2 Corinthians 4:7-15
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Paradox of the Ministry. 7 [a]But we hold this treasure[b] in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. 8 [c]We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;(A) 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 [d](B)always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.(C)
12 [e]So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 [f]Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak,(D) 14 knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.(E) 15 Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.(F)Read full chapter
- 4:7–5:10 Paul now confronts the difficulty that his present existence does not appear glorious at all; it is marked instead by suffering and death. He deals with this by developing the topic already announced in 2 Cor 3:3, 6, asserting his faith in the presence and ultimate triumph of life, in his own and every Christian existence, despite the experience of death.
- 4:7 This treasure: the glory that he preaches and into which they are being transformed. In earthen vessels: the instruments God uses are human and fragile; some imagine small terracotta lamps in which light is carried.
- 4:8–9 A catalogue of his apostolic trials and afflictions. Yet in these the negative never completely prevails; there is always some experience of rescue, of salvation.
- 4:10–11 Both the negative and the positive sides of the experience are grounded christologically. The logic is similar to that of 2 Cor 1:3–11. His sufferings are connected with Christ’s, and his deliverance is a sign that he is to share in Jesus’ resurrection.
- 4:12–15 His experience does not terminate in himself, but in others (12, 15; cf. 2 Cor 1:4–5). Ultimately, everything is ordered even beyond the community, toward God (2 Cor 4:15; cf. 2 Cor 1:11).
- 4:13–14 Like the psalmist, Paul clearly proclaims his faith, affirming life within himself despite death (2 Cor 4:10–11) and the life-giving effect of his experience upon the church (2 Cor 4:12, 14–15). And place us with you in his presence: Paul imagines God presenting him and them to Jesus at the parousia and the judgment; cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Rom 14:10.