|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:8-12 The apostles were great sufferers, yet they met with wonderful support. Believers may be forsaken of their friends, as well as persecuted by enemies; but their God will never leave them nor forsake them. There may be fears within, as well as fightings without; yet we are not destroyed. The apostle speaks of their sufferings as a counterpart of the sufferings of Christ, that people might see the power of Christ's resurrection, and of grace in and from the living Jesus. In comparison with them, other Christians were, even at that time, in prosperous circumstances.
Verse 12. - So then. In accordance with what he has just said. Death worketh in us, but life in you. The life of us apostles is a constant death (Romans 8:36); but of this daily dying you reap the benefits; our dying is your living; our afflictions become to you a source of consolation and joy (2 Corinthians 1:6; Philippians 2:17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So then death worketh in us,.... This is the conclusion of the foregoing account, or the inference deduced from it; either the death, or dying of Christ, that is, the sufferings of his body, the church, for his sake, "is wrought in us"; fulfilled and perfected in us; see Colossians 1:24 or rather a corporeal death has seized upon us; the seeds of death are in us; our flesh, our bodies are mortal, dying off apace; death has already attacked us, is working on our constitutions gradually, and unpinning our tabernacles, which in a short time will be wholly took down and laid in the dust:
but life in you. Some understand these words as spoken ironically, like those in 1 Corinthians 4:8 but the apostle seems not to be speaking in such a strain, but in the most serious manner, and about things solemn and awful; and his meaning is, ours is the sorrow, the trouble, the affliction, and death itself, yours is the gain, the joy, the pleasure, and life; what we get by preaching the Gospel are reproach, persecution, and death; but this Gospel we preach at such expense is the savour of life unto life to you, and is the means of maintaining spiritual life in your souls, and of nourishing you up unto eternal life; and which is no small encouragement to us to go on in our work with boldness and cheerfulness: or these words regard the different state and condition of the apostle, and other ministers, and of the Corinthians; the one were in adversity, and the other in prosperity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. The "death" of Christ manifested in the continual "perishing of our outward man" (2Co 4:16), works peculiarly in us, and is the means of working spiritual "life" in you. The life whereof we witness in our bodily dying, extends beyond ourselves, and is brought by our very dying to you.
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