2 Corinthians 12
New King James Version
The Vision of Paradise
12 It is [a]doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to (A)visions and (B)revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man (C)in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one (D)was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 how he was caught up into (E)Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not (F)boast, except in my infirmities. 6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
The Thorn in the Flesh
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a (G)thorn in the flesh was given to me, (H)a messenger of Satan to [b]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 (I)Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly (J)I will rather boast in my infirmities, (K)that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore (L)I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. (M)For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Signs of an Apostle
11 I have become (N)a fool [c]in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for (O)in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though (P)I am nothing. 12 (Q)Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and (R)wonders and mighty (S)deeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Love for the Church
14 (T)Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for (U)I do not seek yours, but you. (V)For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent (W)for your souls; though (X)the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
16 But be that as it may, (Y)I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our (Z)brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?
19 (AA)Again, [d]do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? (AB)We speak before God in Christ. (AC)But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that (AD)I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God (AE)will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many (AF)who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, (AG)fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.
2 Corinthians 12
12 It is necessary to boast, though nothing is gained by it; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a [a]man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows—such a man was caught up to the [b]third heaven.(A) 3 And I know that such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows— 4 was caught up into [c]Paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak [words too sacred to tell]. 5 On behalf of such a man [and his experiences] I will boast; but in my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6 If I wish to boast, I will not be foolish, because I will be speaking the truth. But I abstain [from it], so that no one will credit me with more than [is justified by what] he sees in me or hears from me.
A Thorn in the Flesh
7 Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself!(B) 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].
11 Now I have become foolish; you have forced me [by questioning my apostleship]. Actually I should have been commended by you [instead of being treated disdainfully], for I was not inferior to those [d]super-apostles, even if I am nobody. 12 The signs that indicate a genuine apostle were performed among you fully and most patiently—signs and wonders and miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except [for the fact] that I did not burden you [with my financial support]? Forgive me [for doing you] this injustice!
14 Now for the third time I am ready to visit you. I will not burden you [financially], because I do not want what is yours [not your money or your possessions], but you. For children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 But I will very gladly spend [my own resources] and be utterly spent for your souls. If I love you greatly, am I to be loved less [by you]? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you [with my support]. But [some say that] I was sly and took you by trickery. 17 Did I take advantage of you or make any money off you through any of the messengers I sent you? [Certainly not!] 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? [No!] Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps? [Of course!]
19 All this time you have been thinking that we are [merely] defending ourselves to you. It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking [as one] in Christ; and everything, dearly beloved, is to strengthen you [spiritually]. 20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you not to be as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and decadence which they formerly practiced.
- 2 Corinthians 12:2 Paul had this experience prior to beginning his missionary journeys.
- 2 Corinthians 12:2 The dwelling place of God, called Paradise by Jesus and also by Paul (v 4).
- 2 Corinthians 12:4 Paul apparently uses “Paradise” as an equivalent of the third heaven, the dwelling place of God (cf Luke 23:43).
- 2 Corinthians 12:11 See note 11:5. If the false teachers were degrading Paul’s apostleship, they may have wrongly ascribed a “super-apostleship” to the Twelve, especially James, Cephas (Peter), and John. See Gal 2:9.
2 Corinthians 12
New International Version
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting.(A) Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations(B) from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ(C) who fourteen years ago was caught up(D) to the third heaven.(E) Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.(F) 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(G) to paradise(H) 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.(I) 6 Even if I should choose to boast,(J) I would not be a fool,(K) 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.(L) Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh,(M) a messenger of Satan,(N) to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.(O) 9 But he said to me, “My grace(P) is sufficient for you, for my power(Q) is made perfect in weakness.(R)”(S) 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(T) in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,(U) in persecutions,(V) in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(W)
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians
11 I have made a fool of myself,(X) 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](Y) even though I am nothing.(Z) 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.(AA) 13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you?(AB) Forgive me this wrong!(AC)
14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time,(AD) 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,(AE) but parents for their children.(AF) 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.(AG) If I love you more,(AH) will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you.(AI) 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(AJ) Titus(AK) to go to you and I sent our brother(AL) 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(AM) as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends,(AN) is for your strengthening.(AO) 20 For I am afraid that when I come(AP) I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.(AQ) I fear that there may be discord,(AR) jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition,(AS) slander,(AT) gossip,(AU) arrogance(AV) and disorder.(AW) 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved(AX) over many who have sinned earlier(AY) and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery(AZ) in which they have indulged.
- 2 Corinthians 12:11 Or the most eminent apostles