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2 Corinthians 4:6-11 King James Version (KJV)

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:6-11 Living Bible (TLB)

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that it is the brightness of his glory that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us[a]—is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies. Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our own.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10 These bodies of ours are constantly facing death just as Jesus did; so it is clear to all that it is only the living Christ within who keeps us safe.[b]

11 Yes, we live under constant danger to our lives because we serve the Lord, but this gives us constant opportunities to show forth the power of Jesus Christ within our dying bodies.


  1. 2 Corinthians 4:7 this light and power that now shine within us, implied.
  2. 2 Corinthians 4:10 who keeps us safe, implied.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 4:6-11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

For God, who said,

“Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,”[a] is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ.[b]

Treasure in Clay Jars

We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.[c] Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option.[d] We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 10 We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies[e] so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 11 We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.


  1. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul helps us to understand that “light” is both literal and a metaphor for spiritual revelation, and shows that the creation narrative provides us with an allegory pointing to the experience of new birth in Christ. See Gen. 1:3; Isa. 9:2.
  2. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Or “in the face-to-face presence of Christ.”
  3. 2 Corinthians 4:7 This verse begins a long and complicated Greek sentence that ends with v. 10. Paul uses figurative language to say that we are common clay jars (created from dust/clay) yet we possess the brilliant light of God’s glory, Jesus Christ, and carry him as treasure in our being. The outward vessel is not as important as the glorious treasure within. The metaphors here may allude to Gideon’s clay pots that had burning torches inside (Judg. 7:16).
  4. 2 Corinthians 4:8 Or “perplexed but not thoroughly perplexed.” The Aramaic can be translated “We are corrected but not condemned.”
  5. 2 Corinthians 4:10 Or “carry about in the body the death of Jesus.”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

2 Corinthians 4:6-12 The Message (MSG)

5-6 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

7-12 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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