(18 verses, 2:30 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul commends himself to the Corinthians as a servant of Christ.
- Paul’s apostleship was always questioned by the false teachers, especially the Judaizers who taught that it was necessary to become Jewish before becoming a Christian. Paul is always defending his call. In this chapter he tells how he does not lose heart in his apostolic ministry.
- 4:1-6: The Glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus.
- 4:7-12: The weakness of Paul and the apostles.
- 4:13-18: The result of all this: the glory of God is brought about through the preaching of Paul, as well as the renewal of Paul’s inner man.
- The picture of the chapter is of a candle in a clay jar. The light is the life of the Gospel; the jars are the weakness of St. Paul.
- The renewal of the “inner self” is a picture of sanctification, which is accomplished through repentance and suffering, and results in the fruit of faith, love, and hope for the life to come. As the Holy Spirit tears out of our heart a love for the sinful things of this world, He replaces it with a desire for the things of the kingdom of God.
- Twice in this chapter (like bookends) Paul says, “We do not lose heart,” (see 4:1 and 4:16). Consider the context of these verses. Paul knows great trouble and affliction, but he all the while delights in the Lord’s promises and his apostolic office.
- Consider especially the last two verses: “17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” This verse gives us great hope and comfort in the midst of this life’s dying.
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-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller