"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Four OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To appreciate Paul's transparency and view of service 2) To understand why some people are so blinded to the obvious 3) To gain insight into why God allows His children to suffer 4) To glean Paul's secret for not "losing heart" (getting discouraged) SUMMARY Paul continues his defense of himself and his ministry. With such a glorious ministry described in chapter three, he does not get discouraged. Instead he has renounced the use of deceitful tactics and openly proclaims the truth (1-2). If the gospel seems veiled, it is only to those whom Satan has blinded so they might not see the light of the gospel (3-4). Paul is simply preaching Christ Jesus as Lord and considers himself as a servant for their sakes. He humbly realizes that it is God who has shone in his heart so he might share that light of the gospel with others (5-6). As magnificent as this "treasure" may be, he is simply an "earthen vessel". As such he experiences great suffering in his ministry, but he knows that God allows it so that the "life of Jesus" (the power of God) might be manifested in his mortal body by the way he endures it, and that such grace from God might cause much thanksgiving to the glory of God (7-15). In addition, he does not lose heart because his inward man is renewed daily by the knowledge that affliction is light and temporary compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaits him, and by keeping his focus on things which are unseen but eternal (16-18). OUTLINE I. THE "HONEST" NATURE OF PAUL'S MINISTRY (1-6) A. THE HIDDEN THINGS OF SHAME RENOUNCED (1-2) 1. Having received a glorious ministry by the mercy of God, Paul does not lose heart (1) 2. He has renounced the hidden things of shame (2a) a. He does not walk in craftiness b. He does not handle the Word of God deceitfully 3. But with open presentation of the truth he commends himself before all and before God (2b) B. THE GOSPEL VEILED ONLY TO THE PERISHING (3-4) 1. If the gospel seems veiled, it is only the perishing who think it so (3) 2. For their unbelieving minds have been blinded by the "god of this age" (4a) 3. So that the light of gospel of the glorious Christ does not shine on them (4b) C. PROCLAIMING CHRIST AS LORD, AND THEMSELVES AS SERVANTS (5-6) 1. Preaching not themselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord and themselves as their servants for Jesus' sake (5) 2. It is God who has shone in their hearts so that they might spread the light of the knowledge of God's glory revealed in Jesus Christ (6) II. THE "SUFFERING" NATURE OF PAUL'S MINISTRY (7-18) A. SUFFERING PERMITTED TO DEMONSTRATE THE LIFE OF JESUS (7-15) 1. The treasure of the gospel is in "earthen vessels," but this is so the excellence of God's power might be demonstrated in them (7) 2. Examples of overcoming suffering (8-9) a. Hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed b. Perplexed, but not in despair c. Persecuted, but not forsaken d. Struck down, but not destroyed 3. In this way, "dying for Jesus" gives them opportunity to demonstrate the "life of Jesus," which in turn blesses others (10-12) 4. Confident of the resurrection and ultimate glorification, he knows that all things can be to their benefit, resulting in thanksgiving and glory to God (13-15) B. AFFLICTION PRODUCES AN ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY (16-18) 1. He is not discouraged, even when the outward man is perishing, for the inward man is renewed daily (16) 2. Affliction is light and temporary, compared with the eternal weight of glory (17) 3. His focus is on the unseen, on things that are eternal (18)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) Why does Paul not "lose heart"? (1) 3) In renouncing the hidden things of shame, what two things does Paul not do? (2) 4) To whom is the gospel "veiled"? Who has blinded them? (3-4) 5) Who does Paul preach? How does he view himself? (5) 6) How is the "light" that God has commanded to be shone in his heart described? (6, cf. 4b) 7) How does Paul describe the gospel and himself in comparison? (7) 8) What four examples does Paul use to describe how God's power had worked in him? (8-9) 9) Why were Paul and others allowed to suffer for Christ? (10-11) 10) Who benefited by the things Paul suffered? (12,15) 11) Why did Paul not "lose heart" when his outward man was perishing? (16) 12) In what two ways does Paul contrast his affliction and the glory to come? (17) 13) Upon what does Paul keep his focus? (16)