2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
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Ambrosiaster

AD 400
By treasure, Paul meant the sacrament of God in Christ, which is made manifest to believers but which has been concealed from unbelievers with a veil. Just as a treasure is put in a hidden place, the sacrament of God is hidden within a person, in his heart. The reference to earthen vessels is an allusion to the weakness of human nature, which can do nothing unless empowered by God. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles. ...

Clement Of Alexandria

AD 215
And they rave about the carcase, which they despise as weak, being blind to the wealth within; knowing not what a "treasure in an earthen vessel"

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
But we have this treasure. The treasure is the ministry and preaching of the Gospel entrusted to him by God. Cf. ver1and vers5,6. In earthen vessels. (1.) In a body of dust frail and fragile. Our body is as an earthenware vessel; for as an earthen vessel is nothing but clay baked in the fire, so is our body nothing but earth made solid by the heat of the soul. Take away the soul, and the body returns to the dust whence it came. Cf. Psalm 103:14. Or, (2.) in earthen vessels means in ourselves; for though we are Apostles, still we are men, frail and fashioned from the dust, and, like earthen vessels, are worthless, weak, and contemptible, exposed to injuries at the hands of all. This explanation is favoured by the words that follow: "We are troubled on every side," &c. So in 1 Corinthians 1:27, it was said that God had chosen the Apostles as the foolish, and weak, and base things of the world; and also in 1 Corinthians 2:1, Paul said that he had come to the Corinthians, not with exce...

Jerome

AD 420
Every word of Scripture is a symbol all its own. These rustic words that persons of every age ponder over are packed full of mystical meaning. “But we carry this treasure in vessels of clay”; we have a divine treasury of meaning in the most ordinary words. ().

Jerome

AD 420
We have a treasure in such vessels of clay. There are many who construe this last expression in reference to the body and to the Holy Spirit, meaning, of course, that we possess a treasure in earthen vessels. There is certainly that interpretation, but I think the better treasury concept is that we have a most precious treasure in vessels of clay symbolizing the homely words of the Scripture. (). ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For seeing he had spoken many and great things of the unspeakable glory, lest any should say, 'And how enjoying so great a glory remain we in a mortal body?' he says, that this very thing is indeed the chiefest marvel and a very great example of the power of God, that an earthen vessel has been enabled to bear so great a brightness and to keep so high a treasure. And therefore as admiring this, he said, That the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves; again alluding to those who gloried in themselves. For both the greatness of the things given and the weakness of them that receive show His power; in that He not only gave great things, but also to those who are little. For he used the term earthen in allusion to the frailty of our mortal nature, and to declare the weakness of our flesh. For it is nothing better constituted than earthenware; so is it soon damaged, and by death and disease and variations of temperature and ten thousand other things easily d...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Both the greatness of the things given and the weakness of them that receive show the power of God, who not only gave great things but also gave them to those who are little. He used the term earthen in allusion to the frailty of our mortal nature and to declare the weakness of our flesh. For it is no better than earthenware, which is soon damaged and destroyed by death, disease and even variations of temperature. The power of God is most conspicuous when it performs mighty works by using vile and lowly things. ...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Since therefore he said, that the Gentiles were without God, whilst their god was the devil, not the Creator, it is clear that he must be understood to be the lord of this world, whom the Gentiles received as their god-not the Creator, of whom they were in ignorance. But how does it happen, that "the treasure which we have in these earthen vessels of ours" ...

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

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