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A Special Blessing in Paul’s Life

12 I must continue to brag. It will do no good, but I will talk now about visions and revelations[a] from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who was taken up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. I do not know whether the man was in his body or out of his body, but God knows. 3-4 And I know that this man was taken up to paradise.[b] I don’t know if he was in his body or away from his body, but God knows. He heard things he is not able to explain, things that no human is allowed to tell. I will brag about a man like that, but I will not brag about myself, except about my weaknesses. But if I wanted to brag about myself, I would not be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will not brag about myself. I do not want people to think more of me than what they see me do or hear me say.

So that I would not become too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me, a painful physical problem[c] was given to me. This problem was a messenger from Satan, sent to beat me and keep me from being too proud. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. 10 For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.

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Footnotes

  1. 12:1 revelations Revelation is making known a truth that was hidden.
  2. 12:3–4 paradise Another word for heaven.
  3. 12:7 painful physical problem Literally, “thorn in the flesh.”

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