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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Therefore, since we have this ministry through
the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged.
Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden
things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open
declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the
sight of God.
And even though our gospel is veiled, 2
it is veiled for those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this age has blinded
the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves 3
but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
4 For God who said, "Let light shine out of
darkness," has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the
glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ.
5 6 But we hold this treasure
in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
7 We are afflicted in every way, but not
constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but
8 always carrying about in the body the dying of
Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up
to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in
our mortal flesh.
9 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
10 Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we too
believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace
bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to
overflow for the glory of God.
11 12 Therefore, we are not
discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is
being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction is producing
for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to what is seen but to what is
unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
1 [1-2] A ministry of this sort
generates confidence and forthrightness; cf ⇒ 2 Cor
1:12-14; ⇒ 2:17.
2 [3-4] Though our gospel is veiled:
the final application of the image. Paul has been reproached either for obscurity
in his preaching or for his manner of presenting the gospel. But he confidently
asserts that there is no veil over his gospel. If some fail to perceive its
light, that is because of unbelief. The veil lies over their eyes
(⇒ 2 Cor 3:14), a blindness induced by Satan, and a
sign that they are headed for destruction (cf ⇒ 2 Cor
3  We do not preach ourselves: the
light seen in his gospel is the glory of Christ (⇒ 2 Cor
4:4). Far from preaching himself, the preacher should be a
transparent medium through whom Jesus is perceived (cf ⇒ 2
Cor 4:10-11). Your slaves: Paul draws attention away from individuals
as such and toward their role in relation to God, Christ, and the community; cf
⇒ 1 Cor 3:5; ⇒ 2 Cor 4:1
4  Autobiographical allusion to
the episode at Damascus clarifies the origin and nature of Paul's service; cf ⇒ Acts
9:1-19; ⇒ 22:3-16;
⇒ 26:2-18. "Let light shine out of
darkness": Paul seems to be thinking of ⇒ Genesis
1:3 and presenting his apostolic ministry as a new creation. There
may also be an allusion to ⇒ Isaiah 9:1 suggesting
his prophetic calling as servant of the Lord and light to the nations; cf
⇒ Isaiah 42:6, ⇒ 16; ⇒ 49:6;
⇒ 60:1-2, and the use of light imagery in
⇒ Acts 26:13-23. To bring to light the knowledge:
Paul's role in the process of revelation, expressed at the beginning under the
image of the odor and aroma (⇒ 2 Cor 2:14-15), is
restated now, at the end of this first moment of the development, in the
imagery of light and glory (⇒ 2 Cor 4:3-6).
5 [⇒ 4:7-⇒ 5:10]
Paul now confronts the difficulty that his present existence does not appear
glorious at all; it is marked instead by suffering and death. He deals with
this by developing the topic already announced in ⇒ 2 Cor
3:3, 6, asserting his faith in the
presence and ultimate triumph of life, in his own and every Christian
existence, despite the experience of death.
6  This treasure: the glory that
he preaches and into which they are being transformed. In earthen vessels: the
instruments God uses are human and fragile; some imagine small terracotta lamps
in which light is carried.
7 [8-9] A catalogue of his apostolic
trials and afflictions. Yet in these the negative never completely prevails;
there is always some experience of rescue, of salvation.
8 [10-11] Both the negative and the
positive sides of the experience are grounded christologically. The logic is similar
to that of ⇒ 2 Cor 1:3-11. His sufferings are
connected with Christ's, and his deliverance is a sign that he is to share in
9 [12-15] His experience does not
terminate in himself, but in others (12.15; cf 2 Cor 1, 4-5). Ultimately,
everything is ordered even beyond the community, toward God
(⇒ 2 Cor 4:15; cf ⇒ 2 Cor
10 [13-14] Like the Psalmist, Paul
clearly proclaims his faith, affirming life within himself despite death
(⇒ 2 Cor 4:10-11) and the life-giving effect of his
experience upon the church (⇒ 2 Cor 4:12,
⇒ 14-15). And place us with you in his presence:
Paul imagines God presenting him and them to Jesus at the parousia and the
judgment; cf ⇒ 2 Cor 11:2;
⇒ Romans 14:10.
11 [16-18] In a series of contrasts
Paul explains the extent of his faith in life. Life is not only already present
and revealing itself (⇒ 2 Cor 4:8-11,
⇒ 16) but will outlast his experience of affliction
and dying: it is eternal (⇒ 2 Cor 4:17-18).
12  Not discouraged: i.e., despite
the experience of death. Paul is still speaking of himself personally, but he
assumes his faith and attitude will be shared by all Christians. Our outer
self: the individual subject of ordinary perception and observation, in
contrast to the interior and hidden self, which undergoes renewal. Is being
renewed day by day: this suggests a process that has already begun; cf
⇒ 2 Cor 3:18. The renewal already taking place even
in Paul's dying is a share in the life of Jesus, but this is recognized only by
faith (⇒ 2 Cor 4:13,
⇒ 18; ⇒ 2 Cor 5:7).
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