2 Corinthians 12 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Paul’s Visions and Revelations
12 Although it may not accomplish a thing, I need to move on and boast about supernatural visions and revelations of the Lord.[a] 2 Someone I’m acquainted with, who is in union with Christ, was swept away fourteen years ago in an ecstatic experience. He was taken into the third heaven,[b] but I’m not sure if he was in his body or out of his body—only God knows. 3 And I know that this man[c] (again, I’m not sure if he was still in his body or taken out of his body—God knows) 4 was caught up in an ecstatic experience and brought into paradise,[d] where he overheard many wondrous and inexpressible secrets[e] that were so sacred that no mortal is permitted to repeat them.[f] 5 I’m ready to boast of such an experience, but for my own good I refuse to boast unless it concerns my weaknesses.[g] 6 However, if I were to boast, it wouldn’t be ridiculous at all, for I would be speaking the truth. Yet I will refrain, lest others think higher of me than what I demonstrate with my life and teaching.
7 The extraordinary level of the revelations I’ve received is no reason for anyone to exalt me.[h] For this is why a thorn in my flesh was given to me, the Adversary’s messenger sent to harass me,[i] keeping me from becoming arrogant. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this. 9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you,[j] and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.[k] 10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.
The Signs of an Apostle
11 I have become foolish to boast like this, but you have forced me to do it, when you should have boasted in me instead. For there is nothing I lack compared to these “super-apostles” of yours, even though I am nothing. 12 The things that distinguish a true apostle were performed among you with great perseverance—supernatural signs, startling wonders, and awesome miracles.
13 Furthermore, how were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I didn’t burden you financially—forgive me for depriving you![l] 14 And now here I am, ready to come to you for the third time,[m] and I still refuse to be a burden to you. For what I really want is your hearts, not your money. After all, children should not have to accumulate resources for their parents, but parents do this for their children. 15 And as a spiritual father to you, I will gladly spend all that I have and all that I am for you![n] If I love you more, will you respond by loving me less?[o]
16 Be that as it may, I haven’t been a burden to you at all, yet you say of me, “He’s a scoundrel and a trickster!” 17 But let me ask you this. Did I somehow cheat or trick you through any of the men I sent your way? 18 I was the one who insisted that Titus and our brother come and help you. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn’t we all come to you in the same spirit, following in the ways of integrity?
19 I hope that you don’t assume that all this time we have simply been justifying ourselves in your eyes? Beloved ones, we have been speaking to you in the sight of God as those joined to Christ, and everything we do is meant to build you up and make you stronger in your faith. 20 Now I’m afraid that when I come to you I may find you different than I desire you to be, and you may find me different than you would like me to be. I don’t want to find you in disunity, with jealousy and angry outbursts, with selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and turmoil. 21 I’m actually afraid that on my next visit my God will humble me in front of you as I shed tears over those who keep sinning without repenting of their impurity, sexual immorality, and perversion.
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.