VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
2 CORINTHIANS 4
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Craftiness (panourgia). See on Luke xx. 23.
Handling deceitfully (dolountev). Only here in the New Testament. Primarily, to ensnare; then to corrupt. Used of adulterating gold, wine, etc. See on which corrupt, ch. ii. 17. This verb has a narrower meaning than the one used there (kaphleuein); for, while that means also to corrupt, it adds the sense for gain's sake. The Vulgate renders both by the same word, adulterantes. Compare Dante:
"Thus did Sabellius, Arias, and those fools Who have been even as swords unto the Scriptures In rendering distorted their straight faces." "Paradiso," xiii., 128-130.
"The first God is the true God; but the second God is Samuel." "The matron said, 'Our God is greater than thy God; for when thy God appeared to Moses in the bush, he hid his face; when, however, he saw the serpent, which is my God, he fled."' The light (ton fwtismon). Only here and ver. 6. Lit., the illumination, act of enlightening.
Image of God. Compare Col. i. 15; John xvii. 5; Philip. ii. 6; iii. 21. Christ's light is also God's. Compare Heb. i. 3, Rev., effulgence (ajpaugasma, compare aujgasai shine, in this passage). Theodoret says: "The effulgence is both from the fire and with the fire, and has the fire as its cause, yet is not divided from the fire; for whence comes the fire, thence also comes the effulgence."
Shine (augasai). Only here in the New Testament. From aujgh brightness, which also occurs but once, Acts xx. 11, daybreak. In classical Greek of the sun especially. Rev., dawn is legitimate as a translation, but hardly here, since Paul is going back to the figure of ch. iii. 18.
To give the light of the knowledge (prov fwtismon thv gnwsewv). Lit., for the illumination, as ver. 4. In order that the knowledge may lighten. Knowledge, if not diffused, is not of the nature of light.
In the face of Jesus Christ. Containing the thought of ch. iii. 18. The knowledge of the divine glory becomes clear revelation to men in the face of Christ as it appears in the Gospel: "So that in this seen countenance that clear-shining knowledge has the source of its light, as it were, its focus" (Meyer). 144
In earthen vessels (en ostrakinoiv skeuesin). The adjective occurs only here and 2 Tim. ii. 10. Herodotus says of the king of Persia: "The great king stores away the tribute which he receives after this fashion: he melts it down, and, while it is in a liquid state, runs it into earthen vessels, which are afterward removed, leaving the metal in a solid mass" (iii., 96). Stanley cites the story of a Rabbi who was taunted with his mean appearance by the emperor's daughter, and who replied by referring to the earthen vessels in which her father kept his wines. At her request the wine was shifted to silver vessels, whereupon it turned sour. Then the Rabbi observed that the humblest vessels contained the highest wisdom. The idea of light in earthen vessels is, however, best illustrated in the story of the lambs and pitchers of Gideon, Judg. vii. 16. In the very breaking of the vessel the light is revealed.
Excellency (uperbolh). Lit., a throwing beyond. Hence preeminence, excellence. See on exceeding, Rom. vii. 13. Rev. renders exceeding greatness. The reference is to the fullness of power apparent in the apostolic ministry.
Of God - of us (tou Qeou - ex hmwn). The A.V. misses the difference between the two expressions. Of God is belonging to God; God's property: from (ex) is proceeding from ourselves. Rev., of God - from ourselves.
Perplexed (aporoumenoi). From aj not, and porov a passage. Lit., to be unable to find a way out.
In despair (exaporoumenoi). Rev., very neatly, rendered unto despair. The word expresses an advance of thought on perplexed, yet on the same line. We are perplexed, but not utterly perplexed. The play between the Greek words cannot be rendered.
Dying (nekrwsin). Only here and Rom. iv. 19. Primarily a putting to death, and thence the state of deadness, as Rom. iv. 19. Here in the former sense. Paul says, in effect, "our body is constantly exposed to the same putting to death which Jesus suffered. The daily liability to a violent death is something, which we carry about with us." Compare 1 Corinthians xv. 31; Rom. viii. 36. This parallel with Christ's death is offset by the parallel with Christ's triumph - life through resurrection.
That the life also (ina). In order that. The purport, according to God's purpose, of this daily dying is to set forth the resurrection-life through Christ in us. Compare Rom. v. 10.
Might through the thanksgiving of many redound (dia twn pleionwn thn eucaristian perisseush). Numerous arrangements of these words are proposed. Through (dia) should govern the many, not thanksgiving; and redound should be transitive, cause to abound, and governing thanksgiving. So Rev., the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound. The thought is on the line of ver. 12, that the sufferings and risks of the apostles promote spiritual life in the Church. The grace of God, thus manifest in the apostles, shall be multiplied through the increasing number of those who share it, and shall thus make thanksgiving more abundant for the fruits of this grace as exhibited in the apostles and in the Church.
Redound (A.V.) is from the Latin redundare to surge back. Therefore, primarily, of a fullness or overflow from the setting back of a tide. So Milton:
"The evil, soon Driven back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprang."
Generally, to abound. From this arises the secondary sense, to conduce, contribute to; that is, to make the causes mount up, or abound, so as to produce the effect. So Addison: "The care of our national commerce redounds more to the riches and prosperity of the public," etc.
Perish (diafqeiretai). Rev., much better, is decaying. Perish implies destruction: the idea is that of progressive decay.
Is renewed (anakainoutai). Better, is being renewed, the process of renewal going on along with the process of decay. Stanley cites a line attributed to Michael Angelo: "The more the marble wastes the more the statue grows." Compare Euripides: "Time does not depress your spirit, but it grows young again: your body, however, is weak" ("Heraclidae," 702, 703)
Day by day (hmera kai hmera). Lit., by day and day. A Hebrew form of expression.
Worketh (katergazetai). Works out: achieves.
A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (kaq uperebolhn eiv uperbolhn aiwnion barov doxhv). Rev., more and more exceedingly an eternal weight, etc. An expression after the form of Hebrew superlatives, in which the emphatic word is twice repeated. Lit., exceedingly unto excess. The use of such cumulative expressions is common with Paul. See, for example, Philip. i. 23, lit., much more better; Rom. viii. 37, abundantly the conquerors; Eph. iii. 20, exceeding abundantly, etc. Note how the words are offset: for a moment, eternal; light, weight; affliction, glory.