International Standard Version
Treasure in Clay Jars
1Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown to us, we do not get discouraged. 2Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful ways. We do not use trickery or pervert God’s word. By clear statements of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God.
3So if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are dying.a 4In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe to keep them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of the Messiah,b who is the image of God.
5For we do not preach ourselves, but rather Jesus the Messiahc as Lord, and ourselves as merely your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”d has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesuse the Messiah.f
7But we have this treasure in clay jars to show that its extraordinary power comes from God and not from us. 8In every way we’re troubled but not crushed, frustrated but not in despair, 9persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. 10We are always carrying around the death of Jesus in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus may be clearly shown in our bodies. 11While we are alive, we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be clearly shown in our mortal bodies. 12And so death is at work in us, but life is at workg in you.
13Now since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with this Scripture: “I believed, and so I spoke,”h we also believe and therefore speak. 14We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to Godi together with you. 15All this is for your sake so that, as his grace spreads, more and more people will give thanks and glorify God.
Life in an Earthly Tent
16That’s why we are not discouraged. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day. 17This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond any comparison, 18because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.
a 4:3 Or being destroyed
b 4:4 Or Christ
c 4:5 Or Christ
d 4:6 Gen 1:3
e 4:6 Other mss. lack Jesus
f 4:6 Or Christ; other mss. read of the Messiah Jesus
g 4:12 The Gk. lacks is at work
h 4:13 Ps 116:10
i 4:14 The Gk. lacks to God