1 So, having obtained this ministry through [God's] mercy, we do not become discouraged. 2 Instead, we have renounced [the practice of] secret, disgraceful behavior. We do not practice deception, nor resort to distorting God's message. But, by making known the truth [i.e., the true message], we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the presence of God. 3 For even if our Gospel message is veiled, it is veiled [only] from those who are lost. 4 For the god of this world [i.e., Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they would not see the light of the Gospel of the splendor of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but [we preach] Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said [Gen. 1:3], "Light will shine out of darkness," has [also] shone in our hearts to provide [us with] the light of the knowledge of God's splendor [as it shines] on the face of Christ. [Note: This allusion to "splendor shining on Christ's face" may be a continuation of the analogy used in 3:13].
7 But we have this treasure [i.e., the Gospel message] in clay pots [i.e., the mortal bodies of the apostles] to show that the [i.e., its] extraordinary power comes from God and not from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but are not crushed; [we are] perplexed, but not to the point of despair; 9 [we are] persecuted, but are not deserted [by God]; [we are] struck down, but are not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our [physical] bodies the [threat of] dying, as Jesus did [i.e., the apostles were constantly exposed to impending danger and death], so that the life of Jesus [i.e., His virtue, courage, faithfulness, etc.] may be demonstrated in our bodies [i.e., in the way we live] also. 11 For while we live, we are always exposed to death for Jesus' sake [See Rom. 8:36], so that the life of Jesus may be demonstrated in our mortal bodies [i.e., in our weak and frail human nature]. 12 So then, [the possibility of physical] death is at work in us, while [spiritual] life is at work in you. 13 But, we have the same spirit [i.e., type] of faith as that written about [Psa. 116:10], "I believed [God's message], so I spoke." We also believe [it], and so we also speak [about it]. 14 We know that God, who raised up the Lord Jesus [from the dead], will also raise us [apostles] up with Jesus and present us with you people [i.e., in the presence of the Father in heaven]. 15 For everything [i.e., that we have experienced. See verses 8-12] is for your sakes so that [God's] unearned favor, being extended to so many, [in bringing them salvation through Paul's ministry] may result in much thanksgiving in praise to God.
16 Therefore, we do not get discouraged, for though our physical body is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed daily. 17 For our insignificant troubles [here on earth], which last only a short time, are producing for us an immeasurable, never ending [counter-] weight of splendor [i.e., in heaven. See Rom. 8:18]. 18 So, we do not look at the things which can be seen, but at what cannot be seen, for the things which can be seen are [only] temporary, but the things which cannot be seen are never ending.