Context 101: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

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Hello my fact-truthers. I hope you all have been continuing to study the Word for yourselves and come to your own conclusions as to what beliefs you should have as Christians. I’ve decided I’m going to start doing a recurring series on this blog titled “Context 101”. It may not be daily or weekly, but I’ll try to do this often. One of the most important things I stress to anyone about studying scripture is always to make sure you’re understanding verses in context so you’re not misunderstanding its meaning. Hopefully this continuing exercise will improve your reading skills and perhaps my own if I’m proven to have misunderstood something.

Today’s context verses of the day are 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. It states, “8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

Now this is a great lesson on understanding pronoun designation. A common mistake people make is always presuming every “you”, “we”, or “us” is referring directly to Christians as a whole. But it’s important to read the verses very carefully when you encounter some of these pronouns. Now some people cite this verse as a great encouragement of Christians enduring through their struggle. But if you read these verses further, the Apostle Paul is actually talking about himself and Timothy enduring for the sake of Christians. For clarity, I state those two names because those are the ones stated in the beginning of the letter in chapter 1.  So let’s read the verses again, but instead we’ll read all the way to verse 12.

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 states, “8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.”

Verse 12 is what indicates the Apostle Paul and Timothy are referring to themselves using the pronoun “we/us” in this passage because we see the word “you”. Verse 12 stated “So death works in us (Apostle Paul and Timothy), but life in you (Corinthian Christians being written to).  Now it would be very confusing if only in this verse, Paul is meaning “we/us” as in himself and Timothy. So to this reader’s eye, it would logically seem to be the case that the “we/us” is referring to themselves through this particular passage and perhaps throughout the letter as a whole.

As always, any questions, comments, or thoughts for understanding, feel free to share with me for the sake of helping increase our understanding of the Christian faith together. If this post was enlightening and thought provoking to you, please share this with others on your social media. It would be very much appreciated. Peace to all those who are in Christ!

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