2 Corinthians 12:1-5

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-5 Paul continues to discuss his resume as a minister of the Gospel.  He is tired of writing about himself!  He would much rather write about Jesus!  But the worldly thinking which made the Corinthian Christians think little of Paul was also making them think little of Jesus, even if they couldn’t perceive it. “I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.” The false teachers in Corinth were spewing lies about things they had seen or knew from the Lord. Those folks were making things up to try and elevate their status in the church.

Paul switches to a third person perspective as he shares his vision and revelation from God. So why did he decide to make the change in how he wrote this section? He is doing everything he can to relate this experience without bringing glory to himself. This is exactly the kind of lie that the false teachers were parading around Corinth claiming. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.” Paul tells his story and takes the focus off of him being the man, so the impostors would not try to outdo him. Paul doesn’t seem to know exactly how it happened, so rather than focus on trying to figure it out we should believe because we can’t know how it happened either.

Paul goes on to share more details about this experience that happened some 14 years previously. The location of this event is called Paradise, but beyond that we don’t have much clarity around the details. Paul was ok with not knowing the details because he knew God knows. We’ll not know and understand everything until we have the privilege to enter eternity with the Father. “And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” So what did Paul hear? God didn’t want us to know, so He didn’t give Paul permission to speak.

Paul is sharply – and humorously – contrasting himself with the “super apostles” among the Corinthian Christians.  They would not hesitate to boast about the kind of vision Paul had, or many other things they felt separated them from the rest of the church.  In fact, they would write books, make tapes and videos, and go on speaking tours about such a vision had those been options in their day! “On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.” Paul is only willing to talk about his own weakness, not boast about anything he has seen or heard. He’s not about building himself up but showing his dependence on God for all things.

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on The Searchlight.

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