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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 4

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 4:1 . Τήν διακονίαν ταύτην , this ministry ) of which 2 Corinthians 3:6 , etc. καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν , as we have received mercy ) The mercy of God, by which the ministry is received, makes men active and sincere. Even Moses obtained mercy , and hence he was permitted to approach so near, Exodus 33:19 . οὐκ ἀλλʼ , not but ) A double proposition; the second part is immediately brought under our consideration by chiasmus; [18] the former from 2 Corinthians 4:16 . Wherefore ΟὐΚ ἘΚΚΑΚΟῦΜΕΝ , we faint not , is there repeated; we admit of no serious falling off in speaking, in acting, in suffering.

[18] See App.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 4:2 . Ἀπειπάμεθα ) Hesychius: ἀπειπάμεθα , ἀπεῤῥιψάμεθα · ἀπείπαντο , παρητήσαντο , ἀπετάξαντο [bid farewell to], we have renounced , and wish them to be renounced. τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης , the hidden things of shame [ dishonesty ]) shame , having no regard to the glory of the Lord, acts in a hidden way: we bid farewell to such a mode of acting (to be discontinued), Romans 1:16 . The antithesis is by manifestation , which presently follows, and we speak , 2 Corinthians 5:13 . ἐν πανουργίᾳ , in craftiness ) This is opposed to sincerity; craftiness seeks hiding-places; we do not practise it. μηδὲ δολοῦντες , not corrupting [ not handling deceitfully ]) τῇ φανερώσει , by manifestation ) comp. 2 Corinthians 3:3 . τῆς ἀληθείας , of the truth ) according to the Gospel. ἑαυτοὺς , ourselves ) as sincere. πρὸς ) to. πᾶσαν ) all, every , concerning all things. συνείδησιν , conscience ) ch. 2 Corinthians 5:11 ; not to carnal judgments; 2 Corinthians 3:1 , where the carnal commendation of some is by implication referred to and stigmatised.

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 4:3 . Εὶ δέ , but if ) precisely the same as in the time of Moses. καὶ ἕστι , even is) even strengthens the force of the present tense in is . τὸ εὐαγγέλιον , the Gospel ) which is quite plain in itself. ἐν , in ) so far as it concerns them , that perish; so, ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος , as far as I am concerned , a barbarian, 1 Corinthians 14:11 . ἐν τοῖς , in the case of them ) not in itself. ἀπολλυμένοις , that perish ) 1 Corinthians 1:18 .

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 4:4 . Ἐν οἷς , as concerns whom , [ in whom ]) ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου , the god of this world ) A great, but awful description of Satan [ corresponding to his great but awful work, mentioned here . V. g.], comp. Ephesians 2:2 , respecting the fact itself: and Philippians 3:9 , respecting the term. Who would otherwise think, that he could in the case of men obstruct so great a light [as that which the Gospel affords]? But there is somewhat of a mimesis; [19] for those that perish, especially the Jews, think, that they have God, and know Him. The ancients construed ΤΟῦ ΑἸῶΝΟς ΤΟΎΤΟΥ with ΤῶΝ ἈΠΊΣΤΩΝ , as if it were, the unbelievers of this world , in order that they might give the greater opposition to the Manicheans and the Marcionites. [20] τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου , of this world ) He says, of this , for the devil will not be able always to assail. ἐτύφλωσε , blinded ) not merely veiled [ch. 2Co 3:14-15 ]. τῶν ἀπίστων , of them who believe not ) An epithet, [21] by supplying the relative pronoun ἐκείνων , of them; for among those, that perish, are chiefly those, who, though they have heard, do not believe. The Gospel is received by faith unto salvation . εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι [22] ) lest should shine . τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου , Κ . Τ . Λ . , the enlightening [illumination] of the Gospel , etc.) He afterwards calls it the enlightening of the knowledge , etc. φωτισμὸς , enlightening , is the reflection or propagation of rays from those, who are enlightened, for the purpose of enlightening more. The Gospel and knowledge are correlatives, as cause and effect. τῆς δόξης , of the glory ) 2 Corinthians 3:18 , note. εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ , the image of God ) From this we may sufficiently understand how great is the glory of Christ, v. 6; 1 Timothy 6:15 . He, who sees the Son, sees the Father, in the face of Christ. The Son exactly represents and reflects the Father.

[19] See Append. Allusion to an opponent’s words or sentiments.

[20] Both which sects regarded matter as essentially evil and under the power of the devil, which the rendering, god of this world , seemed to sanction. ED.

[21] Beng. would make it thus, The unbelieving lost , spoken of above.

[22] The Germ. Ver. also exhibits the pronoun αὐτοῖς , which is more highly esteemed in the margin of the 2d Ed. than in the larger Ed. E. B.

ABCD corrected, G Vulg. f Orig. Iren. omit αὐτοῖς . Except one passage of Origen there is none of the oldest authorities in support of it. ED.

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 4:5 . Οὐ , not ) We do not commend ourselves, 2 Corinthians 3:1 ; although they who perish think so. γὰρ , for ) The fault of their blindness does not lie at our door. Κυρίον , δούλους , the Lord; servants ) An antithesis: we do not preach ourselves as masters; comp. 2 Corinthians 1:24 . δούλους ὑμῶν , your servants ) Hence Paul is accustomed to prefer the Corinthians to himself, 2 Corinthians 4:12-13 . διὰ Ἰησοῦν , for Jesus sake ) The majesty of Christians is derived from Him.

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 4:6 . Ὅτι , because ) He proves, that they were true servants . ὁ Θεὸς , God ) God to shine , constitutes the subject; then by supplying is (as in Act 4:24-25 ) the predicate follows, [is He] who hath shone . ὁ εἰπὼν , He who spake the word ) who commanded by a word LXX., εἶπεν , Genesis 1:3 . ἐκ σκότους φῶς , light out of darkness ) LXX., Job 37:15 , φῶς ποιήσας ἐκ σκότους . A great work. ἔλαμψεν , hath shone ) Himself our Light; not only the author of light, but also its fountain, and Sun. καρδίαις , in our hearts ) in themselves dark. ἐν προσώπῳ [23] Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , in the face of Jesus Christ ) Who is the only begotten of the Father and His image, and was manifested in the flesh with His glory.

[23] Both the margin of the 2d Ed. and the Germ. Ver. hint that the name Ἰησοῦ is a doubtful reading; and the same may be said of the reading τοῦ Κυρίου , 2 Corinthians 4:10 . E. B.

AB Orig. 1,632 f omit ʼ Ιησοῦ . But C Orig. 4,448 c have it before Χριστοῦ ; and D( Λ )G fg Vulg. have it after Χριστοῦ . ABCDG fg Vulg. Orig. Iren. omit Κυρίου in 2 Corinthians 4:10 . It is supported only by some later uncial MSS. and later Syr., etc. ED.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 4:7 . Τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον , this treasure ) described from [beginning with] 2 Corinthians 2:14 . He now shows, that affliction and death itself, so far from obstructing the ministry of the Spirit, even aid it, and sharpen ministers and increase their fruit. ὀστρακίνοις , earthen ) The ancients kept their treasure in jars , or vessels . There are earthen vessels, which yet may be clean; on the contrary a golden vessel may be filthy. σκεύεσιν , vessels ) It is thus he calls the body , or the flesh , which is subject to affliction and death; see the following verses. ἡ ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως , the excellency of the power ) which, consisting as it does in the treasure, exerts itself in us, while we are being saved, and in you, while you are being enriched; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11 . ᾖ , may be ) may be acknowledged to be, with thanksgiving, 2 Corinthians 4:15 . τοῦ Θεοῦ , of God ) not merely from God . God not only bestows power once for all, but He is always maintaining it [making it good, ensuring it to His people].

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 4:8 . Ἐν παντὶ θλιβόμενοι , while we are troubled in every respect [ on every side ]) Song of Solomon 7:5 , in every , namely, thing , and place; comp. always at 2 Corinthians 4:10 . θλιβόμενοι , while we are troubled ) The four participles in this verse refer to the feelings of the mind; the same number in the following ver. to outward occurrences, 2 Corinthians 7:5 , [ Without were fightings; within were fears.] They are construed with ἔχομεν , we have; and in every member the first clause proves, that the vessels are earthen , the latter points out the excellence of the power . οὐ στενοχωρούμενοι , we are not [ distressed ] reduced to straits ) a way of escape is never wanting. ἀπορούμενοι , we are perplexed ) about the future; as, we are troubled , refers to the present.

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 4:9 . Διωκόμενοι , persecuted ) καταβαλλόμενοι , cast down , is something more [worse] than persecution , viz., where flight is not open to one.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 4:10 . Πάντοτε , always ) ἀεὶ in the next verse differs from this word. πάντοτε , throughout the whole time; ἀεὶ , any time whatever [at every time]: comp. Mark 15:8 . The words, bearing about, we are delivered , in this ver. and in 2Co 4:11 agree. τὴν νέκρωσιν , the dying ) This is as it were the act, life the habit. τοῦ Κυρίου , of the Lord ) This name must be thrice supplied in this and the following verse, [24] and advantageously softens in this first passage the mention of dying . It is called the dying of the Lord , and the genitive intimates communion, [ joint participation of Christ and believers in mutual suffering] as 2 Corinthians 1:5 . Ἰησοῦ , of Jesus ) Paul employs this name alone [without Χριστοῦ or Κυρίου accompanying it] more frequently in this whole passage, 2 Corinthians 4:5 , than is his wont elsewhere; therefore here he seems peculiarly to have felt its sweetness. περιφέροτες , carrying about ) in all lands. ἵνα καὶ , that also ) Consolation here takes an increase. Just before [ 2Co 4:8-9 ], we had, but , four times. ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν φανερωθῇ , in our body might be made manifest ) might be made manifest in our mortal [dead] flesh , in the next verse. In the one passage the noun, in the other the verb is put first, for the sake of emphasis. In 2 Corinthians 4:10 , glorification is referred to; in 2 Corinthians 4:9 , preservation in this life, and strengthening: the word, our , is added here [ ἐν τῷ σέματι ἡμῶν ], rather than at the beginning of the verse [ ἐν τῷ σώματι without ἡμῶν .] The body is ours, not so much in death as in life. May be made manifest is explained, 2 Corinthians 4:14 ; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 .

[24] Comp. marginal note on 2 Corinthians 4:6 . E. B.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 4:11 . Οἱ ζῶντες , we who live ) An Oxymoron; comp. they who live , ch. 2 Corinthians 5:15 . The apostle wonders, that he has escaped so many deaths, or even survived others, who have been already slain for the testimony of Christ, for example, Stephen and James. We who live , and death; life , and mortal are respectively antithetic. παραδιδόμεθα , we are delivered up ) He elegantly and modestly abstains from mentioning Him, who delivers up . Looking from without [extrinsically], the delivering up might seem to be done at random, [whereas it is all ordered by Providence.]

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 4:12 . Θάνατος , death ) of the body [ by the corruption (decay) of the outward man . V. g.] ζωὴ , life ) viz., that of the Spirit.

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 4:13 . Τὸ αὐτὸ ) the same , which both [ David had and you have ], comp. 2 Corinthians 4:14 . κατὰ , according to ) This word is construed with we believe and we speak . ἐπίστευσα , διὸ ἐλάλησα ) So LXX., Psalms 116:10 , Hebr. ἐπίστευσα , ὅτι λαλήσω . The one meaning is included [involved] in the other. Faith produced in the soul immediately speaks, and in consequence of speaking, it knows itself and increases itself. λαλοῦμεν , we speak ) without fear in the midst of affliction and death, 2 Corinthians 4:17 .

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 4:14 . Εἰδότες , knowing ) by great faith , ch. 2 Corinthians 5:1 . παραστήσει , shall present ) This word places the matter as it were under our eyes [Hypotyposis; a vivid word-picture of some action, Append.]

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 4:15 . Γὰρ , for ) The reason, why he just now said, with you . πάντα , all things ) whether adverse or prosperous. ἡ χάρις , grace ) which preserves us, and confirms you in life. πλεονάσασα περισσεύσῃ ) Πλεονάζω has the force of a positive; περισσεύω , of a comparative, Romans 5:20 . Therefore we must construe διὰ with περισσεύσῃ . πλέον , the same as πλῆρες , is not a comparative. διὰ ) through [on account of] the thanksgiving of many, for that grace. Thanksgiving invites more abundant grace, Psalms 18:3 ; Psalms 50:23 ; 2 Chronicles 20:19 ; 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 . εὐχαριστίαν thanksgiving ) ours and yours, ch. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 . περισσεύσῃ ,) may abound to [be abundantly vouchsafed] us and you, this again tending to the glory of God.

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 4:16 . Διὸ οὐκ ἐκκακοῦμεν , for which cause we faint not ) 2 Corinthians 4:1 , note. ὁ ἔξω , the outward [ man ]) the body, the flesh. διαφθείρεται , be wasted away [ perish ]) by affliction . ἀνακαινοῦται , is renewed ) by hope; see the following verses. This new condition shuts out all κακία , infirmity [such as is implied in ἐκκακοῦμεν , faintness .]

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 4:17 . Παραυτίκα , [ but for a moment ]) just now: a brief present season is denoted, 1 Peter 1:6 [ ὄλιγον ἄρτι , a brief season now .] The antitheses are, just now , and eternal; light , and weight: affliction , and glory; which is in excessive measure , and in an exceeding degree . καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν , in excessive measure ) Even that affliction , which is καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν , in excessive measure , when compared with other less afflictions, 2 Corinthians 1:8 , is yet light compared with the glory εἰς ὑπερβολὴν , in an exceeding degree . A noble Oxymoron. κατεργάζεται ) works, procures , accomplishes.

Verse 18

2 Corinthians 4:18 . Σκοπούντων ) while we look , etc. Every one follows that to which he looks as his aim [ scopus from σκοπέω .] μὴ βλεπόμενα , things, which are not seen ) The term, ἀόρατα , things invisible , [ incapable of being seen] has a different meaning; for many things, which are not seen [ μὴ βλεπόμενα , things not actually seen now], will be visible [ ὄρατα ], when the journey of our faith is accomplished. γὰρ , for ) This furnishes the reason, why they look at those things, which are not seen.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/2-corinthians-4.html. 1897.
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