What does 2 Corinthians 12:6 mean?
ESV: though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
NIV: 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,
NASB: For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
CSB: For if I want to boast, I wouldn't be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me,
NLT: If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,
KJV: For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
Fourteen years before writing this letter, Paul had an incredible experience. He has shared it to help the Corinthians understand that he is a legitimate apostle of Jesus, meaning that his message about salvation through faith in Christ is valid.
The experience was this: He was "caught up" to the third heaven, where God dwells, and shown things he is forbidden to talk about. To reduce the focus on himself, Paul has described the experience as happening to a man he knows. Now, though, he says that it would not be foolish for him to boast about this since it really did happen to him. In truth, it would not be boasting, at all, but simply telling a true story.
Still, Paul does not want the story to put the spotlight on himself. He refuses to boast about it and will describe the experience only as something that happened to "a man" or "this man." Why? He apparently doesn't want to be given personal glory for an unverifiable story about a supernatural experience. In saying this, he may have been warning the Corinthians not to give glory to the false apostles based on such stories, either.
Instead, Paul wants to be judged on what he says and what he does--on how he lives. He would likely want the Corinthians to judge the false apostles on the Christlikeness of their character, as well.
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.
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 11:47:32 AM
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