“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has 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)
Have you ever wondered why God picked the Apostle Paul to record so much of the New Covenant? I recently came across three reasons I would like to share with you, and they are all found in the verse above once you have eyes to see it. Paul was a Hebrew (Philippians 3:5), educated and raised in a Greek city (Acts 22:3), and a citizen of Rome (Acts 22:25). He was connected to the three main cultures of his day. Therefore he was an unusually great candidate to speak God’s message to everyone no matter where they were from.
You see the Hebrew people were looking for light “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1). The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world (John 1:9). Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews according to Philippians 3:5 so he had insight on the light spoken of in the scriptures.
When it comes to knowledge Paul was a well educated man, not only in the scriptures, but in the great Greek philosophers of his day. We read in the first Corinthian letter, “For the Greeks seek after wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”(John 8:32).
The city of Rome was known for its glory. Up until that time there had never been anything like it in the whole world. All roads lead to Rome was the saying. As far as man’s glory goes Rome was about as good as it gets. Of course we know that only pales in comparison to the glory we’re speaking of here.
Isn’t it interesting we find 2 Corinthians 4:6 using all three of these: light for the Hebrew, knowledge for the Greek and glory for the Roman in a letter written to the church at Corinth? Corinth was a city of various cultural influences which would have included Hebrew, Greek and Roman. In one masterful phrase Paul included what was seen as the epitome of each of these cultures as a way to show them Jesus Christ fulfills, and even exceeds, what they were longing for.
All of these great things: the light (spiritual insight) of the Hebrews, the knowledge (philosophy) of the Greeks and the glory and prestige of an earthly city of Rome were only a shadow compared to “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” found in the face of Jesus Christ!
Each of these cultures rose to great heights in their respective areas of gifts and callings but not even all three of them combined can come close to the light, knowledge and glory of Jesus Christ, “who is the image of the invisible God.” The Apostle Paul was a man in which all three of these incredible cultures merged. God worked through the Apostle Paul, and his experiential knowledge of these cultures, in order to reveal his son Jesus Christ to the world in a more profound and relevant way. Each of them was looking for what they thought would bring fulfillment but they were only pointers at best to the one in which the fullness of the Godhead dwells.