Read 2 Cor. 4:1-2 – Presenting the New Covenant

1. Paul draws a conclusion from the facts of the New Covenant ministry spoken of in Chapter 3. What
is his conclusion? (end of 4:1)

a. What did we learn about this ministry from 2 Cor. 3:4-18? Record a few main points.

b. Paul recognized that he had not received this ministry due to his own merits, but by God’s mercy. (vs 1) To “lose heart” means “to become weary” or “to despair.” How would recognizing that God in His mercy had given this ministry to Paul, keep him from losing heart?

c. As God also gives each of us ministries, how do we not “lose heart”? If we do lose heart, what might this indicate? How can we guard against this?

2. In verse 2, Paul makes a comparison between his message and that of false teachers. Consider this quote from Guzik:

“Paul preached his gospel honestly. The ancient Greek word translated deceitfully is a verb only found here in the New Testament, meaning “to dilute or adulterate,” (similar to the word peddling in 2 Cor 2:17) Paul didn’t preach a concealed gospel (renouncing the hidden things of shame) or a corrupted gospel (craftiness… deceitfully), mixing the message with human ingenuity or watering it down to accommodate his audience. Paul preached an honest
gospel.” Your thoughts?

a. Again we are warned about diluting or adding to the gospel message to make it more relevant or easier to accept. When this occurs, what does it look like or what might be an example of this?

b. Paul was a man of integrity. What he said is what he meant. What is the meaning of the phrase “manifestation of the truth” found in verse 2?

c. Verse 2 ends with this: commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

      • Describe the word conscience.

 

      • Every person’s conscience should prove Paul’s integrity. Explain.

 

d. It was important to Paul that every man’s conscience would approve his ministry, but what did Paul recognize that was even more important? (end of vs 2)

Read 2 Cor. 4:3-4 – Response to the Gospel

1. To whom is the gospel veiled?

a. Who has blinded them?

b. Read 2 Timothy 2:24-26. How is the work of the enemy described in verse 26?

c. In addition, what does Proverbs 14:12 tell us?

2. Unbelievers (or not yet believers!) have this obstacle of spiritual blindness to overcome, but the light of the gospel can break through the blindness! What does verse 4b tell us about this? Dig into this verse. How is the gospel message described?

Read 2 Cor. 4:5-6 – The Light of the Knowledge of God

1. Paul preached about Jesus. Though at times he used himself as an example, he always pointed to Jesus. Why is this important to note?

2. Multiple times in his letters, Paul refers to himself as a bondservant of Christ or a bondservant of God. Here in verse 5, who does he say he is a bondservant to?

a. What is a bondservant?

b. What is Paul saying about himself and those he ministers alongside? What does the phrase “for Jesus’ sake” add to our understanding?

3. (vs 6) When did God first command light to shine out of darkness?

a. This same God shines light into the darkness of a blinded heart. How does He do this? How did He do it in your life?

b. What has God “shone in our hearts”?

c. Guzik: “We come to the knowledge of the glory of God by seeing it in the face of Jesus. God gave us a display, a picture, a representation of His glory: His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:9). He also prayed that we would see His glory, the glory of God the Father: that they may behold My glory which You have given Me (John 17:24).” Respond to this amazing privilege!