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Verse 9. As unknown. As those who are deemed to be of an obscure and ignoble rank in life, unknown to the great, unknown to fame. The idea, I think, is, that they went as strangers, as persons unknown, in preaching the gospel. Yet, though thus unknown, they endeavoured to commend themselves as the ministers of God. Though among strangers; though having no introduction from the great and the noble, yet they endeavoured so to act as to convince the world that they were the ministers of God. This could be done only by a holy life, and by the evidence of the Divine approbation which would attend them in their work. And by this the ministers of religion, if they are faithful, may make themselves known even among those who were strangers, and may live so as to "give no offence." Every minister and every Christian, even when they are "unknown," and when among strangers, should remember their high character as the servants of God and should so live as to commend the religion which they profess to love, or which they are called on to preach. And yet how often is it that ministers, when among strangers, seem to feel themselves at liberty to lay aside their ministerial character, and to engage in conversation, and even partake of amusements, which they themselves would regard as wholly improper if it were known that they were the ambassadors of God! And how often is it the case that professing Christians when travelling, when among strangers, when in foreign lands, forget their high calling, and conduct [themselves] in a manner wholly different from what they did when surrounded by Christians, and when restrained by the sentiments and by the eyes of a Christian community!

And yet well known. Our sentiments and our principles are well known. We have no concealments to make. We practice no disguise. We attempt to impose on no one. Though obscure in our origin; though without rank, or wealth, or power, or patronage, to commend ourselves to favour, yet we have succeeded in making ourselves known to the world. Though obscure in our origin, we are not obscure now. Though suspected of dark designs, yet our principles are all well known to the world. No men of the same obscurity of birth ever succeeded in making themselves more extensively known than did the apostles. The world at large became acquainted with them; and by their self-denial, zeal, and success, they extended their reputation around the globe.

As dying. That is, regarded by others as dying. As condemned often to death; exposed to death; in the midst of trials that expose us to death, and that are ordinarily followed by death. See Barnes "1 Co 15:31, on the phrase, "I die daily." They passed through so many trials, that it might be said that they were constantly dying.

And, behold, we live. Strange as it may seem, we still survive. Through all our trials we are preserved; and, though often exposed to death, yet we still live. The idea here is, that in all these trials, and in these exposures to death, they endeavoured to commend themselves as the ministers of God. They bore their trials with patience; submitted to these exposures without a murmur; and ascribed their preservation to the interposition of God.

As chastened. The word chastened (paideuomenoi) means corrected, chastised. It is applied to the chastening which God causes by affliction and calamities, 1 Co 11:32; Re 3:19 Heb 12:6. It refers here, not to the scourgings to which they were subjected in the synagogues and elsewhere, but to the chastisements which God inflicted, the trials to which he subjected them. And the idea is, that in the midst of these trials they endeavoured to act as became the ministers of God. They bore them with patience. They submitted to them as coming from his hand. They felt that they were right, and they submitted without a murmur.

And not killed. Though severely chastened, yet we are not put to death. We survive them—preserved by the interposition of God.

{a} "as unknown" 1 Co 4:9 {b} "as chastened" Ps 118:18

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