A Study of Pauline Motives: As Revealed in 2 Corinthians 4:16-6:4a -- By: Clarence E. Mason, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:443 (Jul 1954)
Article: A Study of Pauline Motives: As Revealed in 2 Corinthians 4:16-6:4a
Author: Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


A Study of Pauline Motives:
As Revealed in 2 Corinthians 4:16-6:4a

Clarence E. Mason, Jr.

[Editor’s Note: Dr. Mason serves as Dean of the Philadelphia Bible Institute.]

Who of us has not prayed: “Oh, that I could be the kind of servant of the Lord that Paul was!”? Without doubt Paul’s personal devotion to the Lord, the extent of his service, and the magnitude of his sufferings are without parallel in the annals of the church.

What made Paul the effective servant that he was? Why did his life pack such an impact, both in evangelism and in edification of converts? How did he accomplish so much? How could he say, without any of us feeling he was improper in saying it, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ!” (1 Cor 11:1)? What made Paul “tick”?

We are fortunate to have not only the objective account of the book of Acts, but also a great many autobiographical portions in his epistles. We understand the outward activity much better when we see the gushing fountainheads of motive power revealed in these intimate asides as Paul rushes forward in his letters to emphasize some great turth, to warn of some grave peril, to plead for some important obedience. One can almost hear the hum of his spiritual dynamos as he reads these searching sections.

The most unusual of these portions revealing the motives that greatly moved him is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16–6:4a. Here are clustered more of them, and more intimately stated, than anywhere else in his many epistles. As we examine them, our hearts will keep saying, “Lord, make me more like Paul!” “Brethren, be comrades in imitating me and study those whose life and walk is according

to the pattern I have set you” (Phil 3:17, Centenary Version1 )

What are these motives that moved Paul to such effective ministration of the New Covenant? Let us examine them, one by one.

Impermanence of the Material vs. Permanence of the Spiritual (4:16-18 )

Paul lived in the light of eternity. He evaluated everything by eternity’s yardstick. Our bodies are important, but they are perishing and passing. The “inward man” is more important. Our afflictions now seem heavy, but from the perspective of eternity they are “light” and, by God’s grace, become the fashioning tools of “eternal glory.”

Our bodies, as now constituted, could not stand the “weight of glory” in God’s presence. They would ...

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