Read 2 Cor. 4:7-12 – Unconquered

1. You and I are the earthen vessels in verse 7. What is “this treasure”? (see 2 Cor. 4:6)

a. Describe an earthen vessel, also translated clay pot.

b. According to verse 7, why would God choose to put this precious treasure in such vessels?

c. Comment on this quote: Who is worthy to be a “container” for God’s light and glory? The smartest person isn’t smart enough, the purest person isn’t pure enough, the most spiritual person isn’t spiritual enough, and the most talented person isn’t talented enough. We are all just clay pots holding an unspeakably great treasure. – Guzik

d. As a clay pot that contains such great treasure, we are called to share that treasure. As that treasure is poured out into the lives of others, how do we assure that what flows out isn’t tainted with the taste or the fragrance of the clay pot?

2. In verses 8 and 9, Paul shares about some of the ways he had suffered. Below, describe what Paul may have meant by these phrases:

a. hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed –

b. perplexed, but not in despair –

c. persecuted, but not forsaken –

d. struck down, but not destroyed –

3. In verses 10 and 11, Paul gives us further insight into his ministry and the things he had suffered. According to these verses, what did Paul see as the purpose of these sufferings?

a. The word “manifested” occurs twice in these verses. What does it mean? Apply this meaning as you write in your own words, the purpose of these sufferings.

b. In Phil. 3:10 Paul speaks of the privilege of knowing Jesus. What does he say?

c. Does your life in Christ reflect this same privilege?

4. Demonstrate your understanding of this concept by rewriting verse 12 in your own words.
Read 2 Cor. 4:13-15 – Boldness to Share

1. Guzik on verse 13 – “This is a great principle – that faith creates the testimony. Paul really believed God had a purpose in his death-like sufferings, and really believed he lived and experienced the resurrection life of Jesus. Therefore, he wasn’t hesitant to speak about it.” Take a minute to ask the Lord for the same spirit of faith, and the boldness to speak the truth of the gospel.

2. According to verse 14, of what else was Paul confident?

3. (vs 15) What spread through the many? What did it cause?

Read 2 Cor. 4:16-18 – Things Not Seen

1. (vs 16a) In our last lesson we learned that to “lose heart” means “to become weary” or “to despair”. 2 Cor. 4:16 begins with “Therefore”, referring to the previous verses. Using these previous verses, as well as 2 Cor. 4:1, Luke 18:1, Gal. 6:9, and Eph. 3:13, share the resources we have been given to help us to not lose heart.

2. (vs 16b) The “outward man” refers to the physical body. In this letter, Paul uses several other terms for our body. What are these terms? (see 4:7, 4:11, 5:1) How would you summarize what Paul is saying about our physical bodies?

3. (vs 16c) What is the “inward man” and how is it being renewed?

a. What is God’s role in this renewal?

b. What is your role?

4. From verse 17, how does Paul describe the persecution and trials of his life? To what end?

5. In verse 18, Paul gives us another tool that he uses to keep from losing heart. What is that tool?

a. When you lose heart, become weary or discouraged, or are in despair, what are the things you do, or see others do, that tend to keep you/them in this weary state?

b. According to God’s Word, what are the things you can do to protect against losing heart, and/or to come out of this state should you find yourself having lost heart?

c. In spite of circumstances, consider the things Paul was able to accomplish by not losing heart?
Apply this to your own life.