Scripture: II Corinthians 12

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READ and STUDY the WORD

For other translations of these verses below visit: https://classic.biblegateway.com/

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

II Corinthians 12:1-10 (WEB) 1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago—whether in the body, I don’t know, or whether out of the body, I don’t know; God knows. I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don’t know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me or hears from me. By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, a thorn in the flesh was given to me: a messenger of satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.  10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, and in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. 

Questions and Answers:

1. Who do you believe Paul was talking about when he spoke of  knowing a man who was caught up into the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:1-4)? My Bible notes: Paul was speaking about himself.  He explained that he didn’t know if he was taken up in his body or in his spirit, but he was in paradise (“the third heaven”).

2. What was given to Paul, why was it given to him, how did he respond (II Corinthians 12:5-8)? A thorn in the flesh was given to Paul.  This thorn was a hindrance to his ministry and he prayed for its removal, but God refused. My Bible notes: Paul was a very self-sufficient person, so this thorn must have been difficult for him.  It kept Paul humble, reminding him of his need for constant contact with God, and benefited those around him as they saw God at work in his life.  

3. What was God’s response to Paul’s request to remove the thorn and how did Paul react (II Corinthians 12:9-10)? God said “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response was that he would glory in his weakness, so that the power of Christ might rest on him.  He would take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, and in distresses. For Christ’s sake.  For when he (Paul) was weak, then he was strong (with Christ’s power).

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians

II Corinthians 12:11-21 (WEB) 11 I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for I am in no way inferior to the very best apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.  14 Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less? 16 Even so, I myself didn’t burden you. “But, being crafty, I caught you with deception.” 17 Did I take advantage of you by anyone of those whom I have sent to you? 18 I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit? Didn’t we walk in the same steps?  19 Again, do you think that we are excusing ourselves to you? In the sight of God we speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying. 20 For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you don’t desire, that by any means there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, or riots, 21 that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and lustfulness which they committed.

Questions and Answers:

1. What did Paul say made the Corinth church inferior to the other assemblies and how many times had Paul visited them (II Corinthians 12:11-14)? Paul was never a burden to the Corinthians. Paul had visited them twice before.  This would be his third visit.

2. What did Paul so he would gladly do (II Corinthians 12:15)? Paul said he would most gladly spend and be spent for the Corinthians’ souls.

3. What questions did Paul ask about himself and his co-workers (II Corinthians 12:16-19a)? Paul asked had they (he and his co-workers) taken advantage of them (the Corinthian believers).   Hadn’t they walked in the same spirit? Didn’t they walk in the same steps? Did the Corinthian believers think they (Paul and his co-workers) were making excuses? 

4. What was Paul’s response to these questions (II Corinthians 12:19b)? Paul said in the sight of God they (Paul and his co-workers) spoke in Christ.  That all things were for their (the Corinthians’) edification.

5. What was Paul afraid he would find among the Corinthians (II Corinthians 12:20-21)? My Bible notes: Paul feared he would find the practices of the wicked Corinthians had invaded the congregation and that the congregation had not repented of the sins they had committed. 

HEAR the WORD

II Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)  … Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the above verses.  Do you have or have you ever had a thorn in your side?  Do you have a chronic and debilitating problem which at times may keep you from working?

MEMORIZE the WORD

II Corinthians 12:9a (But He (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

The second part of verse 9 says “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Can you continue to love and live God’s Word knowing He may not remove your thorn? 

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

Is there anyone who needs encouragement today concerning a thorn they may have?

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we will not boast about ourselves, except about our weaknesses (II Corinthians 12:5). Lord, I pray we will seek Your healing but realize that your grace is sufficient for us (II Corinthians 12:9a).  Lord, I pray we will seek Christ’s power to rest on us (II Corinthians 12:9b).  Lord, I pray we will share our faith with others without cost (II Corinthians 12:14-15).  Lord, I pray all we do for others will be done for their strengthening (II Corinthians 12:19).  Lord, I pray we will repent quickly when we sin and encourage others to do the same (II Corinthians 12:20-21).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I trust God to do in our life what is best for us.” <>< Dona