Online Bible Commentary
Understanding the Bible
2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, 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 even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of A.D. 56. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
This letter was written to the church at Corinth, Greece, in response to events happening in the church there. While Paul was in Macedonia Titus came to him from Corinth with news from the church.
Titus reported that the church in Corinth was beset by false teachers. These false teachers were undermining Paul’s teachings and questioning his apostolic authority, and so Paul responded with this letter.
These false teachers were Judaizers. They falsely taught that salvation comes from a mixture of Old Testament works and New Testament grace.
The truth is that the Gospel of the New Testament teaches that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we are saved the Holy Spirit indwells us and, when we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us, we will produce good works.
“Therefore, since we have this ministry”, the Gospel, “we have received mercy of God” (v. 1a). Those who proclaim the Gospel, which can be any Christian, receive God’s mercy.
Paul was an example of this mercy. He was persecuted for his ministry and yet, through it all, God’s mercy was upon him.
Knowing that God’s mercy is upon us, “we do not lose heart” (v. 1b). We are not overcome by frustration, or despair of hope. Instead, we are encouraged and continue to proclaim God’s Word.
“We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (v. 2a). We are unlike the Judaizers who pretend to have their own personal knowledge and are crafty and deceitful in preaching the Word for their own gain.
Instead we teach “the truth” of the Gospel. In doing so, we are “commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God” (v. 2b). The truth wins out with our fellow Christians because God shines His light on truth
The truth of the Gospel is veiled to unbelievers, described as “those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (vv. 3-4). The god of this age, Satan, blinds unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel. They are unable to understand the Bible.
Unlike, the Judaizers, “we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (v. 5a). We do not preach for our own gain but rather to proclaim the glory of God.
We are “bondservants for Jesus' sake” (v. 5b). Ministers of the Gospel are servants of God and not servants of their own personal gain.
In conclusion therefore, “it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (v. 6). The same God who gave light to the world in the book of Genesis gives us the light of the knowledge of God.
It is only when the unbeliever becomes a Christian that the veil of Satan is lifted. When the unbeliever becomes a Christian, he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God, who helps him to understand the truth of the Gospel, the Word of God, the Bible.
We can only understand the Bible after, first, becoming a Christian. We must come to the Lord with a childlike trust, in faith, then He will give us understanding, the light of the knowledge of God, the Bible.