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"We are afflicted in every way, but not crashed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the
body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies"
(4: 8-10, R.S.V.).
It is difficult for any English translation to convey adequately the sense of the original
Greek. Stenochoreomai literally means `to be hemmed in'. "Straightened" (R.V.) comes
nearer to the meaning of the word than `distressed' (A.V.). The Twentieth Century New
Testament renders it `though hard-pressed on every side, we are never hemmed in' or
Knox's paraphrase `for ourselves, we are being hampered everywhere, yet still have room
to breathe'. In spite of all restrictions, Paul still has room to move in his witness for
In the next statement there is a play on the words aporonmenoi and exaporonmenoi
which is practically impossible to bring over into English. Perhaps `hard put to it, but not
put out' gets near to it. Then follows `persecuted (or pursued or hunted) but not
abandoned'. Paul is not abandoned to the enemy or left to his own frail resources. If he
is persecuted in one place, he escapes safely to another, only to find fresh opportunities
for witness as the record in the Acts makes quite clear.
Finally he states `though struck down, never killed' (T.C.N.T.) or, as Charles
William's translation `always getting a knock down, but never a knock-out'. His
experience at Lystra was a good example of this (Acts 14: 19). Literally struck down by
stones, it appeared as though he was finished, yet by the exceeding power of God he has
mentioned, he stood up on his feet and continued his ministry, doubtless much to the
surprise and dismay of his would-be murderers.
All this varied experience he sums up as follows:
"Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may
be manifested in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus'
sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death
worketh in us, but life in you" (4: 10-12 R.V.).
Paul, in a sense, was always under the sentence of death. "In deaths oft", he writes
later on in the epistle (11: 23). He could never be absolutely sure he would be alive on the
morrow. In this he closely followed the Saviour in His earthly life, Who experienced the
relentless hatred and persecution of His religious opponents right throughout His public
ministry, who would have murdered Him before Calvary, if they could have done so.
Note the fourfold use of the name `Jesus' which is linked with the earthly life of the Son
of God and is rarely used by the Apostle except in this connection, unlike Christians
today who habitually refer to the Lord this way, unmindful apparently of the fact of His
Deity and Lordship (John 13: 13).
But if the Apostle experienced the `dying of Jesus', he also experienced His risen life.
In fact it was only this great power that enabled him to survive and triumph over all his
difficulties. But even if he did give his life for Christ (and this was actually true later on
when his work was completed and he had finished `the race'), then there would be the