What does 2 Corinthians 12:14 mean?
ESV: Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
NIV: 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.
NASB: Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
CSB: Look, I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, since I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children ought not save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
NLT: Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have — I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.
KJV: Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
The issue of Paul's refusal to receive financial support for himself from the Corinthians has come up once again (1 Corinthians 9:11–12; 2 Corinthians 11:7–12). This is something they seem to have taken poorly, desiring to pay Paul in order not to leave their obligation to him unmet. He has insisted, however, that he not be a financial burden to them. This is partly because he does not want to give anyone a reason to question his motives for serving them as Christ's representative.
Now he writes that he will continue to insist on this when he comes to see them in person for the third time. The first time was when he came to Corinth and planted the church there (Acts 18:1–18). The second time was his "painful visit" which was resolved at the beginning of this letter. Paul is coming once more to, in part, receive their contribution to the suffering Christians in Jerusalem.
Paul restates once more his reason for not wanting to take any money for himself. He sees himself as their spiritual father in Christ. He doesn't want what is theirs. He wants them. As the parent in their spiritual relationship, he is the one who is obligated to provide for their needs, not the other way around. He seems to say that if they give him money for his personal needs, it will distort that parent-child relationship they share.
It's important to note that Paul is not, at all, indicating that spiritual leaders should never take support from those they serve. Quite the opposite view is presented in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 9:7–11; 1 Timothy 5:17–18).
Second Corinthians 12:11–21 describes Paul's disappointment that the Corinthians did not defend him against attacks from false apostles. The believers of Corinth saw the signs and wonders God performed through him. Paul declares once again that he will not receive payment from them. A father provides for his children, not the other way around. He rejects an accusation that he or Titus plan to swindle them and expresses his concern that when he arrives in Corinth, he will find some still unrepentant of specific sins.
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.
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.
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 2/25/2024 10:41:11 AM
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