In a text alive with vivid metaphors which had wide circulation in the culture of the day, Paul speaks of the triumph of preaching. Using language and imagery taken from the world of conquering military generals, Paul applies a victory parade metaphor to the divine conquest made through preaching. Paul explains that the divine triumph of preaching is that whether preaching quickens to life or hardens unto death, God is victorious through preaching because preaching is the diffusion of the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ. But not every kind of preaching is triumphal however, so Paul expounds upon the nature of triumphal preaching as he rejects the kind of preaching which he describes as a “peddling” of the word of God and instead exalts the kind of preaching which is from sincerity, from God, in Christ, and before God.
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