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Paul’s Vision and His Thorn February 20, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.

Summary: Paul begins by stating that boasting is not profitable; thus, he will discuss the visions – and their meaning – that Christ has given to him. Fourteen years ago, he – as a Christian – was taken to the highest heaven; it is unclear whether his body joined his soul on that occasion, though. At that time he heard and saw things that he could not tell others. He can boast about that event, as it shows God’s unmerited favor to him; yet he will only boast about himself to show his weakness. If he were to boast about himself, he would be speaking the truth; yet he does not persist in boasting, as he wants others to judge him based on his actions and words. To keep him from acting and thinking improperly based on the divine communications that he has received, God allowed Satan to afflict his body. Paul earnestly petitioned Christ to remove this pain from him; yet He constantly reminds him that His love is enough for him, as His strength is made more conspicuous by his weakness. Thus, he will boast about his weaknesses, as they reveal Christ’s glory in him. Paul concludes by reiterating that he delights in his weaknesses, as they show Christ’s power in him; his weakness allows God to show His strength.

Thoughts: In verses 8 and 9, we see that God reminded Paul of His ability to show His power through his weakness. Hodge offers an interesting take on this:

In this passage we see clearly the apostle’s religious life and the most convincing proof that he lived in communion with Christ as God. He looked to him as his supreme, omnipresent, all-sufficient Lord for deliverance from the thorn in his flesh, from the torments of the messenger of Satan, under which he had suffered so grievously. He prayed to God. He received from him the answer to his prayer…To Paul it was sufficient. It gave him perfect peace.

On one hand, we see Paul’s humanity in the fact that he pleaded with God on three occasions to have this bodily affliction removed from him. In general, we readily shun pain. On the other hand, pain, in Paul’s case, was the occasion of God showing His power; now not only did Paul accept this reality, he boasted about it. This is an aspect of my spiritual life where I genuinely need God’s grace; I must admit that I still grudgingly accept my weaknesses – as opposed to rejoicing over them.

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