3 And even though our gospel is veiled, 2 it is veiled for those who are perishing,
5 For we do not preach ourselves 3 but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
6 4 For God who said, ＂Let light shine out of darkness,＂ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ.
8 7 We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
10 8 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
12 9 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
2 [3-4] Though our gospel is veiled: the final application of the image. Paul has been reproached either for obscurity in his preaching or for his manner of presenting the gospel. But he confidently asserts that there is no veil over his gospel. If some fail to perceive its light, that is because of unbelief. The veil lies over their eyes (2 Cor 3:14), a blindness induced by Satan, and a sign that they are headed for destruction (cf 2 Cor 2:15).
3  We do not preach ourselves: the light seen in his gospel is the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4). Far from preaching himself, the preacher should be a transparent medium through whom Jesus is perceived (cf 2 Cor 4:10-11). Your slaves: Paul draws attention away from individuals as such and toward their role in relation to God, Christ, and the community; cf 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 4:1
4  Autobiographical allusion to the episode at
5 [4:7-5:10] Paul now confronts the difficulty that his present existence does not appear glorious at all; it is marked instead by suffering and death. He deals with this by developing the topic already announced in 2 Cor 3:3, 6, asserting his faith in the presence and ultimate triumph of life, in his own and every Christian existence, despite the experience of death.
6  This treasure: the glory that he preaches and into which they are being transformed. In earthen vessels: the instruments God uses are human and fragile; some imagine small terracotta lamps in which light is carried.
7 [8-9] A catalogue of his apostolic trials and afflictions. Yet in these the negative never completely prevails; there is always some experience of rescue, of salvation.
8 [10-11] Both the negative and the positive sides of the experience are grounded christologically. The logic is similar to that of 2 Cor 1:3-11. His sufferings are connected with Christ's, and his deliverance is a sign that he is to share in Jesus' resurrection.
10 [13-14] Like the Psalmist, Paul clearly proclaims his faith, affirming life within himself despite death (2 Cor 4:10-11) and the life-giving effect of his experience upon the church (2 Cor 4:12, 14-15). And place us with you in his presence: Paul imagines God presenting him and them to Jesus at the parousia and the judgment; cf 2 Cor 11:2; Romans 14:10.
11 [16-18] In a series of contrasts Paul explains the extent of his faith in life. Life is not only already present and revealing itself (2 Cor 4:8-11, 16) but will outlast his experience of affliction and dying: it is eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18).
12  Not discouraged: i.e., despite the experience of death. Paul is still speaking of himself personally, but he assumes his faith and attitude will be shared by all Christians. Our outer self: the individual subject of ordinary perception and observation, in contrast to the interior and hid, den self, which undergoes renewal. Is being renewed day by day: this suggests a process that has already begun; cf 2 Cor 3:18. The renewal already taking place even in Paul's dying is a share in the life of Jesus, but this is recognized only by faith (2 Cor 4:13, 18; 2 Cor 5:7).