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#1 Brian W. Davidson

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:00 PM

Love Lenski commentaries. Great sale. I’m debating the purchase.

Would anyone be able to post a screen shot of the notes for 2 Cor 4?

Trying to remember how in depth or frequent the Greek notes are. I remember them being super helpful in years past.
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#2 Tony Lawrence

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:31 PM

Brian, I use Lenski frequently. I am posting the comments on the first two verses of 2Cor. 4. The whole chapter would be too much. 

 

"Chapter 4

 

XII. “We Faint Not”

 

 

Though Our Gospel Remains Veiled in Many

 

1) Paul and Timothy have described the glory of their ministry and have ended with the glory which this ministry produces in its incumbents and its beneficiaries. This led to a mention of the hardened sons of Israel (3:13–15). The gospel ministry continues to meet such stoniness (4:3, 4). This, however, affects neither this ministry nor its incumbents. It is one of the great burdens which they accept and bear without being induced to change either the gospel or their way or presenting it.

For this reason, as having this ministry even as we received mercy, we faint not. It is the glorious nature of this ministry as set forth in chapter 3 that ever upholds its incumbents. “We” is not a literary plural (R., W. P.) but refers to Paul and Timothy (1:1) and other assistants. A significant clause is added to their having this ministry: “even as we received mercy.” The Greek verb, being transitive, has the passive: “we were mercied.” This mercy is not the granting of the ministry to them, for the word for that idea would be grace. The connotation in mercy is wretchedness and misery. We were only poor creatures, Paul says, until God’s mercy reached us. He refers to their conversion. By calling it a reception of mercy he disclaims for himself and for his assistants any high standing or possessions that might make them able and worthy of being placed into this ministry. He thus reverts to 3:4: their whole sufficiency is from God. God took us, Paul says, who of ourselves were poor, miserable creatures and first of all raised us up with his mercy and then set us into this glorious ministry. Here is something which every true minister may well ponder.

It is thus, Paul says, that “we faint not” as men who were once nothing, whom God then blest doubly, first with his mercy, next with this office. “We faint not” = “we are not discouraged.” This is said in view of the apparent failure of this ministry because so many reject the gospel which it brings (v. 3, 4). It is said also in view of the way in which Paul and his helpers conduct their ministry by refusing to stoop to such base means as men in office often employ, as Paul’s rivals in Corinth also employed to attain what they imagine to be success.

Some think the verb means “we are not cowardly”; but it has this implication only where bravery is suggested as a virtue as in the case of soldiers. Here, where ministry is the subject, the verb implies worthlessness for the work of this ministry as when men lose heart and despair and resort to questionable means and thus become κακοί, unfit for their task. This negative implies the positive which is expressed so strongly in 1:14: “we feel triumphant,” and in 2:4: “we have this confidence through Christ to God.” We know that we cannot fail as long as we attend to our ministry with God.

 

2) We faint not; but we have renounced (aorist, once for all) the hidden things of shame, as a result not walking in craftiness nor adulterating the Word of God, by such means attempting to attain success, but by the publishing of the truth, and by that alone, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God, placing it upon every man’s own conscience if he does not heed the truth as he knows he should. The verb ἀπεῖον has no present stem; ἀπειπάμεθα appears with the tense suffix α in the second aorist and is an indirect middle: “we renounced for ourselves.” It is not a timeless aorist but historical and states the decisive past fact.

“The hidden things of shame” are such as bring shame and disgrace when they are drawn out of hiding into public light. “Shame,” too, is objective: “disgrace,” and not merely subjective: “the feeling of shame.” These are always things that are disgraceful no matter how those who practice them feel about them. The genitive is qualitative: “shameful or disgraceful hidden things,” the genitive being stronger than the adjective. While “the hidden things of shame” is broad, Paul himself states what he means: “craftiness” and adulterating God’s Word, over against which he sets “the publication of the truth” (hiding nothing) and an appeal to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. So Paul and his helpers began to conduct their ministry, so they are continuing it to this day—not fainting in the least, on the contrary, full of confidence (2:4), thanking God, and triumphing (1:14).

Paul has already referred to the charge made in Corinth that he was not always upright and truthful (1:12, etc.), that his yea was not always yea (1:17, etc.). He again speaks about this point when he says “not walking in craftiness.” But it is now not “I,” and not a defense against personal slander; it is “we,” Paul and his assistants who are presented as men who might avoid discouragement and might seek greater success by practicing “craftiness.” The word means ability to do anything and in the New Testament is always used in an evil sense: trickiness, cunning deception to gain one’s end by underhand and dishonest means and methods. Men of this type had come to Corinth; before Paul is through he will reckon with them (chapter 10, etc.).

Now in 12:16 Paul says regarding himself personally: “being crafty, I caught you with guile” (blame me for it if you will!); but we at once see how open and honest that craftiness was. Craftiness has often been employed by the clergy (let us not say “ministers”); they have played politics in their conventions; they have gained—or lost their ends, but always and always to their own great hurt and to that of the church.

Crafty conduct is paired with “adulterating the Word of God.” These two ever go together. He who is not honest with himself will not be overhonest with the Word. The reverse is also true—and the writer may be permitted to say that he has witnessed it too often—he who is not really honest with the Word cannot be trusted very far with his conduct. Δολόω = to catch with bait, to fix up something so as to deceive and to catch somebody. It is used with regard to adulterating wine. So here: “adulterating the Word of God,” not leaving it pure lest people reject it but falsifying it to catch the crowd. Of all the dastardly deeds done in the world this is the most dastardly. None is more criminal nor more challenging to God himself. Not adulterating the Word of God had its edge against the falsifiers who had come to Corinth, who also cast aspersions upon the genuineness of Paul’s teaching.

Robertson 1128 is right when he says that it is easy to split hairs about the participles and their relation to the main verb. Used with the verb in the aorist, these present durative participles mean: having renounced once for all—we never walk—or adulterate—but ever commend ourselves, etc. We see why one might resort to crafty conduct and to adulteration of the Word, namely thereby to commend himself to people, to get their favor and following.

In 3:1–13 Paul has already touched the question of recommending himself and his fellow workers to the Corinthians, where he states that they need no recommendation, that the Corinthians themselves are Christ’s own letter of recommendation for Paul and his helpers, published like a monumental inscription in Corinth so that all men may read. When he after all speaks about “recommending ourselves” Paul in no way contradicts the previous statement which repudiates all self-recommendation. For see what this self-recommendation is—the very thing that made the Corinthians such a wonderful recommendation for himself and his assistants: “the publication of the truth” with its appeal “to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” All ordinary commendations and recommendations praise the person concerned for what that person himself is. Here is a recommendation that fixes all attention upon what these men, Paul and his helpers, bring, publish openly, letting all men’s consciences judge before God himself. A self-recommendation, yes, but one that asks nothing for self, that asks everything for the truth and its publication.

Φανέρωσις, the action of making publicly manifest, “the publication,” repeats the participles used in 1:14 and 2:3, repeats the idea of “speaking from God before God in Christ” stressed in 2:17, and of “using full openness of speech” stated in 3:12. “With the publication of the truth,” the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with that alone Paul and his assistants expect to win, know they will win, ever feel triumphant with gratitude to God, ever undiscouraged, never fainting. It is the full divine truth of the Word of God, “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20). Ἀλήθεια = the reality revealed by God for our salvation. Its publication constituted the office or work of the apostolic ministry in which all who assisted the apostles helped. All true ministers are still such assistants.

This work of publishing God’s saving truth recommends those who truly do this work “to the conscience of every man in the sight of God.” On conscience see 1:12. Paul says: We come with this truth to every man’s conscience in a public proclamation, presenting it to him in God’s sight (2:17). What any man thinks of us depends on how his conscience reacts in God’s sight to this divine truth which we publish. We have nothing else to recommend us. The Greek idiom “every con-sience of men” is our “conscience of every man.” Paul adds “in the sight of God” because conscience holds us accountable to God. Drop the idea of God, and the vitality of conscience is destroyed. Mere abstract ideas of “right” and “wrong” do not bind the conscience; the idea of God and of his judgment does. With their own conscience bound in the Word of God (Luther’s expression at the Diet of Worms), Paul and his assistants in all their work came with this same Word to every man’s conscience and dealt with every man as in the sight and presence of God, with God watching how each man’s conscience reacted to the truth of his Word.

It is the same thought as that expressed in 2:17. Some preachers, like hucksters, are ready to dicker about the Word of God as though they can discount something to make a sale, as though the deal is between them and men alone. This is what Paul also means by adulterating the Word of God, mixing in unrealities to make the Word acceptable to men. In the case of Paul and his helpers all is pure truth, all is for conscience in God’s sight. Truth ever recommends itself to conscience and thus recommends also those who publish this divine truth. Conscience must ever say that truth is right and must be accepted, and that falsehood is wrong and must be rejected. So conscience must speak with regard to the proclaimers of truth and the announcers of falsehood. Only when conscience is deceived so that it thinks truth is falsehood and falsehood truth, or when it suspects the truth in some way, does its commendation fail. Some hate truth because it is truth (John 8:45), hate the light because their evil deeds want darkness (John 3:19–21). These have seared consciences. Still others are indifferent, cynical, like Pilate: “Why bother about truth?” These have blighted consciences. Yet truth ever finds the conscience and there wins its victories.

Truth needs no aids. Nothing is as strong, as convincing, as sure, as good as the truth, any truth (reality), and thus supremely the saving truth or reality of the Word. If truth itself cannot win a conscience, what can you add to truth to make it win? Some of your craftiness, or some adulteration of the truth? Truth needs no outside argument, its mere presence is greater than all argument. The conscience binds us to the truth; the whole operation is not on the plane of the intellect, not one of argument. The issue only passes through the intellect; it lies ultimately in the conscience and the will. When the sun bathes the rose, its petals open; so conscience should respond to the truth. So many preachers have never fully realized the quality and the power of the truth. A lack of their own full conviction weakens their effort to aid the truth with other means. The one means is “the publication,” the full, complete presentation, “the manifestation.” All victories of the truth are 100 per cent its own.

The truth is the reality. No power is able to destroy it, and no man or no conscience can possibly escape it in the end. All lies soon explode. The truth is the Rock of Ages; let your conscience build on that. All else is sand; and woe to those who built on it, Matt. 7:24–29. Much more could be said. The truth either crowns or destroys you in the end."

 

R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Lenski’s Commentary on the New Testament. Accordance electronic ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), 952-958.


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#3 Helen Brown

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:40 PM

I know you want to be helpful, but his excerpt violates our Forum Guidelines. Please do not post more than 2,000 words of an excerpt, preferably many fewer.


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#4 Brian W. Davidson

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:47 PM

Good grief. Didn’t remember it was so much in one chapter. Thanks feel free to delete.

#5 Tony Lawrence

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:20 PM

I know you want to be helpful, but his excerpt violates our Forum Guidelines. Please do not post more than 2,000 words of an excerpt, preferably many fewer.

Sorry, I did not realize the length of the quote. I will not let it happen again. I only realized afterward that his post asked for a screen shot. 


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#6 Michael Miles

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 02:14 PM

Love Lenski commentaries. Great sale. I’m debating the purchase.

Would anyone be able to post a screen shot of the notes for 2 Cor 4?

Trying to remember how in depth or frequent the Greek notes are. I remember them being super helpful in years past.

I find the Lenski Commentaries to be helpful in places where I need them to be helpful, which is why I opted to purchase the Accordance set of Lenski Commentaries today while they are on sale.  I have them in the Brand-X software as well and I can guarantee you that you will never see them for the price that Accordance is asking for them over in Brand-X-land.






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