2 Corinthians 4:16

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
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Ambrosiaster

AD 400
In times of persecution the soul advances. Every day it adds something more to its experience of faith. Even the damage done to the body becomes conducive to immortality through the merit of the soul. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The renewal of humankind, begun in the sacred bath of baptism, proceeds gradually and is accomplished more quickly in some individuals and more slowly in others. But many are in progress toward the new life if we consider the matter carefully and without prejudice. As the apostle says: “Even though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” He says that the inner man is renewed day by day in order that he may become perfect, but you would have him begin with perfection. Would that you really did desire this! But you seek to lead the unwary astray rather than to uplift the weak. . ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
A man who has his own best interest at heart will therefore be especially concerned for his soul and will spare no pains to keep it stainless and true to itself. If his body is wasted by hunger or by its struggles with heat and cold, if it is afflicted by illness or suffers violence from anyone, he will pay little attention to it, and, echoing the words of Paul, he will say in each of his adversities: “but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” … But, if a man would also have mercy upon his body as being a possession necessary to the soul and its cooperator in carrying on the life on earth, he will occupy himself with its needs only so far as is required to preserve it and keep it vigorous by moderate care in the service of the soul. . ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
But though our outward man perish. Though the body be corrupted through persecutions, afflictions, hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness, scourgings, and diseases, yet the spirit within is renewed, and advances in faith, hope, charity, readiness of mind, and, like gold from the fire, comes out stronger and brighter, says Chrysostom. This verse differs from Romans 7:22. There the outward man is concupiscence, or the man governed by concupiscence; the inward man is charity, or the man renewed by the spirit. But here the outward man is the body, the inward is the soul; or, more appositely, the outward man is the man regarded as corporeal, or in so far as through his body he is visible, tangible, passible, and susceptible of injuries from without; the inward man is the same man regarded as possessed of a soul, or in so far as through his soul he is invisible, and bravely and cheerfully bears bodily afflictions. Since man consists of two so dissimilar parts, the body without and the soul within...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
How does it decay? Being scourged, being persecuted, suffering ten thousand extremities. Yet the inward man is renewed day by day. How is it renewed? By faith, by hope, by a forward will, finally, by braving those extremities. For in proportion as the body suffers ten thousand things, in the like proportion has the soul goodlier hopes and becomes brighter, like gold refined in the fire more and more. And see how he brings to nothing the sorrows of this present life. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The body decays by being scourged and persecuted, but the inward man is renewed by faith, hope and a forwardlooking will which braves those extremities. For the hope of the soul is in direct proportion to the suffering of the body.

Martyrdom of the Holy Confessors

AD 500
Besides, it is against nothing whatever but the body that thou takest up arms: for what possible harm couldst thou do to the soul? since, as long as it resides in the body, it proves superior to torture; and, when it takes its departure, the body has no feeling whatever left. For, "the more our outward man is destroyed, the more is our inward man renewed day by day; ...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Does he here speak? Of that which we are now living? Then how is it, that in the words which follow he exhorts us not to the things which are seen and are temporal, but to those which are not seen and are eternal. He says, too, that "our outward man perishes". not meaning by an eternal perdition after death, but by labours and sufferings, in reference to which he previously said, "For which cause we will not faint.". It is yet designated by the same apostle as "the outward man". Well, then, heresies finding that the apostle had mentioned two "men"-"the inner man "that is, the soul, and "the outward man "that is, the flesh-awarded salvation to the soul or inward man, and destruction to the flesh or outward man, because it is written (in the Epistle) to the Corinthians: "Though our outward man decayeth, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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