2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

Looking Beyond

Popular Translation

4:13 We share the same idea that is written in the Bible. It says, "I believed so I spoke up." We believe so we also speak up. 14 We see that God who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will raise us up to stand along side him and all of you. 15 God did everything for you. His gifts overflow in you more and more. And our thanks to his glory also overflows. 16 So, we don't grow tired but if our bodies run out of energy, our spirits get recharged day after day. 17 The brief moment of pain we suffer for our faith will turn into a glory so great that it will last forever. 18 We just don't think about the things we can see that will just last a little while. Instead, we think about the things we can't see that will last forever.

5:1 We know that our bodies are like tents. When they are destroyed, we will have a place with God in heaven that no person could ever make.

Literal Translation

4:13 So, having the same spirit of faith according to the writings, "I believed thus I spoke," we also believe, thus also speak. 14 We see that the (One) raising the LORD JESUS will also raise us with Jesus and will stand (us) along with you. 15 For all (things are) for you so that the grace having greatly overflowed also caused an overflow of thanksgiving to the glory of God. 16 Thus, we do not grow weary, but if our bodies wither away, our interior life is renewed day by day. 17 For our shortly-lived, trivial (moment) of affliction is producing in us an everlasting, weighty abundance of glory, one measure exceeding another exceeding measure, 18 while we are not considering the (things) visible but the (things) not visible. For the (things) visible (are) temporary, but the (things) not visible (are) eternal.

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, (our) tent, is destroyed, a building from God we have, a house not made by humans hands in the heavens.

4:15 This sentence is an example of Paul's heightened rhetoric when about grace. For the apostle, grace was God's gift of divine self that overflowed. In this sense, "all things" were for the believer. The phrase "greatly overflowed" was literally "increased into a greater portion"." The main verb phrase "caused an overflow of" was literally "caused increasing." The Greek for "overflow" was "pleion," an ever increasing amount. In the context of the sentence, grace overflowed among the believers which caused an overflow in thanksgiving. God's gift increased gratitude in the community.

4:16 "our bodies" is literally "our outer man." "our interior life" is literally "our inner (man)." Both "outer" and "inner" modify "man."

4:17 "...everlasting, weighty abundance of glory, one measure exceeding another exceeding measure..." Paul contrasted the believer's place in the temporal and the eternal. The pain suffered now would pass, but the glory of life with God had much greater fullness and meaning ("weighty abundance") that would surpass any obstacle encountered on earth. Indeed, eternal life would overflow in increasingly greater measure.

With age comes wisdom. At least that's we want to think. Looking back we consider time not in days or weeks but in years, even decades. Seeing the bigger picture can help us with daily decisions and occasional annoyances; it puts things into perspective.

If we look back, we can also peer ahead. Looking beyond today assists us in measuring the meaning of daily life and correcting our faults. It can also help us see beyond the grave. With this perspective, we can ask the question: what does God have in store for us after death?

In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul presented the bigger picture. He held that faith in Christ saved the person from the Final Judgment and opened the door to a greater life, an eternal life of ever increasing glory. Notice his belief flew in the face of life everlasting as static; for Paul, life with God was dynamic, a dialogue of overflowing love. The Father would give his children life and love, more and more; his children would give him thanks and praise, more and more. This cycle would go on indefinitely.

With this exciting prospect in sight, the experience of momentary suffering meant little to the apostle. Even death had little sway. For material existence in this life could not compare to spiritual life God would give to his children after death. This thought gave Paul great comfort and motivation.

It should do the same for us.

How does the prospect of heaven motivate you?