This is Paulís proof that God works through weak people like him. We do not mean that Paul was a weak person; clearly he was strong both in his mind and body. We mean that even the strongest person is really very weak. Even the most healthy person can die suddenly, and we all have constant troubles. Paul suffered more troubles than most people do*. Those troubles showed Paulís weakness; but at the same time, God showed his strength through Paul*.
Paulís words in this passage are extremely powerful. People used similar words to describe men who were fighting. Paulís situation often seemed desperate; his complete defeat and death seemed certain. However, each time God acted powerfully to rescue him, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. This happened very many times*. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Paul describes these experiences in 4 different ways:
(1) Paulís enemies caused him great troubles. It was as if they pressed against him from every side. For Paul, this was not just a word-picture - Paul often had this actual experience. However, they could not defeat him. God provided space for him*.
(2) In his troubles, Paul seemed like someone who had lost his way. However, he had not lost his struggle. He did not give in to despair. He may have lost everything; but God provided what he needed*.
(3) Paulís enemies opposed him cruelly. On many occasions they chased him away - but even then, he was not alone, because God was always with him*.
(4) Even when Paul seemed to suffer complete defeat, God was still working in him. Paulís enemies threw him to the ground; in Acts 14:19, they thought that they had killed him. However, God still had more work for Paul to do*. So Paul remained alive.
Next part: Life that comes from death (4:10-12)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
To download all our articles, including our 700+ page book in PDF format, please go to our download page.
© 2016, Keith Simons.