| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 44 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
The Bearing of the Context on Well-Known Passages.
"Light affliction" and the "Weight of glory".
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Cor. 4: 17).
A deal of harm may be done if we lift this passage out of its context and press its
teaching upon souls unprepared by truth to receive it. It is not true that "affliction",
considered in itself, is "light". Paul had confessed earlier in this same epistle that he had
been "pressed out of measure, above strength" by the trouble that came upon him in Asia
(II Cor. 1: 8). He later gives also a list of sufferings that neither he nor any sane person
could call "light afflictions" (II Cor. 11: 23-28).
When we quote II Cor. 4: 17, we must remember the context, especially the
condition that is made in verse 18. If we would speak truth with our neighbour, the word
"while" is the qualifying word that must be included whenever we quote this passage.
"While" the sufferer looks not at things seen but at things "not seen", the affliction
becomes, by comparison, "light", and "while" he thus reacts to affliction it will "work"
for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. But if the eye is on the visible,
the self-same suffering will be by no means "light", and its effects will be the very
reverse of the triumph suggested by the words "weight of glory".
The bearing of the context must never be forgotten, whether the subject be doctrine,
practice, exhortation, consolation, or the whole range of dispensational truth.
"We glory in tribulations" (Rom. 5: 3).
pp. 119, 120
Inasmuch as there is no punctuation, or even division into sentences, or in the earliest
Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, there is no mechanical safeguard against
misquotation, the meaning, as demanded by the context, must always be considered.
For any healthy, happy and intelligent young man to say that "to die" was "gain", or
that he "gloried in tribulations", would not sound like a genuine statement. Moreover, to
take the opposite case, for anyone in unhappy circumstances to use the same words,
would be indicative of despair, or at least of very morbid feelings. In Rom. 5: 3 the
Apostle does not simply say, "We glory in tribulations" as an isolated remark. He
prefaces his statement by the phrase, "And not only so", which clearly indicates a
qualifying context, and he follows it up with the words "also" and "but".