This treasure (ton qhsauron touton). On qhsauron see Matthew 6:19-21 . It is the power of giving the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God (verse 2 Corinthians 4:6 ). "The power is limitless, but it is stored in very unlikely receptacles" (Plummer). This warning Paul gives in contrast (de) with the exultation of verse 2 Corinthians 6 (Bernard). In earthen vessels (en ostrakinoi skeuesin). This adjective is common in the LXX with skeuo, aggo and aggeion. It occurs again in 2 Timothy 2:20 with skeuh. It is found also in the papyri with skeuo as here. It is from ostrakon, baked clay (same root as osteon, bone), so many fragments of which are found in Egypt with writing on them. We are but earthen jars used of God for his purposes ( Romans 9:20 ) and so fragile. The exceeding greatness (h uperbolh). See on "1Co 12:31" for this word, "the preeminence of the power." This is God's purpose (ina--h). God, not man, is the dynamo (dunami). It comes from God (tou qeou, ablative) and does not originate with us (mh ex hmwn).