The Apostle Paul, a Veiled Gospel, and Blind Minds

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

The Light of the Gospel

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart  But we have renounced disgraceful ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. . And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor 4:1-4, ESV)

Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth were meant to deal with specific issues facing the young church. His first letter dealt with destructive divisions in the church, along with issues of immorality and carnality in the church. His second letter dealt, at least in part with having to answer the criticisms of false teachers who openly opposed him. In the short passage above Paul speaks of three things, his ministry, the gospel he preached being veiled (hidden) from some hearers, and ‘blind’ minds incapable of understanding the gospel.

We will briefly discuss each of these, in the order presented, with an eye to their application to personal evangelism.

The Apostle Paul

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor 4:2)

In this verse Paul renounces of disgraceful underhanded ways, asserts his refusal to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word in presenting the gospel, and reaffirms his intent to merely speak the plain truth of the gospel. Paul’s message to this church, as well as to the others he planted was simple – “Christ and him crucified” for the sins of men. (1 Cor 2:1-4) No slick marketing campaigns, house to house surveys, or twisting of scripture in order to please itching ears.

A Veiled Gospel

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” (2 Cor 4:3)

Here Paul, at his hypothetical best, tells us that if the message of the gospel is “veiled”, or hidden from anyone it would be those are who are “perishing” in their sin, Jesus referred to these unbelievers as “condemned already”. (John 3:18). Nowhere does Paul ever tell us not to preach the gospel, but he does tell us that the gospel we preach very likely won’t be understood by some of our listeners. Talk about a tough job! There’s an answer to that problem, and we’ll get to it.

Blind Minds

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor 4:4)

Here Paul tells us exactly WHY unbelievers cannot understand the gospel message. Their minds have been completely blinded to the spiritual truths underlying the message! Not only that, we are told that the one who has blinded the minds of unbelievers is “the god of this world”, or Satan himself! In John 12:31, he is called “the prince of this world.” In Ephesians 2:2, he is called “the prince of the power of the air.” And in Ephesians 6:12, the same bad influence is referred to under the names of “principalities, and powers,” “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” and “spiritual wickedness in high places.”

So what?

How should that impact personal evangelism?

1. Stick to the message – stay on point. And the whole point of the gospel message is that Christ died for the sins of men. Don’t sugar coat it. The gospel is a bad news/good news story. Present the problem (sin) followed by the solution (Jesus Christ).

2. Realize that there are those from whom the good news is veiled, or completely hidden. They cannot even understand it (1 Corinthians 2:14). Trust God to open hearts to hear it, understand it, and receive it.

3. Recognize that it is Satan who has blinded the minds of everyone who has yet to believe in Christ. We would probably equate having a ‘blind mind’ with a complete inability to process information. By all means use kind and persuasive speech as you share an ‘offensive’ truth, but let God open cold and spiritually dead hearts to hear and be saved.

8 responses to “The Apostle Paul, a Veiled Gospel, and Blind Minds

      • Are you sure?

        The Apostle Paul might disagree with you. He seemed to believe that “unbelievers” ALL have “blind minds”.

        Paul was speaking to the church at Corinth, a primarily Gentile church, plagued with problems.

        4 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

        2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

        3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

        4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
        2 Cor 4:1-4

        “Methinks you protesteth too much.”

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        • Yes, Dan, I’m sure.

          Romans 11:7-8
          7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

          8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

          That verse 8 is in reference to the Deuteronomy 29:4

          Deuteronomy 29:4
          Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

          Romans 11:25
          blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

          Romans 10:20
          20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

          NOW JESUS discussing the Jews BLINDNESS. Jesus healed the SPIRITUALLY blind, called REMNANT, NOT JUST THE CARNAL BLINDNESS of eyeballs.

          John 9:39-41
          39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

          40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

          41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

          BLIND=NO SIN
          CLAIM YOU CAN SEE…SINS REMAIN

          Those people (JEWS) were blinded by God. Not by Satan. GENTILES are blinded by Satan, not by God.

          Ed Chapman

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          • Well Ed, if you are correct, Paul contradicted himself. In Romans he does specifically speak of Jews, who were definitely predominant in the church at Rome. The church in Corinth was by far mostly Gentiles and Paul’s audience for both 1 & 2 Corinthians. Therefore, Paul recognized that both Jews and Gentiles could have “blind minds”.

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            • This really has nothing to do with Calvinism, but it does point tomthe sovereign grace of of God in salvation, which the Bible teaches. Once again, you brought it up. And since you did, I feel the need to remind you that Calvinism totally agrees with Paul. The blind minds of unbelievers falls perfectly in line with the ‘Total Depravity’ in TULIP. Nuff said.

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