2 Corinthians 12 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
A Vision of Paradise
12 It is necessary to boast; it is not profitable, but I will proceed to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or outside the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven, 3 and I know this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 that he was caught up to paradise and heard words not to be spoken, which it is not permitted for a person to speak. 5 On behalf of such a person I will boast, but on behalf of myself I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. 6 For if I want to boast, I will not be foolish, because I will be telling the truth, but I am refraining, so that no one can credit to me more than what he sees in me or hears anything from me, 7 even because of the extraordinary degree of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, in order that it would torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would depart from me. 9 And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, because the[a] power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore rather I will boast most gladly in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may reside in me. 10 Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in calamities, in persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul’s Concern for the Christians at Corinth
11 I have become a fool! You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for I am in no way inferior to the preeminent apostles,[b] even if I am nothing. 12 Indeed, the signs of an apostle have been done among you with all patient endurance, both signs and wonders and deeds of power. 13 For in what respect are you made worse off[c] more than the rest of the churches, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! 14 Behold, this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you. For I am not seeking your possessions, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 But I will spend and be expended most gladly for your lives. If I love you much more, am I to be loved less? 16 But let it be. I have not been a burden to you, but because I[d] was crafty, I took you by cunning. 17 I have not taken advantage of you through anyone whom I sent to you[e], have I?[f] 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he?[g] Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit?[h] Did we not walk in the same footsteps?[i] 19 Have you been thinking all this time that we are defending ourselves to you? We are speaking in Christ before God, and all these things, dear friends, are for your edification. 20 For I am afraid lest somehow when I[j] arrive, I will not find you as I want, and I may be found by you as you do not want. I am afraid[k] lest somehow there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, pride, disorder. 21 I am afraid lest when I[l] come again my God will humiliate me in your presence[m], and I will grieve over many of those who sinned previously and have not repented because of their impurity and sexual immorality and licentiousness that they have practiced.
2 Corinthians 12 New International Version (NIV)
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 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, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 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.
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians
11 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,”[a] even though I am nothing. 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. 13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 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. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.