Paul is still speaking about the work of the ministry and the cause of the reconciling gospel of grace. To capture what the Apostle has in mind in the closing verses of this paragraph, we have chosen a word from our text that expresses both pain and pleasure. The Greek word “agonia” denotes a contest for victory. This involves both tears and joy. There is such a thing as the agony of pain, and there is such an emotion as the agony of joy. So in verses 4 through 10 we have what we are calling “The Agony of the Task.”
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