2 Corinthians 12
The topic of visions 1
Knew a man, in the body or out 2
The thorn must remain 7
Signs of an apostle 11
I'm ready to come again but don't want to be a burden   14
This may sound like an excuse, but all is for your edification   19

.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.
 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.
  1 - Not expedient Or "not profitable." Paul continues to defend his ministry. He began it in 10:1. He now discusses "visions and revelations of the Lord."
  1 - Doubtless to glory He feels reluctant to boast but believes it is necessary. "To fail to clarify the issue would be equivalent to denying his apostleship and dishonoring the gospel." (SDA Bible Commentary).
  1 - Revelations From apokalupseis or "manifestation." He writes of things that are not normally known to humans jb1107, jn0118, ro1133, 1ti0616 but that can be know through Christ. Paul had received direct communication from God ac0904-6, ac1809, ac2311; ac2723, ga0202.
  2 - I knew a man Reading the context reveals that he speaks of himself. On "Paradise," compare v4 to lu2343.
  2 - Fourteen years ago This would have been around the time Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch ac1125. The current epistle has been dated as around A.D. 57.
  3 - In the body or out Paul couldn't explain what happened. This provides some insight for us in one of the ways God communicates with prophets. Compare Peter's vision in ac1010.
  6 - Desire to glory There is a time not to speak 
.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.
  7 - Lest ... exalted Praise from people can put them at risk of arrogance and pride pr1605.
  7 - Thorn From sholops. It could be a pointed piece of wood or similar item. According to the papyri manuscripts, the word can describe a splinter hard to remove from the flesh.
  7 - In the flesh "Paul had a bodily affliction; his eyesight was bad. He thought that by earnest prayer the difficulty might be removed. but the Lord had His own purpose, and He said to Paul, Speak to Me  no more of this matter. My grace is sufficient. It will enable you to bear the infirmity." (SDA Bible Commentary,  p. 1107.)
.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.
  9 - Pleasure in infirmities Not that he enjoyed suffering but that he was doing it for Christ.
  10 - When I am weak An important concept for all.
  Because we suffer in this life does not necessarily mean we are bad or not praying hard enough (although these may be the case). God allows trials for our purification. One day, we will have no more sorrow or pain or death re2103.
  Power is perfected in weakness v9.
.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.
  12 - Signs Consider his personal sacrifice 11:7-12; his facing obstacles, 11:23-27, the visions and dreams given to him, verses 1-6 above, and the work of Christ in his converts, 1 Cor. 9:2; 2 Cor. 3:2.
  12 - All patience "His mode of expression is modest, putting himself, the worker, in the background, 'were wrought,' not 'I wrought.' As the signs have not been transmitted to us..." They were apparently done quietly.
  13 - Inferior He had not given the Corinthian church less attention except that he had not accepted payment as his critics had.
.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.
 16  But be it so, I did not burden you: 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?
  14 - Third time Paul's first visit to Corinth is mentioned in ac1801. No second visit is known. "The third time" may apply to an actual visit or a plan to visit.
  14 - Not be burdensome Paul would continue to be self-supporting.
  15 - Spend and be spent He would spend exhausting his resources. "Be spent" is stronger than "spend" in Greek.
  16 - I caught you It is thought that Paul is quoting his adversaries.
  18 - Titus "namely, to go unto you. Not the mission mentioned 2Co 8:6,17,22; but a mission previous to this Epistle, probably that from which he had just returned announcing to Paul their penitence (2Co 7:6-16)." (JFB)
.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.
 19 Again Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. (RSV) 
  20 - For I fear Paul wanted to see good behavior when he came, and he wanted the church members to have overcome their problems.
  21 - Come again Paul is afraid members may backslide again although the past provides a little courage 2co0201.
  21 - Bewail Paul was afraid many would lose their spirituality. It would be like a funeral

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