2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
Paul seems to change topics in this verse, but this is still related to the broader topic of his ministry, travel plans, and the challenges he has faced in his ministry. The verse starts off with a statement of praise for God’s leadership in Paul’s ministry. The “us” is inclusive of others who are share in the ministry of Christ. Paul gives thanks to God, praising him that he always leads his followers in such a way that is successful and triumphant in Christ Jesus. The image behind this verse is the celebratory parades of Roman armies who would march through cities in triumphal procession. The political or army leaders would march in the front. Sometimes captured people would also be marched. The image here is one of victory and triumph.
God always displays through his followers “the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him (Christ Jesus) in every place.” Paul describes the knowledge we have of Christ Jesus as a “sweet aroma.” A sweet aroma is an appealing fragrance that draws people towards it source. The way the fragrance is spread is through the knowledge of Christ. Paul likens the knowledge of Christ Jesus as something that is appealing to the senses of people and draws them towards the source in hope of gaining more. This appealing fragrance/aroma of the knowledge of Christ Jesus is manifested by God through his followers. This sweet, appealing aroma is manifested in every place.
This message goes out “everywhere.” Paul wanted this message to go to the “uttermost parts of the world” (Acts 1:8). The form of this word is an accusative of goal. The goal of the knowledge of Christ is that others will come to a saving relationship with Christ. Knowledge is the key part of this. This knowledge is not simply “head” knowledge, which is important, but also “relational” knowledge. There were groups emerging who emphasized a secret knowledge. This teaching became known as Gnosticism. The knowledge Paul had to give others was not secret because it had been revealed in Christ. The mystery of God was available and could be known by those with faith.
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