Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weaklings Sustained; Christ Displayed (part 5 of 6: "God's Power Manifested Through Weak Servants"-- Insights from 2 Cor. 4:7-12)

"For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake,
so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body" (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:11

As God exposes the fragility of his servants, he does not leave them on their own. Rather he sustains them that Christ may me displayed. For this post, I will just reproduce Linda Belleville's Commentary on 2 Cor.4:8-9 (2 Corinthians, IVP New Testament Commentary):

hard pressed on every side, but not crushed
- "The verb hard pressed means "to press in hard against" someone, or, as we say today, to squeeze the life out of a person, while the term not crushed indicates that the pressure never got to the point where there was no escape or way out."

perplexed but not in despair- "There is a play on words here that the NIV misses. To be aporoumenoi is to be at a loss how to act, while to be exaporoumenoi is to be utterly at a loss (i.e., in extreme despair). Although Paul may have been at a loss about how to proceed, he never--as we say--went off the deep end."

persecuted but not abandoned- "The Greek verb means "to pursue" and is commonly used of tracking a prey or enemy. Paul was pursued from city to city by hostile Jews. But through it all, God never abandoned him. The idea here is that God did not leave Paul behind or in the lurch for the enemy to pick up."

struck down by the enemy but not destroyed- "Paul was not only pursued by hostile Jews, but when they caught up with him, they stirred up trouble whenever they could. He may also be thinking of the time he was stoned at Lystra and left outside the city for dead. Yet he lived."

Belleville further comments on verse 11:

"Paul's approach is to make clear that it is God's power (v. 7)
and the life of Jesus (v. 10) that empower and sustain him,
and not his own fortitude."

Belleville's commentary on 2 Corinthians and other volumes in the
IVP New Testament Commentary are available at Bible Gateway. Click here.


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