Διὰ τοῦτο, ἔχοντες τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν, οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν,
ἀλλὰ ἀπειπάμεθα τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης, μὴ περιπατοῦντες ἐν πανουργίᾳ μηδὲ δολοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείας συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς πρὸς πᾶσαν συνείδησιν ἀνθρώπων ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ.
εἰ δὲ καὶ ἔστιν κεκαλυμμένον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν, ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις ἐστὶν κεκαλυμμένον,
ἐν οἷς ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἐτύφλωσεν τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἀπίστων εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς δόξης τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ.
οὐ γὰρ ἑαυτοὺς κηρύσσομεν ἀλλὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν κύριον, ἑαυτοὺς δὲ δούλους ὑμῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦν.
ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ὁ εἰπών· Ἐκ σκότους φῶς λάμψει, ὃς ἔλαμψεν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν πρὸς φωτισμὸν τῆς γνώσεως τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ.
Ἔχομεν δὲ τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν, ἵνα ἡ ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως ᾖ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν·
But we have this treasure in clay pots in order that the surpassing power might be of God and not of us.
Paraphrase: For myself, I feel so much weakness in my body, but this too has its purpose. (2 Corinthians 11:23) There is no question that God has given us this great treasure of knowing Him, but it is also true that He has so arranged it that this treasure is stored in a fragile jar. I mean to say that this gospel treasure is taught and proclaimed from a mortal body which is so weak and fragile. Why? God intends by this to make it clear to us that the amazing power of the gospel which we see working in the lives of sinners is not something that we have brought about by our own hard work and effort. On the contrary, look how weak and fragile we are! The happy effects of the gospel are completely the result of God’s sovereign work. God will never give His glory to another. (Isaiah 42:8)
For ᾖ see ειμι.
ἐν παντὶ θλιβόμενοι ἀλλ’ οὐ στενοχωρούμενοι, ἀπορούμενοι ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐξαπορούμενοι,
In all things being afflicted, but not being crushed; doubting, but not despairing;
Paraphrase: Every day, we face new trials, and what is noteworthy about these trials is how each one of them is mean to lead us to an extreme. Yes, we have many painful afflictions which seem to come rolling in one after the other. Satan hopes that these afflictions will crush us and bring an end to our ministry, but we are not crushed by them. In the same way, thousands of perplexing doubts crowd into my mind by which Satan hopes to lead us to give up the ministry which God has entrusted to us. Again, however, we will not stop proclaiming Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:16)
διωκόμενοι ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐγκαταλειπόμενοι, καταβαλλόμενοι ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἀπολλύμενοι,
being persecuted, but not being abandoned; being cast down, but not perishing.
Paraphrase: Our persecutors follow us relentlessly, and every day we face new insults, reproach, and slanders. Does this mean that God has abandoned us and is no longer working through us to build His kingdom? The god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) would have us believe this, but we know the promise of God that He will always be a wall of fire surrounding His people. (Zechariah 2:5) So many times, I have been disappointed and almost paralyzed with grief. Does this mean we will perish with those whose minds are blinded? Certainly not.
πάντοτε τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι περιφέροντες, ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν φανερωθῇ·
Always the death of Jesus in my body carrying in order that even the life of Jesus in our body might be manifest.
Paraphrase: On the contrary, the very wounds and bruises which I carry about with me actually preach the gospel. Recall that it was only some time before I arrived at Corinth that Silas and I were beaten with rods in Philippi. (Acts 16:22) Yes, I say it again, those very scars preach the gospel. How is this? Because my sufferings and the bruises in my body are just like the sufferings which Jesus had to endure. Now when people see my suffering, they are led to consider the sufferings which our Savior had to endure; and thanks be to God, not just His suffering, but also His resurrection and the new life that believers find by reason of their union with Him.
See principle 18.
ἀεὶ γὰρ ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες εἰς θάνατον παραδιδόμεθα διὰ Ἰησοῦν, ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ φανερωθῇ ἐν τῇ θνητῇ σαρκὶ ἡμῶν.
For we, the living, are constantly being handed over to death on account of Jesus in order that even the life of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh.
Paraphrase: This is why we who are still living are always being sentenced to death because of our faith in Jesus. God intends by this to make us a kind of object lesson by which people are able to see that in union with the despised Jesus, they can find an entirely new life. In our bruised and battered bodies, they see that there is something higher to live for which makes the loss of all worldly pleasures worth it. There is something so sublime and precious to be had in Jesus that we are ready to bear any suffering in order that we might obtain it. (Philippians 3:7-14)
ὥστε ὁ θάνατος ἐν ἡμῖν ἐνεργεῖται, ἡ δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν.
so that death in us is working, but life in you.
Paraphrase: Isn’t this a strange thing? We are dying so that you might find life!
Ἔχοντες δὲ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πίστεως, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον· Ἐπίστευσα, διὸ ἐλάλησα, καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν,
and having the same spirit of faith according to what is being written, “I have believed; therefore, I have spoken.” and we believe and therefore, we speak.
Paraphrase: This is the kind of faith of which the Psalmist spoke when he said, “I have believed; therefore I spoke.” Now I say the same thing about us. We believe so firmly the gospel which God has called us to preach, that no hardship will ever keep us from proclaiming Christ. We stand like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before the great Nebuchadnezzar and see no need to defend ourselves. (Daniel 3:16) God is the Great King, and the work is His whether we live or whether we die. (Philippians 1:21)
εἰδότες ὅτι ὁ ἐγείρας τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ ἡμᾶς σὺν Ἰησοῦ ἐγερεῖ καὶ παραστήσει σὺν ὑμῖν.
knowing that the One who raised Jesus and us with Jesus will raise and present with you.
Paraphrase: You might ask what it is that we believe that gives us strength to continue even in the face of such trials. Well let me tell you what that is. It’s the truth of the resurrection. This is the great rock on which we have taken our stand. God has raised up Jesus and in so doing, He has also resurrected all those who are in Him. Now on that last day of history, Jesus will take all His disciples (you included!) and will present us before the great, white throne (Revelation 20:11) of God’s judgment. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
τὰ γὰρ πάντα δι’ ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἡ χάρις πλεονάσασα διὰ τῶν πλειόνων τὴν εὐχαριστίαν περισσεύσῃ εἰς τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ.
For all things on account of you in order that grace, abounding through the many, might cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Paraphrase: So all these trials, as painful as they were, worked out for your salvation. God’s grace has been made to shine all the brighter since, through our suffering, many have been led to Jesus and so many more songs of thanksgiving are going up to heaven. God is glorified by being enthroned on the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)
It’s difficult to know how to interpret the ινα clause here. Here are the options (cf Alford):
The first option makes εὐχαριστίαν the OP of διὰ. …in order that grace, abounding on account of the thanksgiving of many, might abound…
A third option makes εὐχαριστίαν the object of the participle πλεονάσασα …in order that grace, causing thanksgiving to abound through the many, might abound…
A fourth option makes τὴν εὐχαριστίαν the object of περισσεύσῃ and τῶν πλειόνων modifying εὐχαριστίαν. …in order that grace, abounding, might cause thanksgiving of the many to abound…
Διὸ οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν, ἀλλ’ εἰ καὶ ὁ ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος διαφθείρεται, ἀλλ’ ὁ ἔσω ἡμῶν ἀνακαινοῦται ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ.
Therefore, we do not lose heart but even though the man outside us is declining, the [man] inside us is renewing day after day.
Paraphrase: So now we have two things. First, the truth of our resurrection; and second, the reality of what God’s grace is doing through us for your salvation. And because of these two things, we do not end up in that extremity where Satan is trying to push us. (2 Corinthians 4:8) Instead, we are able to observe the decline of our mortal bodies without fear or discouragement because we are also aware that the spiritual life within us is growing stronger and stronger.
For εἰ καὶ, see Burton §279.
τὸ γὰρ παραυτίκα ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης κατεργάζεται ἡμῖν,
For our temporary and light affliction according to surpassing unto surpassing an eternal weight of glory is working for us.
Paraphrase: Believe me, the trifling afflictions we have to endure here fade into utter nothingness when set alongside the glory which God has prepared for those who love Him. We can even say that these very trials are preparing us for this glory. And how shall I describe it to you? I can only use the words our fathers taught us. It is a weight (Exodus 16:7, 10) so heavy with beauty and majesty that no human can fathom it. (1 Corinthians 2:9) There are no words to describe it. How can we ever describe the fact that God will cause his people to enter into His glory? Neither is this all. In this glory, God children will live forever and ever.
The expression καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν is the highest kind of superlative. Clarke: “all hyperboles fall short of describing” this weight of eternal glory. RWP: “according to excess unto excess” Barnes: “There is not to be found any where a more energetic expression than this.” McFadyen: “in exceeding measure and unto an exceeding issue” Meyer: “In this—and how exuberant is the deeply emotional form of expression itself!—lies the measureless force, and the measureless success of the κατεργάζεται.” Hodge says that we see in this passage Paul’s struggle with “the impotency of language to express his conceptions.”
Goodwin: “That word there, which is translated exceeding, is καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν, ‘one hyperbole upon another;’ that is, one hyperbole of speech will not express it: as when you say, a wall up to heaven, or a high wall. Saith the Apostle, express heaven by hyperboles, and when you have done, tumble one hyperbole upon another hyperbole, and it will not express it. This he saith of the glory there; it is exceeding, it is hyperbolical, it is hyperbole upon hyperbole. I remember he speaks of sin, and saith it is καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἁμαρτωλὸς, ‘above measure sinful,’ Rom. 7:13; the sinfulness of it hath an hyperbole in it, man’s wit cannot reach it. When he cometh to speak of the glory of heaven, it hath one hyperbole upon another; it is an exceeding hyperbolical glory.”
μὴ σκοπούντων ἡμῶν τὰ βλεπόμενα ἀλλὰ τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα, τὰ γὰρ βλεπόμενα πρόσκαιρα, τὰ δὲ μὴ βλεπόμενα αἰώνια.
while we are not contemplating the things being seen but the things not being seen, for the things being seen are temporary, but the things not being seen are eternal.
Paraphrase: All of this glory we can look forward to and expect when we turn our eyes off the visible things of this world and fix them on the invisible things of the world to come. The things of this world are just temporary and will soon be burned with fire. (2 Peter 3:10) The unseen things of God, however, are eternal and will never come to an end.