ. It is not about our Christian leaders.

ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. We serve people by pointing them to Jesus Christ.

servants. That is, “slaves.” We are slaves who serve other people.

 

VERSE 6. seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

shone in our hearts. God brings light to the hearts of those in darkness.

Luke 1:79. to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

THE PARADOX OF MINISTRY

 

VERSE 7. But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.

we have this treasure. The infinite treasure of the Holy Spirit lives within our weak human bodies.

in clay vessels. We humans are clay pots, earthen vessels.

not from ourselves. Eternal salvation is the work of God. It is not our own achievement.

 

VERSE 8. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair;

 

VERSE 9. pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed;

 

VERSE 10. always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

in our body. The life of Jesus Christ is to be revealed through our own earthly lives.

 

VERSE 11. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh.

delivered to death for Jesus’ sake. We are always needing to deny self:

Matthew 16:24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 9:23. He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

2 Corinthians 4:11. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh.

 

VERSE 12. So then death works in us, but life in you.

death works in us. Paul saw suffering as paradoxically beneficial for himself:

Philippians 3:10. that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death,

 

VERSE 13. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, “I believed, and therefore I spoke.” We also believe, and therefore we also speak;

We also believe. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

therefore we also speak. Do you speak of Jesus Christ with other people?

 

VERSE 14. knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you.

 

VERSE 15. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

 

VERSE 16. Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.

we don’t faint. Even though ministry can be a difficult endeavor, and even though lots of things happen that can cause us to loose heart, in the final analysis, we do not lose heart.

though our outward man is decaying. Outwardly, we are wasting away. We get sick. We age.

our inward man is renewed day by day. Inwardly we are being renewed each day.

Lamentations 3:22-23. It is because of the LORD’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail. 23 They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

 

VERSE 17. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory,

 

VERSE 18. while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

NAB translation: as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

 


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2 CORINTHIANS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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