2 Corinthians 2:14
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

New Living Translation
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

English Standard Version
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Berean Study Bible
But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

Berean Literal Bible
But thanks be to God, the One always leading us in triumph in Christ, and through us in every place making manifest the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

New American Standard Bible
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

King James Bible
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

International Standard Version
But thanks be to God! He always leads us triumphantly by the Messiah and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowing him.

NET Bible
But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place.

New Heart English Bible
Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But I thank God, who at all times makes us a vision in The Messiah and reveals the fragrance of his knowledge by us in every place.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It's like a fragrance that fills the air.

New American Standard 1977
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in the Christ and makes manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

King James 2000 Bible
Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the fragrance of his knowledge by us in every place.

American King James Version
Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the aroma of his knowledge by us in every place.

American Standard Version
But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now thanks be to God, who always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and manifesteth the odour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Darby Bible Translation
But thanks [be] to God, who always leads us in triumph in the Christ, and makes manifest the odour of his knowledge through us in every place.

English Revised Version
But thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savour of his knowledge in every place.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now thanks be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.

Weymouth New Testament
But to God be the thanks who in Christ ever heads our triumphal procession, and by our hands waves in every place that sweet incense, the knowledge of Him.

World English Bible
Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place.

Young's Literal Translation
and to God are thanks, who at all times is leading us in triumph in the Christ, and the fragrance of His knowledge He is manifesting through us in every place,
Study Bible
Triumph in Christ
13I had no peace in my spirit, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia. 14But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.…
Cross References
Song of Solomon 1:3
"Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you.

Ezekiel 20:41
"As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.

John 16:33
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!"

Romans 1:8
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being proclaimed all over the world.

Romans 6:17
But thanks be to God that, though you once were slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were committed.

1 Corinthians 12:8
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

2 Corinthians 8:16
But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same devotion I have for you.

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Ephesians 5:2
and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.
Treasury of Scripture

Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the aroma of his knowledge by us in every place.

thanks.

2 Corinthians 1:11 You also helping together by prayer for us…

2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart …

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the …

1 Thessalonians 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy …

Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor…

which.

Psalm 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to …

Psalm 148:14 He also exalts the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; …

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

1 Corinthians 15:37 And that which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be, but …

the savour.

2 Corinthians 2:15,16 For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, …

Songs 1:3 Because of the smell of your good ointments your name is as ointment …

Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; …

Colossians 1:6,23 Which is come to you, as it is in all the world; and brings forth …

(14) Now thanks be unto God.--The apparent abruptness of this burst of thanksgiving is at first somewhat startling. We have to find its source, not in what the Apostle had written or spoken, but in what was passing through his memory. He had met Titus, and that disciple had been as a courier bringing tidings of a victory. The love of God had won another triumph.

Causeth us to triumph.--Better, who always leads us in His triumph. There is absolutely no authority for the factitive meaning given to the verb in the English version. In Colossians 2:15, it is translated rightly, "triumphing over them in it." It is obvious, too, that the true rendering gives a much more characteristic thought. It would be unlike St. Paul to speak of himself as the triumphant commander of God's great army. It is altogether like him that he should give God the glory, and own that He, as manifested in Christ, had triumphed, and that Apostle and penitent, the faithful and the rebellious, alike took their place in the procession of that triumph.

The imagery that follows is clearly that of the solemn triumphal procession of a Roman emperor or general. St. Paul, who had not as yet been at Rome, where only such triumphs were celebrated, had, therefore, never seen them, and was writing accordingly from what he had heard from others. Either from the Roman Jews whom he had met at Corinth, many of them slaves or freed-men in the imperial household, or the Roman soldiers and others with whom he came in contact at Philippi, possibly from St. Luke or Clement, he had heard how the conqueror rode along the Via Sacra in his chariot, followed by his troops and prisoners, captive kings and princes, and trophies of victory; how fragrant clouds of incense accompanied his march, rising from fixed altars or wafted from censers; how, at the foot of the Capitoline hill, some of the prisoners, condemned as treacherous or rebellious, were led off to execution, or thrown into the dungeons of the Mamer-tine prison, while others were pardoned and set free. It is not without interest to remember that when St. Paul wrote, the latest triumph at Rome had been that solemnised at Rome by Claudius in honour of the victory of Ostorius over the Britons in A.D. 51, and commemorated by a triumphal arch, the inscription on which is now to be seen in the court-yard of the Barberini Palace at Rome; that in that triumph Caractacus had figured as a prisoner; and that he and his children, spared by the mercy of the emperor, had passed from the ranks of the "lost" to those of the "saved" (Tacit. Ann. xiii. 36). According to a view taken by some writers, Claudia and Linus (2Timothy 4:21) were among those children. (See Excursus on the Later Years of St. Paul's Life, at the close of the Acts of the Apostles.

The savour of his knowledge.--There is obviously a reference to the incense which, as in the above description, was an essential part of the triumph of a Roman general. It is there that St. Paul finds an analogue of his own work. He claims to be, as it were, a thurifer, an incense-bearer, in the procession of the conqueror. Words, whether of prayer or praise, thanksgiving or preaching, what were they but as incense-clouds bearing to all around, as they were wafted in the air, the tidings that the Conqueror had come? The "savour of his knowledge" is probably "the knowledge of Him:" that which rests in Him as its object.

Verse 14. - Now thanks be unto God. The whole of this Epistle is the apostle's Apologia pro vita sua, and is more full of personal details and emotional expressions than any other Epistle. But nothing in it is more characteristic than this sudden outburst of thanksgiving into which he breaks so eagerly that he has quite omitted to say what it was for which he so earnestly thanked God. It is only when we come to 2 Corinthians 7:5, 6 that we learn the circumstance which gave him such intense relief, namely, the arrival of Titus with good news from Corinth about the treatment of the offender and the manner in which the first letter had been received. It is true that this good news seems to have been dashed by other remarks of Titus which, perhaps, he withheld at first, and which may only have been drawn from him, almost against his will, by subsequent conversations. But, however checkered, the main and immediate intelligence was good, and the apostle so vividly recalls his sudden uplifting out of an abyss of anxiety and trouble (2 Corinthians 7:5) that the mere remembrance of it awakens a thankfulness to God which can only find vent by immediate utterance. Now thanks be unto God. The order of the original is more forcible, "But to God be thanks." The remembrance of his own prostration calls into his mind the power and love of God. Which always causeth us to triumph; rather, who leadeth us in triumph. The verb thriambeuo may undoubtedly have this meaning, on the analogy of choreuo, I cause to dance, basileuo, I cause to reign, etc.; and other neuter verbs which sometimes have a factitive scribe. But in Colossians 2:15 St. Paul uses this word in the only sense in which it is actually found, "to lead in triumph;" and this sense seems both to suit the context better, and to be more in accordance with the habitual feelings of St. Paul (Galatians 6:17; Colossians 1:24), and especially those with which these Epistles were written (1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23). St. Paul's feeling is, therefore, the exact opposite of that of the haughty Cleopatra who said, Οὑ θριαμβευθήσομαι, "I will not be led in triumph." He rejoiced to be exhibited by God as a trophy in the triumphal procession of Christ. God, indeed, gave him the victory over the lower part of his nature (Romans 8:37), but this was no public triumph. The only victory of which he could boast was to have been utterly vanquished by God and taken prisoner "in Christ." The savour of his knowledge. The mental vision of a Roman triumph summons up various images before the mind of St. Paul. He thinks of the streets breathing with the fragrance of incense offered upon many a wayside altar; of the tumult and rejoicing of the people; of the fame and glory of the conqueror; of the miserable captives led aside from the funeral procession to die, like Vercingetorix, in the Tullianum at the foot of the Capitoline hill. He touches on each of these incidents as they crowd upon him. The triumph of L. Mummius over the conquest of Corinth had been one of the most splendid which the Roman world had ever seen, and in A.D. , shortly before this Epistle was written (A.D. 57), Claudius had celebrated his triumph over the Britons and their king Caractacus, who had been led in the procession, but whose life had been spared (Tacitus, 'Ann.,' 13:36). The savour of his knowledge; i.e. the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ. By us. The details of the metaphor are commingled, as is often the case in writers of quick feeling and imagination. Here the apostles are no longer the vanquished who are led in procession, but the spectators who burn and diffuse the fragrance of the incense. In every place. Even at that early period, not twenty-five years after the Crucifixion, the gospel had been very widely preached in Asia and Europe (Romans 15:18, 19). Now thanks be unto God,.... The apostle having mentioned the door that was opened for him at Troas, to preach the Gospel with success, calls to mind the great and manifold appearances of God for him and his fellow ministers, in blessing their labours to the conversion of many souls; which causes him to break forth into thanksgiving to God, on this account: what he takes notice of, and is thankful to God for is, that he

always causeth us to triumph in Christ; not only had done so, but continued to do so: some versions ascribe this act of triumph to God, as his act, reading the passage thus, "now thanks be unto God, who triumphs over us", or "by us in Christ"; who has conquered us by his grace, and made use of us as instruments for the conversion of sinners; and so first triumphed over us, having subdued us to himself, and then over others by us, in whose hearts the arrows of his word have been sharp and powerful: so the word is used for the person's own act of triumph spoken of, 2 Corinthians 2:15, but here it signifies, as words do in the Hebrew conjugation "Hiphil", which most commonly denotes an effect upon another, or which is caused and produced in another, and is rightly rendered, "which causeth us to triumph"; and refers not to the triumph of faith, common with the apostles to other believers; though this is in Christ, in his righteousness, death, resurrection, ascension, session at God's right hand, and intercession; and is what God causes, and to whom thanks is to be given for it: but this is a triumph peculiar to ministers of the Gospel, who are made to triumph over men and devils, over the world, the reproaches, persecutions, smiles, and flatteries of it; over wicked men, by silencing them, stopping the mouths of gainsayers, refuting false teachers, and preserving the Gospel pure, in spite of all opposition; and by being made useful to the turning of many souls from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God: and this is

in Christ: it is owing to the victory he has got; it is by his strength, it is in his name, for his sake, and because of his glory herein concerned: and

always; wherever the ministers of Christ are called to labour, and wherever the Gospel is purely and powerfully preached by them, some good is done; and they are made to triumph over hell and earth, over sin, Satan, and the world; and for all this, thanks is due to God; for he it is that causes them to triumph, or they never could; as will easily appear, if we consider what poor weak instruments they themselves are; what opposition is made against them; what wonderful things are done by them; by what means they triumph, by the preaching of the cross, and that in the midst of the greatest pressures and afflictions. Thanks are also given to God, that he

maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place; by "his knowledge" is meant, either the knowledge of God, who causes the ministers of the Gospel to triumph; or the knowledge of Christ, in whom they triumph; or rather of both, of the knowledge of God in Christ; and designs the Gospel, which is the means thereof: and which is said to have a "savour" in it, and denotes the acceptableness of it to sensible souls; and the good name, fame, and credit, which Christ has by the faithful ministration of it; and is an allusion to Sol 1:3. Now this, God is said to make manifest; it was hid before, hid in himself, and to the sons of men; it was like a box of ointment shut, but now opened by the preaching of the word, which diffuses a fragrant smell; and therefore he is said to make it manifest "by us": the ministers of the Gospel, who openly, boldly, and faithfully preach it; and "by manifestation of the truth"; spread the savour of it, and that "in every place", where they come; their commission being at large, to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. 14. Now—Greek, "But." Though we left Troas disappointed in not meeting Titus there, and in having to leave so soon so wide a door, "thanks be unto God," we were triumphantly blessed in both the good news of you from Titus, and in the victories of the Gospel everywhere in our progress. The cause of triumph cannot be restricted (as Alford explains) to the former; for "always," and "in every place," show that the latter also is intended.

causeth us to triumph—The Greek, is rather, as in Col 2:15, "triumphs over us": "leadeth us in triumph." Paul regarded himself as a signal trophy of God's victorious power in Christ. His Almighty Conqueror was leading him about, through all the cities of the Greek and Roman world, as an illustrious example of His power at once to subdue and to save. The foe of Christ was now the servant of Christ. As to be led in triumph by man is the most miserable, so to be led in triumph by God is the most glorious, lot that can befall any [Trench]. Our only true triumphs are God's triumphs over us. His defeats of us are our only true victories [Alford]. The image is taken from the triumphal procession of a victorious general. The additional idea is perhaps included, which distinguishes God's triumph from that of a human general, that the captive is brought into willing obedience (2Co 10:5) to Christ, and so joins in the triumph: God "leads him in triumph" as one not merely triumphed over, but also as one triumphing over God's foes with God (which last will apply to the apostle's triumphant missionary progress under the leading of God). So Bengel: "Who shows us in triumph, not [merely] as conquered, but as the ministers of His victory. Not only the victory, but the open 'showing' of the victory is marked: for there follows, Who maketh manifest."

savour—retaining the image of a triumph. As the approach of the triumphal procession was made known by the odor of incense scattered far and wide by the incense-bearers in the train, so God "makes manifest by us" (His now at once triumphed over and triumphing captives, compare Lu 5:10, "Catch," literally, "Take captive so as to preserve alive") the sweet savor of the knowledge of Christ, the triumphant Conqueror (Col 2:15), everywhere. As the triumph strikes the eyes, so the savor the nostrils; thus every sense feels the power of Christ's Gospel. This manifestation (a word often recurring in his Epistles to the Corinthians, compare 1Co 4:5) refutes the Corinthian suspicions of his dishonestly, by reserve, hiding anything from them (2Co 2:17; 2Co 4:2).2:12-17 A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian's joy and rejoicing. In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place. Unto some, the gospel is a savour of death unto death. They reject it to their ruin. Unto others, the gospel is a savour of life unto life: as it quickened them at first when they were dead in trespasses and sins, so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternal life. Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon the apostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and of ourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God. But what we do in religion, unless it is done in sincerity, as in the sight of God, is not of God, does not come from him, and will not reach to him. May we carefully watch ourselves in this matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speak we in Christ and of Christ.
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