|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 8. - Troubled; afflicted, as in 2 Corinthians 1:4. On every side; in everything. Distressed; rather, driven to straits. Perplexed, but not in despair. In the original is a beautiful paronomasia, which might, perhaps, be represented in English by "pressed, but not oppressed." Literally the words mean, being at a loss, but not utterly at a loss. In the special anguish of trial of which he spoke in 2 Corinthians 1:8 (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:5), he was indeed for a time "utterly at a loss," reduced to utter despair; but in the normal conditions which he here describes he always, as it were, saw some outlet out of his worst perplexities.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
We are troubled on every side,.... Or afflicted; , either "in every place", wherever we are, into whatsoever country, city, or town we enter, we are sure to meet with trouble, of one sort or another; for wherever we be, we are in the world, in which we must expect tribulation: or "always", every day and hour we live, as in 2 Corinthians 4:10 we are never free from one trial or another: or "by everyone"; by all sorts of persons, good and bad, professors and profane, open persecutors and false brethren; yea, some of the dear children of God, weak believers, give us trouble: or "with every sort" of trouble, inward and outward; trouble from the world, the flesh and the devil:
yet not distressed; so as to have no hope, or see no way of escape; so as to have no manner of comfort, or manifestations of the love of God; or so as to be straitened in our own souls; for notwithstanding all our troubles, we have freedom at the throne of grace, and in our ministry; we can go with liberty to God, and preach the Gospel boldly to you:
we are perplexed; and sometimes know not what to do, which way to take, what course to steer, or how we shall be relieved and supplied; we are sometimes at the utmost loss about things temporal, how we shall be provided for with food and raiment; nor are we without our perplexing thoughts, doubts, and fears, about spiritual affairs:
but not in despair; of the Lord's appearing and working salvation, both in a temporal and spiritual sense.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Greek, "BEING hard pressed, yet not inextricably straitened; reduced to inextricable straits" (nominative to "we have," 2Co 4:7).
on every side—Greek, "in every respect" (compare 2Co 4:10, "always"; 2Co 7:5). This verse expresses inward distresses; 2Co 4:9, outward distresses (2Co 7:5). "Without were fightings; within were fears." The first clause in each member of the series of contrasted participles, implies the earthiness of the vessels; the second clause, the excellency of the power.
perplexed, but not in despair—Greek, "not utterly perplexed." As perplexity refers to the future, so "troubled" or "hard pressed" refers to the present.
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