2 Corinthians 4

2 Cor 4:3 if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost

Bruce R. McConkie

"What is the mystery? It is that Christ dwells in the hearts of those who have crucified the old man of sin, and that as a consequence they have a hope of eternal glory! Such is what the Lord requires of his children in working out their 'own salvation with fear and trembling' before him. (Phil. 2:12.) And it is in this connection that Paul says, somewhat caustically, 'But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.' (2 Cor. 4:3.)

"Hidden from the world, but revealed in the hearts of those who are enlightened by the Spirit, this doctrine becomes the measuring rod by which the saints determine whether they are faithful and true." (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 125.)

2 Cor. 4:4 the god of this world

The god of this world is Satan.

Bruce R. McConkie

"This world of carnality and lust, of every lascivious and evil thing, belongs to Satan. He created it; he is its father and its god. All those who belong to it - all those who are carnal, sensual, and devilish - are his children, the children of disobedience. The earth itself is the Lord's, and he is its ruler; but the world (the corrupt society on earth) is under the rule of him who is the god of this world." (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 324.)

John Taylor

"[Satan] exerts an invisible agency over the spirits of men, darkens their minds, and uses his infernal power to confound, corrupt, destroy and envelope the world in confusion, misery, and distress; and, although deprived personally of operating with a body, he uses his influence over the spirits of those who have bodies, to resist goodness, virtue, purity, intelligence, and the fear of God; and consequently, the happiness of man; and poor erring humanity is made the dupe of his wiles. The Apostle says, 'The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them.' 2 Corinthians 4:4. But not content with the ravages he has made, the spoliation, misery, and distress, not having a tabernacle of his own, he has frequently sought to occupy that of man, in order that he might yet possess greater power, and more fully accomplish the devastation." (The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 32 - 33.)

2 Cor. 4:4 Christ...is the image of God

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

"That Christ was in the image and likeness of God, Paul time and time again declared. To the Corinthians he said Christ 'is the image of God.' (2 Cor. 4:4.) To the Colossians he exclaimed in exaltation of Christ, he 'is the image of the invisible God.' (Col. 1:15.) To the Hebrews he affirmed that Christ is 'the express image of his person' (Heb. 1:3)" (Behold the Lamb of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 194.)

2 Cor. 4:6-7 we have this treasure

Paul had seen 'the face of Jesus Christ.' By such a divine manifestation, Paul had learned firsthand of 'the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.' This firsthand knowledge is the treasure spoken of. It is a privilege that can be enjoyed in mortality-while still inhabiting an 'earthen vessel.' Of all the treasures of godliness, of all the rewards of righteousness, this is the greatest-even a personal knowledge of 'the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [he] hast sent' (Jn. 17:3).

It is interesting how indirectly Paul speaks of such a profound experience. His words can be interpreted in other ways, but those sensitive to the Spirit will understand the veiled meanings. Similarly, in our day, when the apostles and prophets speak of their testimony of the Savior, their language is slightly different than ours. The difference is subtle, but a discerning heart understands that they speak of a personal knowledge, obtained through a holy interaction with the Savior himself. They have the same treasure Paul spoke of, for they have personally gained a 'knowledge of the glory of God' while yet inhabiting an 'earthen vessel.' Such is the Second Comforter-a needed comfort when 'troubled on every side...perplexed...persecuted...[and] cast down' (v. 8-9).

2 Cor. 4:8-9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair

"Paul seemed to glory in persecution. It was he who said that persecution was the natural heritage of the faithful (see Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12). As we read of his trials we are reminded of the words of the Lord to Ananias at the time of Paul's conversion, when he told Ananias that Paul was a chosen vessel, but that the Lord would 'shew [Paul] how great things he must suffer for my name's sake' (Acts 9:16). Certainly Paul learned exactly what this meant before his life was through." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 329.)

Joseph Smith

"[While a prisoner of the Missouri mob] Notwithstanding that every avenue of escape seemed to be entirely closed, and death stared me in the face, and that my destruction was determined upon, as far as man was concerned, yet, from my first entrance into the camp [of displaced saints], I felt an assurance that I, with my brethren and our families, should be delivered. Yes, that still small voice, which has so often whispered consolation to my soul, in the depths of sorrow and distress, bade me be of good cheer, and promised deliverance, which gave me great comfort. And although the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things, yet the Lord of Hosts, the God of Jacob was my refuge; and when I cried unto Him in the day of trouble, He delivered me; for which I call upon my soul, and all that is within me, to bless and praise His holy name. For although I was 'troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed' [see 2 Corinthians 4:8-9]. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. 3:329)

Neal A. Maxwell

"The disciple-one who has committed himself to Christ-is not insulated from the realities of such an unsettled world, yet he will see it differently: 'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.' (2 Corinthians 4:8-9.)

"Part of the reason for the different view is the vantage point of a disciple. He walks the strait and narrow path-even if only by struggling effort-and the perspective from that path is profoundly different." (A Time to Choose [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 2.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"With Paul, we can say, 'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed' (2 Cor. 4:8-9)-perhaps adding, 'We are confronted, but not surprised; we are falsely accused, but pray for our accusers; we are reviled, but respond with Christian service.'...The Savior has told us that just as when the fig tree puts forth its leaves, we may know that summer is nigh, so it will be with his second coming (see Luke 21:28-30). The foreseen summer of circumstances is now upon us. Let us not, therefore, complain of the heat!" ("The Net Gathers of Every Kind," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 15)

Neal A. Maxwell

"The summer is taking its toll. But even in the heat of the final summer, we can come to know the deep reassurance that Paul described when he said, 'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.' (2 Cor. 4:8) Why? Because we are grounded, rooted, established, and settled. We can be in withering circumstances and yet not wither. We can endure the heat of that special summer." (We Will Prove Them Herewith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 99.)

Jeffrey R. Holland

"We could-and should-remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that 'all things which are good cometh of Christ' (Moro. 7:24). Those of us who are so blessed could remember the courage of those around us who face more difficulty than we, but who remain cheerful, who do the best they can, and trust that the Bright and Morning Star will rise again for them-as surely he will do (see Rev. 22:16).

"On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment he received, the rejection he experienced, and the injustice-oh, the injustice-he endured. When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (see 2 Cor. 4:8-9).

"When those difficult times come to us, we can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before he could ascend above them, and that he suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that he might be filled with mercy and know how to succor his people in their infirmities (see D&C 88:6; Alma 7:11-12).

"To those who stagger or stumble, he is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end he is there to save us, and for all this he gave his life. However dim our days may seem they have been darker for the Savior of the world." ("This Do in Remembrance of Me," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 69)

2 Cor. 4:10 that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body

Neal A. Maxwell

"Brothers and sisters, we can be walking witnesses and standing sermons to which objective onlookers can say a quiet amen." ("The Net Gathers of Every Kind," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 15)

2 Cor. 4:17 our light affliction...is but for a moment

Like Paul, the Prophet Joseph Smith suffered cruel and all-too-usual punishment. In Liberty Jail, he offered a soul-searching plea for help. He was told, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (DC 121:7-8).

Paul V. Johnson

In the midst of problems, it is nearly impossible to see that the coming blessings far outweigh the pain, humiliation, or heartbreak we may be experiencing at the time. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." The Apostle Paul taught, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."‍ It is interesting that Paul uses the term "light affliction" This comes from a person who was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and who experienced many other trial. I doubt many of us would label our afflictions light. Yet in comparison to the blessings and growth we ultimately receive, both in this life and in eternity, our afflictions truly are light.

We don't seek out tests, trials, and tribulations. Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress. (Ensign, May 2011, 79)

Marvin J. Ashton

"It can be declared accurately and without hesitation that Joseph Smith's noble character and stature were shaped and achieved by constant victories over his afflictions. Jesus, too, developed unique balance mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially as He labored and served under all types of trying circumstances. 'Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.' (Heb. 5:8-9.)

"Difficulties can be a valuable tool in our pursuit of perfection. Adversity need have no necessary connection with failure. Proper self-management and self-discipline in all of our trials can bring strength. If we are prepared, we can meet life's challenges victoriously. We become His disciples when we continue faithfully under all circumstances, including suffering and tragedy.

"C. S. Lewis shared a meaningful observation when he said, 'I have seen great beauty of spirit in some who were great sufferers. I have seen men, for the most part, grow better not worse with advancing years, and I have seen the last illness produce treasures of fortitude and meekness from most unpromising subjects.'" (Ye Are My Friends [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 101 - 102.)

Spencer W. Kimball

"Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery." (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 98.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Questioner: You really expect tribulation, don't you?

"The Disciple: It's part of the program. Peter also observed, 'Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.' (1 Peter 4:12.) That is another one of those hard sayings, but there it is. Of such sufferings the Prophet Joseph was told that such things would be 'but a small moment' and that 'all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.' (D&C 121:7; 122:7.) Further, often the reassuring witness in such circumstances comes only after the trial of our faith. (See Ether 12:6.) A loving and perfect Father will teach us the lessons we need most to learn, not the lessons we have already learned." (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 92 - 93.)

2 Cor. 4:17 a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

'A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' is the reward of the exalted (DC 132:16). They are exalted above the angels of the celestial kingdom. They have 'all power' (DC 132:20). They shall be 'from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them' (DC 132:20).

Orson Pratt

"Having been married for eternity, we die and our spirits go into celestial paradise. We come forth in the morning of the first resurrection as immortal males and immortal females. Our wives, married to us for eternity, come forth, and they are ours by virtue of that which God has pronounced upon them through those whom he has appointed, and to whom he has given authority. We have a legal claim upon them at the resurrection. But here comes forth a person that is married outside. She comes up without a husband, he without a wife, or any claim upon any of the blessings. Here is the difference between these two classes of beings...one having lost what they might have obtained and enjoyed if they had had faith in God and been willing to obey his commandments. But the others are worthy, as the Apostle Paul has said, to obtain a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while the others will be angels or servants, to go and come at the bidding of those who are more exalted." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 15: 252 - 253.)

Lorenzo Snow

"The ultimatum of our travel in this path of exaltation will bring to us the fulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to stand in the presence of our Father, to receive of His fulness, to have the pleasure of increasing in our posterity worlds without end, to enjoy those pleasant associations that we have had in this life, to have our sons and our daughters, our husbands and our wives, surrounded with all the enjoyment that heaven can bestow, our bodies glorified like unto the Savior's, free from disease and all the ills of life, and free from the disappointments and vexations and the unpleasant sacrifices that we are making here. We portray in our minds the glories that are before us, and we know that if we are faithful there will be no disappointment in the securing of these blessings. The power to prevent us from receiving these things is not in the hands of any man; it lies within ourselves." (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984], 100.)

Spencer W. Kimball

"An awareness of eternity affects our decisions. The more clearly we see eternity, the more obvious it becomes that the Lord's work in which we are engaged is one vast and grand work with striking similarities on each side of the veil. . . . If we live in such a way that the considerations of eternity press upon us, we will make better decisions." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 25.)

2 Cor. 4:18 we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen

Dallin H. Oaks

"The pure in heart have a distinctive way of looking at life. Their attitudes and desires cause them to view their experiences in terms of eternity. This eternal perspective affects their choices and priorities. As they draw farther from worldliness they feel closer to our Father in Heaven and more able to be guided by his Spirit. We call this state of mind, this quality of life, spirituality." (Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 111.)

Dallin H. Oaks

"To the faithful, spirituality is a lens through which we view life and a gauge by which we evaluate it. The Apostle Paul expressed this thought in two of his letters:

'We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.' (2 Cor. 4:18.)

'For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.' (Rom. 8:5-6.)

"To be spiritually minded is to view and evaluate our experiences in terms of the enlarged perspective of eternity.

"Each of us has a personal lens through which we view the world. Our lens gives its special tint to all we see. It can suppress some features and emphasize others. It can also reveal things otherwise invisible. Through the lens of spirituality, we can know 'the things of God' by 'the Spirit of God.' (1 Cor. 2:11.) As the Apostle Paul taught, such things are 'foolishness' to the 'natural man.' He cannot see them 'because they are spiritually discerned.' (See 1 Cor. 2:14.)" ("Spirituality," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 61)

James E. Faust

"Listen to and follow the voice of the Spirit. This is an ancient, even eternal solution, and may not be popular in a society that is always looking for something new.

"Furthermore, this solution requires patience in a world that demands instant gratification. It is quiet, peaceful, and subtle in a world enamored by that which is loud, incessant, fast-paced, garish, and crude. It requires us to be contemplative while our peers seek physical titillation. It requires the prophets to 'put [us] always in remembrance of these things, though [we] know them,' that we may 'be established in the present truth' (2 Pet. 1:12). This may seem foolish in a time when it is not worth remembering much of the trivial tripe to which we are exposed.

"This solution of listening to and following the Spirit is one unified, consistent, age-old message in a world that quickly becomes bored in the absence of intensity, variety, and novelty. It requires us to walk by faith in a world governed by sight (see 2 Cor. 4:18; 2 Cor. 5:7). We must see with the eye of eternal faith unseen, spiritual verities, while the masses of mankind depend solely on temporal things, which can be known only through the physical senses.

"In short, this solution of listening to and following the Spirit may not be popular; it may not get us gain or worldly power. But 'our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' (2 Cor. 4:17).

"We must learn to ponder the things of the Spirit and to respond to its promptings. We must filter out the static generated by Satan. As we become attuned to the Spirit, 'thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it' (Isa. 30:21)." ("The Voice of the Spirit," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 10)