troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body
the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might
be made manifest in our body." 2nd Corinthians 4:8-10
Paul the Apostle seldom opens his
heart to us like he does in the Epistle of 2nd Corinthians.
There we learn of
his many hardships, most of which he encountered because of his
dedication to the Lord Jesus.
Yes, Paul had
He said so
numerous times, but primarily in the Text we are now studying.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not
distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,
but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life
also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2nd
See those words,
"troubled on every side?"
nearly says the same thing. I would never have believed Paul to
have uttered these following words, apart from the inerrant
nature of the Word of God. The Bible just makes no mistakes!
"For we would not, brethren, have you
ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were
pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we
despaired even of life." This is quoted from 2nd
Corinthians 1:8. Look! Paul "despaired even of life!" He was so
grieved, so troubled, so wearied that he tired of living life
itself! So he says under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of
God! The Greek word "despaired" her is picturesque. "Exaporeomai"
means to see absolutely "no way out" of a situation! "Poreuomai"
means "to travel a road." The letter "a" prefixed to it negates
the verb ... "not able to travel" or "not able to escape!" The
opening preposition in the term is "ek" and means "out of!" Put
it all together and you get something like this: "no way out!"
The word is built to show intenisty!
Paul actually got
that "low" one day!
By the way,
"pressed out of measure," uses the Greek verb "bareo" that means
to carry a heavy load, so heavy it's nearly unbearable! "Out of
measure" translates the now English word "hyperbole!" Thrown so
far it is beyond the horizon! Unimaginably distant!
strength" is "hyper dunamis!" Exceedingly past any human's power
or ability to respond!
Of course to be
fair, this is the same Apostle Paul who in Philippians 4:13
said: "I can do all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me." Or who taught us that the Same
Holy Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in our hearts
and lives right now! Yes, Paul wanted us to personally know ...
"What is the exceeding greatness of His
power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His
mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him
from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly
places." Ephesians 1:20-21
Yet in 2nd
Corinthians 4:8, today's verse, our dear Apostle friend is "troubled
on every side."
Thank God for
verses like these! They give us all hope and strength! If Paul
had such feelings, surely my having them is more understandable!
"troubled" is spelled "thlibo" and means "pressed!" "Pressed" as
one stomps or squeezes grapes to burst them and produce every
drop of juice held within their bulging skins!
It thus means "to
afflict" or "to be under great pressure!"
Here's one way
Paul used "thlibo" elsewhere. "For, when
we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we
were troubled on
every side; without were fightings, within were
fears." Talk about being all "torn up!" Our verse here in
2nd Corinthians 7:5 so indicates such a condition.
The saints of all
the ages have encountered such "pressure" too. Here "thlibo" is
translated as "afflicted" in the King James Bible.
"They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in
sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute,
tormented; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains,
and in dens and caves of the earth." Hebrews
Thank God Paul
was so honest! So brutally honest!
Yet I still
occasionally am told of some television preacher or well-known
evangelist who asserts again and again that the Christian life
is trouble free, money filled and health oriented!
Paul would have
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The Apostle Paul was an amazing man!
He could find the
bright side of any situation, filtering it through the mighty
power and loving grace of Almighty God!
In an unusual
way, Paul has told us something about himself. He said that he
was "troubled" on every side! The exact word he used, "thlibo,"
means being pressured or cramped or squeezed into some tight
place, maybe even an ever tightening place!
But here's the
good news. Though troubled ... Paul quickly adds "yet not
The whole verse,
2nd Corinthians 4:8 reads like this: "We
are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are
perplexed, but not in despair."
conjunction that gives us "yet" is spelled "alla" and means
"but" 573 times in the King James Bible, while being translated
"yet" only 11 times. It can also mean "nevertheless." Obviously
a contrasting thought is being introduced.
"Not," an adverb,
is spelled "ou" and means just what it says, the negative
response. It is often used in Greek syntax to give a "no" answer
when a "yes" answer was expected!
Paul reasons, yes
... I am troubled but, surprisingly, not to the point of
How could Paul
get so pressured ... yet not "cave" under the load?
"distressed" is spelled "stenochoreo" and is a beautifully
compound term. The prefix "stenos" means "narrow." The word "chora"
means something like "space or room!" It's related to the word
See the picture?
Paul was, means that things were squeezing in all around him.
"Distressed," which Paul was not, means that absolutely no room
was left at all!
Paul admits that
things were currently getting heavier to bear and his path was
becoming more and more constricted ... but, even so, there still
was "room" to operate! Room to minister for Jesus' Sake! Space
to preach the Word! Opportunities to labor for the Glory of God!
practicing what he preached. "But now
having no more place in these parts, and having a great
desire these many years to come unto you. I will come to you."
That's Romans 15:23. If no "room" is left in Corinth ... Paul
will go to Rome. There God will give him "space" to work!
What a victory
For a man to see
that no matter how tight and difficult things became ... there
is a God in Heaven Who will always grant his servant a little
more space, more room, more liberty to stay busy for Jesus!
If one room
closes completely, God can "open the door" to the adjoining one!
In one line:
"Tight ... but still room!"
God has not been
squeezed out of the picture!
Nor can He ever
In despair? No! A
hundred times "no!"
Praise the Lord!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Apostle Paul admitted to being "perplexed!"
Corinthians 4:8 we read his own words: "We
are perplexed, but not in despair."
These few short
words include a definite "low" time emotionally and perhaps even
spiritually, but they are immediately followed by a "hint" of
"perplexed" is spelled "aporeo" and is the combination of two
Greek terms. "A," the opening letter, just means "no" or "not."
It negates a coming concept. "Poreo" is derived from "poros," a
way or path or trail leading somewhere.
Paul means initially seeing "no way" to escape a bad situation!
No exit available! This word is used only 4 times in the New
Testament. In John 13:22 "aporeo" is translated "doubting," not
knowing what to believe! No mental escape route could be found!
It is "doubted" again in Acts 25:20. And it is "stand in doubt"
in Galatians 4:20. Only here in 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 is it
"perplexed" in the King James Bible.
It is astounding
that this feeling of Paul's, this statement of his utter
humanity, even perhaps his "weakness," was not excised from
Scripture. Another proof of its glorious inspiration and
"Poreo" here is
not an aorist verb either! It is not depicting a one time event,
now concluded! It is portrayed as a present participle! This
"doubting" of Paul's, this "perplexity" was an on-going thing in
his life! He battled it from time to time it seems!
In the New
Testament the Disciples were perplexed, filled with doubts in
John 13:22. So was Festus, the Roman official, in Acts 25:20.
You can just hear
the exasperation, the frustration, the seeming failure!
immediately, Paul springs back, emotionally and spiritually
rising as rapidly as he had descended!
"We are perplexed, but not in despair."
"but" is dramatic here. "Alla" means "nevertheless" or "howbeit"
or "yet." It is translated all three ways in the New Testament.
It often introduces a surprising thought of contrast!
"Perplexed, but unexpectedly ... not in despair!"
The verbal unit
"in despair" introduces a "play on words!" The Holy Spirit, the
Grammarian of all the ages, changes spelling a bit.
Let me show you
what I mean. "Perplexed" is "aporeo." While "despair" is "exaporeo!"
Paul says: "At
first I saw 'no way' to handle the many problems, the pressures
that had come my way!"
further examination and prayer and trust, I realized things were
not quite that bad! I was not completely hemmed in, not fully
enclosed! There was some light shining through! I saw a hint of
sunshine at the far end of the tunnel!"
expressed as just another present participle in the middle
voice, means "absolutely no way out" ... a condition which Paul
now knows is not true!
The "ex" which
before assimilation is an "ek" in Greek means "out of" or "away
from." It also intensifies any verb to which it is attached! And
you are by now familiar with "aporeo," no way to escape!
It looked bad to
Paul ... but, with God's help, things were not a bad as they
All things were
going to work together!
This too would be
a light affliction!
Even here God
could get the Glory!
Our Lord indeed
has a way, even through such "perplexity!"
See the victory?
It may appear
small to many of you. After all, Paul is still in the battle ...
but He knows there is a way through it all ... a way to Jesus! A
way to the old rugged Cross! A way to more spiritual maturity! A
way to further rewards, another crown perhaps!
What a view of
A man like that
just won't stay "down," will he?
This kind of
Christian will end up writing things like:
"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
"Nay, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
great Apostle certainly was persecuted!
He even wrote
these words, no doubt reflecting his own experience, but even
more so ... following the Holy Spirit Who fully inspired the
Scriptures! "Yea, and all that will live
godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2nd
Corinthians 4:9 Paul gives us his "secret" on handling
persecution! Succinctly he writes of himself:
"Persecuted, but not forsaken."
"persecuted" is "dioko" in Greek. It means, depending on the
context where it occurs, "to chase after or to pursue" something
or someone. Paul was being chased by the devil and his crowd,
enemies of the Gospel! Also "dioko" can mean "to flee," what one
occasionally must do in the face of such persecution! Where?
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous
runneth into it, and is safe." Proverbs 10:18
Here, being the
first word in the Greek sentence as well as the English, "dioko"
is to be given great emphasis. It is framed as a present
participle, indicating on-going linear action. Paul was
persecuted nearly everywhere he went!
To get another
view of Paul's attitude toward suffering, read with me 1st
Corinthians 4:12, where "dioko" is again a present participle:
"And we labour, working with our own
hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it."
To "suffer" something means to "anecho" it, to hold up
under such pressure, continuing to go forward for the Glory of
The first three
times the word "persecuted" (as a form of "dioko") appears in
the New Testament, they flow from the lips of Jesus. I will
capitalize them for you. "Blessed are
they which are
persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile
you, and persecute
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you
falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great
is your reward in heaven: for so
the prophets which were before you." These well known
words are found in Matthew 5:10-12.
Again, from our
Lord: "But I say unto you, Love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate
you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
To Paul, he is
simply experiencing what our Saviour taught a Christian to
If you would like
a brief list of some of Paul's "persecutions," read 2nd
Corinthians chapter eleven. There the Apostle lists some of his
hardships: "In labours more abundant, in
stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I
suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own
countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in
the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils
in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness
and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in
fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that
are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all
Yes, Paul was
But, and here's
the "key" again to Paul's magnificent resilience, even though
"persecuted" ... he was not "forsaken!"
This verb, "egkataleipo,"
is obviously compounded. Twice so!
root, means "to abandon, to leave behind!" It has the idea of
leaving someone in dire straits! Once in ancient literature it
pictured a rescue boat sailing past a needy soldier, not even
stopping to help, leaving him to fare for himself!
Paul is saying
that no matter how "bad" things get ... he is keenly aware that
the Lord never leaves him, never forsakes him, not at all!
"And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world. Amen." Matthew 28:20
"For He hath said, I will never leave
thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5
But let's allow
Paul to attest this fact to young Timothy. The Apostle had just
stood before Nero in court. "At my first
answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I
pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me."
2nd Timothy 4:16-17
Regardless of the
depth of the pressure, the pursuit, the hatred, as long as Paul
knew the Lord was with him ... all would be well!
Once in Corinth,
when severe persecution came Paul's way, the Lord appeared to
the dear Man of God! At his lowest moment:
"Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not
afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee,
and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much
people in this city. And he continued there a year and
six months, teaching the word of God among them." See the
strength Paul derived from that assuring word! He continued
preaching there another year and a half ... in the face of daily
danger! I've referenced Acts 18:9-11 here.
Paul was not
Again, in that
terrible ordeal onboard the doomed ship ... during that fierce
storm ... Paul told his shipmates: "For
there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and
whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought
before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail
with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God,
that it shall be even as it was told me." Acts 27:23-25
friends, maybe if we can flooded with that assurance, with the
fact that we too are never forsaken, we will also be armed to
face the trials and heartaches and pressures that providentially
come our way!
After all, as
John tells us in his first Epistle:
"Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
He's speaking of Jesus of course!
What a difference
His Presence makes!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The Apostle Paul once admitted to
being "cast down!" Listen to him in just one verse:
"Persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but
not destroyed." 2nd Corinthians 4:9
What does that
translates a verb, "kataballo," which literally means "to throw"
("ballo") down ("kata") to the ground. Here Paul's enemies, or
the devil himself, has given Paul a "body slam!"
which is the spelling of "kataballo" when it's a present
participle in the passive voice, is NOT saying that Paul fell!
He did not trip or stumble either! He was overcome and
forcefully dropped, purposely so, to the ground or to the floor
or to the valley below ... whatever would have been rock bottom!
This verb only
occurs three times in the whole Bible! Here's one of those
times: "And I heard a loud voice saying in
heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of
our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our
brethren is cast down,
which accused them before our God day and night."
appearance is milder. To identify "kataballo" I have capitalized
its equivalent. "Therefore leaving the
principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto
perfection; not laying
again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith
toward God ...." Hebrews 6:1
something or someone is on the ground ... looking up! At the
very lowest point! He has been overtaken and dropped ... and
this ordeal lasted a while or occurred more than once! At least
that's the implication of a present participle! Prolonged
If we had to
leave Paul there the whole situation would be so discouraging!
Holy Spirit has inserted a conjunction, a contrasting
conjunction! It is again "alla" and means this: "on the
contrary, rather, notwithstanding or nevertheless!" While "A" is
true, quickly "B" must be added, insists Paul! Yes, I am cast
down! BUT I am also ... "not destroyed!"
Here's our verse
again: "Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast
down, but not destroyed."
The negative, "ou
or ouk," means no! Now it is especially used in
situations where its object was expected to be positive! It
expresses a surprising outcome!
"Paul is down! We
will hear little from him now," so reason the Devil and his
The Preacher may
be "down," indeed he is! "Cast down!"
BUT he is not
In spite of
everyone's expectations, Paul is still with us! Still alive!
Still proclaiming the Word of God! Still an enemy of Satan!
Still a servant of God! Still a warrior of faithfulness!
translates "apollumi" and means "ruined, perished" or even "put
The enemy can
But he can't rob
me of my soul!
He can press my
body to the ground!
He cannot do so
with my spirit!
found 92 times in the New Testament. The first appearance is in
Matthew 2:13 where Herod the King sought the Baby Jesus to
"destroy" Him! It's also "perish" in John 3:16!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life."
This may be one
of Paul's ways of saying that no matter what Satan does, the
Apostle remains eternally secure as far as his soul and spirit
are concerned! I say that because "apollumi" is translated
"perished" 33 times and "lost" 9 more times in the King James
And, believe me,
it is a victory ... a major victory ... when someone assuredly
learns that he or she is "saved" and Satan can do nothing about
Cast down but not
Secure in the
What a victory to
realize such a thing!
"Cast down, but not destroyed."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Paul had learned to take everything
in life, the so-called good and the bad, and attach to each
happening some spiritual truth!
Put him in jail
and he writes: "But I would ye should
understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto
me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so
that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in
all other places." Philippians 1:12
Load him with an
incurable physical malady, and he declares that the Lord told
him: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for
my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2nd Corinthians
Threaten him with
death, martyrdom, and he soars! "For I am
now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for
me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous
judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto
all them also that love his appearing." 2nd Timothy 4:6-8
What a way to
live for Christ Jesus!
But let me show
you one more example from Paul's life.
In one Text, 2nd
Corinthians 4:8-10, he shares with us four defeats. Then in
Christ he immediately turns them into victories!
He is there
"troubled on every side!"
Also he is
Let me define
quickly these terms in order.
under great pressure!
almost without hope, no apparent way to continue!
chased and driven and pursued by those who would harm him!
Cast down ...
thrown to the ground, ready to be stomped!
that have each claimed a lot of Christians, derailing them from
the tracks of faithfulness!
But, watch Paul!
but NOT distressed! There's a small victory!
but NOT in despair! This is good!
"persecuted," but NOT forsaken! Jesus is with me!
Yes, "cast down,"
but NOT destroyed! Still saved, eternally so!
Paul is literally
taking the good, however much can be found, from the mouth of
the bad! That's victorious living!
taught to do this too. The Lord said to him:
"Thou shalt stand before Me: and
if thou take forth the
precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let
them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them."
Paul was mining
the "vile" experiences of life, extracting every ounce of
"precious" ore he could find!
Then the Apostle
piled it all together in two groups, analyzing it all carefully!
In the "bad"
stack he saw something comparable to death!
In the "good"
stack he saw something comparable to resurrection!
"Always bearing about in the body the
dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be
made manifest in our body." 2nd Corinthians 4:10
But when they
came, painful and grievous as they were, akin to death itself
... Paul went straight to Jesus! Jesus died ... so will Paul!
Paul will "sanctify" his sufferings by letting them draw him
closer and closer to His suffering Saviour!
But then, Jesus
did not stay dead! He was raised from the grave!
So Paul will not
remain troubled and perplexed and persecuted and cast down
either! He will instead claim, through Jesus, no distress and no
despair and never being forsaken and indestructibility!
In other words,
resurrection life ... in the Lord!
Before you know
it he will be writing these words: "I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but
Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave
himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Now folks, a man
like that will go to heaven, shouting all the way!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Apostle Paul was thrilled by the Resurrection of our Lord!
Paul KNEW Jesus was alive!
He saw Him ... on
the road to Damascus!
He heard Him and
talked to Him!
the man "caught up to the third heaven" in 2nd Corinthians
chapter 12 is Paul himself as many preachers believe ... the
great Apostle has personally seen Jesus in even greater detail,
the living Saviour!
that as Christians we were once dead in sin. See Ephesians 2:1.
That's why Jesus identified with us on Calvary, dying
vicariously in our stead.
pictured us, having repented and believed unto salvation, being
alive in Christ, raised in His Power! Once dead,
but now quickened! Resurrection power ... in you and me!
believed that we are even now spiritually ascended into
Heaven with Jesus. That we are today already "in heavenly
places!" See Ephesians 1:3. "The Lord hath
blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in
Then ... just as
the ascended Jesus was immediately invited by His Father in
Heaven to "be seated" at His Right Hand ... so Paul taught that
we believers, in Christ, are already seated there
in Christ our Lord! We have been ... "made
to sit together in heavenly places in Christ
Jesus." That's Ephesians 2:6. Now listen to the Father
talk to the Son:
LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make
thine enemies thy footstool." Psalm 110:1
accented and emphasized and lived in the Presence of the Living
Lord! The Resurrection of Jesus was literal and victorious and
permanent and personal and energizing to this great Believer.
He brought the
Resurrection to bear in every area of his life, applying it in
unique and beautiful ways.
Even when he was
troubled and perplexed and persecuted and cast down! He pictured
these trials and pressures and symbols of death. They drove him
to the old rugged Cross! He went from the things that were
nearly "killing" him to the Saviour he loved, pondering His
Death, the greatest Death of all!
... or rather supernaturally ... just as Jesus was raised form
the dead, Paul was delivered from his trials, or at least some
of them! He pictured these victories over pressure and hatred
and discouragement and depression as a deliverance form what was
"killing" him! A symbol of the very Resurrection of Jesus!
Paul once even
said that he died daily! See 1st Corinthians 15:31. But then he
also was "raised" daily too! Raised to walk "in newness of
life" as he said in Romans 6:4.
This was Paul's
worldview! He preached it and taught it and wrote it again and
In today's verse,
2nd Corinthians 4:10, for example: "Always
bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
Paul would have
said to us today ... I am always bearing about in my body the
dying of Jesus (through my trials, persecutions, sicknesses,
perplexities and so forth) ... that the Life of Jesus might be
made manifest in my body (deliverance and peace and victory,
either here on earth eventually or in heaven finally)!
The verb "made
manifest" is spelled "phaneroo" and gives us our English word
"epiphany." A visible appearance! A flash of glorious light!
Folks can "see" this Resurrection Life ... in us!
one's trials ... the powerful Resurrection Life of Jesus propels
us and motivates us and lifts us to victory!
Indeed, let's ask
Paul to speak one more time: "But thanks
be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord
Jesus Christ." 1st Corinthians 15:57
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 8, CONCLUSION:
The "battle" often raged in and
around the Apostle Paul, both physically and spiritually.
He admits to us,
rarely but certainly under the direct Inspiration of God the
Holy Spirit, that he at times was surrounded with troubles,
beset with perplexities, persecuted by enemies and even "cast
down" by the oppressor, Satan himself!
It's a wonder
Paul didn't "break" under the load!
Sometimes he did even "despair" of
life itself! That's from 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11. And this may be
the very "lowest" Paul ever sank! Sounds suicidal!
How does one
explain such series of trials and difficulties and pressures ...
even in the life of a godly man like Paul?
Surely the motif,
the pattern or paradigm as theologians call it, is one of
We are at war
with the devil!
But there may be
more to it than that!
I believe Paul in
2nd Corinthians 4:7 explains it well. "But
we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of
the power may be of God, and not of us."
The "treasure" of
which he speaks in undoubtedly the Gospel, the indwelling Holy
Spirit, the Word of God, the knowledge of the Holy, and other
such precious things! The noun here is spelled "thesauros," our
very English word meaning a "storage chest" of good and valuable
and precious things! All 18 times this word is used in Scripture
it is translated "treasure," at least in the King James Bible!
vessels" of whom Paul speaks represent you and me, born-again
Believers in Christ Jesus the Lord! The adjective is "ostrakinos"
and means "clay" or "of the earth, the soil." It obviously
suggests frailty, being so easily cracked or broken!
translates "skeuos" and means tools or utensils or implements or
gear or even a lowly clay pot that proves so
helpful in the kitchen or bedroom! The latter definition is
clearly what Paul has in mind here. The context demands such a
We, saved folks
washed in the Blood of the Lamb, are as weak as clay pots!
Common and economical!
But in this
particular "vessel," you and me Brother and Sister, has been
placed a Treasure. For now we shall identify that Treasure as
God the Holy Spirit, Who indwells us from very the second of
salvation! He is Precious!
But WHY would God
place such a priceless Person with us? Within an often chipped
or cracked clay pitcher? One so susceptible to pressures and
falls and accidents?
Again, our verse
answers the question. "But we have this
treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power
may be of God, and not of us."
"that" is spelled "ina," and is pronounced "hina." It means "for
the purpose of" or "in order that."
We, such weak
humans with such great trials, have indwelling invaluable
deposits within us because ... so that ...
"the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
That God's power,
His "dunamis," might be visible! That His Glory might shine!
That His strength might be magnified ... not ours!
"excellency" is quite well-known. It's spelled "huperbole," our
exact English word "hyperbole!" It means that which is thrown
far beyond one's greatest expectations! Preeminent, superior,
"Of God" is a
prepositional phrase based on the Genitive case, the power is
the Lord's possession! He owns it! He creates it! He provides
it! He is its Source! Omnipotently so!
"Not of us" is
translated with the preposition supplied. "Ek" means "out from"
or even "by means of!" We are not the sources of strength and
ability and expertise when it comes to living for God! He is ...
in us and through us!
And just to prove
that fact, God apparently allows certain "illustrations" to come
our way! Our Lord occasionally burdens us with troubles and
perplexities and persecutions and even defeats at the hands of
the enemy ... so our powerlessness can become more evident ...
and His Power more visible!
And if that's God
Choice ... so be it! To Him be the Glory!
Let's hear Paul
one more time. Here he says about the same thing I've been
trying to explain, only Paul does so better. Of course he is
Spirit inspired too, verbally!
we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which
came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above
strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had
the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in
ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us
from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that
he will yet deliver us; ye also helping together by
prayer for us." 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11
Battles for the
saint? Yes, they will come.
But victories are
just as sure to follow!
That God may be
"All in All!" 1st Corinthians 15:28
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
THIS IS A POWERFUL BIBLE TEXT, 2nd CORINTHIANS 4:8-10.
HOW TO CLAIM VICTORY OUT OF THE JAWS OF DEFEAT! PRAISE THE LORD!