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

2 Corinthians 12:1, NIV: I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:1, ESV: 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.

2 Corinthians 12:1, KJV: It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:1, NASB: Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:1, NLT: This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:1, CSB: Boasting is necessary. It is not profitable, but I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord.

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

False apostles were more than happy to brag about themselves. Mocking that, Paul has been using a similar tone, but his "boasting" has focused mostly on his weaknesses and suffering. His version of self-promotion, even when he's being sarcastic, is all about the power of Christ shown in the work of taking the gospel to those who had not heard it.

A group of deceivers among the Corinthians has been comparing themselves to Paul, boasting about their own skills, accomplishments, and spiritual experiences. Paul has made clear that the goal of these deceivers is to seduce the Corinthians away from their devotion to the true Christ. Paul does not want to compete with them in their boasting, but he will do so in order to keep the Corinthians from being deceived by them.

Beginning with this verse, Paul will describe his own visions and revelations. In the culture of the day, spiritual leaders promoted themselves by describing supernatural experiences. False teachers continue to do this today. It's likely that the false apostles in Corinth had told stories about God's revelations to them. Paul will tell a much more impressive and powerful story. He starts, though, by saying there is nothing to be gained by it.

Why would Paul say this? First, he feels that boasting is foolish and un-Christlike (2 Corinthians 11:17). Second, he doesn't want people to judge him based on an unverifiable story, but on his words and actions (2 Corinthians 12:6). In short, Paul wants people to trust in Christ because He is trustworthy, not because of Paul's visions.