Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis 11 (2020)

How Glory Veiled the Honor of God (2 Cor 2:1–4:6)

Evertt W. Huffard

English translations of Paul’s letters to Corinth usually translate doxa as “glory.” Contemporary English speakers seldom use this archaic term in daily conversation, leaving one to wonder what it communicates to a Western reader. This paper takes a section of 2 Corinthians where doxa appears fourteen times and makes the case for translating doxa as ‘honor” more than half the time. When the text is read from the perspective of honor, it strengthens the contrast Paul makes between a lesser and greater doxa and identifies a theology of mission that, for Paul, has deep roots in the honor of God.

God’s will to be known among all nations as the living God, worthy of honor and praise will be realized wherever his people faithfully reflect the honor (character, image) of God. Chris Wright captures the gravity and the hopefulness of this missional task:

So all our missional efforts to make God known must be set within the prior framework of God’s own will to be known. We are seeking to accomplish what God himself wills to happen. This is both humbling and reassuring. It is humbling inasmuch as it reminds us that all our efforts would be in vain but for God’s determination to be known. We are neither the initiators of the mission of making God known to the nations nor does it lie in our power to decide how the task will be fully accomplished or when it may be deemed to be complete. But it is also reassuring. For we know that behind all our fumbling efforts and inadequate communication stands the supreme will of the living God, reaching out in loving self-revelation, incredibly willing to open blind eyes and reveal his glory through the treasures of the gospel delivered in the clay pots of his witnesses (2 Cor 4:1–7).1

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians gives his mission statement as the task of revealing “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” and to have hearts that “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:4–6).2 This article probes what readers in honor-shame cultures might see (or need to see) in 2 Cor 3–4 and the missiological implications of the honor of God. The background for Paul’s mission statement comes before the familiar “therefore” in 2 Cor 4:1. The values of an honor-shame culture permeate the two chapters that precede this mission statement. After the "therefore," Paul writes that he does not engage in shameful distortions of God's word or shameful behaviors because his mission openly seeks to honor God by proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, as the image of God who unveils the doxa of God (2 Cor 4:1-6).

Assumptions

1. Two simplified meanings will be used for kabod/doxa.

The uses of the Hebrew kabod and the Greek doxa in the Bible are extremely rich and complex. Beyond the original languages, we have even more challenges with our own language. Nothing betrays the inadequacy of the “clay pots” (4:7) more than the limitations of human language to represent or describe the Creator. Translators of the English Bible have typically translated the Hebrew word kabod and the corresponding Greek word doxa as “glory” when God is the subject and “honor” when associated with humanity. However, there are many times when “glory” (and its derivatives) is used in reference to God and humanity. This begs the question: Why is “honor” not an appropriate, perhaps even a more accurate translation in many of these instances? For example, there are 470 cases of glory, glorified, or glorious in the ESV, and 139 refer to humanity.3 As David deSilva explains, doxa “has a range of meanings in large part consonant with considerations of honor. It may mean ‘opinion’ or ‘reputation,’ or be used as a synonym for the word ‘honor’ (timē) or may refer to the trappings of a king.”4 Why doxa was chosen to translate kabod in the Septuagint is as yet unknown. When used in association with God, kabod could mean honor, a title of honor, or the physical phenomenon that represents the status, power, righteousness, holiness and character of God.5 For the sake of this discussion, I will simplify and limit the definition to two “glories”—one associated with the physical phenomenon related to the presence of God (light, radiance, power) and the other a reference to the character, and nature of God as described in Exod 34:6–7.

A problem with the history and tradition of the translation of kabod (which could be translated “glory” or “honor”) in relation to God is that it is almost always translated “glory,” leaving the meaning to the assumptions of a Western reader that it refers to radiance, brightness, and the physical phenomenon of God. The failure to translate kabod as “honor” in those contexts that clearly relate to the divine nature, cheats the reader out of what is being claimed about the ethical, moral, and righteous character of God. In a sense, it “de-honors” God. To view God’s doxa/kabod only in terms of God’s appearance would be something like giving sole attention to the visible beauty of the bride on her wedding day rather than also honoring the purity of character and nobility of the woman. This discussion of 2 Cor 2:1–4:6 proposes that something about the knowledge of God can be lost by “veiling” the kabod and doxa of God with “glory” dominated by the first sense.

2. Exod 32–34 is a backdrop for 2 Cor 3-4:6.

Paul may be responding to a question of why the Jews do not accept his gospel when he is a Jew who lived in Jerusalem and was well-known by his community.6 His response builds on the shared familiarity with the Mosaic covenant and the story of the encounter Moses had with God in receiving the commandments. He uses the imagery of the veil that covered the face of Moses (2 Cor 3:13) as a visual analogy for the hardness of their hearts toward Moses to explain their present resistance toward the Messiah, the Spirit of God, and the mission of God. The apostle compares himself to Moses, since he too saw the blinding glory of God on the road to Damascus. He also compares the two covenants in order to contrast the response of Israel to the first and the Jews in Corinth to the second.

Indicators of a Shared Value of Honor in 2 Cor 2:1–4:6

Our interest has been drawn to the value of honor in 2 Cor 2–4 because of the unusually high usage of doxa, but this is by no means the only presence of the theme of honor in his letters to Corinth. The following section identifies the prevalence of honor, as a shared value, for Paul and the church in Corinth.

The Group Is More Important Than the Individual (2 Cor 2:1–11)

Honor/shame societies are collectivistic, that is the identity of the individual will be determined by their relationship to the community. Note that every “you” is a plural you in 2 Cor 2:1–11. Paul writes to the whole church with the understanding that when one suffers it causes everyone pain (2:5). Also, when one has joy (2:3) it will lead to the joy of all. The “punishment by the majority” (2:6) could only take place in an honor-based society where the group is more important than the individual. This may explain why the discipline of the group would be extremely rare in a Western white middle-class church because the individual is more important than the group. In the individualistic society it will be extremely difficult to persuade a majority of the church to hold a brother or sister accountable for actions that dishonor the church and God. They do not want to “hurt” the individual but seem to have a high tolerance for the damage their silence will bring on the church--and correspondingly on Christ. When the church remains silent about social injustices among its members or fails to fulfill its mission, it will struggle with directives Paul gives to the church in Corinth or that James gives the church in Jerusalem. The goal of a collectivistic society is restoration and reconciliation, so the whole group will also love, forgive, and comfort the offending member (2:9–1), because the honor of Christ is at stake (2:10). A few chapters later Paul links the collective responsibility of the church to fulfill its mission, the “ministry of reconciliation,” which honors Christ (as ambassadors) and becoming the honor (righteousness) of God (5:18–21).

The depth of fellowship Paul shares with the church in Corinth supports their decision to forgive even if he does not know the details. He will honor the decision of the majority. Why? For Paul, this matter takes place in the “presence of Christ,” as if they are all looking onto the face of Christ and would not take lightly his grace and mercy. Christ and the church “save face” when the offending disciple acknowledges the sin and repents of whatever dishonored Christ. The church honors God by forgiving and loving the brother to avoid the designs of Satan to “outwit” them (2:11, 17; 4:6).

Paul’s Mission Was to Honor God Everywhere (2 Cor 2:12–17)

Paul expects the proclamation of the gospel of Christ to take place “in the sight of God” (2:17) as if the face of God has been turned toward them—like the “presence of Christ” (2:10). To illustrate this point Paul draws on the imagery of Roman victory processions. The Roman Empire celebrated its global power with triumphal parades through Rome, which also served to shame the conquered. For the conquered, such parades must have felt like a procession from “death to death.” This is illustrated in the story of the zealots at Masada who chose to end their own lives before they would allow the Romans to lead their wives and children through the streets of Rome. Paul pictures God as the one honored in the procession while Satan and “shameful peddlers of God’s word” are outwitted through the power of Christ (2:14) and the sincere (honorable) proclamation of God’s word (2:17). The victors in Christ experience the fullness of life—“life to life” (2:16). But Paul places himself with the conquered, the ones being led in the procession (2:14), those suffering the “shame” of defeat, conquered by God. For those who are being saved, it is an honor. Those who are perishing fail to see the honor in surrendering to God and dying to self (2:6; 4:5). The scandal of the cross is a key to Paul’s point here. As Jayson Georges and Mark Baker explain, “In Paul’s metaphor, he is a willing slave being shamefully led to death (2 Cor 1:9; 4:10; 6:9) and bringing honor to his master. In God’s economy, shame is honorable. Christians boast in weakness.”7

Paul lived in opposition to the cultural norms of honor in Rome, Corinth, and Jerusalem. He viewed himself as the servant of God with little status and power. Schnabel describes that tension well: “Paul’s description of missionaries, preachers and teachers as ‘servants’ turns the frame of reference of Greco-Roman society and its notion of social prestige, where personal honor and status were of paramount importance, upside down.”8

As Paul turned the shameful Roman victory procession into a picture of how the mission of the church (= ministry of reconciliation and righteousness) honors God, he prepares the readers for turning the tables on the brilliance and glory of the face of Moses when God wrote on tablets of stone to the greater doxa of the Spirit of the living God writing on human hearts. The contrast between the glory of letters carved on stone and the honor of the ministry of righteousness (3:7 vrs 3:9) grows bolder.

The Spirit Honors the Living God (2 Cor 3:1–6)

The word of God, written on tablets of stone, did not bring honor to the living God in the way that the word written by the Spirit on the hearts of the church in Corinth did (3:2). Neither did the detractors of Paul honor God in seeking status based on their credentials. Paul’s honor was based on his willingness to be open and transparent to all as compared to the “credentialed” who may have asked that no one follow up on their references.

Paul is shifting their confidence in their court of reputation to the character and nature of God, Christ, and the Spirit (3:4–6). He also contrasts the tablets of stone with human hearts, which suggests his opponents are Jewish or at least are familiar with the narrative of Exod 32–34. God is further honored when his disciples claim their “sufficiency is from God,” and the source of the transformative honor in their inner being comes from the Spirit of God (3:4, 6).

Two “Glories” (2 Cor 3:7–4:6)

Reading this text for the first time may lead one to ask, what is the “glory” Paul is talking about and why is a veil necessary? On top of this he infuses the discussion with imagery of “light,” “veiled minds,” and “veiled hearts.” He seems to be responding to Jewish critics who challenged the effectiveness of his ministry and his message. In his defense, he compares himself to Moses in several curious ways. In order to understand the force of Paul’s argument, it is necessary to review the text from which Paul draws his thoughts. One gets the feeling that Paul just read Exodus 32–34 and started writing about the “glory” (doxa in the LXX) that Moses asked God to show him (Exod 33:18).9 God responds twice, first an immediate declaration about his character (33:19) followed by instructions (33:20–34:3) that prepare for a second declaration to Moses the next morning on Mt. Sinai (Exod 34:6–7). When we employed these two revelations from the LORD to define the kabod/doxa of God, we would immediately note the lack of any reference to his radiance, might, or light. Exodus 33:19–20 and 34:6–7 present the most significant self-description of God anywhere in scripture—until the incarnation of Christ, who was the doxa of God full of grace and truth (John 1:14).10

God’s first response to Moses references goodness, good name, graciousness, and mercy—all qualities of honor. We could say that Moses asked to see who he was talking to—to see the face or the physical presence of God (doxa-glory) but God responded with a revelation of his divine nature (doxa-honor). The next day the LORD continues the same focus on who he is, his honor, his character, when he proclaimed: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6–7; ESV).

When Moses came down from the mountain, he did not know that “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Exod 34:29–30), which frightened Aaron and all the people. Whenever Moses finished speaking to Israel he would put a covering over his face until he returned to speak to the LORD. Nowhere in this section of the story of the shining face of Moses in Exod 34 does the word kabod (glory) appear. Paul appears to introduce “glory” into the narrative of the brightness of the face of Moses to set up his use of the imagery of the veil to explain the Jewish rejection of the gospel. He observes that the letters on stone “came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end.” This observation then leads Paul to ask in contrast: “Will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?” (2 Cor 3:7–8). The description of Moses’s face in Exodus 34:29–30, 35 does not use the word for “glory” in Hebrew. However, the LXX uses “glory” (doxa), which is what Paul was reading.11 What I understand from Paul’s argument is that the radiance/glory of Moses’s face did not transform lives in the way the Spirit changed lives to honor God in Corinth—which gives the Spirit much greater honor.

Paul’s argument brings the honor of God into the new age, for the honor of God is in Christ, who is the image of God.12 The veil that becomes a barrier between Israel and the honor of God can only be taken away by Christ (3:14). To make the contrast with Moses more obvious, Paul continues the imagery of the radiance of Moses to the face of Christ in concluding: “For God . . . has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory [doxa] of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (4:6). In other words, God has made it possible for us to reclaim his honor in our lives through Jesus Christ.

Paul uses doxa 14 times in 2 Cor 3:7–4:6. Even though each occurrence could be studied in much more depth, we should be able to discern which of the two perspectives of doxa (radiance/light or honor/character) makes best sense in the flow and logic of Paul’s argument. Below is a list of each of the occurrences of doxa and my assessment of which of the “two glories” would best fit the context. This exercise will challenge the overuse of “glory” in the English translations, a tradition that has veiled the honor of God to the English reader.

1.

“came with such glory (3:7)

This reference to Exod 34:30 describes the “skin of his face shone” because he had been with the LORD.

Radiance/ Light

2.

“could not gaze at Moses’s face because of its glory” (3:7)

This reference to Exod 34:30 describes the “skin of his face shone” because he had been with the LORD.

Radiance/ Light

3.

“will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory” (3:8)

The reference to the “ministry of the Spirit” would make honor the appropriate rendering of doxē because “ministry” is not an entity that could shine or be veiled for the believers in Corinth. The greater honor is in the fact that the Spirit transformed the lives of disciples in Corinth who became compassionate, merciful, faithful, and forgiving (Exod 34:6–7) in ways that the law did not transform the inner life.

Honor/ Character

4.

“if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation” (3:9)

Aaron and Israel feared Moses and would not go near the light because it really meant judgment to them (Exod 34:30), or as Paul wrote, “the letter kills” (3:6).

Radiance/ Light

5.

“the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory” (3:9)

If “shine” or “gaze” were in the sentence we could be satisfied to use “glory” here for doxē. However, the association with righteousness would point to a quality of character, making “honor” the likely choice, lending more support to its superiority and effectiveness.

Honor/ Character

6.

“what once had glory” (3:10)

Here we have an obvious reference to the radiant light on the face of Moses from Exod 34:30. In fact, the Hebrew term here is qaran and only appears four times in the OT, three of them in Exod 34:30 (the fourth in Ps 69:31). Paul was relying on the LXX which used doxa in each of these cases.

Radiance/ Light

7.

“has come to have no glory at all” (3:10)

Same as above, the Hebrew term here is “radiance.”

Radiance/ Light

8.

“because of the glory that surpasses it” (3:10)

While light and honor could go from dim to great, the contrast Paul is making between light at Sinai and the honor of Chist would cause me to opt for the latter. Honor surpasses radiance. Honor is developmental, radiance is experiential. Paul will soon refer to growing from “one degree of doxa to another” (3:18).

Honor/ Character

9.

“if what was being brought to an end came with glory” (3:11)

This would be another reference to the radiance in Exod 34:30.

Radiance/ Light

10.

“much more will what is permanent have glory” (3:11)

The brightness of the face of Moses ultimately faded. In contrast, the new covenant in Christ will not be known by a fading radiance as much as being superior in eternal honor, in reclaiming the image of God through the spiritual transformation of mercy, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness, and love of God in the lives of the disciples of Christ (= Exod 34:6–7).

Honor/ Character

11.

“we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord” (3:18)

We have no knowledge of Christians in Corinth seeing bright lights on Paul’s face, but what they all experienced was the honor of the Lord in mercy, compassion, forgiveness, (= Ex. 34:6–7) in lives transformed by the gospel of Christ.

Honor/ Character

12.

“transformed into his image from one degree of glory to another” (3:18)

The transformation of believers at Corinth had nothing to do with their faces shining brighter but had everything to do with the developmental restoration of the image (= honor) of God in their lives as the Spirit produces more compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and faithfulness in their hearts (= Exod 34:6–7).13 This implies a dynamic maturation of the inner life (character) that takes place when believers are led by the Spirit. It is important to note that the transformation is taking place within each disciple, an intransitive action, rather than something they do to or for God, like praise and worship. Also note that our language is inadequate here because English verbs “glorify” and “honor” have no intransitive—except for a negative intransitive, which is “boasting,” that Paul also uses in this letter (10:15–16). This verse is preceded by a declaration and a promise that makes the transformation possible. “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (3:16–17). Freedom from what? I am of the opinion that it is freedom to reclaim the image of God and become more honorable. Other possibilities would be freedom from shame,14 from the temporary values of worldly achievements,15 or hard heartedness.16

Honor/ Character

13.

“from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (4:4)

What is behind the imagery? The god of this world will blind people to the unseen. The gospel sheds light on the human condition and gives hope and a way to live that transforms hard hearts into compassionate neighbors, cruel landowners into merciful masters, hatred into love, etc. (= Exod 34:6–7). When they respond to the gospel, the Spirit brings the honor of Christ (who is the image of God and thus the honor of God) into their lives.17

Honor/ Character

14.

“to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (4:6)

If only the knowledge of God made itself known globally by a blinding bright light that would give indisputable evidence of the presence of God anywhere the evangelist might go! Believers in Corinth experienced a transformation of their hearts by the knowledge of the honor of God “in the face of Christ.” Their response to the gospel received the blessing of Christ. By the end of the letter Paul will ask them to examine and test themselves to see if Christ is really living in them (13:5).

Honor/ Character

I have proposed that eight of the fourteen uses of doxa in this text would be better understood as “honor” in English. The use of “glory” veils the honor and character of God in more than half the references.

A major difference between the context of the two covenants and the two audiences can be found in the difference between the face of Moses and the face of Paul. As Paul presented the Gospel in Corinth his face was not veiled because of a brightness, it was normal—too normal for them! However, “the gospel of the doxes of Christ” (2 Cor 4:4) revealed the honor of God’s faithfulness to his promises, the richness of his grace and the evidence of his righteousness. Why not translate this as “the gospel of the honor of Christ”? What will happen if we use “honor” for the eight of the uses of “glory” in 2 Cor 2:1–4:6? The persistent use of “glory” in English veils the richness of the honor of God and weakens, if not misses, Paul’s argument.

The concerns for honor in this community will also support the need to understand doxa as much more than the radiance of God and how Paul uses the imagery of light for the honor of God. Other supporting markers will also be expressed in terms of morality defined by communal dynamics (2:3–11), status (3:1–2) and face (3:7; 4:6).

In summary, re-reading 2 Cor 3:7–18 in light of this discussion exposes the transformative power of the honor of God in Paul’s theology of mission.

For if what was being brought to an end came with radiance, much more will what is permanent have honor. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the honor of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of honor to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.18

Missiological Implications

Becoming a disciple of Christ is a process of changing the inner person to imitate or restore the character of God. The new life in Christ is one that is filled with the honor of God and gives honor to God for all that is good. Doctrines and traditions can lose sight of this goal because it is costly and takes a lot of time. It brings great joy when we see God transform lost souls into people of honor and integrity whose behaviors consistently show compassion, mercy, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness and spiritual accountability. Salvation in Christ brings honor to lost souls. People of the majority world have a greater hunger for honor than they do for the salvation, they feel more burdened by shame than by lostness. Within their world, the Gospel of the honor of Christ that Paul presents in this text can be proclaimed with confidence and boldness.

The Christian message and mission in the majority world, where honor and shame continue to shape worldviews, cannot ignore the power of our hearts as witnesses “to the knowledge of the honor of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” We do not proclaim ourselves. As the Psalmist said, we “Declare his honor (kabod/doxa) among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (96:3). God wants to be known and he is known where people are honorable and honor the righteous God.

The revelation of the honor of God at Sinai becomes the “gold standard” for honor. For me it unlocks the mystery of how all people are made in the image of God. Every human being has the capacity to do every one of the behaviors (compassionate, merciful, slow to anger, etc), but everyone fails to do so—thus we “fall short of the honor (doxa) of God” (Rom 3:23). Any culture can excel in some aspect of honor, but they all fail to get it right without God. Therefore, Christians “believe that God is the essence and source of all true honor. The Creator emanates glory and splendor from his very being. God’s honor is neither achieved nor ascribed: it simply is. So, being made in the image of this glorious God, every person and every nation covets the true honor that was lost in the Garden of Eden. The universal pursuit for face gives rise to thousands of cultural systems by which people attempt to construct a name for themselves. But such honor is a mere shadow of the real honor derived from God.”19 For Paul, Christian mission makes known the honor of Christ everywhere (2:14; 4:4,6) with hope and boldness (3:12). Proclaiming Jesus as Lord unveils the honor of God. The unveiling of the doxa of the Lord can transform anyone into his image developmentally, from one degree of honor to another (3:18).

Evertt W. Huffard is Professor Emeritus at Harding School of Theology, a partner in the Hope Network Ministries, and serves as a facilitator for church equipping for Mission Resource Network. He served churches in the Middle East for nine years and completed a PhD in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary. He taught missions and leadership at Harding School of Theology from 1987 to 2019 and also served as VP/Dean for 15 years.

1 Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 129–30.

2 Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.

3 Werner Mischke, The Global Gospel (Scottsdale, AZ: Mission ONE, 2015), 90.

4 David A. deSilva, The Hope of Glory (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009), 142.

5 See a summary by Haley Goranson Jacob of the research of Millard Berquist and George Caird on the meaning of kabod in Conformed to the Image of His Son (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018), 29–32.

6 Since we cannot be certain of the question Paul is answering here, we can only guess from his response who was raising the question and why. For example, deSilva, Hope, 126, thinks this is less about Paul’s Jewish opponents and more about the passing of the present age in contrast to what will endure eternally. He bases this view on the two “glories” in 3:10, one that fades and one that endures.

7 Jayson Georges and Mark D. Baker, Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016), 128.

8 Eckhard J. Schnabel, Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 131.

9 Paul gives an interpretation of Exod 32–34 in 2 Cor 3:7–11 and makes application in 3:12–18. See further discussion of the backdrop of Exod 32–34 to this section of 2 Cor in Scott J. Hafemann, 2 Corinthians, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 142–44.

10 All the characteristics of God’s kabod in Exod 34:6–7 could be summarized under two general categories, grace and truth, leaving us with the possibility of the honor of God at Sinai in the background of John 1:14.

11 Hafemann, 146.

12 Ralph Martin, 2 Corinthians, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco, TX: Word, 1986), 80–81.

13 deSilva, Hope, 126, defines the “image” as “an image of suffering and weakness [of Christ] through which the power of God becomes present,” which gives the believer eternal honor.

14 Georges and Baker, 114.

15 deSilva, Hope, 134.

16 Hafemann, 160.

17 David A. deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2000), 131, suggests that 2 Cor 4:3–4 could also be an example of recipients of God’s benefaction who are dead to their obligations of gratitude and continue to reject the divine patron and his household.

18 Adapted from the English Standard Version.

19 Georges and Baker, 48.