2 Corinthians 4:6-9 according to two translations

2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (Amplified Bible)
For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
7However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.
8We are pressed in on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;
9We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (New Living Translation)
For God, who said, ďLet there be light in the darkness,Ē has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  

We are perplexed

According to the dictionary to be perplexed means to

1. Be filled with confusion or bewilderment; to be puzzled.
2. To be full of complications or difficulty; to be involved in stressful situations.

Troubles round us on every side

But we have this wealth in vessels of earth, so that it may be seen that the power comes not from us but from God; Troubles are round us on every side, but we are not shut in; things are hard for us, but we see a way out of them; We are cruelly attacked, but not without hope; we are made low, but we are not without help (2 Cor 4:7-9 Bible in Basic English) 

2 Cor 4:9 (CEV) In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. 

A common clay pot

During the Bible times :

  • Clay pots were plentiful

  • They were cheap

  • They were everywhere

  • They were ordinary everyday article, with ordinary uses

  • They were used as containers to hold water or food.

  • Sometimes these clay pots were used to hold things of greater worth, such as money, jewels, or even parchments. (The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in such containers.)

  • Maybe we can compare it today with a mayonnaise bottle, or a checkers bag, or an empty 2L coke bottle Ö.

  • The common lamp at that time was also a clay pot. It was composed of a cheap clay pitcher or jar containing olive oil and a floating wick.

  • One disadvantage is that a clay pot can break!

  • In the above mentioned Scripture (2 Cor 4:6-9) we are compared to this clay pot that breaks easily, a clay pot which is frail and weak.

BUT there is a treasure in this clay pot

  • Godís presence

  • Godís light

  • The Good News / Gospel

  • Knowledge of Godís glory, grace as we see it in what Jesus did for us on the cross

  • Godís Spirit

  • Godís power; his strength

How can a treasure be kept in a breakable, fragile clay pot?

A breakable, ordinary jar of clay seems like an odd place for a treasure?
Usually we would keep our valuable treasures in a safe, or in a strong, protected place.
A jar of clay is fragile, and can break easily.

Upon further inspection, this jar of clay reveals flaws, chips and cracks.

It's not a vessel of great worth or monetary value, but rather a common, ordinary vessel. 

What are our human weaknesses?


  • Troubles

  • Worries

  • Doubt

  • Persecution and attack from people

  • Enemies who hate us

  • Insecurity

  • Shortcomings

  • Pressures of circumstances

  • Badly hurt

  • Loneliness

  • Rejection

  • Frustration

  • Inadequate feelings

  • Making mistakes

  • Worthlessness

  • Disillusionment

  • Disappointment Ė with people and systems

  • Embarrassment

  • Confused

  • Incarcerated

  • Sickness

  • Oppressed

  • Disabilities

  • Shattered dreams

The power of the treasure in the clay pot


  • we are not crushed

  • we are not destroyed

  • we are never in despair

  • we do not give up

  • we are not forsaken

  • we are able to start over again

  • we can get up

  • we can try again

  • we are not alone - we have a friend, Jesus

  • we have Godís strength

  • we have hope

  • we have help

  • we will be saved

  • there will be a way out

  • we have protection

  • we have focus

"Hard pressed," perplexed," "persecuted," and "struck down" refer to the things that we as Christians can experience in this life.

"But not crushed," "but not in despair," "but not abandoned," and "but not destroyed" all refer to the deliverance which God is able to bring to any "impossible" situation Ė this is the power that is available in the clay pot.

Godís power Ė my weakness

In the clay pot my weakness and God's power come together.

It seems like opposites:

clay pot vs treasure
pressed vs not crushed
knocked down/hurt vs not destroyed
in doubt vs not in despair
persecuted vs not alone
weakness vs power & strength 

This is all back to front.

God doesn't want me to be stronger. He wants me to acknowledge my weakness so that He can fill me with His strength, with His power, with His Holy Spirit. 

His strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Cor 12:9 My grace is all you need, for my power is the greatest when you are weak I am most happy then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to FEEL the protection of Christís power over me. When I am weak, then I am strong. 

The ordinary becomes the extraordinary

The implication of this is wonderful.
God takes the ordinary and fills it with the extraordinary.
God takes the weak and makes it strong.
He takes the broken, and uses it!

This remind me of the beautiful words of a song: Ö and now let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am richÖ. 

Do not focus on the human, weak outside; focus on the Godly treasure inside

If we focus on our human side, despair is bound to set in. When you look around you, you will become anxious, when you look at yourself as imperfect, weak clay pot you will become depressed, when you look at Jesus IN you, you will have strength and peace. 

BUT if you focus on the treasure inside you, you will be inwardly renewed day by day, and strength an peace will follow. 

Empty your clay pot so that God can fill you with His treasures

A jar is designed to hold something, so let God fill your jar with His treasures!

Receive what you were created to hold Ė HIS life
Receive what you were created to hold Ė HIS light 

But what about the imperfections, cracks and the holes in my clay pot ?

They are not to be despised, for they now serve a purpose! They allow the life & light of God, our cherished treasure, to seep out for all those around us to see. 

I have read this beautiful story:

Once upon a time there was a man whose job was to bring water from the stream to his Master's house. The man carried the water from the stream in two clay pots. He hung the pots on each end of a pole, which he carried across his shoulders, to and from the stream many times a day.

One of the clay pots was perfect in every way for its purpose. The other pot was exactly like the first one, but it had a crack in it and it leaked. When the water bearer reached his Master's house, the perfect pot was always full, and the cracked pot was always half full.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, and it boasted loudly. It criticized the cracked pot for its failures, and reminded it that despite his efforts, the water bearer could only deliver half a pot of water due to his cracks. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections, and was miserable that it could only accomplish half of what it was supposed to do.

One day the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer. "I want to apologize to you. Because of my cracked side I've only been able to deliver half of the water to your Master's home, and you don't get the full value from your efforts."

The water bearer smiled on the cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the Master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed as they climbed the path from the river to the Master's mansion the cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful flowers along one side of the path, and it felt somewhat brighter. But when they reached their destination and the water in the half-empty pot was poured out, his sadness returned. "Thank you for trying to cheer me up with the beautiful flowers, water bearer," The pot spoke. " But I still must apologize for my failure."

The water bearer said, "Dear pot, you haven't understood what I was trying to show you. Did you notice that the flowers only grew on your side of the path? That's because of your crack. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and everyday as we walked from the stream the water that leaks from your pot has watered them. I could have got a new pot, but I preferred to gather the flowers, and with them to bless many tables."

Let God's truth refocus your eyes today on the treasure that dwells within you.

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