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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 12

Verse 12. So then death worketh in us. We are exposed to death. The preaching of the gospel exposes us to trials which may be regarded as death working in us. Death has an energy over us, (energeitai is at work, is active, or operates; it is constantly employed in inflicting pains on us, and subjecting us to privation and trims. This is a strong and emphatic mode of saying that they were always exposed to death. We are called to serve and glorify the Redeemer, as it were, By repeated deaths and by constantly dying.

But life in you. You live as the effect of our being constantly exposed to death. You reap the advantage of all our exposure to trials, and of all our sufferings. You are comparatively safe; are freed from this exposure to death; and will receive eternal life as the fruit of our toils and exposures. Life, here, may refer either to exemption from danger and death, or it may refer to the life of religion, the hopes of piety, the prospect of eternal salvation. To me it seems most probable that Paul means to use it in the latter sense, and that he designs to say that while he was exposed to death, and called to endure constant trial, the effect would be that they would obtain, in consequence of his sufferings, the blessedness of eternal life. Comp. 2 Co 4:15. Thus understood, this passage means that the sufferings and self-denials of the apostles were for the good of others, and would result in their benefit and salvation; and the design of Paul here is to remind them of his sufferings in their behalf, in order to conciliate their favour, and bind them more closely to him by the remembrance of his sufferings on their account.

{b} "then death" 2 Co 13:9

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