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2 Corinthians 12 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Vision of Paradise

12 It is [a]doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man 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 was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. 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

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to [b]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Signs of an Apostle

11 I have become a fool [c]in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty 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 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. 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 for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

16 But be that as it may, 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 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 Again, [d]do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. 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 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 will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:1 NU necessary, though not profitable, to boast
  2. 2 Corinthians 12:7 beat
  3. 2 Corinthians 12:11 NU omits in boasting
  4. 2 Corinthians 12:19 NU You have been thinking for a long time that we
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 12 International Standard Version (ISV)

Paul’s Thorn

12 I must boast, although it does not do any good. Let’s talk about visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man who belongs to the Messiah.[a] Fourteen years ago—whether in his body or outside of his body, I do not know, but God knows—that man was snatched away to the third heaven. I know that this man—whether in his body or outside of his body, I do not know, but God knows— was snatched away to Paradise and heard things that cannot be expressed in words, things that no human being has a right even to mention.

I will boast about this man, but as for myself I will boast only about my weaknesses. However, if I did want to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I am not going to do it in order to keep anyone from thinking more of me than what he sees and hears about me.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of the exceptional nature of these revelations, a thorn[b] was given to me and placed in my body.[c] It was Satan’s messenger to keep on tormenting me so that I would not become conceited.

I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me, but he has told me, “My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most happily boast about my weaknesses, so that the Messiah’s[d] power may rest on me. 10 That is why I take such pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for the Messiah’s[e] sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthians

11 I have become a fool. You forced me to be one. Really, I should have been commended by you, for I am not in any way inferior to your “super-apostles,” even if I am nothing. 12 The signs of an apostle were performed among you with utmost patience—signs, wonders, and powerful actions. 13 How were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I did not bother you for help? Forgive me for this wrong! 14 Now I’m ready to visit you for a third time, and I will not bother you for help. I do not want your things, but rather you yourselves. Children should not have to support[f] their parents, but parents their children. 15 I will be very glad to spend my money and myself for you. Do you love me less because I love you so much?

16 Granting that I have not been a burden to you, was I a clever schemer who trapped you by some trick? 17 I did not take advantage of you through any of the men I sent you, did I? 18 I encouraged Titus to visit you, and I sent along with him the brother you know so well. Titus didn’t take advantage of you, did he? We conducted ourselves with the same spirit, didn’t we? We took the very same steps, didn’t we?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we are trying to defend ourselves before you? We are speaking before God in the authority of[g] the Messiah,[h] and everything, dear friends, is meant to build you up. 20 I am afraid that I may come and somehow find you not as I want to find you, and that you may find me not as you want to find me. Perhaps there will be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly conduct. 21 I am afraid that when I come my God may again humble me before you and that I may have to grieve over many who formerly lived in sin and have not repented of their impurity, sexual immorality, and promiscuity that they once practiced.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:2 Or Christ
  2. 2 Corinthians 12:7 Or stake
  3. 2 Corinthians 12:7 Lit. was given to me in the flesh
  4. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Or Christ’s
  5. 2 Corinthians 12:10 Or Christ’s
  6. 2 Corinthians 12:14 Lit. to save up for
  7. 2 Corinthians 12:19 The Gk. lacks the authority of
  8. 2 Corinthians 12:19 Or Christ
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

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