2 Corinthians 4:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 4:6, NIV: For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, ESV: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, KJV: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, NASB: For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT: For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, CSB: For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

What does 2 Corinthians 4:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been defending himself from allegations of practicing falseness with the Corinthians. Some may have even accused him of being manipulative or a false apostle. To counter these arguments, Paul has emphasized his sole mission: to deliver the true gospel of Jesus and to proclaim that Christ is Lord. Paul insists that he and his friends see themselves as mere servants to the Corinthians for Christ's sake. In his first letter to this church, Paul gave numerous indications that he was not interested in personal gain or fame (1 Corinthians 1:10–17; 9:12–16).

The statement made in this verse not only summarizes the message Paul preaches, it phrases the gospel in universal terms. Paul's words here are chosen carefully, and appeal to the specific interests of those who would read or hear them. This begins by quoting God as saying, "Let light shine out of darkness." Only the light of the gospel can penetrate the darkness of unbelief in Jesus. That was Paul's experience on the road to Damascus when a literal "light from heaven" shone around him and the voice of the Lord spoke to him. That's when God shone the light into Paul's heart, and it was the light Paul showed to all who would listen to the gospel of salvation from sin through faith in Jesus.

Paul describes the gospel as the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." In the previous chapter, Paul discussed God's glory reflected in the face of Moses. As a reflection, that glory began to fade as soon as Moses left the presence of the Lord. The glory shining from the face of Christ, though, never fades. He is the source of the light. To see and know His glory is to share in God's glory for eternity. "Light" is a common theme in the Bible. This was the metaphor used by the Hebrew thinkers to represent everything good and valuable. It's especially tied to the idea of knowledge and guidance, since the people of Israel were uniquely gifted with a revelation from God (Exodus 20:1–20).

Every culture has a "theme" such as this: an idea summarizing what the culture truly values. The United States, for example, tends to use "freedom" this way. In Paul's era, the Hebrews valued "light." Greeks valued "knowledge," as the culture of philosophy. Roman culture prized "glory," being the empire that conquered the known world. Paul's statement here incorporates all of these: light, knowledge, and glory. In a sense, this implies that Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of anything and everything we could ever want. He is "the" Truth we all seek, even we're blinded to our need by sin.

Paul also adds a detail which is crucial to the gospel: the idea of God giving mankind a person, rather than an idea, as our salvation. The light, knowledge, and glory are reflected "in the face" of Christ. Rather than man being assigned virtues, or work, God intended us to seek a relationship with His Son.