What does 2 Corinthians 12:1 mean?
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.
NIV: I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
NASB: Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
CSB: Boasting is necessary. It is not profitable, but I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
NLT: This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.
KJV: It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
NKJV: It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 12:1–10 contains Paul's description of an astonishing experience. He was transported, in some sense, to the third heaven or paradise, where he received an unspeakable revelation from God. To keep him humble afterwards, God gave him a ''thorn in the flesh'' and refused to remove it despite Paul's pleas. Instead, God told Paul His grace was more than enough, and that His power was made perfect in Paul's weakness. Paul declares once again that he will boast in his weakness and be content in his suffering—because when Paul is weak, it more clearly proves that Christ is powerful.
Chapter Summary:
With as much humility as possible, Paul describes an astounding experience. He was caught up to the ''third heaven'' and received a revelation from God that he cannot reveal on earth. He refuses to brag about it, but mentions it in order to introduce the consequences of that experience. To keep Paul humble, God gave him a ''thorn in the flesh,'' some malady which the Bible does not explicitly explain. Paul has learned to be content in his suffering since God's power is made perfect in his weakness. He chastises the Corinthians for not commending him since they know him. He defends himself against a charge of crafty swindling, and he expresses concern that he will find some still living in sin when he arrives in Corinth.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 12 follows Paul's sarcastic ''boasting'' about his suffering for Christ. The chapter continues with Paul refusing to take credit for an astounding revelation from God. Given a ''thorn in the flesh'' to keep him humble, Paul learned to be content with his suffering since God's power was made perfect in his weakness. Still, the Corinthians should have defended him to the false apostles and not believed lies about him swindling money from them with no evidence. He is concerned that when he comes to visit them, he will find some still unrepentant of specific sins. This leads Paul to his final warnings and the close of his letter, in chapter 13.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 7/17/2024 1:49:56 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.