Tuesday, 25 August 2015
But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 2 Corinthians 6:4
The word “but” is based upon what he just said in the preceding verse. It was the aim of the apostles to give no offense in anything in order to keep the ministry from blame. Instead of allowing this to occur, he notes that in all ways they commended themselves “as ministers of God.”
The word “commend” isn’t meant in the sense of “a pat on the back” but rather “how to behave.” Their actions and behavior were constantly being subordinated to the importance of their ministry. It was as if they had a subprogram running in the back of their mind, constantly reminding them of the solemnity of their work. Therefore, they were always ensuring their behavior was kept in line with the expectations Christ would have of their ministry.
After noting this, he now begins a lengthy list of such expectations beginning with “much patience.” This is perfectly in line with what he said to the Corinthians in his first letter. In his great discourse on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he says that “love suffers long.” This is something then that would be expected of an apostle. The demonstration of much patience, especially with those who were lost in sin, was necessary to bring them from their darkened state to the light of Christ.
He next says, “…in tribulations.” This is the same word used in 2 Corinthians 4:17. It indicates a “narrow place that ‘hems someone in’; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, ‘without options’).” The apostles, particularly Paul, as is documented in Acts, faced such pressures as they ministered to others.
His next description of them is “in needs.” It indicates “calls for timely help, i.e. strong force needed to accomplish something compulsory (absolutely required). This kind of situation is typically brought on by great pain or distress.” Again, the life of the apostle was frequented with such hardships.
Finally, this verse ends with “in distresses.” As with the previous two words, HELPS Word Studies gives us a clue concerning what Paul is trying to relay. This word means “properly, a narrow place; (figuratively) a difficult circumstance – which God always authorized and hence only produces a temporal sense of confinement. Through Christ’s inworking of faith, internal distress (sense of pressure, anguish) is ironically the way He shows His limitless work – in our ‘limitations’!”
Such was the life of the apostle as they endeavored to keep their ministries free from scandal. It was their heart’s goal and desire to glorify Christ and not bring any scandal upon His glorious name.
Life application: We live in a world of comfort and ease. But should that end for whatever reason, let us remember our testimony as bearers of the title “Christian” and endeavor to never bring discredit upon that glorious title.
Lord God, my heavenly Father – I bear a name and a title which has the highest honor of all. I bear the exalted name of Jesus and the title of Christian. Help me to always endeavor to remember my place and to never bring discredit upon either. Rather, grant me the grace to always bring glory to my Lord and to the faith which I possess in Him. This I pray to Your honor and glory. Amen.