What does this mean?

2 Cor 4:10-11

10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.



First, is it about persecution or death to sin, or could it be both? Do you happen to know if that question is a controversy that experts have debated, or if there is generally agreement on that aspect?

If death to sin:

  1. Main points of confusion: It refers to the body, not dying to sin. Seems to be a very different way of talking about dying to sin as it relates to the body. I can see being dead to the lusts of the body, but that doesnt seem like death in or of the body itself as in the verses. Isn’t this a different way of talking about dying to sin than the rest of the bible? What does it mean and why the difference? Are new concepts about dying to sin being introduced?

  2. Secondarily, why the ongoing nature when most other talk of salvation and dying to sin and baptism is an event, that is then true afterward?


3 Answers 3


The metaphor of "death to sin" is regularly used or alluded to in the NT.

Rom 6:1-11 - 1 What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? 3 Or aren’t you aware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. 7 For anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. 11 So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Again, we also read in 1 Peter 2

  • 1 Peter 2:24 - He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. “By His stripes you are healed.”

This is p[art of what the NT describes as the new, transformed life of the Christian who, after conversion and dedication to the service of Christ, becomes a "new creation" (2 cor 5:17) - a completely new person who leaves behind the life of sin (John 8:11) to focus the entire attention of Christ (Heb 12:2, 3).

Put in the language of the NT, we "died to sin" (leave that behind) and focus on the "new life in Christ". See Rom 7, 8 also.

Practical note -

leaving the life of sin behind is not really humanly possible to do - we are all sinners with highly flawed natures. However, 2 Cor 4:10, 11 gives us the clue - to "carry the death of Jesus with us", that is recall what He has done for us.

1 John 4:10, 19 - And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrificed for our sins. ... We love because He first loved us.

  • Thanks thats good stuff. I see that metaphor but still the wording is confusing. Check my note in the question
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 3:17
  • @AlBrown - updated answer as requested.
    – Dottard
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:49
  • Thanks for your efforts to help me understand. So far it isnt working. We could simplify it by just focusing on the ongoing nature of “carrying death around” and “always being given over to death” vs the salvation descriptions above and of baptism and the one-time dying. What think?
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:11
  • @AlBrown - You need to ask the question with some precision to get a precise answer.
    – Dottard
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:12
  • Thanks for the feedback i do think it made the question better now
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:37

"What does 2 Corinthians 4:10-11 mean?"

"I don’t understand the meaning, especially 11. I don’t see it as referring to persecution. Agree?"

I must disagree. I believe the option you exclude is the most Biblically consistent. One of the Major themes of Paul is that our salvation is actually conditioned on our willingness to suffer with/for Christ. Consider some of the following words from Paul.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

2 Timothy 2:11-12 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him [in baptism], we will also live with him;
12 if we endure [suffering], we will also reign with him;
if we deny him [succumb to suffering], he also will deny us;

Acts 14:22 22 [Paul was] strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 1:7 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Peter also has some similar things to say about suffering:

1 Peter 4:12-14 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

The idea here is that Christ truly is the way to the Father. The human Jesus's path to the heavenly Father required suffering and endurance and so must our path through Jesus to Father.

With regard to Christian persecution, we might not be persecuted by Hamas or a Tyrannical government to be persecuted for we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) but also great spiritual powers such as did Job and others.

1 Peter 5:8-10 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

  • Well you made a strong case for it. So far of three answers we have one for persecution, one for death to sin, and one describing both ( i guess could be both). The metaphor of dying to sin is so ubiquitous that any mention of dying might be presumed to be that unless stated otherwise (is one argument). But in that case the wording is weird. The ongoing nature when most dead to sin talk is of a single incident. The mentioning of the body so much (not death toward body passions, death of body). It’s odd talk even for persecution. Thanks
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:13
  • Also, this supports your view: Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:19

Corinthians 4:11 Is specifically related to Paul in this passage and goes along with Acts 9:16.

For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake."

The apostle Paul is describing his fight against the unbelievers and all the pain and suffering they have physically and mentally emotional pain they have brought upon him.

It was because The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,

The apostle Paul suffers more than any other man who has brought The glory of God that's displayed in Christ face.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” a 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. 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

They carry in themselves Christ's death in the sense that they suffer as He did and for His sake, but they also carry Christ's life as evidence that His power is at work in them (2 Corinthians 4:7–12).


Romans 6 deals with every believers death to sin and the law by being baptized Christ Death and resurrection. Of course learning to walk by faith in that truly brings life and peace manifested. To apprehend those truths is certainly a fight that takes place mostly in our minds as they are being renewed.

Thanks for bringing attention to this question because it really made me more aware of how Christ's life was revealed in Paul and how he completed his sufferings in him for us!

There's just a couple other scriptures that go along with that.

Galatians 1:16 To reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

Grateful to God what he did through the apostle Paul for all of us who would come to believe in Christ because of his fighting the good fight fight of faith.

  • Thats a great answer. lotta good stuff. You do seem to be equivocating between the phrases applying to “death to sin” and Paul’s persecution. Do you think it could be both? Or up to interpretation?
    – Al Brown
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:10
  • 1
    Hi Al, At first I too thought Romans six should go hand-in-hand with 2 Co. 4:11 As I studied the verses I had a change of mind as to what Paul was teaching here. He was learning more about Christ and his sufferings being united in them. Corinthians 4:11-12 We were under a burden far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, we felt we were under the sentence of death, in order that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead. 2 Co. 1;8- Of course it can be open to different interpretations.. Many times our views are changed.
    – Sherrie
    Jul 26, 2021 at 23:47

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