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These small group study notes on the book of 2nd Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications. Feel free to print them, copy them, or share them. I only ask that you remember these are are personal study notes and are only meant as a supplement to your own study, not a replacement. May God be glorified! Visit our inductive Bible study main page for more studies on this and other books of the Bible. See the bottom of the page for the rest of the study on 2 Corinthians chapter 4.
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 Inductive Bible Study - Outline, Key Words, Cross References, and Discussion Questions
Messenger of the Gospel
2 Cor 4:1-12
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, " Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 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.
· But 9
· Not 9
· Live/life 5
· Light 3
· Shine/shone 2
· Death 2
· Body 2
· Glory 2
· Heart 2
Let Jesus Shine Through
Giving our All For the Gospel
For Jesus’ Sake
I. The Attitude of the Messenger 1,2
B. Simple, childlike faith
II. The Recipients of the Message 3,4
A. Vessels of mercy
B. Vessels of wrath
III. The Heart of the Message 5
A. Not ourselves
IV. The Testimony of the Messenger 6
A. Our light shines
B. It is the light of God that has shone in our hearts
V. The Power of the Messenger 7
A. Of God
B. Not from ourselves
VI. The Affliction of the Messenger 8,9
A. Badly battered
B. Never defeated
VII. The Manifestation in the Messenger 10,11
A. We suffer greatly in this life
B. The purpose is that His life will be manifested through us
VIII. The Outcome of the Message 12
A. Suffering of the messenger
B. Salvation of the chosen
Cross References, Questions, Observations
1. Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
2 Cor 5:18
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
1 Peter 2:10
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
a) What ministry is it that we have?
b) Why does having the ministry cause us not to lose heart?
c) What, more than anything else, helps you to remain encouraged?
1) Every believer has been given a ministry
2. but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
2 Cor 2:17
17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.
2 Cor 11:13-15
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
a) What are some of the secret hidden things of which Paul is speaking?
b) What’s wrong with being crafty?
c) Name some ways that God’s Word is now being adulterated.
1) Doctrine is very important and we should be strong defenders of the truth.
3. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting
2 Peter 3:3,4
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."
At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
1 Cor 1:18
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
12 "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
11 Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 "For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
a) If the gospel is veiled to the perishing, to whom is it not veiled?
b) Why do you think the gospel seems to be relatively unimportant to most unbelievers?
4. in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."
31 " Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
1 John 5:19
19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
a) Who is the god of this world?
b) What methods does he use to blind unbelievers?
c) What steps, if any can we take to counteract his measures?
1) We should not expect right behavior from unbelievers because they are strongly influenced by the god of this world.
2) A blind person cannot possibly see the light. God must open their eyes before they can see.
5. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,
1 Cor 3:5
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified."
8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
1 Cor 2:2
2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
2 Cor 5:14-15
14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
2 Tim 2:10
10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.
a) What observations would you make about someone who preaches themself?
b) What is a bond-servant?
6. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."
23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
1) God is the source of all light
7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2 Cor 12:7
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself!
7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
2 Cor 3:5
5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
2 Cor 12:9
9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
a) What is the treasure and why do we have it in earthen vessels?
8. we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
2 Cor 11:23-28
23 Are they servants of Christ? — I speak as if insane — I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
2 Cor 4:16-17
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
a) Why do Christians suffer?
b) Why do nonChristians suffer?
9. persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
1) Since we have eternal life, in a sense we are invulnerable.
10. always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
a) How does carrying about the dying of Jesus manifest the life of Jesus in our life?
b) How are we carrying about the dying of Jesus?
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.
22 But for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" 60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep.
25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword.
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
1 Cor 15:53
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1) God never intended for the Christian life to be trouble free or easy.
12. So death works in us, but life in you.
17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
1 John 3:16
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
1) Dying is an essential step to bearing fruit.
2) The greatest love is demonstrated by laying down one’s life for another.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
God goes to extraordinary means to use ordinary people to preach His glorious gospel to a doomed world so that His previously chosen few will be saved.
Application - Make Your Own
Establish a regular time to share the gospel so that young believers can join me and learn to share as well as becoming faithful in sharing.
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