4:1 Therefore 1 seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we a faint not;
(1) Now he plainly witnesses that both he and his associates (through the mercy of God) do their vocation and duty uprightly and sincerely, neglecting all dangers. 4:2 But have renounced the b hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God c deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God.
(a) Though we are broken in pieces with miseries and calamities, yet we do not yield.
(b) Subtilty and every type of deceit which men hunt after, as it were dens and lurking holes, to cover their shameless dealings with. 4:3 2 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
(c) This is that which he called in the former chapter, making merchandise of the word of God.
(2) An objection: many hear the Gospel, and yet are no more enlightened by it than by the preaching of the Law. He answers, "The fault is in the men themselves, whose eyes Satan plucks out, who rules in this world." And yet nonetheless he and his associates set forth the most clear light of the Gospel to be seen and beheld, seeing that Christ only whom they preach, is he in whom God will be known, and as it were seen. 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the d light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the e image of God, should shine unto them.
(d) The light of plain and enlightening preaching, which shows forth the glory of Christ. 4:5 3 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for f Jesus sake.
(e) In whom the Father sets himself forth to be seen and beheld.
(3) He removes according to his accustomed manner, all suspicion of ambition, affirming that he teaches faithfully, but as a servant, and witnessing that all this light which he and his associates give to others, proceeds from the Lord. 4:6 For God, g who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the h light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(f) To preach this self same Jesus to you.
(g) Who made with his word alone. 4:7 4 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, 5 that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
(h) That being enlightened by God, we should in the same way give that light to others.
(4) He takes away a stumbling block, which darkened among some, the bright shining of the ministry of the Gospel, that is, because the apostles were the most miserable of all men. Paul answers that he and his associates are as it were, earthen vessels, but yet there is in them a most precious treasure. (5) He brings marvellous reasons why the Lord does so afflict his principal servants, to the end, he says, that all men may perceive that they do not stand by any mans power, but by the singular power of God, in that they die a thousand times, but never perish. 4:10 6 Always bearing about in the body the i dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
(6) An amplification of the former sentence, in which he compares his afflictions to a daily death, and the power of the Spirit of God in Christ to life, who oppresses that death. 4:11 For we which k live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our l mortal flesh.
(i) So Paul calls that miserable estate and condition that the faithful, but especially the minsters, are in.
(k) Who live that life, that is, by the Spirit of Christ, among so many and so great miseries. 4:12 7 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
(l) Subject to that miserable condition.
(7) A very wise conclusion: as if he would say, "Therefore, to be short, we die that you may live by our death", because they ventured into all those dangers for the building of the Churchs sake, and they ceased not to strengthen and encourage all the faithful with the examples of their patience. 4:13 8 We having the same m spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
(8) He declares the former sentence, showing that he and his associates die in a way to purchase life for others, but yet nonetheless they are partakers of the same life with them: because they themselves do first believe that which they offer to others to believe, that is, that they also will be saved together with them in Christ. 4:15 9 For all things [are] for your sakes, n that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
(m) The same faith, by the inspiration of the same Spirit.
(9) He shows how this constancy is preserved in them, that is, because they are doing it for Gods glory, and the salvation of the churches committed to them. 4:16 For which cause we faint not; 10 but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is o renewed day by day.
(n) When it will please God to deliver me, and restore me to you, that exceeding benefit which will be poured upon me will in like sort result to the glory of God, by the thanksgiving of many.
4:17 For our p light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of q glory;
(10) He adds as it were a triumphant song, that he is outwardly afflicted, but inwardly he profits daily: and he is not bothered by all the miseries that may be sustained in this life, in comparison of that most constant and eternal glory.
(o) Gathers new strength so that the outward man is not overcome with the miseries which come freshly one after another, being maintained and upheld with the strength of the inward man.
(p) Afflictions are not called light, as though they were light in themselves, but because they pass away quickly, as indeed our whole life is not of very long continuance.
(q) Which remains forever firm and stable, and can never be shaken.