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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Corinthians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 4

2 Corinthians 4:4. αὐγάσαι] A, 10, 17, 23, 31, and several Fathers have διαυγάσαι; C D E, 73, Or. (once) Eus. al. have καταυγάσαι. So Lachm. on the margin. Two more precise definitions to accord with the context. The αὐτοῖς that follows (in Elz.) has decisive evidence against it, and is an addition.—2 Corinthians 4:6. λάμψαι] Lachm. reads λάμψει, following A B D* א* 67** Aeth. But the evidence of almost all the Versions and all the Fathers is against it; and how easily λάμψει might occur to the copyists through remembrance of the direct address in Genesis 1:3!

The omission of the following ὅς (D* F G 36, It. Chrys. and several Fathers), as well as the weakly-supported readings ὡς, οὗτος, and ipse, are corrections arising from not understanding the sens.

τοῦ θεοῦ] Lachm. reads αὐτοῦ, on no preponderating evidence. A change for the sake of the style; for if it had been αὐτοῦ originally, there would have been no uncertainty whatever about the reference, and so no reason for glossing it by τοῦ θεοῦ.

ἰησοῦ] is to be deleted, according to A B 17, Or. (once) al., with Lachm. Tisch. and Rück.—2 Corinthians 4:10. τοῦ ἰησοῦ] Elz. has τοῦ κυρίου ἰησοῦ, against decisive testimony.—2 Corinthians 4:12. θάν.] Elz. has μὲν θάν., against decisive testimony.—2 Corinthians 4:14. διὰ ἰησοῦ] Lachm. Tisch. Rück. and also Reiche (Comm. crit. I. p. 351 f.) have σὺν ἰησοῦ, following B C D E F G א* 6, 17, 31, Copt. Slav. Vulg. It. Tert. Ambros. Pel. Rightly; the σὺν ἰησοῦ appeared unsuitable in point of time to the resurrection of the dead.—2 Corinthians 4:16. ἔσωθεν] Lachm. and Rück. read ἔσω ἡμῶν, following preponderating evidence, indeed; but it is evidently a change in accordance with what goes before.—2 Corinthians 4:17. After ταραυτίκα, D* E F G 31, Syr. Arr. Arm. Vulg. It. and Latin Fathers have πρόσκαιρον καί. A gloss, which has crept in, of παραυτίκα. Comp. Theodoret: διὰ τοῦ παραυτίκα ἔδειξε τὸ βραχύ τε καὶ πρόσκαιρον.

REMARK.

In the Codex Alexandrinus all from 2 Corinthians 4:13, ἐπίστευσα, to 2 Corinthians 12:6 inclusive, is wanting through mutilation.

CONTENTS.

Continuation of the theme begun in 2 Corinthians 3:12 f. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6); relation of the external state, so full of suffering, to the glory of the office (2 Corinthians 4:7-18).


Verse 1

2 Corinthians 4:1. διὰ τοῦτο] Paul now reverts, it is true, to what had been begun in 2 Corinthians 3:12 f., but had, owing to the comparison with Moses and the discussion thence arising about the hardening of the Jews and the freedom contrasted with it (2 Corinthians 3:14-18), remained without further elucidation, but reverts in such a way that he attaches it to what immediately precedes by διὰ τοῦτο. Therefore, since the Christians are so highly privileged as was specified in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, we become, in the possession of the office, which ministers to this Christian freedom and glorification … not dejected.

καθὼς ἠλεήθ.] a modal definition, full of humility (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Corinthians 7:25), to ἔχουτες τ. διακ. ταύτ.: “having this ministry in accordance with the (divine) mercy imparted to us.” The important practical bearing of this addition is aptly indicated by Bengel: “Misericordia Dei, per quam ministerium accipitur, facit strenuos et sinceros.”

οὐκ ἐκκακοῦμεν] Lachmann, Teschendorf, and Rückert, following A B D* F G א, read ἐγκακοῦμεν (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:16; Luke 18:1; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:13). But this appears to be a correction, since only ἐγκακεῖν, and not ἐκκακεῖν (which is here the reading of C D*** E K L), occurs for certain out of the N. T. and the Fathers and ancient lexicographers. Polyb. iv. 19. 10; Theodotion, Proverbs 3:11; Symmachus, Genesis 27:46; Numbers 21:5; Isaiah 7:16. Comp. ἐγκάκησις, Symmachus, Psalms 119:143. Probably ἐκκακεῖν was at that time only in oral use, and came first through Paul and Luke into the language of ecclesiastical writings. It means, however, to become cowardly, to lose courage. Hesychius, ἠδημόνησεν· ἐξεκάκησεν; Suidas, ἐξεκάκησα· ἀπηγόρευσα. The contrast in 2 Corinthians 4:2 is not adverse to this signification; for the becoming dejected through any kind of difficulties (with Pelagius, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Beza, and others, to think only of sufferings is arbitrary) leads easily to κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης, while bold, brave, unweakened courage disdains such things. Comp. the demeanour of Luther. Hence Rückert is mistaken in holding that, for the sake of the contrast, we must assume the general signification: to abandon oneself to badness, a signification which cannot elsewhere be made good for ἐγκακ. or for ἐκκακ. (in Polybius, iv. 19. 10, ἐνεκάκησαν means, “they were lazy”). Chrysostom is in substance correct: οὐ κστσπίπτομεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ χαίρομεν καὶ παῤῥησιαζόμεθα. The opposite is the preservation of the holy ἀνδρία (1 Corinthians 16:13).


Verse 2

2 Corinthians 4:2. Contrast to οὐκ ἰκκακοῦμεν in reference to antagonistic teacher.

ἀπειπάμεθα] we have renounced, we ham put away from us. Comp. Homer, Il. xix. 35, 75; Plato, Legg. xi. p. 928 D Polyb. xiv. 9. 6; and in the middle, in this sense, Herod. i. 205, iv. 120, vii. 14; often in Polyb.; also Callim. Hymn, in Dian 174: ἀπὸ δʼ εἴπατο τέθμια ταύρων, Aelian, H. N. vi. 1 : τὴν ἀκόλαστον κοίτην ἀπείπατο παντελῶς πᾶσαν. Regarding the aorist middle, ἀπειπάμην, see Thomas M. p. 57; Moeris, p. 29; Kühner, I. p. 817, ed. 2.

τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης] as in 1 Corinthians 4:5, τὰ κρ. τοῦ σκότους, the hidden things of shame, i.e. what shame (the sense of honour, verecundia) hides,(188) does not allow to come to the light. This is to be left quite general: “All that one, because he is ashamed of it, does not permit to become manifest,” but, on the contrary, κρυφῇ καλύπτει καρδίᾳ (Soph. Antig. 1239); κρύπτειν δεῖ καὶ συσκιάζειν αἰσχυνομένους καὶ ἐρυθριῶντας, Chrysostom. All special limitations, such as to secret plans and intrigues (Beza, Grotius, and others, including Emmerling ancl Billroth), or to the disfiguring (Calvin) or hiding (de Wette) of the truth, or to secret fear of men (Ewald), or to hidden, disgraceful arts of fleshly wisdom (Neander), or to secret means and ways to which the preacher of Christianity, who is ashamed of Christianity, has recourse (Hofmann), or even to circumcision (Theodoret), or to promises not made good (Chrysostom), or to a hypocritical habit (Theophylact), or even to obscoenas voluptates (Estius, Krebs), are without warrant; for Paul proceeds from the general to the particular, so that it is only in what follows, when referring more pointedly to his opponents, that he adduces particular forms of the κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης.

μὴ περιπ. κ. τ. λ.] so that we walk not, etc. The apostle means his demeanour in the ministry.

δολοῦντες τ. λόγον τ. θεοῦ] adulterating the word of God. Lucian, Herm. 59; LXX. Psalms 15:3. It is done by alterations and foreign admixtures. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθ. through the manifestation of the truth (comp. 1 Corinthians 12:7), i.e. by making the truth contained in the gospel (the truth κατʼ ἐξοχήν) public, or, in other words, a clearly presented object of knowledge. The contrast gives a special occasion here for designating the contents of the gospel by ἀλήθεια. On the subject-matter, comp. Romans 1:16.

συνιστώντες ἑαυτούς] The emphasis of the contrast lay in τῇ φανερ. τ. ἀλ.; but, on the contrary, through nothing else than through the proclamation of the truth commending ourselves. But even in this “commending ourselves” there clearly lies a contrasting reference to the antagonistic teachers, who accused the apostle of self-praise (2 Corinthians 3:1), but on their part not merely by letters of recommendation, but even by intrigues ( ἐν πανουργίᾳ, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 12:16; Ephesians 4:14; Luke 20:23) and by adulteration of the gospel ( δολοῦντες τὸν λόγ. τ. θεοῦ) sought to make themselves honoured and beloved among others. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Overlooking this, Rückert recommends for συνιστ. the general meaning of laying down, setting forth, proving (Romans 5:8).

πρὸς πᾶσαν συνείδ. ἀνθρώπ.] πρός used of the ethical direction. The essential meaning is, indeed, not different from πρὸς τὴν συνείδησιν πάντων τῶν ἀνθρώπων (for which it is often taken, even by Rückert), but it is otherwise conceived, namely: “to every human conscience.” Comp. Romans 2:9. Note how Paul here ascribes to every man the capacity of moral judgment, and thus also the knowledge of the moral law as the propositio major of the inference of conscience. If now, however, refractory minds, through perverted moral judgment or moral stubbornness, were unwilling to recognise this de facto self-recommendation made uniformly and without προσωποληψία, the matter remained the same on the part of the apostle; hence it is not, with Grotius, to be explained only of the “bonae conscientiae,” against the meaning of the word.

ἐνώπ. τοῦ θεοῦ] applies to συνιστῶντες ἀνθρώπων: so that this our self-recommendation is made in God’s presence. This denotes the highest sincerity and honesty in the subjectivity of the person acting, who knows that God ( τὸν τοῦ συνειδότος ἐπόπτην, Theodoret) is present as eye-witness. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 7:12; Galatians 1:20.


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 4:3. Against the assertion just made, ἀλλὰ τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείαςθεοῦ, it might be objected: “and yet your gospel is κεκαλυμμένον! is by so many not at all known as the ἀλήθεια!” Wherefore Paul continues, “even if that were the case, still it is so only with regard to the ἀπολλύμενοι whom the devil has blinded, and hence cannot be urged against the former assertion.”

εἰ δὲ καὶ ἔστι κεκαλ.] In this admission the placing of ἔστι before κεκαλ. conveys the meaning: but if even it is the case that, etc. The figurative κεκαλ. was suggested by the still fresh remembrance of 2 Corinthians 3:14.

τὸ εὐαγγ. ἡμῶν] the gospel preached by us, the Pauline gospel.

ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμ.] i.e. among those who (for certain) are liable to eternal ἀπώλεια. See on 2 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 1:18. ἐν is not nota dativi (Flatt), nor yet quod attinet ad (Bengel), but inter, in their circle. Rückert takes it: in their hearts, on account of 2 Corinthians 3:15. So also Osiander. But against the analogy of 2 Corinthians 2:15; besides, according to 2 Corinthians 3:15, it is the heart of the ἀπολλύμενοι, and not the gospel, which must be represented as the veiled subject. It has not at all reached the hearts of the persons concerned.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 4:4. A statement to establish the ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμ. ἐστι κεκαλ., so that ἐν οἶς is equivalent to ὅτι ἐν τούτοις (comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:6): in whom the devil has made blind, i.e. incapable of the perception of the truth, the thoughts of the unbelieving ( νοήματα, as in 2 Corinthians 3:14(189)). It is his work to make the unbelieving blind, as respects the bringing forward their power of thought to confront the light of the gospel; and this his characteristic ἔργον he has carried out in the ἀπολλύμενοι; in their souls he has succeeded in his devilish work of blinding the thoughts of the unbelieving. Observe, accordingly, that the conception of the ἀπολλύμενοι is a narrower one than that of the ἄπιστοι. Not with all ἄπιστοι does the devil gain in presence of the preaching of the gospel his object of blinding them and making them ἀπολλύμενοι; many so comport themselves towards this preaching that they become believing and σωζόμενοι (1 Corinthians 14:24 f.; Acts 13:48; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:47; Matthew 13:8; Matthew 13:23). Hence τῶν ἀπίστων is neither aimless (the objection of Hofmann), nor is it, with Rückert, to be referred to a negligence of expression, so that Paul would, in order to round off the sentence and to make his opinion quite clearly prominent, that the ἀπολλύμενοι are the ἄπιστοι, have appended the appositional clause ungrammatically and tautologically. Fritzsche, whom Billroth follows, takes τῶν ἀπίστ. proleptically: “hoc effectu ut nullam haberent fidem.” But the proleptic use of adjectives (see on 1 Corinthians 1:8) is nowhere found with the genitive of an adjective used substantively; it must have run ἐτύφλωσε τὰ νοήματα ἄπιστα.(190) Comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Philippians 3:21. Quite arbitrarily, most of the older expositors (also Grotius, Wolf, Emmerling, Flatt) explain it in such a way that τῶν ἀπίστων fills the place of an apposition to ἐν οἷς. In that case it must have run: ἐν τοῖς ἀπίστοις (see, especially, Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 173). According to Ewald, Paul has inserted the addition τῶν ἀπίστ., as if he meant thereby merely to say: “the Gentile thoughts,” because the Jews regarded the Gentiles only as the unbelievers. But such a reference would have needed all the more a precise indication, as the reader had to find in τοῖς ἀπολλυμ. Gentiles and Jews, consequently in τῶν ἀπίστ, no special reference to the Gentile character. According to Hofmann, ἐν οἷς is intended to be the domain within which, etc., and this domain is in view of the preaching of the apostle the Gentile one, in which there has taken place that which this relative clause asserts of the unbelieving. To this the context is opposed, which gives no justification whatever for limiting the ἀπολλύμενοι to the sphere of the Gentile world; they form, in general, a contrast to the σωζόμενοι, as also at 2 Corinthians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 1:18, and to the ἡ΄εῖς πάντες, 2 Corinthians 3:18, who are just the σωζόμενοι. Finally, it is to be observed as a mere historical point, that Irenaeus (Haer. iv. 48), Origen, Tertullian (contra Marc. iv. 11), Chrysostom, Augustine (c. advers. leg. ii. 7. 8), Oecumenius, Theodoret, Theophylact (also Knatchbull), with a view to oppose the dualism of the Marcionites and Manichaeans, joined τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου with τῶν ἀπίστων (infidelium hujus saeculi).

θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτ.] the God of this (running on till the Parousia) period. On the subject-matter, comp. John 8:44; John 12:31; John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9 f. The devil, as ruling principle, is called god. Comp. Philippians 3:19. Among the Rabbins, also, it is said: “Deus primus est Deus verus, sed Deus secundus est Samael,” Jalkut Rubeni, f. 10. 4, ad Genesis 1:27. Comp. the passages in Eisenmenger, Entdecht. Judenth. I. p. 827, where he is called the strange god and the other god. There is not something ironical in the expression here (Olshausen), for that would be quite alien to the connection; on the contrary, with the utmost earnestness the great anti-Christian power of the devil is intended to be made palpably evident. Comp. Benge.

εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι κ. τ. λ.] Purpose of the devil: in order that the illumination should not shine, etc. For that which illumines does not shine for the blinded.(191) Hence it is quite unnecessary to explain αὐγάσαι, to see, or to have an eye upon (Luther, Grotius, Emmerling, Rückert, Ewald, Hofmann), which signification (more exactly, to direct the light of the eyes to anything) undoubtedly occurs in Greek poets (Soph. Phil. 217; Eur. Rhes. 793; more frequently in the middle, as Iliad, xxii. 458; Elmsley, ad Bacch. 596; Jacobs, ad Anthol. VIII. p. 338), but is foreign even to the LXX. (Leviticus 13:25 f., Leviticus 13:28; Leviticus 13:39; Leviticus 14:56). Besides, the simple αὐγάζειν does not occur in the classic writers with the neuter meaning fulgere (though the compounds καταυγάζειν and διαυγάζειν, which are the readings of several uncials, do so occur), but only in the active sense: irradiate, illumine, as e.g. Eur. Hcc. 637.

φωτισμός] illumining, is found in Sextus Empiricus, 522. 9; Plut. Mor. 920 D more often in the LXX., in Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. Without figure, the meaning is: in order that the enlightening truth of the gospel might not he known and appropriated by them.

τῆς δόξης τοῦ χριστοῦ] The glory of the exalted Christ (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:18) is here denoted as the contents of the Messianic preaching; elsewhere (1 Corinthians 1:18) it is the word of the cross. Both meanings are used according to the requirement of the context, and both rightly (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:10, al.); for the δόξα is the consequence of the death of the cross, by which it was conditioned (Philippians 2:6 ff.; Romans 8:34, al.; Luke 24:26; often in John), and it conditions the future completion of the work of the cross (Philippians 2:10 f.; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15; Colossians 3:3 f.).

ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τ. θεοῦ] for Christ in the state of His exaltation(192) is again, as He was before His incarnation (comp. John 17:5), fully ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ and ἴσα θεῷ (Philippians 2:6), hence in His glorified corporeality (Philippians 3:21) the visible image of the invisible God. See on Colossians 1:15; comp. Hebrews 1:3. It is true that in the state of His humiliation He had likewise the divine δόξα, which He possessed κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης (Romans 1:4), which also, as bearer of the divine grace and truth (John 1:14), and through His miracles (John 2:11), He made known (John 14:9); but its working and revelation were limited by His humiliation to man’s estate, and He had divested Himself of the divine appearance (Philippians 2:7 f.) till in the end, furnished through His resurrection with the mighty attestation of His divine sonship (Romans 1:4), He entered, through His elevation to the right hand of God, into the full communion of the glory of the Father, in which He is now the God-man, the very image and reflection of God, and will one day come to execute judgment and to establish the kingdom.

Aim of the addition: “hinc satis intelligi potest, quanta sit gloria Christi,” Bengel; it is the highest and holiest of all, and of the knowledge of it Satan deprives those whom he blinds!


Verse 5

2 Corinthians 4:5. What his gospel ( τὸ εὐαγγ. ἡμῶν) proclaimed, he has just described as that which is most glorious and sublime, namely, the δόξα τοῦ χριστοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν κ. τ. λ. And that nothing else than this is the lofty contents of his preaching, he now establishes, and that under an antithetic point of view, which (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:1) takes into account hostile calumny. This antithetic aim so fully justifies the reference of the γάρ to what immediately precedes, and the emphasis laid on χριστ. ἰησ. as κύριον, as well as the contents of 2 Corinthians 4:6, so obviously confirms it, that we have no warrant for going back with γάρ to 2 Corinthians 3:1, even if we include 2 Corinthians 4:3-5 (Hofmann).

ἑαυτοὺς κηρύσσ.] In virtue of the contrast that follows (Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 8. 25), κυρίονς might be supplied (de Wette and others, also my own view hitherto), and with this 2 Corinthians 1:24 might be compared. But since it was self-evident that he did not preach himself as Lord, and this could not be attributed to him even by his opponents, however much they may have accused him of selfish conduct, it is better (comp. Hofmann) to let the expression retain its quite general character: not ourselves, not our own persons, their insight, standing, repute, and other interests, do we make the contents and aim of our preaching.

κύριον] as Lord. In this lies the whole great confessional contents of his preaching, which absolutely excludes all desire for self-assertion; comp. Philippians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 12:3. This κύριον also is to be left quite in its generality,(193) so that the following ὑμῶν has no joint reference to it (Hofmann).

διὰ ἰησοῦν] This it is by which the relation of service to the readers ( δούλους ὑμῶν) is conditioned. For on His account, not irrespectively of Him, we are your servants. Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:1. To do the will of Jesus, and to carry on His work—this it is which determines us to be your servants, i.e. to do our labour for your service; only in this respect, in this relation of service to you, do we preach ourselves, which, therefore, is something quite different from the ἑαυτ. κηρυσσ. before denied.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 4:6. Confirmation of the above, and not simply of the concluding words of 2 Corinthians 4:5 ( ἑαυτοὺς δὲ δούλους κ. τ. λ.), but of the entire 2 Corinthians 4:5. For it is God who has bestowed on us such enlightenment, and for such behoof as is declared in 2 Corinthians 4:6; how should we not be far exalted above the preaching of ourselves instead of Christ as the Lord, and how could we proclaim ourselves otherwise than simply in the relation of serviceableness to you, serviceableness for Christ’s sake!—“For God, who bade light shine out of darkness, it is who caused it to shine in our hearts, in order that we should make the knowledge of the divine glory give light in the presence of Christ.” Apart from this figurative clothing, the sense is: For it is God, the creator of light, who bestowed on us the spiritual light communicated to us, not that we might retain it for ourselves without further communication, but that we should convey the knowledge of the divine glory to others in making this knowledge manifest to them in Christ, whom we teach them to know. As to the construction, ὅς is not to be taken as equivalent to οὗτος (Vorstius, Mosheim, Morus, Rosenmüller, Schrader; comp. Theodoret and Luther), nor is ὅς to be deleted (Rückert hesitates between the two), but ἐστί is to be supplied, and supplied before ὃς ἔλαμψεν (so, rightly, most of the commentators(194)), not immediately after θεός (Valla, Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Bengel, Vater, Ewald), because it is only with ὃς ἔλαμψεν that the important idea is introduced, and because Paul has written ὅς and not ὃς καί. On account of the ὃς κ. τ. λ. that follows it is impossible, with Hofmann, to regard the sentence on ὅτι θεός as far as λάμψαι (“for it is God who … has bidden to shine”) as a complete and perfect sentenc.

εἰπὼν ἐκ σκότονς φῶς λάμψαι] qui jussit, etc. Reminiscence of Genesis 1:3,(195) in order to prepare for the following ὃς ἔλα΄ψεν κ. τ. λ., which is meant to appear as analogous to the physical working of God in the creation. “Saepe comparantur beneficia creationis veteris et novae,” Grotius. The emergence of the light of the holy truth in Christ from amid the sinful darkness of untruth (Hofmann) is not as yet spoken of; this spiritual fact only finds its expression in what follows, and has here merely the way prepared for it by the corresponding physical creation of ligh.

ἐκ may doubtless mean immediately after (Emmerling), see Heindorf, ad Prot. p. 463; Jacobs, ad Ael. p. 464; but in the N. T. it does not so occur, and here “forth out of darkness” is far more in keeping with graphic vividness, for such is the position of the matter when what is dark becomes lighted up; comp. LXX. Job 37:15.

ὃς ἔλαμψεν ἐν τ. καρδ. ἡμ.] This ὅς cannot be referred to Christ, with Hofmann, who compares irrelevantly Hebrews 5:7 (where Christ is in fact the chief subject of what immediately precedes), but it applies to God. Whether ἔλαμψεν is intransitive (Chrysostom and most expositors): he shone, which would have to be explained from the idea of the indwelling of God by means of the Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:25), or whether it is factitive: who made it (namely, φῶς) shine (Grotius, Bengel, Emmerling, Fritzsche), as ἀνατέλλειν is used in Matthew 5:45, and even λά΄πειν in the poets (Eur. Phoen. 226, and the passages in Matthiae, p. 944; Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 58, VII. p. 378, VIII. p. 199; ad Del. Epigr. p. 62; Lobeck, ad Adj. p. 94, ed. 2), is decided from the context by the preceding physical analogy, which makes the factitive sense in keeping with the εἰπὼν λάμψαι most probable. If the progress of thought had been: “who himself shone” (Chrysostom, Theodoret), the text must have run, ὃς αὐτὸς ἔλαμψεν. God has wrought in the hearts of the apostolic teachers, spiritually creating light, just as physically as at the creation He called light out of the darkness. Hofmann, in consequence of his referring ὅς to Christ, wrongly explains it: “within them has been repeated that which took place in the world when Christ appeared in it.” On the point itself in reference to Paul, see Galatians 1:16.

πρὸς φωτισμὸν κ. τ. λ.] for the purpose of lighting (2 Corinthians 4:4), etc., equivalent to πρὸς τὸ φωτίζειν τὴν γνῶσιν κ. τ. λ., in order that there may lighten, etc., by which is set forth the thought: “in order that the knowledge of the divine glory may be conveyed and diffused from us to others through the preaching of Christ.” For if the knowledge remains undiffused, it has not the nature of a thing that lightens, whose light is received by the eyes of me.

ἐν προσώπῳ χριστοῦ] belongs to πρὸς φωτισ΄όν, but cannot be explained in persona Christi, i.e. in nomine Christi, as Estius explains it after the Latin Fathers, but it specifies where the knowledge of the divine glory is to lighten: in the presence of Christ. For Christ is εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, and Christians see unveiled the glory of Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:18. He, therefore, who converts others to Christ makes the knowledge of the divine glory become clear-shining to them, and that in the countenance of the Lord, which is beheld in the gospel as the reflection of the divine glory, so that in this seen countenance that clear-shining knowledge has the source of its light (as it were, its focus). Probably there is in ἐν προσώπῳ χριστοῦ a reminiscence of 2 Corinthians 3:7. The connection of ἐν προσώπῳ χρ. with πρὸς φωτισ΄όν has been justly recognised by Estius, and established as the only right one by Fritzsche (Dissert. II. p. 170, and ad Rom. I. p. 188), whom Billroth follows, for the usual way of connecting it with τῆς δόξης τ. θεοῦ (comp. also Hofmann: “the glory of God visible in Christ”) would of necessity require τῆς repeated after θεοῦ, since δόξα is not a verbal substantive like φωτισ΄ός, and consequently, without repeating the article, Paul would necessarily have written τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δόξης ἐν προσωπ. χρ. (see Krüger, §§ 50, 9, 9, and 8). The objection of de Wette against our view—an objection raised substantially by Hofmann also—that the γνῶσις is the subjective possession of the apostle, and cannot therefore become light-giving in the face of Christ, leaves out of consideration the fact that the γνῶσις is objectivised. Conveyed through preaching, the γνῶσις of the divine glory gives light (it would not give light otherwise), and its light-giving has its seat and source of issue on the countenance of Christ, because it is this, the glory of which is brought to view in the mirror of preaching (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Note, further, how there is something clumsy but majestic in the entire mode of expression, πρὸςχριστοῦ, especially in the accumulation of the four genitives, as in 2 Corinthians 4:4.


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 4:7. δέ] merely carrying on the train of thought: Now to compare our outward position with this high vocation, we have, et.

τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον] is referred either, in accordance with 2 Corinthians 4:6, to the light kindled by God in the heart (Grotius, Flatt, Rückert, and others), or to the ministerium evangelii (Calvin, Estius, Bengel, Emmerling, and others). According to 2 Corinthians 4:6, the inward divine enlightening ( πρὸς φωτισμὸν κ. τ. λ.) is meant, and this definition of aim ( πρὸς φωτ.) embraces in itself the ministerium evang.

ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν] in vessels of clay. Contrast with θησαυρόν, because, for such a treasure, some more costly and lasting vessel seems suitable. Comp. the opposite in Arrian, Epict. iii. 9 : χρυσᾶ σκεύη, ὀστράκινον δὲ λόγον. We may add that Paul, who, in fact, speaks here not of himself alone (observe the plur. σκεύεσιν, and 2 Corinthians 4:6, κσρδίαις), wishes not to affirm some special weakness of himself, but to say generally: Though we have so glorious a trust, yet is our body, the outward organ of our working, subject to the lot of being easily destructible. Following Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Theodoret, most commentators have rightly found in σκεύεσιν a figurative designation of the body; while Billroth and Rückert, following Estius, Calovius, Wolf, and others, understand the whole personality. Against the latter view we may urge as well the characteristic ὀστρακίνοις, which can refer only to the corporeal part (comp. Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:47), as also 2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff. For examples of the use of ὀστράκινον σκεῦος(196) for the easily destructible corporeality (as Artemidorus, vi 25: θάνατον μὲν γὰρ εἰκότως ἐσήμαινε τῇ γυναικὶ τὸ εἶναι ἐν ὀστρακίνῳ σκεύει), see Wetstei.

ἵνα ὑπερβολὴ κ. τ. λ.] The design of God in this, namely, in order that the abundant fulness of power, which comes to be applied, namely, in our ministry working πρὸς φωτισμὸν κ. τ. λ., 2 Corinthians 4:6, in spite of all sufferings and persecutions (see what follows), may appear as the property of God, and not as proceeding from us. The context furnishes that special reference of the ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμ. The opposite of the conception of ὑπερβολή is ἔλλειψις (Plato, Protag. 356 A, Def. p. 415 A, al.).

καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν] καὶ μὴ ἡμεῖς νομιζώμεθα κατορθοῦν ἐξ ἑαυτῶν τι, ἀλλὰ πάντες οἱ ὁρῶντες τοῦ θεοῦ λέγωσιν εἶναι τὸ πᾶν, Theophylact.

The is to be taken logice of the being, which presents itself to cognition; as often with Paul (Romans 3:26; Romans 3:4; Romans 3:19; Romans 7:13). Rückert denies this, but comes back himself to the same view by giving the meaning thus: God wishes to be the One, and to be recognised as such, who alone, etc. The explanation of Tertullian, the Vulgate, Estius, according to which τῆς δυνάμ. is connected with τοῦ θεοῦ, is against the order of the word.


Verses 8-10

2 Corinthians 4:8-10. A proof, based on experience, how this abundant power makes itself known as the power of God in the sufferings of the apostolic calling; so that, in spite of the earthen vessels, 2 Corinthians 4:7, the apostolic working advances steadily and successfull.

ἐν παντί] having reference to all the first clauses of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, is neither to be supplemented by loco (Beza, Rosenmüller), nor is it: in all that I do (Hofmann), but is to be left general: in every way. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Corinthians 1:5; and see on 2 Corinthians 11:6. Comp. the classic ἐν παντὶ κακοῦ εἶναι, Plat. Rep. p. 579 B εἰς πᾶν κακοῦ ἀφικνεῖσθαι, Herod. viii. 118, and the lik.

θλιβόμενοι κ. τ. λ.] hard pressed, but not becoming driven into straits. Matters do not come so far as that, in virtue of the abundance of the power of God! Kypke rightly says: “ στενοχωρία angustias hoc loco denotat tales, e quibus non detur exitus.” For see 2 Corinthians 6:4, 2 Corinthians 12:10. Comp. Bengel. The reference of στενοχ. to inward oppression and anxiety (Erasmus, Luther, and many others) anticipates what follow.

ἀπορούμενοι κ. τ. λ.] being brought into doubt (perplexity, where we cannot help ourselves), but not into despair. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:8.(197)


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 4:9. Being persecuted, but not left (by God) in the lurch (Plato, Conv. p. 179 A: ἐγκαταλιπεῖν καὶ μὴ βοηθῆσαι). Comp. 2 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 13:5. Paul here varies the mode of presentation, since the contrast does not again negative an action of enemies. Lydius (Agonistic. sacr. 24, p. 84 ff.), Hammond, and Olshausen think that we have here the figure of a foot-race, in which the runner overtaken ἐγκαταλείπεται (see the passages in Lydius); but the figure would be unsuitable, since the runners have a common goal (1 Corinthians 9:24). Hostile persecution in general is meant. Comp. διωγμός, 2 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 8:35; 2 Thessalonians 1:4, al.

καταβαλλόμ. κ. τ. λ.] Figure of those seized in the act of flight, who are thrown to the ground (Hom. Odyss. iv. 344, viii. 508; Herod. ix. 63), but not deprived of life. This part thus appears in a most suitable relation of climax to what precedes; hence we should not think, as many do, of wrestlers in the games (comp. Plato, Hipp. min. p. 374 A).


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 4:10. Extreme concentration of all suffering, as of all victory through the power of God. In this πάντοτε, corresponding to the ἐν παντί of 2 Corinthians 4:8 and the ἀεί of 2 Corinthians 4:11, is with great emphasis placed first. The νέκρωσις is the putting to death, like the classic θανάτωσις (Thucyd. v. 9. 7). In this case the context decides whether it is to be taken in a literal or, as in Romans 4:19, in a figurative sense. Comp. Astrampsychus in Suidas: νεκροὺς ὁρῶν νέκρωσιν ἕξεις πραγμάτων, Porphyr. de Abstin. iv. p. 418; Aret. pp. 23, 48; also ἀπονέκρωσις in Arrian, Epict. i. 5. Here it stands, as 2 Corinthians 4:11 proves, in a literal sense: At all times we bear about the putting to death of Jesus in our body, i.e. at all times, in our apostolic movements, our body is exposed to the same putting to death which Jesus suffered, i.e. to violent deprivation of life for the gospel’s sake. The constant supreme danger of this death, and the constant actual persecutions and maltreatments, make the νέκρωσις τοῦ ἰησοῦ, in the conception of the sufferer as of the observer, appear as something clinging to the body of the person concerned, which he carries about with it, although, till the final actual martyrdom, it remains incomplete and, in so far, resting on a prolepsis of the conception. On the subject-matter, comp. Romans 8:35 f.; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Philippians 3:10. The gen. τοῦ ἰησοῦ, however, is not to be taken as propter Jesum (Vatablus and others, including Emmerling), nor ad exemplum Christi (Grotius, Flatt), but quite as in τὰ παθήματα τοῦ χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 1:5; and it is altogether arbitrary to understand anything more special than the great danger to life generally involved in the continual persecutions and afflictions (2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.),—as e.g. Eichhorn takes it to refer to wounds received in the apostolic ministry (Galatians 6:17), and Rückert, here again (see on 2 Corinthians 1:8), to the alleged sickness, from which Paul had not yet fully recovered. The right view is already given in Chrysostom: οἱ θάνατοι οἱ καθημερινοὶ, διʼ ὧν καὶ ἀνάστασις ἐδείκνυτο. Comp. Pelagius. But τ. νέκρωσιν is chosen (not τ. θάνατον), because Paul has in mind the course of events leading to the death suffered by Jesus, which is mirrored in his own sufferings for Christ’s sak.

ἵνα καὶ ζωὴ κ. τ. λ.] in order that also the life of Jesus, etc. This is the blessed relation supervening according to God’s purpose. Just as, namely, the continual sufferings and peril of death appear as the νέκρωσις of Jesus in the body of those persecuted, so, in keeping with that view, their rescued life appears as the same ζωή, which, in the case of Jesus, followed after His dying, through the resurrection from death (Romans 5:10). The victorious surmounting of the sufferings and perils of death, from which one emerges saved as regards the body, is, according to the analogy of the conception of the νέκρωσις τοῦ ἰησοῦ, resurrection; and thus there becomes manifest, in the body of him that is rescued, the same life which Jesus entered on at His bodily resurrection. If, with Chrysostom, Cajetanus, Estius, Mosheim, and others (comp. Flatt and also Hofmann), we should regard the preservation and rescuing as evincing the effectual operation of the bodily glorified Jesus, there would be unnecessarily introduced a different position of matters in the two parts of the verse; as the νέκρωσις itself is thought of in the one case, we must in the other also understand the ζωή itself (not an effect of it). According to de Wette and Osiander, the thought of the apostle is, that in his ineradicable energy of spirit in suffering there is revealed Christ’s power of suffering, in virtue of which He has risen and lives for ever; comp. Beza. In that case a moral revelation of life would be meant, and to this ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:11) would not be suitable.

Notice, further, how, in 2 Corinthians 4:10 f., Paul names only the name ἰησοῦς, and how repeatedly he uses it. “Singulariter sensit dulcedinem ejus,” Bengel. As bearer of the dying and living of the Lord in his body, he has before his eyes and in his heart, with the deepest feeling of fellowship, the concrete human manifestation, Jesus. Even the exalted One is, and remains to him, Jesus. A contrast between the earthly Jesus and the heavenly Christ, for whom the former is again deprived of life (Holsten), is, as the clause of purpose shows, not to be thought of.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 4:11. An elucidation, and therewith a confirmation of 2 Corinthians 4:10.

ἀεί (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:10) is distinguished from πάντοτε as respects the form of the conception, just as always or continually from at all times. Comp. the classical ἀεὶ διὰ βίου, Heindorf, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 75 D also the Homeric οἱ ἀεὶ θεοί.

ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες] brings out, by way of contrast, the ἀεὶ εἰς θάνατον παραδιδόμεθα: we who live, so that in this way the constant devotion to death looks all the more tragic, since the living appear as liable to constant dying. We are continuously the living prey of death! The reference of Grotius, “qui nondum ex hac vita excessimus, ut multi jam Christianorum,” is alien to the context. Further, it can neither mean: as long as we live (Calvin, Beza by way of suggestion, Mosheim, Zachariae, Flatt, de Wette), nor: who still, in spite of perils of death, remain ever in life (Estius, Bengel, Rückert), which latter would anticipate the clause of aim, ἵνα κ. τ. λ. In accordance with his view of 2 Corinthians 4:10, Osiander (comp. Bisping) takes it of the spiritual life in the power of fait.

παραδιδομ.] by the persecutors, 2 Corinthians 4:8 f.

ἐν τῇ θνητῇ σαρκὶ ἡμ.] designation of the σῶμα (2 Corinthians 4:10) as respects its material weakness and transitoriness, whereby the φανερωθῆναι of the ζωὴ τοῦ ἰησοῦ is meant to be rendered palpable by means of the contrast. In ἐν τῷ σώματι, 2 Corinthians 4:10, and ἐν τῇ θνητῇ σαρκί, 2 Corinthians 4:11, there is a climax of the terms used. Rückert thinks, wrongly, that the expression would be highly unsuitable, if in what precedes he were speaking of nothing but persecutions. It was in fact the mortal σάρξ, which might so easily have succumbed to such afflictions as are described, e.g., in 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.

ἵνα καὶ κ. τ. λ.] an emphatic repetition of the clause of aim contained in 2 Corinthians 4:10, with a still stronger prominence given to the element there denoted by ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν, on account of which ἐν τ. θν. σαρκὶ ἡμῶν is here placed at the end. There is implied in it a triumph. Comp. on the thought of 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, Ignatius, Magnes. 6 : ἐὰν μὴ αὐθαιρέτως ἔχωμεν τὸ ἀποθανεῖν εἰς τὸ αὐτοῦ (Christ’s) πάθος, τὸ ζῆν αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 4:12. An inference from 2 Corinthians 4:11; hence the meaning can be no other than: Accordingly, since we are continually exposed to death, it is death whose working clings to us; but since the revelation of the life of Jesus in us goes to benefit you through our work in our vocation, the power opposed to death, life, is that which exercises its working on you. θάνατος and ζωή can, according to 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, be nothing else than the bodily death and the bodily life, both conceived of as personal powers, and consequently the life not as existent in Jesus (Hofmann). It was death to which Paul and those like him were ever given up, and it was life which, in spite of all deadly perils, retained the victory and remained preserved. And this victorious power of life, presenting in His servants the life of the risen Lord, was active (comp. Philippians 1:22; Philippians 1:24) through the continuance thereby rendered possible of the apostolic working among the Christians, and especially among the Corinthians ( ἐν ὑμῖν), although they were not affected in like manner by that working of death. Estius (following Lombard) and Grotius (comp. Olshausen) take ἐνεργ. passively: “in nobis … mors agitur et exercetur … ut vicissim … per nostra pericula nostramque quotidianam mortem vobis gignitur, augetur, perficitur vita spiritualis” (Estius). But in the N. T. ἐνεργ. never occurs in a passive sense (see on 2 Corinthians 1:6), and according to 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, ζωή cannot be vita spiritualis, as even Osiander (comp. Ewald) here again interprets it. Calvin, Menochius, and Michaelis find in it something ironical: we are in continual deadly peril, while you are in comfort. Comp. Chrysostom, who, however, does not expressly signalize the ironical character of the passage. On ζῆν, vita frui, see Jacobs, ad Anthol. X. p. 70; comp. ζῆν καὶ εἶναι, Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 239. But the context gives no suggestion whatever of irony or of any such reference of ζωή ( ὑμεῖς δὲ ἐν ἀνέσει, τὴν ἐκ τούτων τῶν κινδύνων καρπούμενοι ζωήν, Chrysostom). As foreign to it is Rückert’s view, which refers the first half of the verse to Paul’s alleged sickness, and the second half to the state of health of the Corinthians, which, as Paul had recently learned through Titus, had considerably improved after a sickness that had been prevalent (1 Corinthians 11:30).

We may add that the first clause is set down without μέν, because Paul purposely avoids paving the way for the contrast, in order thereupon to bring it forward by way of surprise. “Infert particula δέ novam rem cum aliqua oppositione,” Klotz, ad Devar. p. 356.


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 4:13. A remark giving information ( δέ, see on 2 Corinthians 3:17) on δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν. For through the πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν, is that very ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐνεργεῖται rendered possible and brought about. The connection of ideas is frequently taken thus: “Though death works in us and life in you, we have yet the certain confidence that we too will partake of the life.” Comp. Estius, Flatt, Rückert. But in that case the relation of the two verses, 13 and 14, would be logically inverted, and the participial clause in 2 Corinthians 4:14 would be made the principal clause; Paul must logically have written: “Because, however, we have the same spirit of faith, which David expresses in the words, etc., we know,” etc. According to Olshausen, Paul wishes to represent the thought that his career, so full of suffering, is a source of life to the Corinthians, as a living certainty wrought in him from above. But apart from the erroneous explanation of δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν, on which this is based (see on 2 Corinthians 4:12), the very fact—the ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐνεργεῖται—was something consonant to experience, and hence Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:13 gives nothing else than an elucidation consonant to experience. According to de Wette (comp. before him, Erasmus, Paraphr., who inserts the intermediate thought: nec tamen ob id nos poenitet evangelii), the course of thought is: “But this working of death hinders us not from preaching the gospel boldly, since the hope of the resurrection strengthens us.” In this way, however, he arbitrarily passes over the immediately preceding thought, δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν, to which, nevertheless, 2 Corinthians 4:13 supplies an appropriate elucidation. According to Hofmann, Paul brings in a modification of the contrast contained in 2 Corinthians 4:12, when he says that he has, while death works in him, still the same spirit as exists in those in whom life works. But there is no hint of this retrospective reference of τὸ αὐτό (which would have required a σὺν ὑμῖν or something similar); and not even the thought in itself would he suitable, since his being in possession of the same spirit which his disciples, in whom his life was in fact at work, possessed, would be self-evident, and not a special point to be brought into prominence and asserted by the apostle. This also in opposition to Erasmus, Estius, Bengel, Schrader, and others, who explain τὸ αὐτό: the same spirit, which you have.

τὸ αὐτό πνεῦμα τῆς τίστεως] i.e. the same Holy Spirit working faith, not: the believing frame of mind (de Wette, comp. also Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 176), which is not the meaning of πνεῦμα in Romans 8:15; Romans 11:8; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 1:17. τὸ αὐτό is the same which is made known in the following saying of Scripture, consequently the same as the Psalmist had. With this hero of faith the apostle knows himself to be on an equality in faith.(198) The πίστις which the Spirit works was with the Psalmist trust in God, with Paul faith in the salvation in Christ; with both, therefore, the same fundamental disposition of pious confidence on God’s promise (Hebrews 1:11).

κατὰ τὸ γεγρ.] in conformity, in agreement with what is written. This belongs to καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν, for if it belonged to ἔχοντες (Calvin, Beza, de Wette, Ewald, and many others), αὐτό would be superfluou.

ἐπίστευσα, διὸ ἐλάλησα] I have become a believer, therefore have I let myself be heard, Psalms 116:10, after the LXX., in which the translation of הֶאֱמַנְתִּי כִּי אֲדַבֵּר is incorrect, but might be retained by Paul, all the more seeing that in the original is contained the idea that the speaking proceeded from faith(199) (I trusted, for I spoke).

καὶ ἡμεῖς] we too, like the Psalmist. Hofmann, on the other hand, in accordance with his inappropriate view of τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα τ. π., understands it: “in common with those, who have the same spirit.”

διὸ καὶ λαλοῦ΄εν] on which account we also let ourselves be heard, are not silent, but preach the gospel. Through this it happens that ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐνεργεῖται. See on 2 Corinthians 4:12. The καί before λαλ. is the also of the relation corresponding (to the πιστεύομεν).


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 4:14. Encouraging assurance accompanying this λαλοῦμεν (not its contents); since we are certain that, etc. Comp. Romans 5:3; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

ἐγείρας τ. κ. ἰησ.] Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:14; Romans 8:11. This designation of God contains the ground of faith for the conviction about to be expresse.

καὶ ἡμᾶς σὺν ἰησοῦ ἐγερεῖ κ. παραστ. σὺν ὑμῖν] This is usually understood of the actual resurrection from the dead, and of the presenting before the judgment-seat of Christ. And this view is the right one, partly because it alone is in keeping with the definite expressions, partly because it is in the highest degree suitable to the connection, when Paul here at the close of what he says regarding his sufferings and perils of death expresses the certainty of the last and supreme consummation as the deepest ground of his all-defying courage of faith. This amid all afflictions is his καυχᾶσθαι ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ, Romans 5:2. Paul, indeed, expected that he himself and most of his readers would live to see the Parousia (1 Corinthians 15:51 f., 2 Corinthians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 11:26; 2 Corinthians 1:13 f.); but the possibility of meeting death in the deadly persecutions was always and even now before his mind (1 Corinthians 15:31 f.; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Philippians 1:20 f., 2 Corinthians 2:17; Acts 20:25; Acts 20:38); and out of this case conceived as possible, which subsequently he for the time being even posits as a certainty (see on Acts 20:25), he expresses here in presence of his eventual death his triumphant consciousness ὅτι ἐγείρας κ. τ. λ. Hence there is no ground for explaining it, with Beza (who, however, again abandoned this view), Calixtus (“suscitabit a morte sc. illa quotidiana”), Schulz, Rückert, Neander, of the resurrection in a figurative sense, viz. of the overcoming the constant perils of death (2 Corinthians 4:10-12), which, it is held, is a resurrection with Jesus, in so far as through it there arises a fellowship of destiny with the risen Christ. This interpretation is not demanded by the correct reading σὺν ἰησοῦ, as if this σὺν (comp. Romans 6:4; Romans 6:8; Ephesians 2:5 f.) presupposed the spiritual meaning. It is true that the raising of the dead takes place διὰ ἰησοῦ, and has its basis ἐν τῷ χριστῷ (1 Corinthians 15:21-22); but Christians may be also conceived and designated as one day becoming raised with Jesus, since they are members of Christ, and Christ is the ἀπαρχή (1 Corinthians 15:23) of all who rise from the dead. The believer, in virtue of his connection with the Lord, knows himself already in his temporal life as risen with Christ (see on Colossians 2:12; Colossians 3:1), and what he thus knows in faith emerges at the last day into objective completion and outward realit.

καὶ παραστήσει σὺν ὑμῖν] and will present us together with you. This is taken, according to the previously rejected figurative sense of ἐγερεῖ, to refer to the presentation of the conquerors over deadly perils, or even in the sense: “and will bring us together again with you” (Neander, Rückert). But, according to the context, after the mention of the resurrection, it obviously denotés the presentation before the judgment-seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Colossians 1:22; Ephesians 5:27; Luke 21:36), where the righteous receive the eternal δόξα (2 Timothy 4:8). With Christ they have suffered; with Him they have risen; and now before the throne of the Lord their συνδοξασθῆναι, (Romans 8:15) sets in, which must be the blessed result of their presentation before the Judge. Hence Hofmann is wrong in thinking that there is no allusion to the judgment-seat of Christ in παραστ. Comp. on Colossians 1:22. In the certainty of this last consummation Paul has the deepest ground of encouragement for his undaunted working, and the presentiment of such a glorious consummation is made still sweeter to him by the glance at the fellowship of love with his Corinthians, together with whom he will reach the blessed goal unto eternal union. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:19. Hence: σὺν ὑμῖν, which is an essential part of the inward certainty expressed by εἰδότες κ. τ. λ., which gives him high encouragement. We may add that the ὑμεῖς will be partly those risen, partly those changed alive (1 Corinthians 15:51 ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 ff.).


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 4:15. σὺν ὑμῖν, which he has just used, is now made good in such a way as to win their hearts. “With you, I say, for all of it is for your sake;” there is nothing of all that we have to suffer and that we do, which is not related to your advantage. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:10. ἐστί simply is to be supplied; but πάντα sums up what is contained in 2 Corinthians 4:7-13 (not merely 2 Corinthians 4:12 f.). Christ’s death and resurrection, to which Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Grotius make reference, did not form the subject-matter of the preceding contex.

ἵνα χάρις πλεονάσασα κ. τ. λ.] in order that the grace, i.e. not only the divine grace consisting in the reception of the spirit of faith (Hofmann), but that which is at work in all our victorious suffering and labouring, increased by the increasing number, i.e. after it has grown in extent and influence through the increasing number of those who beyond ourselves have become partakers in it, may make the thanksgiving, which pertains to it, abundant (may produce it in an exceedingly high degree) to the honour of God. There is a similar thought in 2 Corinthians 1:11; but in the present passage the thanksgiving is, in accordance with 2 Corinthians 4:14, conceived as on the day of judgment. Note the correlation of χάρις and εὐχαριστίαν, as well as the climax: πλεονάσασα διά τῶν πλειόνων and περισσεύσῃ (1 Thessalonians 3:12). On περισσεύειντι, comp. 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12.

This is the construction adopted by Chrysostom (?), the Vulgate, Ewald, and others, including Rückert and Olshausen, who, however, refer διὰ τῶν πλειόνων to the intercession of the Corinthians, which is not at all suggested by the context. Divergent constructions are: (1) “in order that the grace, since it has become so exceeding rich, may contribute richly to the glory of God on account of the thanksgiving of the increasing number,” Billroth, following Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Krause, Flatt, Osiander, and others. So, in the main, Hofmann also: (2) in order that the grace, since it has shown itself so richly, may, through the increasing number, make the thanksgiving abundant to the honour of God. So Emmerling, de Wette, Neander. Both are possible; but since διά with the accusative would express the conception, for the sake of, here unsuitable, the former construction would lead us to expect διά with the genitive instead of διά τ. πλ. τὴν εὐχαρ.(200) (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:11, 2 Corinthians 9:12); and with both we fail to find in πλεονάσασα a more precise definition of that by which the grace has become more abundant, a thing not directly involved in the connection (as in Romans 6:1). Besides, both are less in keeping with the symmetry of the discourse, which, in structure and expression, is carefully chosen and terse—features seen also in the collocation: “increased through the increasing number.” These πλείονες are those who have been converted by the apostolic ministry, and in particular those advanced in the Christian life, who were just individualized by διʼ ὑμᾶς.


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 4:16. διό] namely, on account of the certainty expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:14 (partly elucidated in 2 Corinthians 4:15), in significant keeping with εἰδότες, and hence not to be referred back to the faith of the preachers, 2 Corinthians 4:13 (Hofmann).

οὐκ ἐκκακ.] as 2 Corinthians 4:1. The opposite of ἐκκακ. is: our inward man, i.e. our morally self-conscious personality, with the thinking and willing νοῦς and the life-principle of the πνεῦμα (see on Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16; comp. 1 Peter 3:4), is renewed from day to day, i.e. it receives through the gracious efficacy of the divine Spirit continually new vigour and elevation, τῇ πίστει, τῇ ἐλπίδι, τῇ προθυμίᾳ, Chrysostom. But with this there is also the admission: even if our outward man, our phenomenal existence, our visible bodily nature, whose immediate condition of life is the ψυχή, is destroyed, i.e. is in process of being wasted away, of being swept off, namely, through the continual sufferings and persecutions, μαστιζόμενος, ἐλαυνόμενος, μυρία πάσχων δεινά, Chrysostom. For though the continual life-rescues reveal the life of Jesus in the body of the apostle (2 Corinthians 4:11), yet there cannot thereby be done away the gradually destructive physical influence of suffering on the bodily nature. There is here a noble testimony to the consciousness of a continuous independence of the development of spiritual life on the passivity of the body; but the view of Billroth, who finds in ἀνακαιν. the growth of the infinite, the true resurrection, is just as un-Pauline as is the opinion of an inward invisible body (Menken), or even of a corporeality of the soul (Tertullian). On the point whether the inward man includes in itself the germ of the resurrection of the body (Osiander), the N. T. says nothing. Rückert diverges wholly from the usual interpretation, and thinks that διὸ οὐκ ἐκκακ. is only an accessory, half parenthetical inference from what precedes, and that a new train of thought does not begin till ἀλλʼ: “I have that hope, and hence do not become despondent. But even if I did not possess it, supposing even that my outward man is actually dissolved,” etc. Against this it may be urged that οὐκ ἐκκακοῦμεν, ἀλλʼ κ. τ. λ. could not but present itself obviously to every reader as closely connected (we faint not, but), and that the whole interpretation is a consequence of Rückert’s erroneous exposition of 2 Corinthians 4:14. Hence Neander also gives a similar interpretation, but hesitatingly.

On διαφθείρεται, comp. Plato, Alc. i. p. 135 A: διαφθαρῆναι τὸ σῶμα.

The ἀλλʼ (at, on the contrary) in the apodosis, after a concessive conditional sentence, introduces with emphasis the opposite compensating relation; see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 374; Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 43, ed. 2; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 11.

ἔσωθεν] the inward, inner man. Regarding adverbs in θεν with the same meaning as their primitives, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 128; Hartung, Kasus, p. 173.

ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ] day by day; καθʼ ἡμέραν, τὸ ἐφʼ ἡμέραν (Eur. Cycl. 336), in point of sense, for ever and ever, without interruption or standing still. A pure Hebraism, not found once in the LXX, formed after יוֹם וָיוֹם; comp. יוֹם יוֹם, Esther 3:4; Genesis 39:10; Psalms 68:20. See Vorst, Hebr. p. 307 f.

ἀνακαινοῦται] Winer aptly remarks (Progr. de verbor. cum praepos. compos, in N. T. usu, III. p. 10), that in ἀνακαινοῦν, to renew, to refresh, the question does not arise, “utrum ea ipsa novitas, quae alicui rei conciliatur, jam olim adfuerit necne;” see on Colossians 3:10. Instead of ἀνακαινοῦν, the Greeks have only ἀνακαινίζειν (Hebrews 4:6), but the simple form is also classical.

The confession εἰ καὶ ἔξω κ. τ. λ … became a watchword of the martyrs. Comp. Cornelius a Lapide.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 4:17. Ground for the furtherance of this ἔσωθεν ἀνακαινοῦται ἡμέρᾳ κ. ἡμ. from the glorious eternal result of temporal sufferin.

τὸ γὰρ παραυτίκα κ. τ. λ.] for the present lightness of our affliction, i.e. our momentary affliction weighing light, not heavy to be borne, τὸ νῦν ἐλαφρ. τῆς θλίψ. and τὸ παρὸν ἐγαφρ. τῆς θλίψ. would each give a different meaning; see Hermann, ad Viger. p. 783. For examples of the very frequent adjectival use of παραυτίκα, see Wetstein, Heindorf, ad Plat. Protag. § 106 p. 620; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 558 A from Xenophon in Raphel. Bengel aptly remarks: “notatur praesens breve.” The near Parousia is conceived as terminus ad quern; comp. 1 Peter 1:6.

τὸ ἐγαφρὸν τῆς θλίψ.] like τὸ δεινὸν τοῦ πολέμου, the horrors of war (Plato, Menex. p. 243 B), χαλεπὸν τοῦ βίου (Rep. p. 328 E). Regarding the substantival use of the neuter adjective, whereby the idea of the adjective is brought into prominence as the chief idea, see Matthiae, p. 994; Kühner, II. p. 122.

καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολήν] is definition of manner and degree to κατεργάζεται; it works in an abundant way even to abundance an eternal weight (growth) of glory. In this—and how exuberant is the deeply emotional form of expression itself!—lies the measureless force, and the measureless success of the κατεργάζεται. If, with Rückert, we sought to find in this an adverbial definition to αἰώνιον βάρος (Romans 7:13), it could only refer to αἰώνιον, and the notion of αἰώνιος would make this appear as unsuitable. Rückert is further wrong in thinking that the expression does not seem to admit of a precise verbal explanation. But on καθʼ ὑπερβ. see 2 Corinthians 1:8; Romans 7:13; 1 Corinthians 12:31; Galatians 1:13; 4 Maccabees 3:18; Bernhardy, p. 241; and on εἰς ὑπερβ. comp. passages like 2 Corinthians 10:15; Luke 13:11; Eur. Hipp. 939; Lucian, D. M. 27. 9; Gymnas. 28; Tox. 12; on both expressions Valckenaer, ad Eur. Hipp. l.c.

αἰώνιον ingeniously corresponds to the previous παραυτίκα, and βάρος to the ἐλαφρόν (comp. Plato, Timaeus, p. 63 C). There is contained, however, in βάρος(201) the quantitative greatness of the δόξα; comp. βάρος πολούτου, Plut. Alex. 48; Eur. Iph. 419; Soph. Ajax. 130, and Lobeck thereon. It is similar to the German phrase “eine schwere Menge.”

κατεργάζεται ἡμῖν] brings about for us. The δόξα is conceived as requital for the θλίψις (Matthew 5:12; Luke 16:25; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12-13), and in so far as its effect, the production of which is developed in the present suffering. It is not merely a spiritual and moral δόξα that is meant (Rückert, who irrelevantly appeals to Romans 3:23), but the whole glory, the aggregate glorious condition in the Messiah’s kingdom, Romans 8:17-18 ff.; Matthew 13:43.

μὴ σκοπούντ. ἡμ. κ. τ. λ.] since we do not direct our aim to that which is seen, i.e. since we have not in view, as the goal of our striving (Philippians 2:4), the visible goods, enjoyments, etc., which belong to the pre-Messianic period ( τὰ ἐπίγεια, Philippians 3:19); comp. Romans 8:25. Billroth wrongly understands the resurrection-bodies to be meant, which must have been derived from what precedes, and may not be inferred from 2 Corinthians 5:1. The participle is taken as conditioning by Calvin, Rückert, Ewald, Hofmann: it being presupposed that we, etc.; comp. Chrysostom: ἂν τῶν ὁρωμένων ἀπαγάγωμεν ἑαυτούς. The μή would accord with this interpretation, but does not require it; see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 301 f. [E. T. 351]. The former sense, specifying the reason, is not only more appropriate in general to the ideal apostolic way of regarding the Christian life (Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:9; Romans 8:25; 2 Corinthians 4:18), but it is also recommended by the fact that Paul himself is meant first of all in ἡμῶν. On the more strongly emphatic genitive absolute (instead of μὴ σκοποῦσι τὰ βλεπ), even after the governing clause, comp. Xenophon, Anab. v. 8. 13, i. 4. 12, and Kühner thereon; see also Krüger, § xlvii. 4. 2; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp, p. 183 B Winer, p. 195 [E. T. 260]. With the Greeks, however, the repetition of the subject ( ἡμῶν) is rare; comp. Thuc. iii. 22. 1.

τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα] Paul did not write τὰ οὐ βλεπόμενα, because the goods and enjoyments of the Messianic kingdom are to appear from the subjective standpoint of the ἡμεῖς as something not seen.(202) See Hermann, ad Viger, p. 807; Kühner, II. § 715. 3. Comp. Hebrews 11:7.

τὰ γὰρ βλεπόμενα κ. τ. λ.] Reason, why we do not aim, et.

πρόσκαιρα] temporary (Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17; Hebrews 11:25), namely, lasting only to the near Parousia, 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17.

On the whole expression, comp. Seneca, Ep. 59.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-4.html. 1832.

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Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
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