2 Corinthians 1:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV: Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12, ESV: For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

2 Corinthians 1:12, KJV: For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Corinthians 1:12, NASB: For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

2 Corinthians 1:12, NLT: We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.

2 Corinthians 1:12, CSB: Indeed, this is our boast: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God's grace.

What does 2 Corinthians 1:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

From the context of this letter, it seems Paul's value as an apostle, his integrity, and his approach to ministry were all under attack in Corinth. At the very least, some in the church were challenging him. This might have come at the prompting of other teachers that had come in among them and gained their favor.

Paul has already addressed one concern of the people: that someone who is truly an apostle of Jesus should not experience so much suffering (2 Corinthians 1:8–11). He has shown that the opposite is true. Now he begins to defend his integrity.

In the typical context, boasting is presented as sinful or foolish in the New Testament, since the term most often means a person bragging about their own positive traits. Paul taught that boasting in one's own abilities and achievements was wrong (1 Corinthians 1:29; 4:7; Ephesians 2:9). Paul did, however, "boast" in what the Lord had done, including in what the Lord had done through him (Romans 15:17; 1 Corinthians 1:31). Here he declares his only boast: that by God's grace his conscience confirms his right conduct. Paul and his co-workers have behaved with "simplicity," meaning with integrity, openness, and honesty, and not according to the standards of worldly wisdom.

Paul adds that he and his team have behaved in this honorable way, by God's grace, especially with the Corinthians. That does not mean Paul cut corners on integrity with other people. Rather, it suggests that because of the sometimes confrontational nature of his relationship with the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:10–17), he has been careful to avoid even the hint of inappropriate behavior.