2 Corinthians 4:10
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
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(10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.—The word for “dying” (again, probably, a distinctly medical term) is literally “deadness,” “the state of a corpse.” Comp. Romans 4:19 for the word itself, and Romans 4:19, Colossians 3:5 (“mortify”), Hebrews 11:12 (“as good as dead”) for the cognate verb. The word describes, as by a bold hyperbole, the condition of one whose life was one long conflict with disease: “dying daily” (1Corinthians 15:31); having in himself “the sentence,” or, possibly, the very symptoms, “of death” (2Corinthians 1:8-9). He was, as it were, dragging about with him what it was scarcely an exaggeration to call a “living corpse;” and this he describes as “the dying” (or death-state) “of the Lord Jesus.” The thought implied in these words is not formally defined. What seems implied is that it brought him nearer to the likeness of the Crucified; he was thus made a sharer in the sufferings of Christ, filling up what was lacking in the measure of those sufferings (Colossians 1:24), dying as He died, crucified with Him (Galatians 2:20). It may be noted that Philo (2 Alleg. p. 73) uses almost the same word to express the natural frailty and weakness of man’s body—“What, then, is our life but the daily carrying about of a corpse?”

That the life also of Jesus . . .—The life of Jesus is the life of the new man, “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). It is not that the Apostle is merely looking forward to the resurrection life, when we shall bear the image of the heavenly; he feels that the purpose of his sufferings now is that the higher life may, even in this present state, be manifested in and through them; and accordingly, as if to guard against the possibility of any other interpretation, he changes the phrase in the next verse, and for “our body” substitutes “our mortal flesh.”

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.Always bearing about in the body - The expression used here is designed to show the great perils to which Paul was exposed. And the idea is, that he had on his body the marks, the stripes and marks of punishment and persecution, which showed that he was exposed to the same violent death which the Lord Jesus himself endured; compare Galatians 6:17; "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." It is a strong energetic mode of expression, to denote the severity of the trials to which he was exposed, and the meaning is, that his body bore the marks of his being exposed to the same treatment as the Lord Jesus was; and evidence that he was probably yet to die in a similar manner under the hands of persecutors; compare Colossians 1:24.

The dying of the Lord Jesus - The death; the violent death. A death similar to that of the Lord Jesus. The idea is, that he was always exposed to death, and always suffering in a manner that was equivalent to dying. The expression is parallel to what he says in 1 Corinthians 15:31. "I die daily;" and in 2 Corinthians 11:23, where he says, "in deaths oft." It does not mean that he bore about literally the dying of the Lord Jesus, but that he was exposed to a similar death. and had marks on his person which showed that he was always exposed to the same violent death. This did not occur once only, or at distant intervals, but it occurred constantly, and wherever he was it was still true that he was exposed to violence, and liable to suffer in the same manner that the Lord Jesus did.

That the life also of Jesus ... - This passage has received a considerable variety of interpretation. Grotius renders it, "such a life as was that of Christ, immortal, blessed, heavenly." Locke, "That also the life of Jesus, risen from the dead, may be made manifest by the energy that accompanies my preaching in this frail body." Clarke supposes that it means, that he might be able in this manner to show that Christ was risen from the dead. But perhaps, Paul does not refer to one single thing in the life of the Lord Jesus, but means that he did this in order that in all things the same life, the same kind of living which characterized the Lord Jesus might be manifested in him; or that he resembled him in his sufferings and trials, in order that in all things he might have the same life in his body. Perhaps, therefore, it may include the following things as objects at which the apostle aimed:

(1) A desire that his "life" might resemble that of the Lord Jesus. That there might be the same self-denial; the same readiness to suffer; the same patience in trials; the same meekness, gentleness, zeal, ardor, love to God, and love to people evinced in his body which was in that of the Lord Jesus. Thus understood, it means that he placed the Lord Jesus before him as the model of his life, and deemed it an object to be attained even by great self-denial and sufferings to be conformed to him.

(2) a desire to attain to the same life in the resurrection which the Lord Jesus had attained to. A desire to be made like him, and that in his body which bore about the dying of the Lord Jesus, he might again live after death as the Lord Jesus did. Thus understood, it implies an earnest wish to attain to the resurrection of the dead, and accords with what he says in Philippians 3:8-11, which may perhaps be considered as Paul's own commentary on this passage, which has been so variously, and so little understood by expositors. "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead;" compare Colossians 1:24. It intimates Paul's earnest desire and longing to be made like Christ in the resurrection (compare Philippians 3:21); his longing to rise again in the last day (compare Acts 26:7); his sense of the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection and his readiness to suffer anything if he might at last attain to the resurrection of the just, and be ready to enter with the Redeemer into a world of glory. The attainment of this is the high object before the Christian, and to be made like the Redeemer in heaven, to have a body like his, is the grand purpose for which they should live; and sustained by this hope they should be willing to endure any trials, and meet any sufferings, if they may come to that same "life" and blessedness above.

10. bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus—that is, having my body exposed to being put to death in the cause of Jesus (the oldest manuscripts omit "the Lord"), and having in it the marks of such sufferings, I thus bear about wheresoever I go, an image of the suffering Saviour in my own person (2Co 4:11; 2Co 1:5; compare 1Co 15:31). Doubtless, Paul was exposed to more dangers than are recorded in Acts (compare 2Co 7:5; 11:26). The Greek for "the dying" is literally, "the being made a corpse," such Paul regarded his body, yet a corpse which shares in the life-giving power of Christ's resurrection, as it has shared in His dying and death.

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body—rather, "may be." The name "Jesus," by itself is often repeated here as Paul seems, amidst sufferings, peculiarly to have felt its sweetness. In 2Co 4:11 the same words occur with the variation, "in our mortal flesh. The fact of a dying, corpse-like body being sustained amidst such trials, manifests that "the (resurrection) life also," as well as the dying, "of Jesus," exerts its power in us. I thus bear about in my own person an image of the risen and living, as well as of the suffering, Saviour. The "our" is added here to "body," though not in the beginning of the verse. "For the body is ours not so much in death, as in life" [Bengel].

A Christian beareth about with him the dying of the Lord Jesus in his mind and soul, while he fetches strength from it to deaden his heart unto sin; being buried with Christ into death, and planted in the likeness of his death; having his old man crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth he may not serve sin, Romans 6:4-6. He also beareth about with him the dying of the Lord Jesus in his body; either in a representation, while in his sufferings he is made conformable to the death of Christ, Philippians 3:10; or in his own real sufferings, which he calleth the dying of the Lord Jesus, because they were for Christ’s sake, and because Christ sympathizeth with them therein, he being afflicted in all their afflictions; yea, and Christ (as the apostle expresseth it, Philippians 1:20), is magnified in their body, by death, as well as by life. This the apostle tells us he did, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in his body: by the life of Christ must be here understood, either the resurrection of Christ, and that life which he now liveth in heaven with his Father; or that quickening power of the Spirit of Christ, which then mightily showeth itself in believers, when they are not overwhelmed by the waters of affliction, nor conquered by their sufferings; but in, and over all, are more than conquerors, through that mighty power of Christ which showeth forth itself in them: or (as some think) that lively virtue and power of Christ, which showeth itself in the efficacy of the apostles’ ministry; by which so many thousands of souls were brought in to Christ, which was not the effect of their own virtue, but of the life of Christ manifested in their body. But the apostle having before spoken of his sufferings, it seems best interpreted of that living power put forth by Christ, in upholding the earthly vessels of his apostles, notwithstanding all the knocks they met with, to carry about that heavenly treasure with which God had intrusted them.

Always bearing about in the body,.... The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read, "in our body"; and the Syriac version, in this and the next clause, reads, "in our bodies", and some copies in this read, "bodies"; continually carrying about with us, in these mortal bodies of ours, wherever we go,

the dying of the Lord Jesus; by which is meant, not the doctrine of the sufferings and death of Christ, and of salvation by a crucified Saviour, which they bore and carried about with them in a ministerial way, wherever they came and preached, but the sufferings they themselves underwent: so called, because of the likeness there is between the sufferings of Christ, and theirs; as he was traduced as a wicked man, a deceiver, and a stirrer up of sedition, so were they; as he was persecuted, so were they; as he was liable to death, and at last was delivered up to it, so were they: and also because of the union and sympathy which were between them; Christ and they were one body and one Spirit; so that what was endured by the members, the head had a fellow feeling of, and sympathy with; and reckoned what was done to them, as done to himself: and besides, the sufferings they underwent, and death they were exposed unto, were for his sake, as it is explained in the next verse:

for we which live; who are still in the land of the living, though it is almost a miracle we are, considering the circumstances we are in:

are always delivered; that is, continually exposed

to death for Jesus' sake: and the end of all these sufferings, which is expressed alike in both verses is,

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body, or "mortal flesh"; the meaning of which is, that it might appear that Jesus, though he died, is risen again from the dead, and lives at the Father's right hand, and ever lives to make intercession for us; of which there is a full proof, inasmuch as we are supported by him under all the trials and sufferings we endure for his sake; for because he lives, we live also, amidst so many dangers and deaths, which attend us.

{6} Always bearing about in the body the {i} dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

(6) An amplification of the former sentence, in which he compares his afflictions to a daily death, and the power of the Spirit of God in Christ to life, who oppresses that death.

(i) So Paul calls that miserable estate and condition that the faithful, but especially the minsters, are in.

2 Corinthians 4:10. Extreme concentration of all suffering, as of all victory through the power of God. In this πάντοτε, corresponding to the ἐν παντί of 2 Corinthians 4:8 and the ἀεί of 2 Corinthians 4:11, is with great emphasis placed first. The νέκρωσις is the putting to death, like the classic θανάτωσις (Thucyd. v. 9. 7). In this case the context decides whether it is to be taken in a literal or, as in Romans 4:19, in a figurative sense. Comp. Astrampsychus in Suidas: νεκροὺς ὁρῶν νέκρωσιν ἕξεις πραγμάτων, Porphyr. de Abstin. iv. p. 418; Aret. pp. 23, 48; also ἀπονέκρωσις in Arrian, Epict. i. 5. Here it stands, as 2 Corinthians 4:11 proves, in a literal sense: At all times we bear about the putting to death of Jesus in our body, i.e. at all times, in our apostolic movements, our body is exposed to the same putting to death which Jesus suffered, i.e. to violent deprivation of life for the gospel’s sake. The constant supreme danger of this death, and the constant actual persecutions and maltreatments, make the νέκρωσις τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, in the conception of the sufferer as of the observer, appear as something clinging to the body of the person concerned, which he carries about with it, although, till the final actual martyrdom, it remains incomplete and, in so far, resting on a prolepsis of the conception. On the subject-matter, comp. Romans 8:35 f.; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Php 3:10. The gen. τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, however, is not to be taken as propter Jesum (Vatablus and others, including Emmerling), nor ad exemplum Christi (Grotius, Flatt), but quite as in τὰ παθήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 1:5; and it is altogether arbitrary to understand anything more special than the great danger to life generally involved in the continual persecutions and afflictions (2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.),—as e.g. Eichhorn takes it to refer to wounds received in the apostolic ministry (Galatians 6:17), and Rückert, here again (see on 2 Corinthians 1:8), to the alleged sickness, from which Paul had not yet fully recovered. The right view is already given in Chrysostom: οἱ θάνατοι οἱ καθημερινοὶ, διʼ ὧν καὶ ἡ ἀνάστασις ἐδείκνυτο. Comp. Pelagius. But τ. νέκρωσιν is chosen (not τ. θάνατον), because Paul has in mind the course of events leading to the death suffered by Jesus, which is mirrored in his own sufferings for Christ’s sak.

ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ κ.τ.λ.] in order that also the life of Jesus, etc. This is the blessed relation supervening according to God’s purpose. Just as, namely, the continual sufferings and peril of death appear as the νέκρωσις of Jesus in the body of those persecuted, so, in keeping with that view, their rescued life appears as the same ζωή, which, in the case of Jesus, followed after His dying, through the resurrection from death (Romans 5:10). The victorious surmounting of the sufferings and perils of death, from which one emerges saved as regards the body, is, according to the analogy of the conception of the νέκρωσις τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, resurrection; and thus there becomes manifest, in the body of him that is rescued, the same life which Jesus entered on at His bodily resurrection. If, with Chrysostom, Cajetanus, Estius, Mosheim, and others (comp. Flatt and also Hofmann), we should regard the preservation and rescuing as evincing the effectual operation of the bodily glorified Jesus, there would be unnecessarily introduced a different position of matters in the two parts of the verse; as the νέκρωσις itself is thought of in the one case, we must in the other also understand the ζωή itself (not an effect of it). According to de Wette and Osiander, the thought of the apostle is, that in his ineradicable energy of spirit in suffering there is revealed Christ’s power of suffering, in virtue of which He has risen and lives for ever; comp. Beza. In that case a moral revelation of life would be meant, and to this ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:11) would not be suitable.

Notice, further, how, in 2 Corinthians 4:10 f., Paul names only the name Ἰησοῦς, and how repeatedly he uses it. “Singulariter sensit dulcedinem ejus,” Bengel. As bearer of the dying and living of the Lord in his body, he has before his eyes and in his heart, with the deepest feeling of fellowship, the concrete human manifestation, Jesus. Even the exalted One is, and remains to him, Jesus. A contrast between the earthly Jesus and the heavenly Christ, for whom the former is again deprived of life (Holsten), is, as the clause of purpose shows, not to be thought of.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11. The climax of the preceding antithesis is now reached: “Dying, yet living” (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:9). πάντοτε τὴν νέκρωσιν κ.τ.λ.: always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the Life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body; for we which live are ever being delivered over to death (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23 below) for Jesus’ sake, that the Life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. The key to the interpretation of 2 Corinthians 4:10 is to observe that 2 Corinthians 4:11 is the explanation of it (ἀεὶ γὰρ κ.τ.λ.); the two verses are strictly parallel: “our mortal flesh” of 2 Corinthians 4:11 is only a more emphatic and literal way of describing “our body” of 2 Corinthians 4:10. Hence the bearing about of the νέκρωσις of Jesus must be identical with the continual deliverance to death for His sake. Now the form νέκρωσις (see reff.) is descriptive of the process of “mortification”; and the νέκρωσις τοῦ Ἰησοῦ must mean the νέκρωσις to which He was subject while on earth (gen. subjecti). The phrase περιφέρειν τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ conveys, then, an idea comparable to that involved in other Pauline phrases, e.g., “to die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31), “to be killed all the day long” (Romans 8:36, a quotation from Ps. 43:22), “to know the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death” (Php 3:10), “to fill up that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh” (Colossians 1:24), the conception of the intimate union in suffering between Christ and the Christian having been already touched on in 2 Corinthians 1:5. And such union in suffering involves a present manifestation in us of the Life of Christ, as well as ultimate union with Him in glory (Romans 8:17, cf. John 14:19). The phrases “if we have become united with Him by the likeness of His death, we shall be also by the likeness of His resurrection,” and “if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Romans 6:5; Romans 6:8), though verbally similar, are not really parallel to the verse before us, for they speak of a death to sin in baptism, while this has reference to actual bodily suffering in the flesh. And the inspiring thought of 2 Corinthians 4:10-11 of the present chapter is that Union with Christ, unto death, in life, has as its joyful consequence Union with Christ, unto life, in death. It is the paradox of the Gospel over again, ὁ ἀπολέσας τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εὑρήσει αὐτήν (Matthew 10:39). It will be observed that the best MSS. give in 2 Corinthians 4:10 τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. It is worth noticing that while in the Gospels the proper name’ Ιησοῦς generally takes the article, in the Epistles it is generally anarthrous. In addition to the example before us, the only other passage where St. Paul writes ὁ Ἰησοῦς is Ephesians 4:21 (cf. Blass, Gram. of N.T. Greek, § 46. 10).

10. always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus] Rather, the slaying (Vulg. mortificatio) of the Lord Jesus. So Wiclif. The word is only to be found in Romans 4:19, where it signifies the process by which a thing became dead, i.e. age. The same spirit of hostility to good which put Jesus to death is still at work in the world against His servants. Their sufferings, therefore, for His sake, are a kind of slaying Him anew. Cf. Colossians 1:24.

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body] The life of Jesus dwelling in the hearts of His saints is shewn in the power they possess of enduring, in their often feeble frames, sufferings and toils such as might daunt the strongest men, as well as in the unselfishness which welcomes such sufferings and toils for the glory of God and the well-being of man. Meyer cites Ignatius ad Magnes. 6, “If we do not of our own accord accept death after the manner of His Passion, His Life is not in us.”

2 Corinthians 4:10. Πάντοτε, always) ἀεὶ in the next verse differs from this word. πάντοτε, throughout the whole time; ἀεὶ, any time whatever [at every time]: comp. Mark 15:8. The words, bearing about, we are delivered, in this ver. and in 2 Corinthians 4:11 agree.—τὴν νέκρωσιν, the dying) This is as it were the act, life the habit.—τοῦ Κυρίου, of the Lord) This name must be thrice supplied in this and the following verse,[24] and advantageously softens in this first passage the mention of dying. It is called the dying of the Lord, and the genitive intimates communion, [joint participation of Christ and believers in mutual suffering] as 2 Corinthians 1:5.—Ἰησοῦ, of Jesus) Paul employs this name alone [without Χριστοῦ or Κυρίου accompanying it] more frequently in this whole passage, 2 Corinthians 4:5, than is his wont elsewhere; therefore here he seems peculiarly to have felt its sweetness.—περιφέροτες, carrying about) in all lands.—ἵνα καὶ, that also) Consolation here takes an increase. Just before [2 Corinthians 4:8-9], we had, but, four times.—ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν φανερωθῇ, in our body might be made manifest) might be made manifest in our mortal [dead] flesh, in the next verse. In the one passage the noun, in the other the verb is put first, for the sake of emphasis. In 2 Corinthians 4:10, glorification is referred to; in 2 Corinthians 4:9, preservation in this life, and strengthening: the word, our, is added here [ἐν τῷ σέματι ἡμῶν], rather than at the beginning of the verse [ἐν τῷ σώματι without ἡμῶν.] The body is ours, not so much in death as in life. May be made manifest is explained, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

[24] Comp. marginal note on 2 Corinthians 4:6.—E. B.

Verse 10. - The dying of the Lord Jesus; literally, the putting to death (Vulgate, mortificatio). This is even stronger than 2 Corinthians 1:5. It is not only "the sufferings," but even "the dying," of Christ of which his true followers partake (Romans 8:36, "For thy sake are we killed all the day long"). St. Paul, who was "in deaths oft" (2 Corinthians 11:23), was thus being made conformable unto Christ's death (Philippians 3:10). Philo, too, compares life to "the daily carrying about of a corpse," and the Cure d'Ars used to speak of his body as "ce cadavre." That the life also of Jesus, etc. The thought is exactly the same as in 2 Timothy 2:11, "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him." 2 Corinthians 4:10Bearing about

Ignatius, addressing the Ephesians, says: "Ye are God-bearers, shrine-bearers, Christ-bearers" ("Epistle to Ephesians," 9). In the Antiochene Acts, Trajan alludes to Ignatius as "the one who declares that he bears about the crucified." Ignatius was known as Θεοφόρος God bearer, and so styles himself in the introductions of his epistles.

Dying (νέκρωσιν)

Only here and Romans 4:19. Primarily a putting to death, and thence the state of deadness, as Romans 4:19. Here in the former sense. Paul says, in effect, "our body is constantly exposed to the same putting to death which Jesus suffered. The daily liability to a violent death is something, which we carry about with us." Compare 1 Corinthians 15:31; Romans 8:36. This parallel with Christ's death is offset by the parallel with Christ's triumph - life through resurrection.

That the life also (ἵνα)

In order that. The purport, according to God's purpose, of this daily dying is to set forth the resurrection-life through Christ in us. Compare Romans 5:10.

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