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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's SECOND letter to the Corinthians

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 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Corinthians 12

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.

   

 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Cor 12: Power for ministry, grace for weakness

    

v.1-10 Paul's Vision and His Thorn

v.11-13 Paul's Reminder of how he had come to them

v.14-19 His hopes of coming again & Titus' visit

v.20,21 Paul's Hope for when he comes next

 

[Chapter Synopsis: At the conclusion of all his ‘boasting' he obliquely refers to a vision he had and the suffering through a ‘thorn in the flesh' he has had to endure to combat his pride. He asks them to put all this aside and just remember the Spirit's accreditation of him when he was with them, the signs wonders etc. he was given to perform. He talks of coming again and denies the false accusations that he had been a burden to them when he had come before. He asks them to think what he will feel when he comes again. Will it be pleasure at what he finds or will it be sorrow that they have not put their house in order.]

 

 

v.1-10 Paul's Vision and His Thorn

 

v.1 (he continues about visions etc.) I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.

v.2 (a man [himself?] who had an amazing vision) I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.

v.3,4 (who heard amazing things) And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

v.5 (that is boasting about God, not himself) I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.

v.6,7 (if I did boast it would be the truth, but I won't for I was given a ‘thorn in my flesh' to combat possible pride) Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

v.8 (I pleaded with God to take it from me) Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

v.9 (but He said His grace was sufficient for me and His power would be revealed through my weakness, so I'm only left with my weakness to boast about) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

v.10 (hence I rejoice in all these negatives because His strength enables me to be strong) That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

[Passage Synopsis: A slightly obscure passage where Paul seems to refer to an amazing vision he had had, but the main point is that God had allowed him to suffer some personal hindrance and said it would stay and he would cope by God's grace.]

 

 

v.11-13 Paul's Reminder of how he had come to them

    

v.11 (I didn't want to say all this but my concern for you drove me to it ) I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” [Or the most eminent apostles] even though I am nothing.

v.12 (nevertheless you know I exercised the true signs of an apostle – moving in the power of the Spirit) I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.

v.13 (the only way you were different from other churches is in the fact I never took money from you) How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

 

[Passage Synopsis: All of this can be considered folly (? and forgotten?) but the main thing is the power of the Spirit which gave him accreditation as an apostle.]

 

 

v.14-19 His hopes of coming again & Titus' visit

     

v.14 (I'm hoping to come a third time and again not be a burden to you) Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

v.15 (for your benefit I'll give all I have in resources to minister to you) So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?

v.16 (contrary to what my detractors say, I was not a burden to you, although they still say I did trick you) Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!

v.17 (did the men I sent you trick you?) Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you?

v.18 (Titus didn't trick you did he?) I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?

v.19 (have my recent words been trickery? No, they have been honest before God for your benefit) Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.

 

[Passage Synopsis: It seems he very much has in mind the accusations of his detractors that he fed off them and so he strongly denies that, and also denies their accusations that he was a schemer to profit from them.]

 

 

v.20,21 Paul's Hope for when he comes next

 

v.20 (his fear is that when he comes he will find they haven't put their house in order, and so he won't be able to speak as they might wish. He fears that there is still disharmony etc. there) For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

v.21 (if that is so, God may humble him with tears [implied] when he finds their failure to repent) I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

[Passage Synopsis: Paul wants them to consider what he might feel if he comes again – pleasure or sorrow at what he finds there. He fears what could be.]

     

Chapter Brief Summary/Recap:

Ch.12:Power for ministry, grace for weakness

•  he obliquely refers to a vision he had and the suffering through a ‘thorn in the flesh' he has had to endure to combat his pride

•  he asks them to remember the Spirit's accreditation of him when he was with them, the signs wonders etc.

•  he talks of coming again and denies the false accusations that he had been a burden to them when he had come before

•  he asks them to think what he will feel when he comes again. Will it be pleasure at what he finds or will it be sorrow that they have not put their house in order?

    

     

Continue to Chapter 13