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The Paradox of the Ministry. [a]But we hold this treasure[b] in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.