2 Corinthians 4

The Light of the Gospel

1 Therefore, having x this ministry y by the mercy of God, 1 we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced z disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or a to tamper with God's word, but b by the open statement of the truth c we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even d if our gospel is veiled, e it is veiled only to f those who are perishing. 4 In their case g the god of this world d has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing h the light of i the gospel of the glory of Christ, j who is the image of God. 5 For what k we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with l ourselves as your servants 2 for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, m "Let light shine out of darkness," n has shone in our hearts to give o the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

7 But we have this treasure in p jars of clay, q to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are r afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but s not forsaken; t struck down, but not destroyed; 10 u always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, v so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So w death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have x the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, y "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that z he who raised the Lord Jesus a will raise us also with Jesus and b bring us with you into his presence. 15 For c it is all for your sake, so that as d grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, e to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. f Though our outer self 3 is wasting away, g our inner self h is being renewed day by day. 17 For i this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 j as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

  1. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 3:6
    Who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
  2. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 7:25
    Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.
    1 Timothy 1:13
    Though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief.
  3. Cross References
    Romans 6:21
    But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
  4. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 2:17
    For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
  5. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 6:7
    By truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.
    2 Corinthians 7:14
    For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true.
  6. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 5:11 - 12
    Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
  7. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 3:14
    But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
  8. Cross References
    Matthew 13:15
    For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.
  9. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 2:15
    For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
    1 Corinthians 1:18
    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    2 Thessalonians 2:10
    And with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
  10. Cross References
    John 12:31
    Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
  11. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 4:3
    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.
  12. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 4:6
    For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    Acts 26:18
    To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
  13. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 3:18
    And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
  14. Cross References
    Colossians 1:15
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
    Philippians 2:6
    Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.
    Hebrews 1:3
    He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
  15. Cross References
    1 Thessalonians 2:6
    Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
  16. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 9:19
    For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
    2 Corinthians 1:24
    Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
  17. Cross References
    Genesis 1:3
    And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
  18. Cross References
    2 Peter 1:19
    And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
  19. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 4:4
    In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
  20. Cross References
    2 Timothy 2:20
    Now in a great house there are not only vessels...
    2 Corinthians 5:1
    For we know that if the tent that is our earthl...
    Job 10:9
    Remember that you have made me like clay; and w...
    Job 13:12
    Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defense...
    Lamentations 4:2
    The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight i...
    1 Thessalonians 4:4
    That each one of you know how to control his ow...
    1 Peter 3:7
    Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an ...
  21. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 2:5
    That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
    Judges 7:2
    The Lord said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.
  22. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 7:5
    For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn - fighting without and fear within.
    Psalms 129:2
    Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.
  23. Cross References
    Hebrews 13:5
    Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.
    Deuteronomy 4:31
    For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
  24. Cross References
    Psalms 37:24
    Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
    Proverbs 24:16
    For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
    Micah 7:8
    Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
  25. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 6:9
    As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and b...
    1 Corinthians 4:9
    For I think that God has exhibited us apostles ...
    1 Corinthians 15:31
    I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which ...
    2 Corinthians 1:5
    For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferin...
    2 Corinthians 1:9
    Indeed, we felt that we had received the senten...
    Romans 6:5
    For if we have been united with him in a death ...
    Romans 8:36
    As it is written, "For your sake we are being k...
  26. Cross References
    2 Timothy 2:11
    The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
    Romans 5:10
    For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
    Romans 6:8
    Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
  27. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 13:9
    For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
  28. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 12:9
    To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit.
    2 Peter 1:1
    Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
  29. Cross References
    Psalms 116:10
    I believed, even when I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted".
  30. Cross References
    Psalms 116:10
    I believed, even when I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted".
  31. Cross References
    1 Thessalonians 4:14
    For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
    Acts 2:24
    God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
  32. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 1:9
    Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
  33. Cross References
    Jude 1:24
    Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.
  34. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 1:6
    If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
    Romans 8:28
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  35. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 1:11
    You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
    2 Corinthians 9:11 - 12
    You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
  36. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 8:19
    And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.
  37. Cross References
    Acts 20:24
    But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
  38. Cross References
    Romans 7:22
    For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being.
  39. Cross References
    Isaiah 40:30 - 31
    Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted.
    Romans 12:2
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  40. Cross References
    Romans 8:18
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    1 Peter 1:6
    In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.
    1 Peter 5:10
    And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
    Psalms 30:5
    For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
    Isaiah 54:7
    For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
  41. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 5:7
    For we walk by faith, not by sight.
    Romans 8:24
    For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
    Hebrews 11:1
    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
    Hebrews 11:13
    These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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