These verses are a
veritable gold mine of Bible Truth!
Even at the very beginning,
the first six words, all with one syllable each, give us the
very motivation to Paul's powerful Ministry!
What kept the Apostle
This Text answers that question.
Also Paul here sees things in a two-fold
For example, he mentions the outward man
and the inward man.
Then light affliction
compared to heavy glory!
Plus focusing on things
unseen, rather than things seen!
This is known as a
dichotomous view of life!
It, having a Greek
background, means something that is "cut" into "two" pieces.
Biblically speaking things
are either right or wrong.
One follows Jesus or the
Eternally two places exist,
Heaven and Hell!
Furthermore, herein we
shall understand how Paul handles trouble!
I mean things like being
shipwrecked, imprisoned, hated, and stoned by rocks.
Also he went hungry, stayed
cold, lacked proper clothing and lost many a helper along the
He endured enough to make
ten men quit, yet Paul plodded onward!
All today's "success"
speakers, those who try to motivate business professionals,
teach some kind of "focusing" technique. One must have a goal, a
passion, a target they say.
Scripture calls it a
"vision" I think.
Well, this Text even
reveals to us Paul's "vision" then!
On what did the Apostle
keep his eyes?
Paul even here places
death, the "outward man" perishing, in contradistinction to
life, that which is "eternal!"
And suffering in relation
to its opposite, well being and peaced!
I can hardly wait to get
Next Lesson, verse sixteen,
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Paul, in 2nd Corinthians
4:16, writes: "For which cause we faint
In other words he is about
to tell us what keeps him going!
What motivates him!
At least one thing that
That helps keep the great
The verb "faint" is spelled
"ekkakeo" in Greek. It is a blended word. The prefix "ek" means
"out of" or "from." It usually denotes origin. Then the stem "kakos"
means "bad," but in this sense especially, "worthless." It
speaks primarily of intrinsic value, an inner quality. Whereas
the Greek "poneros" suggests outgoing, malignant badness. The
latter is the more dangerous condition.
So, the verb "faint" here
suggested to Paul's mind a person who had become worthless,
useless, hence weary or tired to the point of becoming
ineffective! In such despair that he could muster no energy or
do no work! "To be spiritless" one source says.
Jesus used the word in Luke
18:1 when He said: "Men ought always to
pray, and not to FAINT."
Paul again in 2nd
Corinthians 4:1, "As we have received
mercy, we FAINT not."
Then Galatians 6:9,
"And let us not be WEARY in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Here
"weary" is "ekkakeo" and "faint" is "ekluo" and means "to
loosen" ("luo") "out" ("ek") ... in other words ... to become
untied! To fall apart!
Paul, the superb exhorter
writes to the Ephesians: "Wherefore I
desire that ye FAINT not ...." Ephesians 3:13
Then in a little different
twist, 2nd Thessalonians 3:13 has: "But
ye, brethren, be not WEARY in well doing."
We have today, by the Grace
of God, discovered a Passage of Scripture that enlightens us
concerning Paul's great determination!
In our verse, in context, "ekkakeo"
is a subjunctive mood verb. That means Paul's desire, his goal,
his craving is to be steady and unmoveable. The subjunctive does
not state that the Apostle was always in such a healthy state of
mind! This is his ideal!
We know from other
Scripture that Paul occasionally "despaired even of life"
itself! See 1st Corinthians 1:8. Also he tells us once that he
went through a string of events that brought him to the very
depths of perplexity and defeat! His very words: "troubled" then
"perplexed" then "persecuted" then even "cast down!" Again see
2nd Corinthians 4:8-9.
But still ... his desire,
which he achieved 95% of the time I'd say ... was to "faint
What so drove Paul?
It was something ... better
make that Someone ... on Whom he kept his eyes!
It also involved some
system of future rewards!
It somehow included a sense
of the glory of God that far outweighed any earthly burden! Even
stonings and shipwrecks and imprisonments became "light"
afflictions when compared to this coming splendor!
We shall, in time, see
these things as they flow from the pen of Paul.
But, until then, suffice it
to say we have today been in the presence of a man of God who
just would not quit!
Maybe even could not quit!
Who sincerely wrote:
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
I must learn Paul's thought
patterns in this regard!
Someone once described
Bible meditation as "thinking God's thoughts after Him."
I hope so!
We shall wade a little
further into our Text tomorrow, Lord willing.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The words "outward" and
"inward" interest me today, especially in the context Paul uses
which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet
the inward man is renewed day by day." 2nd
"Though," in Greek "ei kai,"
means "and if." It is a foregone conclusion that the flesh, our
frail human bodies, will eventually die.
"Outward" translates "exo"
in Greek and means outside or out of doors or other "exterior"
concepts. It derives from "ek," a major preposition denoting
origin, "from" or "out of."
"Man" is "anthropos." See
here anthropology and other such English words. It is built upon
"aner," the male of the species, and "ops," the face, that which
"looks" around! Hence, man-faced! Or maybe man as he looks
heavenward, toward God. That's when he is completely fulfilled!
And the verb perish is a
classic! "Diaphtheiro" blends "dia," through and through ...
with "phtheiro," to pine away, to waste away, to wither, to
shrivel, to be ruined!
Both "but" and "yet" in
this verse translate the same word. Yes, "alla" occurs twice
here. It is rendered as "but" 573 of its 637 appearances in the
New Testament. It is "yet" 11 times. It's root seems to be "allos,"
other things, that which is "different!"
The "inward" man is "esothen,"
from "eso," meaning "inside." This one derives from "eis" and
means "into," thus indicating a point reached or entered. No
doubt Paul means the soul, the spirit, the heart, one's mind and
will and emotions.
Now to a main verb, "is
renewed." Here "anakainoo" combines two words. "Ana," the
prefix, means "up" sometimes and "again" other times. "Kainos"
as a noun means that which is new, especially in the sense of
being "fresh." Another word, "neos," is new in reference to
"Anakainoo" in our Text is
an indicative verb in the present tense and passive voice.
Refreshed again and again, constantly! And refreshed not by
one's own strength, but from an outside Source! And refreshed as
a fact, not merely as a desire or possibility!
Paul in Colossian 3:10 also
uses our verb. "Put
on the new man, which
is renewed in
knowledge after the image of Him that created him."
"Day by day," an adverbial
phrase, suggest perpetual strength, spiritually speaking!
"Our daily bread," teaches Jesus!
"Our daily strength" adds Paul!
Joseph faced temptation day
by day. "And
it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he
hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with
her." Genesis 39: 10
Israel offered blood
sacrifice day by day! "Now this is that
which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the
first year day by day continually." Exodus 29:38
During King Joash's reign
God's people gave to the building fund at the Temple day by day!
"Thus they did day by day, and gathered
money in abundance." 2nd Chronicles 24:11
And when the glorious Feast
Weeks came to Israel, Passover and such, the Lord was praised
day by day! "And the children of Israel
that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened
bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the
priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud
instruments unto the LORD." 2nd Chronicles 30:21
And during Tabernacles ...
"Also day by day, from the first day unto
the last day, Ezra read in the book of the law of God."
Literally "hemera" means
"the time space between dawn and dark."
Paul is not about to quit!
He will not faint!
He is resolved!
Even if the physical body
withers and weakens, the spiritual man within is getting
stronger and stronger each day that comes!
Therein the great Apostle
Solomon says the godly man
has more and more light as he lives for God!
"But the path of the just is as the
shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Paul just said the
righteous man also gets stronger and stronger! Maybe I had
better say fresher and fresher!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
If any Believer ever
suffered, Paul did!
Beaten five times by the
Jews, three more times by the Gentiles, stoned once, three
shipwrecks, dangerous travels, sleeplessness, pain, thirst,
hunger, cold, lack of clothing, plus the spiritual care of
several church congregations ... Paul endured!
But, putting all these
trials together, Paul calls them "light affliction" in 2nd
What would heavy
affliction be to this godly man?
"For our light affliction, which is but
for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory." Again, that's 2nd Corinthians 4:17.
The word "affliction" is
used 23 times by Paul if I've counted correctly.
"Thlipsis" suggests great
stress or severe suffering or hard circumstances in life. It
literally means "to press down upon." It's from a root verb that
means "to rub hard." And its noun pictures a "rut" or deeply
worn "track." Paul precisely has "thlipsis" to mean "trouble" in
2nd Corinthians 1:8.
This is severe!
But Paul calls it "light!"
Now this adjective is only
found twice in Scripture.
In Matthew 11:30 Jesus'
burden is "light." His yoke is also easy.
Now Paul's afflictions, his
pressures of life, are "light," even such things as being stoned
by rocks until presumed dead! Maybe dead indeed, but restored to
life by Almighty God.
"Light" in Greek consists
of "elaphros," apparently two words blended. "Elauno" means "to
push." Like being pushed by the winds if in a sailing vessel.
Plus our word includes the base of "elasson," an adjective
meaning "smaller." When put together, "smaller forces, or
influences or propulsions!" Things that just don't exert much
force to Paul!
"Elauno" is used by the
Holy Spirit to describe how the maniac in Luke 8 was DRIVEN into
the wilderness by the demons! It is also ROWING against the
wind, the Disciples in a ship that stormy night in Mark 6 and
John 6. And clouds that are CARRIED by the wind, by a tempest,
in 2nd Peter 2.
"Elasson" alone is used in
the King James Text to describe "the elder serving the YOUNGER"
or a widow UNDER sixty years of age or the LESS always being
blessed by the greater. See Romans 9:12 and 1st Timothy 5:9 and
Hebrews 7:7 for these examples.
Not strong enough to throw
Paul off course!
Then Paul adds an adverbial
note. This light affliction lasts only a short while!
"Parautika" combines "para"
and "autos" apparently. The difficulty of ascertaining its
meaning partly rests in its infrequency of use in Scripture.
This is the only time it occurs! Likely it pictures that which
is "beside this selfsame second or minute!" Only right now!
Extremely brief in time!
But, wait a minute!
Paul has suffered for years
How can these trials be
Only this way.
Only when compared to
Yes, Paul endured great
hardship from the day of his conversion until the day of his
death, martyred by Nero in all likelihood. This period spans at
least twenty-five or thirty years!
But, in comparison, what's
thirty years in relation to a billion, and even a billion are
too small to to consider in Glory, in Heaven!
We shall finish this verse
tomorrow, Lord willing.
But for today, lets
meditate on Paul's great determination!
What focus, what
attentiveness he had!
How very hard he was to
distract or deter!
our light affliction, which is but for a moment ...."
If we could somehow adopt
this Biblical attitude, our little problems too would lose their
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The afflictions we face,
when handled properly, can "work" good things for us
So says Paul, under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Here's the whole verse
again. "For our light affliction, which is
but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory." 2nd Corinthians 4:17
That verb, "worketh,"
translates "katergazomai" and utilizes the Greek noun "ergon,"
the father of our word "energy." In Greek "ergo" just means "to
work!" This word however does depict an intensive inner working,
dramatic in nature!
This indicative mood,
present tense, middle voice verb tells us much about the good
effects one's trials can bring! These benefits are not only
absolutely sure in coming (indicative mood) but also long
lasting in time (present tense) and life changing in efficacy
Trials can make me bitter.
If so, no good "work" occurs!
Trials can make me doubt!
Again, I remain fruitless!
Or ... trials can drive me
to the Lord, leaning on Him as never before! Then, I grow
The preposition "for" as in
"for us" is implied by the Greek pronoun "hemin," a dative
plural. Something is done for me and you by our trials, done to
us or for us! We are its beneficiaries!
But what is a "weight of
glory?" This "baros doxa" implies a heavy load of glory! "Baros"
often means burden in fact! But this is a good burden!
"Glory" here means
something like dignity or honor, often in a visible sense.
Paul is just saying that
present problems can yield future reward!
Earthly heartaches can
produce heavenly crowns!
He calls that blessed
future state, basking in the light of the aura of Almighty God
and His Son Jesus Christ, the "weight of glory!" Delighting in
His Approval! By Grace through Faith in Jesus' shed Blood!
The lowliest saint you
know, insignificant to the world, will some day shine as the sun
in brightness! Walking with angels for eternity, fellowshipping
with Jesus and dwelling in mansions, all of which are only a
part of his or her "weight of glory!"
And the phrase, adverbial
in nature here, "far more exceeding" translates "huperbole eis
huperbole." That means beyond anyone's imagination, beyond the
scope of human comprehension, our word "hyperbole" ... squared!
To the superlative degree!
Then "eternal" or "aionios"
means "of the ages!" Never ending!
Earthly pressures and
heartaches ... can, with the right responses ... yield vast and
heavenly weights of glory!
And Paul, the spiritual
genius, says "invest now!"
In Hebrews he would have
put it this way: these things can yield "the peaceable fruit of
righteousness" to all those who are "exercised thereby!"
Spiritually speaking, let's go to the gymnasium!
A weight of glory!
Praise the Lord!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The Apostle Paul, since his
"Damascus Road" experience, had a sense of vision that was
Remember on that glorious
day Paul saw "a light from heaven,"
so says Luke in Acts 9. But it's called "a
great light round about him" in Acts 22. And Paul himself
testified in Acts 26 that it was "a light
from heaven, above the brightness of the sun."
And he never saw things the
It's Paul who, describing
Moses' faith in Hebrews 11, says the lawgiver
"endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible!"
Believers in Christ Jesus
just see things differently!
Maybe Paul best explains it
this way: "While we look not at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."
2nd Corinthians 4:18
The present participle
"look" translates "skopeo" and can carry this idea, seeing
things from a distance. It even can suggest "spying!" Careful
consideration too! Paul had no desire to overly investigate
visible things, things of this world!
But the great Apostle was
certainly an "investigator" of things spiritual!
Then we must discuss
"seen," in Greek "blepo." It means "to see" of course, but
usually with "greater vividness" than its synonyms. Here we have
another present participle, but this time in the passive voice.
Things of this life,
material things ... get mere "glances" from Paul!
But the things of God,
unseen glories ... get great focus and attention!
That's partly why Paul
described for us, however briefly, such unusual events as his
being "caught up to the third heaven"
in 2nd Corinthians 12. Yes, a visit to the Abode of God!
Or why he again and again
told the story of his conversion, his encounter with the risen
Lord! He saw Jesus, resurrected and glorified! That's the
explanation for that bright Light! Paul asked,
"Who art Thou, Lord?" The
answer came, "I am Jesus Whom thou
Maybe Paul's priorities in
"seeing," his visionary profile, explain why he, extremely
near his death, could write: "For I am now
ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand
.... 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) Had he seen some of those crowns?
Certainly he had no fear!
He's going to a familiar
Just think of what Paul
"saw" when he was stoned to death at Lystra. He no doubt went to
Heaven! He surely beheld things that are not seen down here!
Do remember that
immediately upon reviving, Paul re-entered the city! To be
stoned again? No, to preach the Gospel! He even spent the night
there according to Acts 14.
And when that riot
developed in Ephesus, in Acts 19, Paul eagerly wanted to enter
the arena and preach God's Word, which act would have surely led
to his death!
How can a Preacher be so
He was looking at things
I believe Jesus did the
same thing, even on the Cross! There He derived the strength and
motivation to die for sinners! Here's how Paul in Hebrews 12:2
described Jesus' outlook from Calvary.
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was
set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
I have capitalized the pertinent words. Jesus our Lord saw some
things that kept Him going! Pleasing His Father no doubt being
one of them! A future Bride being another! Perhaps even a
defeated devil came into view too!
Much hinges on what one
Back to our original verse
today: "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."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
It's just a blanket
statement, but an inspired one!
things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not
seen are eternal." 2nd Corinthians 4:18
The Verse contains two
verbal constructions, both identical, "blepomena." Remembering
from last lesson, you will recognize the root "blepo" as the
"sight" verb that emphasizes "clarity and vividness." Both "blepo"
occurrences are participles, present passive ones.
Here's the difference which
our verse accents.
Some things are visible,
Yet Paul counters that some
things are not visible!
The Apostle should know
He has "seen" the very
brightness of the Glory of God, on that Damascus Road! It
blinded him for three days!
He has "seen" the "third
heaven," having been "caught up" to that Holy Place!
He too has "seen" an angel
of God, standing by him on board a ship in a stormy sea,
assuring him of life!
All of these "sightings"
were of things usually "not seen" materially!
Two categories of objects
or people, one "seen" and one "unseen."
But this difference between
the two groups must be emphasized. It's part of what keeps Paul
motivated, keeping him from fainting along the way!
The difference would be
called "shelf life" by a commercial businessman. How long do
these things last? How durable are they?
Well, Paul tells us
Things "seen" are only
"temporal." Yes, "proskairos" is a blended word. The noun "kairos"
means "time," but only in a particular sense. It's an
"opportunity" of time. Just for a "season" material things
exist. Short shelf life! Only here for a while! "Pros," the
prefix, is a preposition of direction and means "to or toward."
It's a strengthened form of "pro," another preposition meaning
"fore" or "in front of" or "prior." These things are "in front
of you" only for a short while!
Lands, houses, cars, all
material things, soon will vanish!
Now let's consider for a
minute "things not seen!"
"Not," serving here as an
adverb, is "me," which should be pronounced "may." It suggests
"qualified negation" say the Textbooks. Whereas "ou" is the
absolute negative. Paul is telling us grammatically that the
things "not seen" are invisible most of the time!
Conditionally "not seen!"
Yet not always absolutely
The "things not seen" may
be viewed through the eyes of faith for sure!
And some day, some glorious
day, they will be readily visible, more real than life itself
has ever been!
In fact, Paul says they are
"eternal." And "aionios" means "of the ages, unending,
perpetual, without beginning and end!"
Not just "for a season!"
"Shelf life" cannot be
If one, via Scripture, can
discern these "things not seen" and focus on them, building his
or her priorities around them, the surety of such things as
Heaven and rewards and "weights of glory" and even the "inward"
things of life will never be doubted again!
Things that never die!
Putting it all together,
the three Verses of this short Text, we have learned some of the
things that God used to give Paul the Apostle the great "drive"
and "motivation" he possessed!
Surely herein is enough
data and truth that, if internalized by us Believers, the Holy
Spirit of God can use so that we too "faint not!"
May God grant that request!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
SURELY ENJOYED WORKING ON THIS SERIES OF LESSONS! THE SCRIPTURES
CAN STRENGTHEN THE CHRISTIAN AS HE LIVES DAY BY DAY. SPIRITUALLY
THE WORD OF GOD IS OUR DAILY BREAD!