King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Corinthians 4

The apostles laboured with much diligence, sincerity, and faithfulness. (1-7) Their sufferings for the gospel were great, yet with rich supports. (8-12) Prospects of eternal glory keep believers from fainting under troubles. (13-18)

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The apostles laboured with much diligence, sincerity, and faithfulness

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Their sufferings for the gospel were great, yet with rich supports

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

10 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.

11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

Prospects of eternal glory keep believers from fainting under troubles

13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The apostle, having in the last chapter shewn the excellence of his ministry above that of the law, proceeds to inform them of his own labours, &c. in order to destroy the credit which the false teachers had acquired amongst the Corinthians, and to caution them against any attempts that these teachers might make to destroy what had caused S. Paul so much trouble to effect. But he still refers all to God. As for these false teachers, what Churches had they founded? what persecutions have they endured? Calmet.

Ver. 3. The apostle here brings another proof of the sincerity of his preaching, viz. the success with which it is attended: And he says, if there be any who have not yet received it, that is their own fault. For had they been as eager to receive it, as we have been to announce it to them, the whole world had long since been converted. Theodoret.

Ver. 4. In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers.[1] Thus the words are placed, both in the Latin and Greek text, so that the true God seems to be called the God of this world, as he is elsewhere called the God of heaven, the God of Abraham. God, says S. Chrys. blinded, that is, permitted them to be blinded. Others translate, in whom God hat blinded the minds of the infidels of this world; so that this world may be joined with unbelievers, and not with God: and by the God of this world, some understand the devil, called sometimes the prince of this world, that is, of the wicked. Wi.

Ver. 6. The light to shine out of darkness. He alludes to what is related at the first creation, when God divided the light from darkness. Gen. i. 4. — In the face of Christ Jesus, which may signify in the person of Christ, who was the true light enlightening every man, that comes into this world. John i. 9. Wi.

Ver. 8. We are straitened.[2] This, by the Greek, seems the sense of the Latin word, which is taken to signify, one perplexed, and in a doubt. See Jo. xiii. 22. Acts xxv. 20. Gal. iv. 20. Wi.

Ver. 10. That the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies, when we suffer, and undertake voluntary sufferings for his sake. Wi.

Ver. 12. Death worketh in us, when we are under persecutions, and dangers of death, and life in you, who live in ease and plenty. Wi. — The preaching of the gospel, which we undertake in such a disinterested manner, and which exposes us to so many dangers, is the cause of death to us, but of life to you. It draws down upon us a thousand dangers and disgraces; but procures you all kinds of advantages. You tranquilly enjoy the fruit of our labour, though we do not envy you this happiness, because we hope one day to enjoy the reward of our labours. Calmet.

Ver. 13. We also believe, &c. That is, we have the like faith as David, when he spoke in that manner; we hope and believe, God will deliver us, or at least raise us up from the dead with Jesus. Wi.

Ver. 15. &c. For all things, that we suffer, are for your sakes, that many may be brought to give thanks, and to praise God for eternity. This encourages us not to fail, nor faint in the cause of God, under these momentary and light tribulations, which mark in us above measure, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. See the Greek text. Wi.

Ver. 17. Worketh. In the Greek, katergazetai, which the English Bible of the year 1577 falsely renders by prepareth, unwilling to allow, with the apostle, that tribulation worketh eternal glory. The ardour with which the apostle speaks is sufficient to inspire the most timid with courage. A life full of crosses, labours, persecutions, injuries, &c. he calls momentary and light, if compared with the eternal, immense, and incomprehensible glory prepared for us. S. Aug. — All earthly substance, compared with the happiness of heaven, is rather a loss than a gain. This life, when put in comparison with that to come, is rather a death than life. S. Greg. in Evangel.


[1] V. 4. In quibus Deus hujus sæculi excæcavit mentes infidelium, en ois o Theos tou aionos toutou etuphlose ta noemata ton apiston. S. Chrys. om. e. p. 594. lin. 11. says, it should be read thus: anagnosteon, oti ton apiston tou aionos toutou, etuphlosen o theos [] oemata.

[2] V. 8. Aporiamur, aporoumenoi, from a and poros, transitus. See Mr. Legh.