I was much struck this morning reading 2 Corinthians 6, and Paul’s marks of his own ministry in verses 4-10. I think they’re helpfully broken up like this:
… as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
- by great endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger;
- by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;
- by truthful speech, and the power of God;
[as servants of God we commend ourselves] with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
- through honour and dishonour,
through slander and praise.
[as servants of God] We are treated
- as impostors, and yet are true;
- as unknown, and yet well known;
- as dying, and behold, we live;
- as punished, and yet not killed;
- as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
- as poor, yet making many rich;
- as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
It’s interesting that the ESV (and the NASB) reads that Paul is treated as unknown, as dying, as sorrowful etc – when in fact the opposite is true from a divine perspective. On this reading, he isn’t sorrowful, but merely regarded as sorrowful – as if others are saying ‘How can a man who lives like that possibly be anything else?’
I haven't worked through the implications of all this, though much of what he says is true of every faithful minister of the gospel.