Claypot Treasure: Paul’s Perspective on His Suffering
An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
The history of the movement Dr James H. Taylor III has been associated with for most of his life (CIM/OMF) is a history marked by the suffering of faithful servants of God. My contribution to this volume honouring Dr Taylor seeks to reflect on the suffering that inevitably comes to those who serve Christ even today.
Paul expounds his theology of suffering in many passages. Each one brings key insights into his understanding of what it means to suffer. I want to focus on one such insight found in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. It is found in an autobiographical passage where Paul is giving an apologetic for his apostolic ministry (2:12-7:1). He has just talked about his boldness as a minister of the New Covenant (3:4-18). Our passage comes in the middle of a description of the suffering and the glory that accompanies the ministry (4:7-5:10). Here I will focus on Paul’s insight that the weakness associated with suffering helps highlight God’s power (4:7-12).
THE GOSPEL WAY: TREASURE IN CLAYPOTS (4:7).
Claypots in an Appearance–Oriented Age. Verse 7 summarises Paul’s point: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” “Treasure” here refers either to the gospel or to gospel ministry. Jars of clay can break, get chipped and crack. The focus is on fragility and weakness and possibly unattractiveness.
Paul’s suffering, and perhaps even his physical characteristics and style of public ministry seem to have highlighted his weakness and made him unattractive. His opponents would have used that to discredit him. Paul’s opponents were high on appearance. Therefore three times in this section of 2 Corinthians Paul appeals to conscience as a key to judging ones authenticity (1:12; 4:2; 5:11). Twice he appeals to what is in unseen or in the heart, as opposed to outward appearance (4:18; 5:12).
A key feature of worldliness today is the preference for outward appearance over what is in the heart. Often appearance is more effective in winning votes than the goodness of the person in an election campaign. Campaigns are fashioned in order to make the person appear attractive. I am told that Abraham Lincoln’s appearance would have disqualified him if he were to contest today. Much of marketing works on this premise. And the characteristics of the models and actors used in advertising are helping shape people’s ideas of the value of a person. Even a Christian might reject a proposal of marriage to a wonderful Christian with a beautiful personality on the grounds that this person has a small physical flaw, even though this flaw would not be a block to a happy marriage.
In this environment the church could get dragged in and let market factors influence her strategy. We tend to gauge the significance of a ministry by things like its buildings, the number of paid staff, and the popularity of the leaders. Yet those very things may take away our effectiveness. The lifestyle of many relief and development workers is so far removed from the poor they serve that they would find it impossible to identify with them. They can help them economically; and we know that good work is being done by them. But they will fail to impact the poor with gospel values. Peter told the lame man in Jerusalem, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Though they had little economic clout they had much spiritual power.
We are seeing a sad scenario today. Very effective ministries are initially developed by indigenous leaders whose ministries have grown by nurturing new believers through incarnational discipling ministry. Then a foreign sponsor is attracted to the ministry and a lot of funds to it. This, in turn, results in the ministry becoming huge and numerous “projects” being started. With more funds coming in, the leader’s lifestyle becomes somewhat removed from that of those among whom he or she ministered. The ministry becomes so large and the workers so busy working on projects that there is no time for the incarnational discipling aspect of the ministry which takes place through a lot of time being spend with individuals. The result is that the believers are not nurtured and the church becomes fat and unhealthy.
Paul said, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor. 1:27-28). What appears small and insignificant may be more powerful that impressive looking things. Towards the end of his life when Paul was in prison in Rome he encountered this problem. The church seemed to be so ashamed of him that nobody came for his trial. He sadly reports tat only Luke was with him (2 Tim. 4:11). But today, he is a hero. Dennis Kinlaw has said that at that time in Rome if someone were to ask who would have the biggest impact on history people would have mentioned Nero and no one would have thought of Paul. But today we name our dogs Nero and our sons Paul.
Worldliness can rob the church of its heroes. It can cause capable people to shun the cross for ministries that impress the world. Therefore, there is an urgent need to recover the sense of the glory of jars of clay and to combat the infiltration of the current mood of devotion to appearance. If we fail here we won’t produce heroes in the church. We will produce successful entrepreneurs whose rewards are limited to this world.
Claypots Demonstrate the Power of God. The value of jars of clay is that they “show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (4:7b). There is no verb equivalent to “to show” in Greek. Instead we have the word hiva meaning “in order that,” or “so that.” The more literal NAS renders this, “So that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” Our weakness becomes a means of unleashing the power of God and, by so doing, of demonstrating God’s greatness. For this reason the godly are embarrassed, uneasy and wary when the focus is on them and their greatness.
I think my favourite moment in Western Music is the place in Joseph Haydn’s Creation where the creation of light is described. The choir quietly sings “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Next softly in staccato it almost whispers, “And; there; was….” Then there is a pregnant moment of silence, after which the choir cries out loudly: “…light.” When Haydn was an old man living in Vienna he was brought on a stretcher for a performance of the Creation. Just after the choir sang, “light,” the people rose to their feet and burst into applause. Haydn lifted up his trembling hands and said, “Not from me; it all comes from above.” May we develop the discipline of deflecting attention from ourselves so that people may see the power and glory of God.
WE CAN COPE (4:8-9)
Next Paul describes his experience of suffering using four couplets each presenting a type of suffering and an antithesis to it describing how God provides grace to help him cope with the suffering. The first two are internal sufferings and the next two are from external sources.
Suffering Internally (4:8). First Paul says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed” (4:8a). The word translated “afflicted” (thlibō) appears ten times in the New Testament of which three times are in 2 Corinthains. This is the verb of the much used noun thilpsis which appears 43 times and is often translated “tribulation.” It literally means “pressing, squeezing, or crushing,” and is used for pressing upon or burdening the spirit. Paul is talking about stress.
There are many books on how to avoid stress today. But Paul seems to be saying that stress is a normal part of his life and ministry. We see this in his anxiety until Titus came with news of the Corinthians’ response to his harsh letter (2 Cor. 2:12-13). We see this when he says, “And apart from other things there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” The word pressure is used here “in the sense of anxiety caused by a heavy sense of responsibility.” When you are committed to people, or to a cause you can’t avoid stress.
We are not talking here about the stress of a driven person whose ambition to succeed takes unhealthy forms. Such do not take Sabbath rests; they do not delegate responsibilities to others. They relentlessly pursue earthly success because they need success to feel significant. We are talking here about the stress of one who loves others and hurts when they move away from God’s best for them; of one who is so passionately committed to the glory of God that he or she is provoked to anger and sorrow when God is dishonoured.
Paul says that though he is “afflicted in every way” he is “not crushed” (4:8). This word has the idea of being “in a circumstance that seems to offer no way out.”  Things will get tough, but we know that there’s a way out. In the darkest hour, our faith deep down assures us that God is sovereign, and that he will see us through. One of John Greenleaf Whittier’s hymns says,
Here in the maddening maze of things;
when tossed by storm and flood;
to one fixed ground my spirit clings;
I know that God is good.
Often in ministry we encounter situations which seem to offer no way out. At such times we simply just cling to hope knowing that God is bigger that this situation and will see us through. Therefore we won’t be crushed; we won’t give up, or do something rash.
Second, Paul says that they are “perplexed, but not driven to despair” (4:8). The word translated perplexed means, “to be in a confused state of mind, be at a loss, be in doubt, be uncertain.” Some people feel very uneasy when they are not in control of things. We are taught to be decisive, always on top of things. But it is as we grapple with perplexity and uncertainty, as we grapple with how to solve this problem, as we weigh the pros and cons of different lines of action, that we grow deep. Our grappling deepens our faith. When we are deep, we influence people deeply; and that surely is the need of the hour.
Frustration is part of life in a fallen world. Paul expounds this in Romans 8:19-23 and says that, because of this, even believers in Christ “who have the first-fruits of the Spirit” groan along with the whole creation. Groaning, then, is an integral part of the Christian life.
You can avoid all of this by not getting close to people; by not letting your emotions be influenced by the behaviour of others. The only other time this Greek word is used in the New Testament is in the context of Paul’s commitment and love to the Galatians. He says: “My little children, for whom I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” (Gal. 4:19-20). This is the heart-cry of a discipler. Incarnational discipleship will produce such perplexity, because many of the people we disciple will fall and struggle. Some will not even make it to the end. No wonder there is so little discipling today. We have efficient discipleship programmes with excellent biblical courses. But it is too inefficient, too cumbersome, to be pouring ones life out to individuals.
Large numbers of people are getting converted in Asia these days, but many are not moving towards maturity and holiness. Discipling is so needed in Asia because our shame-cultural orientation has many features which are incompatible with what it takes to battle sin in our lives. We find it difficult to walk in the light through confession of sin so that we can have fellowship and grow (1 John 1:7). If the truth of the gospel is to really go deep inside our people we will need to get close to them and “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).
Grappling with perplexity and uncertainty also helps us to grow deep. We learn deep truths about God and his ways as we grapple with how to solve the complex problems that emerge as we get close to people, and as we weigh the pros and cons of different courses of action. So our groaning deepens our faith, and when we are deep we are able to influence people deeply. And is that not the need of the hour in ministry?
Out of the perplexity over the problems in the church in Galatia came the Epistle to the Galatians. In it you often see his pain and anger over the way the Galatians were being misled. This is one of the most influential writings in the history of the world. James Montgomery Boice says of Galatians: “Not many books have made such a lasting impression on men’s minds as the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, nor have many done so much to shape the history of the western world. Galatians has been called the ‘Magna Carta of Christian liberty’ and this is quite correct.” Boice points out that “Luther in particular was influenced by it. He called it his Catherine Von Bora [his wife’s name], for, he said, ‘I am wedded to it’.” Boice says, “In Luther’s hands the book became a mighty weapon in the Reformation arsenal.”
John Chrysostom, who is considered the greatest Bible expositor of the early church, experienced much perplexity. He was discouraged over the seeming deafness of his listeners as they failed to apply the truths he preached about week after week. He once complained: “My work is like that of a man who is trying to clean a piece of ground into which a muddy stream is constantly flowing.” Yet, 1560 years after his death his commentary on the New Testament is still in print and there are many electronic versions of it. Perplexity helps us develop penetrative insight which will leave long term affects on the church.
Paul says that though he is perplexed he is “not driven to despair” (4:8b). There is an interesting word play here as the two Greek words (aporoumenoi and exaporoumenoi) sound very much alike. Their meanings are also similar. The second work seems to be referring to perplexity that drives one to the point of despair, of giving up. One lexicon puts it like this, “Sometimes at a loss but not a loser.” Though there isn’t much difference between these two words—being perplexed and despairing—there is a huge difference in the end. One drives you to making a deeper impact while the other drives you to give up.
Suffering from External Sources (4:9). After presenting two internal sources of suffering, Paul presents two external sources. First, he says they are “persecuted, but not forsaken” (4:9a). The word translated “persecuted” (diōkō) originally has the meaning of pursuing or running after something. Of the 45 occurrences of the word in the New Testament, it takes the meaning “to persecute” thirty times. Persecution takes place when people pursue us to stop or hinder our work. While this is something one would like to avoid, Paul says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:12).
Is it really true that all godly people will be persecuted? Christianity is too radical a religion and the biblical ethic is too radical a way of life for it ever to be too popular. Our belief in the absolute uniqueness of Christ, which propels us to evangelism, is too radical a concept to ever be popular especially in our pluralistic age. Godly Christians will sooner or later face persecution.
John Wesley was riding along the road one day when he realized that three whole days had passed without him being persecuted. Not a brick or an egg had been thrown at him for three days! He was alarmed, and he stopped his horse. He thought, “Can it be that I have sinned and am backslided?” He got on his knees and prayed to God to show him where he had failed. A person on the other side of the ledge heard the prayer and recognized Wesley. He said, “I’ll fix that Methodist preacher,” and threw a brick at Wesley. The brick missed Wesley. He leaped to his feet joyfully and said, “Thank God, it’s all right, I still have his presence.”
Humans naturally like to be liked. We love the people we are called to minister to, and will love them no matter what they do to us. We like them to reciprocate that love. So it hurts us when they reject our love. In fact our sacrificial service of evangelism is considered unethical and dishonourable. Evangelists among the unreached are often considered traitors by their people. This is not easy to endure if you love your country. When the calling that propels you is despised, there is a great temptation to do something more respectable. The organisation I work with, Youth for Christ, could be tempted to stop evangelising unreached youth and start working with Christian youth and training them in evangelism.
Evangelicals in many parts of the world are not the despised, marginal group they were fifty years ago. Many of our institutions are respected and prosperous. An Amish Bishop has said, “Prosperity has often been fatal to Christianity but persecution, never.” Now that we are accepted as a mainstream entity we will be tempted to downplay those things which take us against the stream. I fear that many evangelicals have stopped proactively going after the lost and instead contented themselves with living the Christian life in the hope that they could share the gospel to people who come to them asking them about their faith. We will never reach the world for Christ if we only wait for people to come to us! We may be coming back to facing the old “proclamation versus presence” debate in the church.
After saying that they are persecuted, Paul says, “…but not forsaken” (4:9a NIV “abandoned”). Though we face the pain of rejection, God will not abandon us. David said, “For my Father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psa. 27:10). God’s ministry to us when persecuted is often through his comfort. At the start of 2 Corinthians Paul mentions how he faced a huge crisis. But that opened the door for God’s comfort resulting in a powerful statement of praise to “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3-11).
Persecution can cause people to become bitter. I have seen some faithful servants of God in Sri Lanka turning quite bitter after facing persecution. God’s comfort takes away the bitter edge of persecution. You can’t remain angry when you’re thrilled by the beautiful way God has ministered to you. John Bunyan, who encountered a lot of persecution during his life, once said, “Were it lawful, I could pray for greater trouble for greater comfort’s sake.”
We praise God that today there is a lot of praying for the persecuted church and speaking up for the rights of persecuted people by Christians all over the world. These are very healthy developments. But there is little teaching on the inevitability of persecution and on how to prepare for it. If we do not prepare God’s servants for persecution, they could end up disillusioned when they face it. Some may even move away from God’s call to something easier thinking that it is not God’s will for them to suffer in this way.
The last of Paul’s four couplets is, “…struck down, but not destroyed” (4:9b). Again there is a play on words by Paul. Several translators follow the lead given in J. B. Phillips’ paraphrase: “We may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out.” The expression “struck down,” carries the idea of being thrown down to the ground. Paul’s experience in Lystra illustrates this point. He was stoned, dragged out of city and left for dead. When the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and walked to the city (Acts 14:19-20). Christian ministry is like this. We receive blow after blow; and sometimes we look like we are out for the count. But, like the Duracell batteries in the familiar advertisement, we get up and fight on and finally win the war!
We have found that, when gospel workers start pioneering evangelism in new areas in Sri Lanka, usually there is severe opposition for the first five to ten years. They may be assaulted; their houses stoned; and their families will constantly be under the threat of attack. After some years the people realise the Christians are not as bad as they were rumoured as being. In fact, they see the Christians making a positive contribution to the village. Then they begin to accept them as a legitimate part of the community. Sadly, some give up and leave before that acceptance comes. But others stay on to reap a harvest.
We need perseverance that comes out of a commitment to the call we received from God. Perseverance arising from commitment is not very common in our mobile culture. When people face inconvenience or setback or pain they change their job, or their church, or small group, or neighbourhood, or even spouse. I was once preparing message on stress in the ministry while I was travelling in the west. During my time of preparation I was told of three Christians who had been liberated from difficult circumstances. One left his church, another the Christian organisation for which he worked and the third his spouse. When I heard each of these stories the question that came to me is whether they should have stayed rather than splitting.
William Carey had an amazing impact on India even though he faced some huge obstacles! When he first proposed the idea of taking the gospel to unreached areas, the proposal was rejected by his church in England. Someone is supposed to have told him “Young man, if God wants to save the heathen he could do it without your help or mine.” When he arrived in India the British did not give him permission to work in areas under their control. He had to go to a Danish colony. Fire in his press once burned a lot of the work he had done. His wife went insane and finally died.
But Carey stayed on, and he and his team “the Serampore Trio” “founded 26 churches and 126 schools (total enrolment ten thousand), translated Scripture into 44 languages, produced grammars and dictionaries, and organized India’s first medical mission, savings bank, seminary, Indian girls’ school, and vernacular newspaper (in Bengali).” Carey had a hand in several other social projects too. He “campaigned for the eradication of suttee (burning a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre) and conducted extensive agricultural experiments. He was instrumental in founding the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India in 1820. Carey was responsible for India’s first organized printing operation, paper mill, and steam engine. He initiated the first English translation of the great Sanskrit epics the Ramayana and Mahabharata.”
When Carey was asked for the cause of his amazing success he is reported to have said, “I can plod, I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” He was a plodder; he persevered.
We are facing a big problem in Asia with some of the people who come back from the west with high qualifications. They seem to have imbibed a worldly understanding of vocational fulfilment. They look for jobs where they spend most of their time using their gifts and doing what they like to do. They like to be able to concentrate on their specialisation. But most countries in Asia can’t afford that kind of specialist. So they end up frustrated and unhappy. Some conclude that they are in the wrong place, and they leave. Some become consultants in their specialised field and others start their own organizations. The attitude of people like Carey was to do what God’s call necessitated however hard it was, to die for the work they were called to do.
CLAYPOT TREASURE: THE THEOLOGICAL EXPLANATION (4:10-12)
Theologizing our Experiences. Verses 10-12 interpret the experiences described in verses 8-9 in terms of the death and resurrection of the Christian and the fruit of it in the lives of others. What we find is a theological reflection on the suffering Paul had experienced. A theological orientation to life can help us cope with suffering. Whenever we encounter something we don’t like, we reflect on it theologically. We interpret it using our Christian worldview—of which a major ingredient is the cross. The theology provides us with the muscle to face the suffering. It tells us how God will work in it and through it. This helps us to persevere with a positive approach amidst the suffering. Paul had developed the discipline of theologizing using his experiences; of sending his experiences through his theological grid.
The effects of the widespread disdain for theology in the church today will be revealed when Christians face suffering. They could end up paralysed when it comes without the muscle to endure and persevere doing God’s will.
Carrying on the Dying and Revealing the Life of Jesus (4:10-11). After listing four couplets showing how he copes with suffering Paul goes on to say, “…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus.” The NAS is more literal when it translates the last phrase as “the dying of Jesus.” The Greek word nekrōsis is used for the process of dying. As F. F. Bruce translates it, “We continually carry the dying of Jesus about in our bodies.” Paul is dying all the time, just as Jesus was dying. C. K. Barrett comments, “One who observed his life as a Christian apostle… would see, constantly repeated, a process analogous to the killing of Jesus.” As Paul says, “…for your sake we are being killed all the day long” (Rom.8:36); “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal.6:17).
Paul puts four sets of antithesis together in verses 8 and 9. Now he presents another set. He says that the dying is “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (4:10b). Note that the life does not come only after we die. While we are dying we are also living. As Murray Harris puts it, “It was not a matter of life after death, or even of life through death, but of life in the midst of death” Suffering is never the last word for the Christian. In the Bible, it is a prelude to blessing, and sometimes, as here, the two are experienced together.
Paul uses the Greek word hina meaning “so that,” or “in order that.” The purpose of the dying is that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies. The word translated “manifested” (phaneroō) means “to bring to light, to manifest, to display.” People who observed their suffering also observed resurrection power in them. They had something stronger than death; they had a life which had conquered death which expressed itself in death-like situations. A persecuting Government official captured a Christian and asked him, “What can your God do for you now?” The Christian answered, “He can give me the strength to forgive you.” When a Christian was being burnt at the stake, the person performing the burning found him to be smiling. He asked the reason for his smiling and was told, “I saw the glory of God and was glad.” Manifesting life in the midst of death to a hostile world!
Verse 11 gives the same principle as the preceding verse a little more forcefully: “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh”
Life to Others through Our Death (4:12). The next theological principle about suffering is that it brings life to others. Verse 12 says, “So death is at work in us, but life in you” (4:12). Paul seems to be saying, “The more we die, the more you live.” Some of the Christian leader’s greatest ambitions in life have to do with the people they lead. We want to see them holy. We want to see them blossoming as fruitful servants of Christ. We want to see their children properly educated and their housing problems solved. We want to see them great. So we devote our life to them. But, in the process, we suffer so that they’ll be blessed.
This is Jesus’ style of servant leadership. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He said, “For their sake I consecrate myself. So that they also may be sanctified in truth” (Jn.17:19). The context shows that the consecration he is speaking about is his death. Let’s see how this applies today. We write letters on behalf of those we lead or of their children. We spend hours preparing to teach them. We try to raise funds for their projects. Though we are very busy we visit them when they are sick or discouraged or when there is a birthday in the family. We listen to their outbursts when they are angry with us and bear the pain of rejection until they are healed of their anger. We jeopardize our reputation by standing up for them in public.
But these supposed sacrifices are viewed like the sacrifices made when studying for an exam. The study may be costly, and we may give up a lot to do it. But the study helps us achieve our ambition of passing the exam. Similarly, our ambition is to help people to be great, and we will pay a price in order to achieve that. This is servant leadership. Like the great Suffering Servant, we suffer for those we lead. But when we view it as the cost needed to achieve our ambitions it becomes a source of satisfaction. And when they thrive while we suffer, we rejoice. Some who are willing to be servants of the Lord are not willing to be servants of the people of the Lord. The two go together. Paul said, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5). He was a servant of those difficult-to-handle Christians in Corinth.
CONCLUSION: THE COUNTER-CULTURAL NATURE OF CHRISTAINITY
What a counter-cultural religion Christianity is; and how counter-cultural Christian leadership is!
- In a world where pleasant experiences are the measure of an authentic life, we affirm that theology—not experience—drives us. We send every experience through a theological grid. We are a people driven by unchanging truths.
- In a world devoted to comfort and convenience we embrace the discomfort and inconvenience of suffering for other people.
- We look at life as a daily process of dying because we know that it’s the path to really living.
- Some say to really live is to not suffer. We say vibrant life is resurrection life which is preceded by death.
- In a world where selfishness is applauded and where people jeopardise the welfare of people in order to fulfil their personal ambitions; we say our personal ambition is the welfare of others. And when we suffer for them we see that as a measure of our success.
 Dennis F. Kinlaw, This Day with the Master (Nappance, IN, 2002), Sept. 17.
The Gift of Music, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1987), p. 52.
 William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Worlds (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), p. 508.
 Cleon L. Rogers, Jr. and Cleon L. Rogers III, New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament (2003), Pradis 6.0 Electronic Version published by Zondervan Interactive (2007).
 A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature, 3rd edition, revised and edited by Frederick William Danker based on previous editions edited by Walter Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich and F. W. Danker (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2000). Electronic edition by Logos Bible Software.
 atenochōreō, ibid.
 aporeō, ibid.
 James Montgomery Boice, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, edited by Frank E. Gabelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976-1992), Pradis 6.0 Electronic Version (Zondervan Interactive, 2007).
 Danker, op. cit.
 Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations, Electronic Version, WORDsearch 7.0.
 The Bible Illustrator 3.0 (Parsons Technology), # 3480.
 Jan Pit, Editor, Bound to be Free: With the Suffering Church (Tonbridge, Kent, Sovereign World 1995), p.109.
 M Fackler, Who’s Who In Christian History, edited by J. D. Douglas (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992), electronic version, Wordsearch 7.0.
 F. F. Bruce An Expanded Paraphrase of the Epistles of Paul (Palm Springs, CA: Ronald N. Haynes, 1981), p. 135
 C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 139-140
 Murray J. Harris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, edited by Frank E. Gabelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976-1992), Pradis 6.0 Electronic Version (Zondervan Interactive, 2007).