2 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. God has shown us such mercy that we do not lose courage as we do the work he has given us.
2. Indeed, we refuse to make use of shameful underhanded methods, employing deception or distorting God’s message. On the contrary, by making very clear what the truth is, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 The background of this passage in relation to Sha'ul's defense of his ministry is 1:12-24. The reason I have written such a long note on these two verses is that Messianic Jews and Christian missions to Jews are frequently accused of using unethical means to "win converts." As a rule the charges lack evidence and are based on misunderstanding; but since they are often believed anyway, they deserve specific and intensive refutation. At the same time, it is good for us who are New Testament believers to be reminded of the standards we can legitimately be expected to observe. Messianic Jews and Christian missions should refer to v. 2 both in defending against charges of unethical methods and in guiding their own behavior. On the one hand, there is no guarantee that people who call themselves Messianic or Christian or Bible-believing will in fact behave ethically: but on the other, there is no reason to put up with unsupported charges and rumors of ethical misconduct designed only to discredit Messianic Judaism, Christian missions and, most of all, the Gospel itself.
But first, the problem, which is that many official and self-appointed spokesmen for the Jewish community and for some streams of Christianity circulate reports intended to insulate Jewish people against the Gospel by creating the impression that Messianic Jews and Christian missions use shameful underhanded methods, employing deception or distorting God's message. More specifically, such charges have included the following:
(1) Enticement to convert. Messianic Jewish congregations and Christian missions are said to supply money, goods (food, clothing) and services (schooling, child care) — what Balfour Brickner, head of the Anti-Defamation League of the American Jewish Committee, has called "cajoleries" and "blandishments" — either making iheir receipt conditional upon the recipients' converting to Christianity or without making it clear that the recipients (especially minors) will be exposed to hearing the Gospel and being encouraged to convert. This charge is so widely believed in Israel that from time to time Israelis show up at the missions expecting help in emigrating in exchange for converting to Christianity. It produces such widespread fear of conversion that the unscrupulous can use it as a threat: "Unless you [the Israeli authorities, the Jewish Agency] do what I want [give me a house, a loan], I will convert to Christianity."
(2) Preying on the disadvantaged. Messianic Jewish congregations and Christian missions to the Jews are said to concentrate upon the disadvantaged — the young, the old, the poor, the physically handicapped, the psychologically distressed — and suit their techniques to them, rather than presenting their case openly and forthrightly in a rational manner that can be accepted or rejected by an adult in full possession of his intellectual, emotional, spiritual and financial powers.
(3) Deceptive misuse of Jewish sancia. Messianic Jewish congregations and Christian missions supposedly misuse "Jewish sancta," such as kippah, tallit, t 'fillin, Shahbat candles, Torah scrolls, Passover materials, and Jewish liturgies, in order to create a "false" impression that these groups are Jewish and not Christian, with the intention of luring Jewish people to join them under the impression that they are not converting to Christianity. At the same time, they often "Christianize" these "Jewish sancta," making them into parodies of what (non-Messianic) Judaism takes seriously, and thereby they insult (non-Messianic) Judaism. To appreciate the valence of this charge, consider how Christians might react to (non-Messianic) Jewish appropriation of communion or baptism rituals.
(4) Insincere Christian conversion to Judaism. A special case of the above is when Gentiles dress like Jews or even convert to Judaism while secretly remaining Christians with missionary intentions.
(5) Distortion of the Tanakh. Messianic Jewish congregations and Christian missions are charged with misusing the Tanakh, the Christian Old Testament, quoting verses out of context and even mis-translating or changing the text, in order to "prove" that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Church is the New Israel.
Before answering these serious accusations, I want to point out that Sha'ul was the target of the same or similar accusations: he was said to be "huckstering God's message for a fee" (2:17), engaging in self-puffery (3:1a), trading on letters of recommendation (3:1b), corrupting people and taking advantage of them (7:2), and misleading them with "trickery" (12:16). His answer to these charges was that God has shown us such mercy by more and more changing us into his image (3:18) that we do not lose courage to behave uprightly as we do the work (see 3:3N) which God has given us, despite accusations, temptations and adverse conditions (all this is the theme of 4:1-6:13).
First, by way of direct defense against the charges, he writes: Indeed, we refuse to make use of shameful underhanded methods, employing deception (accusations 1-4 above) or distorting God's message (accusation 5). Second, by way of indirect defense through having a good offense: On the contrary, by making very clear what the truth is, we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. See also 1 Th 2:3-12&N, where Sha'ul addresses similar accusations, and compare 2Ti 2:15.
Next, there are two points that a believer angered by these charges must consider. First, are my own hands clean? Do I always refuse to make use of shameful underhanded methods and insist on making very clear what the truth is? If not, I have no case; 1 must repent and change my ways. The most common reason for slipping into such sub-Messianic behavior is fear — specifically, fear of opposition from the Jewish community (or others who oppose the Gospel) when they learn that I believe in Yeshua. If I give in to such fear 1 may mute my witness or distort it into something other than a forthright testimony about the Messiah. (On the specific fears that Israeli believers face and must overcome see Pp 1:27-28N.) But such fears, even when realistic, are not from God (2 Ti 1:7). They emanate either from the flesh, the "old nature" unregenerated by the Messiah (Ro 8:5-8), or from the pit, from Satan, the Adversary (2:11; see Yn 20:19&N on "fear of the Judeans"). It is precisely because of the temptation to succumb to fear of what nonbelievers will say or do that Sha'ul says he does not lose courage. His courage does not come from himself, for he is a breakable "clay jar" (v. 7), but from God, who makes us strong even when we are weak (12:9-10 below).
Second, it is not enough for a proclaimer of the Gospel merely to refuse the wrong; he must also manifest the truth. To "manifest" something means to make it clear. Some of the misunderstanding and mistrust of Messianic Jews and Christian missions is surely due to communication difficulties. In general, it is the interested party to a communication who is responsible for expressing himself clearly and paying close attention to what others say. In the present instance, the person telling the Good News of Yeshua is the interested party; motivated by the words of the Messiah in the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20), he wants to spread the Gospel so that his hearers will understand and obey it (Ro 10:14-15). This is why it is up to him to make clear what the truth is and not up to those receiving the message, for initially they may be indifferent or opposed to it. Only later, if and when they develop a hunger for the Gospel, will they seek out the truth for themselves. Believers cannot blame unbelievers for misstating the Gospel; rather, the believers should express it so clearly that only the wilful can misunderstand it. Sha'ul makes clear what the truth is because he is strongly motivated: he knows that the truth sets people free (3:17, Yn 8:32). Those who work for the Messiah should imitate him (1С 11:1).
So then, what about these charges? Some are circulated even when provably false and known to be false by the circulators. Others may be documentable but are blown up out of all proportion to their frequency or importance. Surely these are shameful underhanded methods. In any case, let us consider the charges one by one:
(1) Enticement to convert. The Gospel enjoins hospitality and kindness; therefore believers can be expected to be friendly and give generously. But the friendliness and the giving are to be without expectation of anything in return (Mt 5:42,46-47), least of all anything so intangible as trusting in God and his Messiah. Only the Holy Spirit of God, not believers, can move an unbeliever to undergo this radical change of heart.
In the past, Jews were sometimes forced or enticed to "convert" — that is, to make a public affirmation of adherence to Christianity — but many continued to be Jews secretly (the case of the "New Christians" or "Marranos" in medieval Spain is the best known instance: there are still secret Jews there 500 years later), while others refused to be forced and even gave up their lives 'al kiddush haShem ("in sanc-titlcation of the Name" of God; see Ac 7:59-60N) rather than confess what they believed was a lie. Moreover, even aside from the tragedies caused by this practice, such a charade is ultimately ineffective anyway, since
A man convinced against his will
is of the same opinion still.
Besides, it demeans the Gospel to force it on anyone — the Good News either commends itself or it doesn't (see vv. 3-6).
Sometimes unbelievers shamelessly exploit the generosity of believers; they may even profess to be believers in order to deceive them. But unbelievers' abuse of believers' good will is not proof that believers make their hospitality conditional upon conversion.
And as for the potential yordim (Israeli expatriates) who show up at the mission door, they are politely informed that the missions do not trade aid for faith — if they are interested in the Gospel on its merits, welcome; but if they are interested only in a plane ticket to America, the mission cannot help them.
(2) Preying on the disadvantaged. This is an improper charge. When the Pharisees asked why Yeshua ate with "sinners" (the disadvantaged of their day; see Mt 9: ION), he answered, "The ones who need a doctor aren't the healthy but the sick" (Mt 9:12). The Good News is for everyone, including the disadvantaged. The real reason for this charge, then, is to discredit the Gospel in the eyes of the very people likely to respond to it, namely, people who have come to the end of themselves or near it. There is no disputing that deeply committed non-Messianic Jews are unlikely to be convinced even by rational arguments for the Gospel; ;md often people in comfortable life situations feel no need for it. But this is not because the Gospel is irrational; rather, it is because non-Messianic Judaism inoculates its adherents against the Gospel, either openly or subliminally deprecating it, so that people deeply imbued with non-Messianic Judaism have had created in them, often in ways they cannot account for, nearly insurmountable barriers to open-minded consideration of the Gospel's claims and to genuine faith in God and his Son Yeshua.
It is a reasonable principle of evangelism, inferrable both from the practice of the New Testament believers and from effectiveness considerations, to concentrate proclamation of the Gospel on the people likely to accept it. Accordingly, if among Jews the people likely to accept it are students (because they are questioning their received values), the elderly (because for them death is an imminent reality and they want to be right with God before it happens), the poor (because the Gospel can make them spiritually rich, and because they have little in this world attracting them which they must give up in order to follow Yeshua), the depressed (because the Gospel offers joy everlasting), and the physically and psychologically handicapped (because God through Yeshua can more than compensate for these handicaps or even cure them), then it is essential to present the Gospel in ways that meet the presented needs.
But there is no shortage of rational appeals to be made on behalf of the Gospel, and it is deceptive or false to charge that such appeals are lacking; this is a "red herring." (3) Deceptive misuse of Jewish sancta. When discussing this in Messianic Jewish Manifesto I made the point that Messianic Jews, since we too are Jews, have as much right to use Jewish sancta as non-Messianic Jews (pp. 167-175) — the latter do not have a patent on them. For example, why shouldn't Messianic Jews use tallit and t'fillin and say the prayers? They're Jews saying Jewish prayers in a Jewish way.
A more serious charge might be that Jewish sancta are sometimes used ignorantly. It is not that they are used without reverence, although according to non-Messianic Jewish halakhah, some things done in some places might, due to lack of knowledge, be improper and therefore "irreverent." Rather, the materials may be used foolishly. (In Messianic Jewish Manifesto I gave the example of a Messianic Jewish congregation that would unroll a Torah scroll and then read from the King James Version of the Bible because no one could read Hebrew; I suggested this might appear foolish to knowledgeable Jews.) I could point out that non-Messianic Jews sometimes do the same thing, likewise with good intentions but without knowledge. But I accept the criticism insofar as it constitutes a spur to being serious about our Jewishness.
A third aspect of the charge is deception. It is the responsibility of believers to inform inquirers that the Gospel is the Gospel. Messianic Jews often use the terms "Messianism" or "Messianic Judaism" instead of "Christianity," "Yeshua" instead of "Jesus," "congregation" or "community" instead of "church," and "Messiah" instead of "Christ." The purpose is to steer clear of the negative connotations attached to these words in the minds of many Jews, negative connotations due to history and not to the New Testament. Nevertheless, the communicator has an ethical responsibility not to mislead. Moishe Rosen, leader of Jews for Jesus, reports that early in his ministry a woman showed up at his mission and accepted "Yeshua," but on finding out that "Yeshua" is actually "Jesus," she never appeared again. If we use our own "minority terminology," we must explain why, not only so that no one will be misled, but also so that believers will truly understand the content and implications of their own faith.
The fourth aspect concerns "Christianizing" Jewish sancta. That is, for example, revising the Passover Haggadah so that the afikoman and the lamb shank refer to the Messiah, the third cup to communion, the deliverance from Egypt to the believer's deliverance from sin through the sacrifice of the Messiah, and so on. My answer is based first on the fact that Yeshua himself not only used Jewish sancta but often endowed them with new significance (Mt 26:28&N; Lk 22:17-20&NN; Yn 7:37-39&NN, 8:12&N). Also, since they are part of the heritage of Messianic as well as non-Messianic Jews, we have the right to invest them with meanings conforming to the truth of God as expressed in the New Testament — indeed. I would say we have more right than non-Messianic Jews have to exclude that truth.
Messianic Judaism in its present experimentalism. is introducing New Testament meanings in various ways. For example, there are a number of Messianic versions of the b'rit-milah ceremony and literally dozens of Haggadnt for Passover. The one thing one might ask from all these experimenters is that they increase their knowledge of Judaism and of the New Testament's Jewish background, so that the revisions they make will draw deeply from the heart of the materials they are working with and not be merely superficial adjustments. There are signs that those concerned with Messianic Jewish liturgy are taking their task with increasing seriousness.
One last point: the charge of Christianizing Jewish sancta is inconsistent with the charge of using Jewish sancta to deceive non-Messianic Jews into thinking they are in a Jewish environment. Introducing New Testament meanings does not help convince a Jew that he has entered a (non-Messianic) Jewish environment but makes him question it. The critics can't have it both ways.
(4) Insincere Christian conversion to Judaism. I discussed whether Gentile Christians can convert to Judaism while retaining faith in Yeshua as the Messiah at IC 7:18bN, Ga 5:2^4N and in my Messianic Jewish Manifesto (pp. 175-180). It would be possible for a Gentile Christian to have, like Ruth, such a strong identification with the Jewish people that she wishes to be one of them, and for her to identify in this way despite non-Messianic Jewish rejection of Yeshua. Furthermore, she could convert in all honesty if she makes known the fact that she continues to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah. Some have done this.
But others have withheld that critical piece of information, and in so doing, they may have crossed the ethical barrier — although a judgment on this could depend on how seriously the ceremony of conversion to Judaism is taken in the local Jewish community. Where conversion to Judaism is commonly allowed for such casual reasons as outward legitimization of marriage between a Jew and a Gentile or, as in Israel, making it possible for a person to participate in the life of the State as a Jewish citizen, and the conversion process itself makes no demand that the convert deny Yeshua, then one is tempted to say that it is less critical for a Gentile Christian to volunteer that he retains his faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Against this, it is up to the believer to uphold the highest ethical standards, regardless of how the world around him functions.
As for Gentiles dressing like Jews, for example, wearing a kippah all the time like an Orthodox Jew or a long black coat like a Hasid (I know of instances of each!), one can judge for oneself the efficacy of such behavior. It is proper to "become as a Jew to the Jews," but that means empathizing, not imitating (see 1С 9:20aN). However, someone known to be a Gentile who wears a yarmulke at a Messianic Jewish synagogue service is deceiving no one; indeed, out of respect he would do the same in a non-Messianic synagogue.
(5) Distortion of the Tanakh. Misusing the Tanakh is a different kind of shameful underhanded method; the first four involve employing deception; this is distorting God's message. In a sense it is the most serious charge, because deception by bad practitioners of a true faith can be remedied without affecting the faith itself; but if the content of that faith depends on distorting God's message, there may be nothing left to it after the error has been corrected. Do Messianic Jews and Christians mis-translate or change the text of the Tanakhl The accusation usually concentrates on certain key verses, among which are Psalms 2:12,22:17(16) and Isaiah 7:14. In general the problem is that either there is some question among scholars as to what the correct Hebrew text actually is, or there is division among scholars as to what the (agreed-on) text means. If a believer uses a verse of the Tanakh with which there is either of these difficulties and is unaware of it, while the person he is talking to either is aware of it or holds to a different view of the verse also without being aware of the difficulty, then the stage has been set for an unpleasant argument. To see how such arguments can be resolved, let us examine the three verses mentioned.
The beginning of Psalm 2:12 in Hebrew reads, "Nashku-bar" which Christian Bibles translate, "Kiss the Son," and Jewish Bibles translate variously, e.g., "Worship in purity," "Pay homage in good faith." "Nashku" normally means "kiss." The normal Hebrew word for "son" is "ben," but "tor" is the normal Aramaic word for it. The 12th-century Jewish scholar Avraham Ibn-Ezra writes,
'"Serve the Lord' refers to HaShem, and 'Kiss the Son' refers to the Messiah; the meaning of bar, 'son,' is as we find it in Proverbs 31:2," [where "bar " appears three times, clearly meaning "son"]. (Cited in The Messianic Outreach 11:2(1992), p. 17)
Because scholars differ on how to translate this one word, arguments arise among non-scholars. But if believers aware of the problem acknowledge it, there is no deception, no distorting of God's message. (The Greek of the Septuagint here means, "Accept correction," which fits the context.)
Likewise, whether Hebrew almah in Isaiah 7:14 means "virgin," as the Jewish translators of the Septuagint rendered it two centuries before Yeshua and as later quoted at Mt 1:23, or whether it means only "young woman" without reference to sexual purity is also debated by scholars, and the same caution applies. For more on this see Mt 1:23N.
Psalm 22:17(16) is considered by believers as virtually a prediction of the crucifixion of Yeshua. I myself would consider that to be not the p'shat (plain sense) of the text but a remez (hint) contained therein (see Mt 2:15N). The debate among scholars here is not over the meaning but over the text itself. The Masoretic text, used in Jewish Bibles, has the word "k'ari" so that the last line of the verse means, "Like a lion my hands and my feet." But the Hebrew text that the Septuagint translators used must have had the word "karu" so that the same line means, "They pierced my hands and my feet." It is easy to see how these two variants could have arisen, for confusing the letter yud with vav and adding or deleting aleph are frequent in early Hebrew. No matter which text was the original, no one questions that Psalm 22 speaks of a crowd ganging up against one individual: whether "they pierced" his hands and feet or crowded around like a lion at his hands and feet, they were a most unfriendly crew!
Leaving questions of text and translation, we turn to whether believers misinterpret verses, applying them to Yeshua when the original says nothing about him. Here the problem is usually confusion of levels of meaning. The p 'shat of a Tanakh text never speaks about Yeshua by name, but it may at the level of drash (homily), remez (hint), or sod (secret meaning); further, it may contain a prediction about the Messiah which Yeshua realizes; or it may be a "type" (a "prefigurative historical event," 1С 10:6&N) of which Yeshua is the "antitype" (fulfillment). I said that the p 'shat of Psalm 22:17 does not refer to Yeshua, but it does contain a remez; Hosea 11:1 is a similar text (see Mt 2:15&N). Isaiah 53 contains, in my judgment, many predictions about the Messiah which Yeshua fulfills; however, some (by no means all) Jewish commentators say that Isaiah was talking not about the Messiah but about the Jewish people. (A difficulty with this interpretation arises at Isaiah 53:8, which says, "He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken"; "he" the Messiah can be put to death and stricken for the transgression of God's people the Jews, but how can "he" the Jewish people be put to death and stricken for their own transgression?) The conflict can be resolved, in my view, by noting that Yeshua identifies with and represents the Jewish people (see Mt 2:15&N and Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pp. 105-108).
On such matters of interpretation, presuppositions influence the results and differences of opinion remain. But when two people who have honestly examined the objective evidence reach different conclusions, they should not accuse each other of distorting God's message.
In the light of what has already been said, we can dispose quickly of the accusation of quoting verses out of context: nobody should. Whatever a verse can prove, it can prove in context; and if it cannot prove it in context, it cannot prove it at all.
But this leads me to raise an issue underlying this criticism which is rarely examined: is it proper to use the Tanakh to "prove" anything at all? That is, does the Tanakh carry an authority enabling it to prove something true or false? We are at once in the area of theology known as inspiration of Scripture. Did God really inspire the Bible? If he did. then its words mean something and can prove something. But if the Bible is only the product of men who lived long ago and wrote wisely, then what it says only stands alongside what other wise men have said and carries no special authority — it may provide a generally useful, uplifting, and comforting guide to ethical behavior, but it carries no weight in settling matters of fact such as whether Yeshua is the Messiah. If one holds to this "low view of Scripture," it follows logically that proof-texting is unacceptable, a distorting of the Tanakh, even though the Tanakh is no longer regarded as God's message.
But if one has a "high view of Scripture," that it truly constitutes God's message to humanity, that its authors were inspired by God, and that its words in the original languages, as communicated by the original authors and editors, carry God's authority, then proof-texting (when the verses are used in context) is an entirely proper and useful procedure.
More than that, even if one's debating partner has a "low view" of Scripture, those who have a "high view" need not mute it; on the contrary, they should rely openly on God's promise that his Word will perform its function: "See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart" (MJ 4:12). Accordingly, believers can count on the powerful Word of God and on the Holy Spirit of God to use the texts of the Tanakh themselves to work in the hearts of nonbelievers, even those who discount Scripture, and bring them to a willing and loving knowledge of God and his Messiah Yeshua, the living Word.
In conclusion, believers who avoid the pitfalls of unethical behavior can hold their heads high in proclaiming the Gospel, confident that, like Sha'ul, they can say: By making very clear what the truth is, we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.
3. So if indeed our Good News is veiled, it is veiled only to those in the process of being lost.
4. They do not come to trust because the god of the ‘olam hazeh has blinded their minds, in order to prevent them from seeing the light shining from the Good News about the glory of the Messiah, who is the image of God.
Our Good News is veiled both to unsaved Jews (3:14-15) and to Gentiles in the process of being lost — the veil remains as long as they do not turn to Adonai (3:16-17). Why do they not turn to Adonail Because the god of this world, the Adversary, Satan (2:11. see Mt 4: IN), has blinded their minds (3:14) with this "veil." Why? In order to prevent them from seeing the light shining from the Good News about the glory of the Messiah. As the perennial accuser and opposer of God's plans, Satan's desire is that people be lost, just as it is God's desire "that all should come to repentance" (2 Ke 3:9).
5. For what we are proclaiming is not ourselves, but the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, with ourselves as slaves for you because of Yeshua.
This verse answers, "No," to Sha'ul's earlier rhetorical question, "Are we starting to recommend ourselves again?" (3:1). What we are proclaiming is not ourselves as objects of worship, emulation or self-puffery, but the Messiah Yeshua as Lord (compare 1С 2:1-2), with ourselves as slaves for you (compare 1:24), helping you come to fuller knowledge of him; and we do this because of who Yeshua is.
6. For it is the God who once said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has made his light shine in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua.
The God who once said, "Let light shine out of darkness." Not a literal quotation from the Tanakh, but referring to Genesis 1:3, "And God said, 'Let there be light.'"'The "quotation" in this form calls attention to the darkness both in creation and in human hearts before God speaks.
The verse is a florescent over-richness, like the last movement of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, combining the major themes brought out since 3:7: brightness (3:7, 13), light shining (v. 4), God's glory (v. 4; 3:7-11, 18) in the face first of Moses (3:7, 11-13, 15), next of us (3:18) and now of the Messiah Yeshua: the contrast with veils (3:13-16, 18, vv. 3-4), darkness (v. 4) and blinding (v. 4) is implied.
7. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it will be evident that such overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.
8. We have all kinds of troubles, but we are not crushed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair;
9. persecuted, yet not abandoned; knocked down, yet not destroyed.
10. We always carry in our bodies the dying of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may be manifested in our bodies too.
11. For we who are alive are always being handed over to death for Yeshua’s sake, so that Yeshua’s life also might be manifested in our mortal bodies.
12. Thus death is at work in us but life in you.
13. The Tanakh says, "I trusted, therefore I spoke" (Psalm 116:10). Since we have that same Spirit who enables us to trust, we also trust and therefore speak;
14. because we know that he who raised the Lord Yeshua will also raise us with Yeshua and bring us along with you into his presence.
15. All this is for your sakes, so that as grace flows out to more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to overflow and bring glory to God.
16. This is why we do not lose courage. Though our outer self is heading for decay, our inner self is being renewed daily.
17. For our light and transient troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory whose weight is beyond description.
18. We concentrate not on what is seen but on what is not seen, since things seen are temporary, but things not seen are eternal.
Sha'ul and his companions' power comes from God (v. 7, compare 3:4-6); they are vulnerable clay jars who remain unbroken even under adverse conditions (vv. 8-9, compare 6:4-10, 11:22-33, 1С 4:9-13); they are dead yet filled with Yeshua's life (vv. 10-12a; compare Ro 6:2-11, 8:18-25, 1С 15:30-32; Ga 2:20, 6:14), because of their trust (vv. 13-I4a). The purpose is both to bring life to you (vv. 12b, 14b-15a; comparev.5,1:24, 10:8. 11:7, 13:9, lC9:19)and to bring glory to God (v. 15b). But a third consequence, accomplished through daily renewal which enables us not to lose courage (v. 16; compare 3:18-4:1), is for us an everlasting glory whose weight is beyond description (vv. 16-18; compare Ro 8:17b—28). The Hebrew word for "glory," kavod, has the root meaning, "weight."
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6
- chapter 7
- chapter 8
- chapter 9
- chapter 10
- chapter 11
- chapter 12
- chapter 13