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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - 2 Corinthians 4:7

    CHAPTERS: 2 Corinthians 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13     

    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18




    King James Bible - 2 Corinthians 4:7

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

    World English Bible

    But we have this treasure in
    clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.

    Douay-Rheims - 2 Corinthians 4:7

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

    Webster's Bible Translation

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

    Greek Textus Receptus

    2192 5719 V-PAI-1P δε 1161 CONJ τον 3588 T-ASM θησαυρον 2344 N-ASM τουτον 5126 D-ASM εν 1722 PREP οστρακινοις 3749 A-DPN σκευεσιν 4632 N-DPN ινα 2443 CONJ η 3588 T-NSF υπερβολη 5236 N-NSF της 3588 T-GSF δυναμεως 1411 N-GSF η 5600 5753 V-PXS-3S του 3588 T-GSM θεου 2316 N-GSM και 2532 CONJ μη 3361 PRT-N εξ 1537 PREP ημων 2257 P-1GP

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (7) -
    :1; 6:10 Mt 13:44,52 Eph 3:8 Col 1:27; 2:3

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 4:7

    Pero tenemos este tesoro en vasos de barro, para que la alteza sea de la virtud de Dios, y no de nosotros.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - 2 Corinthians 4:7

    Verse 7. But we have this
    treasure in earthen vessels] The original, ostrakinoiv skeuesin, signifies, more literally, vessels made of shells, which are very brittle; and as the shell is the outward part of a fish, it is very fit, as Dr. Hammond observes, to resemble our bodies in which our souls dwell. The Platonists make two bodies of a man: the one they call oxhma fuchv, the chariot of the soul; the other, that which we see and touch; and this they call ostrakinon which is the same to us as the shell is to the fish. The word ostrakon not only signifies a shell, or vessel made of shell, but also phlov wpthmenov, an earthen vessel which has been burnt in the kiln, and earthen vessels or pottery in general; the difference between skeuh ostrakina, earthen ware, and skeuh keramewv, the potter's vessel, is this: the latter implies the vessel as it comes out of the hands of the potter BEFORE it is burnt; and the other is the vessel AFTER it has passed through the kiln. St. Chrysostom, speaking of this difference, observes that the vessels once baked in the kiln, if broken, are incapable of being restored, dia thn ek toupurov egginomenhn autoiv apax antitupian, because of the hardness once gotten by fire; whereas the others are of clay unbaken, if they be spoiled radiwvprov to deuteron epanelqh schma, they may easily, by the skill of the potter, be restored to some second form. See Hammond. This comports excellently with the idea of St. Paul: our bodies are in a recoverable form: they are very frail, and easily marred; but by the skill of the workman they may be easily built up anew, and made like unto his glorious body. The light and salvation of God in the soul of man is a heavenly treasure in a very mean casket.

    The rabbins have a mode of speech very similar to this. "The daughter of the emperor thus addressed Rabbi Joshua, the son of Chananiah: O! how great is thy skill in the law, and yet how deformed thou art! what a great deal of wisdom is laid up in a sordid vessel! The rabbi answered, Tell me, I pray thee, of what are those vessels in which you keep your wines? She answered, They are earthen vessels. He replied, How is it, seeing ye are rich, that ye do not lay up your wine in silver vessels, for the common people lay up their wine in earthen vessels? She returned to her father, and persuaded him to have all the wine put into silver vessels; but the wine turned acid; and when the emperor heard it he inquired of his daughter who it was that had given her that advice? She told him that it was Rabbi Joshua. The rabbi told the whole story to the emperor, and added this sentence: The wisdom and study of the law cannot dwell in a comely man.

    Caesar objected, and said, There are comely persons who have made great progress in the study of the law. The rabbi answered, Had they not been so comely they would have made greater progress; for a man who is comely has not an humble mind, and therefore he soon forgets the whole law." See Schoettgen. There is a great deal of good sense in this allegory; and the most superficial reader may find it out.

    That the excellency of the power may be of God; and not of us.] God keeps us continually dependent upon himself; we have nothing but what we have received, and we receive every necessary supply just when it is necessary; and have nothing at our own command. The good therefore that is done is so evidently from the power of God, that none can pretend to share the glory with him.

    John Gill's Bible Commentary

    Ver. 7. But we have, this treasure in earthen vessels , etc..] This is a further commendation of the Gospel; and by which the apostle removes an objection against it, taken from the cross and persecutions that attend it, and the outward meanness of the ministers of it. The Gospel is called a treasure, for not grace, nor Christ, but the Gospel is here meant; which is so styled, because it contains rich truths, and an abundance of them; comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones, for the price of them, their antiquity, distance of place from whence they come, and their duration; because it has in it rich blessings, spiritual ones, the blessings of the new covenant, solid, substantial, and irreversible ones, and a fulness of them; and because it consists of exceeding great and precious promises, of more worth than thousands of gold and silver; free, absolute, and unconditional ones, which are yea and amen in Christ, and relate both to this, and the other world; and also because it exhibits and shows forth to us the riches of God and of Christ, of grace and of glory; which are unsearchable, substantial, satisfying, and durable: the repository, or cabinet, in which this treasure is, are earthen vessels; by which are meant, ministers of the word, who are so in themselves, in their own esteem, and in the esteem of others; probably the apostle might have in view ( Lamentations 3:2).

    The doctors and scholars among the Jews are compared hereunto; says R. Eleazar f39 , to what is a disciple of a wise man like, in the esteem of a man of the world? at first he is like to a golden cup; when he has conversed with him, he is like to a silver cup; and when he has received any profit by him, he is like rh l wtyql , to an earthen cup, which, when broken, cannot be repaired again: the law (say they) is not confirmed but by him, who makes himself srj ylkk , as an earthen vessel f40 : R. Joshua f41 was a great man in the king's palace, and he was deformed; wherefore Caesar's daughter said, wisdom is beautiful r[wkm ylkb , in an ugly vessel; and he brought her a simile in proof of it from wine, which is not kept in a silver vessel.

    The allusion is either to the earth itself, in which treasure lies, or is hid, and out of which it is dug; or to pots and vessels made of earth, into which treasure has been used to be put; or to earthen pitchers, in which lights or lamps were formerly carried; (see Judges 7:16) where Gideon's three hundred men, are said to have empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers; they carried lamps with them to give them light, it being night when they went into the camp of Midian; and those they put into pitchers, that the Midianites might not perceive them afar off, as a Jewish commentator well observes f42 ; in like manner the Gospel put into earthen vessels is a glorious light to some, whilst it is hidden to others: yea, even lamps themselves were no other than earthen vessels, in which light was put; for so says Maimonides f43 , a lamp, a burning light, is rj ylk , an earthen vessel, like a reed; and on the top of it is a little ear, which joins to it; and when it is made, a piece of old cloth is put upon the burning oil, and it continues in it; also an earthen vessel is made, in which there is a hollow place for to set the light in, and in it is gathered all that flows from the oil out of the light; and it is strengthened about the head of the candlestick, that the brass might not be hurt by the oil; and this vessel is called the house in which the light subsides, or the receptacle of the light; and which receptacle, another of the Misnic commentators says f44 , is an earthen vessel, made to put the light in; and the lamp, he also says, is like an earthen platter, sharp pointed below, etc.. and this allusion well agrees with the context, in which the Gospel is represented as a glorious light, shining in darkness, ( 2 Corinthians 4:4,6). The Greek word ostrakinoiv , the apostle uses, signifies also shells of fishes; and in like manner does Philo the Jew compare the human body; I am (says he) very little concerned for this mortal body which is about me, and cleaves to me ostreou dikhn , like the shell of a fish; though it is hurt by everyone.

    And the reference may be to pearls, which are said to have been found in such shells, particularly in oysters; and is designed to express, either the frail mortal bodies of the ministers of the Gospel, comparable to brittle shells; or baked earth; or rather the outward mean despicable condition of the apostles, and preachers of the word; being men of no figure in the world, for birth, learning, or outward grandeur; and being attended with sinful infirmities also, as other men; and more especially as they were labouring under reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions, for the sake of the Gospel; (see Jeremiah 32:14). The reason why it pleased God to put such a rich and valuable treasure into the hands of persons so mean and contemptible was, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us : that is, that it might appear that the making of such persons ministers of the word was not of themselves, was not owing to their natural abilities, or to any diligence and industry, and acquirements of their own, or to any instructions they had received from others, but to the grace of God, and the effectual working of his power; and that the success which attended their ministrations in the conversion of sinners, and building up of saints, could only be ascribed to the exceeding greatness of divine power; and that the supporting of them in their work, under all the persecutions raised against them, and opposition made unto them, could be attributed to nothing else; of which power, instances are given in the following verses.

    Matthew Henry Commentary

    Verses 1-7 - The best of men would faint, if they did not receive mercy from God And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end. The apostles had no base an wicked designs, covered with fair and specious pretences. They did no try to make their ministry serve a turn. Sincerity or uprightness wil keep the favourable opinion of wise and good men. Christ by his gospe makes a glorious discovery to the minds of men. But the design of the devil is, to keep men in ignorance; and when he cannot keep the ligh of the gospel of Christ out of the world, he spares no pains to kee men from the gospel, or to set them against it. The rejection of the gospel is here traced to the wilful blindness and wickedness of the human heart. Self was not the matter or the end of the apostles preaching; they preached Christ as Jesus, the Saviour and Deliverer who saves to the uttermost all that come to God through him. Minister are servants to the souls of men; they must avoid becoming servants to the humours or the lusts of men. It is pleasant to behold the sun in the firmament; but it is more pleasant and profitable for the gospel to shine in the heart. As light was the beginning of the first creation so, in the new creation, the light of the Spirit is his first work upo the soul. The treasure of gospel light and grace is put into earthe vessels. The ministers of the gospel are subject to the same passion and weaknesses as other men. God could have sent angels to make know the glorious doctrine of the gospel, or could have sent the mos admired sons of men to teach the nations, but he chose humbler, weake vessels, that his power might be more glorified in upholding them, an in the blessed change wrought by their ministry.

    Greek Textus Receptus

    2192 5719 V-PAI-1P δε 1161 CONJ τον 3588 T-ASM θησαυρον 2344 N-ASM τουτον 5126 D-ASM εν 1722 PREP οστρακινοις 3749 A-DPN σκευεσιν 4632 N-DPN ινα 2443 CONJ η 3588 T-NSF υπερβολη 5236 N-NSF της 3588 T-GSF δυναμεως 1411 N-GSF η 5600 5753 V-PXS-3S του 3588 T-GSM θεου 2316 N-GSM και 2532 CONJ μη 3361 PRT-N εξ 1537 PREP ημων 2257 P-1GP

    Vincent's NT Word Studies

    7. This
    treasure. The divine light which is the guide and inspiration of the apostolic ministry.

    In earthen vessels (en ostrakinoiv skeuesin). The adjective occurs only here and 2 Tim. ii. 10. Herodotus says of the king of Persia: "The great king stores away the tribute which he receives after this fashion: he melts it down, and, while it is in a liquid state, runs it into earthen vessels, which are afterward removed, leaving the metal in a solid mass" (iii., 96). Stanley cites the story of a Rabbi who was taunted with his mean appearance by the emperor's daughter, and who replied by referring to the earthen vessels in which her father kept his wines. At her request the wine was shifted to silver vessels, whereupon it turned sour. Then the Rabbi observed that the humblest vessels contained the highest wisdom. The idea of light in earthen vessels is, however, best illustrated in the story of the lambs and pitchers of Gideon, Judg. vii. 16. In the very breaking of the vessel the light is revealed.

    Excellency (uperbolh). Lit., a throwing beyond. Hence preeminence, excellence. See on exceeding, Rom. vii. 13. Rev. renders exceeding greatness. The reference is to the fullness of power apparent in the apostolic ministry.

    Of God - of us (tou Qeou - ex hmwn). The A.V. misses the difference between the two expressions. Of God is belonging to God; God's property: from (ex) is proceeding from ourselves. Rev., of God - from ourselves.

    Robertson's NT Word Studies

    4:7 { this treasure} (ton qesauron touton). On qesauron see #Mt 6:19-21. It is the power of giving the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God (verse #6). "The power is limitless, but it is stored in very unlikely receptacles" (Plummer). this warning Paul gives in contrast (de) with the exultation of verse #6 (Bernard). {In earthen vessels} (en ostrakinois skeuesin). this adjective is common in the LXX with skeuos, aggos and aggeion. It occurs again in #2Ti 2:20 with skeue. It is found also in the papyri with skeuos as here. It is from ostrakon, baked clay (same root as osteon, bone), so many fragments of which are found in Egypt with writing on them. We are but earthen jars used of God for his purposes (#Ro 9:20ff.) and so fragile. {The exceeding greatness} (he huperbole). See on 1Co 12:31 for this word, "the preeminence of the power." this is God's purpose (hina--ei). God, not man, is the {dynamo} (dunamis). It comes from God (tou qeou, ablative) and does not originate with us (me ex hemwn).

    CHAPTERS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18


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