2 Corinthians, Chapter 12
© Copyright 2003 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved

2 Corinthians 12:1-5
1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

In my opinion, verse 1a belongs with chapter 11.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Paul says that it is not profitable for him to boast. Vain personal boasting is foolish.

After that short disjoined phrase, Paul turns to another matter. He now looks to "visions and revelations of the Lord."

Paul begins to speak of himself in the third person. He speaks of himself as a man in Christ he knew fourteen years ago.

That man (Paul) was caught up into the third heaven. He was taken to a place where men go only at the bidding of the Father.

Paul did not try to analyze his experience. He just experienced it. The manner of his catching away was of no importance.

In this special place, perhaps Godís own throne room, he experienced things that are inexpressible. Miracles are always inexpressible.

To those that experience miracles, not explanation is necessary. To those that do not believe no explanation is sufficient.

If you have experienced a miracle you know what I mean. When you tell those that do not know, they just look at you with that blank, and yet questioning expression. It can be frustrating to tell about miracles.

2 Corinthians 12:6-8
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

Paul said that even if we want to brag about a certain matter, it is foolish. Telling the truth is not bragging.  

Paul experienced great revelations. None of them were due to his efforts.

Here he speaks about the famous or infamous thorn in the flesh. This thorn was a messenger (Gr. angelos-angeloV) from Satan.

Many think that the "thorn" was an illness. But, notice that Paul says it was a "messenger of Satan." The Bible never uses the Greek word "angelos" to describe a physical condition.

The thorn may have been those Judaic legalists who followed him causing havoc when and where they could.

He prayed about it three times. The answer was positive.

2 Corinthians 12:9-13
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

Christ said, "My grace is sufficient for you, because my strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul went on to say that rather glory in his infirmities, so that the power of Christ may rest upon him. Verse 9 is the only verse in the entire Bible in which Christ Jesus uses the word ďgrace.Ē The verse tells us that Christís power is exhibited in our weakness.

Godís grace is sufficient for us today and yet there are not many who want to glory in (boast about) their weaknesses. As with Paul, when we are weak, God shows His strength. Far too many Christians are trying to demonstrate their power, when Christís power is exhibited through out weakness and not through our strength.

Paul declared that he took pleasure in his infirmities. When we admit that we are weak, God takes over.

Apparently some doubted Paulís authority. In our day such doubt would be a sign of spiritual ignorance.

Paul was not an inferior apostle, if there could be an inferior apostle. Each apostle had an area of expertise. Paulís was gospel of grace.

2 Corinthians 12:14-16a
14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
16a But be it so, I did not burden you:

Paul said, "The children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children."

Paul had been a spiritual parent to the Corinthians. He considered it his duty to care for them.

2 Corinthians 12:116b-18
16b nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
17 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

The parting of the verses may seem odd, but there were no verses or punctuation in the original, and I believe that 16b should be part of 17.Verse 16b should be read with a health dose of humor.

Paul did not try to take advantage of the Corinthians, or any other Church. He did not do attempt any self-promotion.

He mentions Titus in this section, because hen had written in other places that Titus was one of his sons-in-the-spirit. Only Titus (Titus 1:4), Timothy (1 Tim. 1:18) and Onesimus (Philemon 1:10) were that close to Paul.

When Titus, Timothy, and Onesimus treated others as Paul would have. They conducted themselves with the same spirit and in the same manner.

2 Corinthians 12:19-21
19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

God was using this opportunity to establish His Word and His words. If we do not believe that the messenger has our best interests at heart we will not hear the message.

Paul did not want the Church at Corinth to neglect their duties. Conflicts may cause spiritual neglect.

The perversions mentioned here are evident within many Churches.

Repented (Gr. metanoeesantoon-metanohsantwn) speaks of a complete change of mind and direction.

Some teach that repentance is not part of the Christian experience.They teach that belief is sufficient.Apparently Paul was of a different opinion.

Belief brings repentance!

Belief without resulting repentance is an act of futility!

Repentance does not result in salvation, but is the result of salvation.

Chapter 13
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