12:1 It 1 is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
(1) He continues in his purpose, and because
those braggarts boasted of revelations, he reckons up those things which lift
him up above the common capacity of men. But he uses a preface, and prudently
12:2 I knew a man a
in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or
whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to
the b third heaven.
(a) I speak this in Christ, that is, it is spoken
without boastfulness, for I seek nothing but Christ Jesus only.
(b) Into the highest heaven: for we do not need
to dispute subtly upon the word "third". But yet this passage is to
be marked against those who would make heaven to be everywhere.
12:4 How that he was
caught up into c paradise, and heard d
unspeakable words, which it is not e
lawful for a man to utter.
(c) So the Greeks name that which we call a park,
that is to say, a place where trees are planted, and wild beasts kept. And
those that translated the Old Testament out of Hebrew into Greek, called the
garden of Eden by this name, into which Adam was put immediately after his
creation, as a most delicate and pleasant place. And from this it occurred
that the blessed seat of the glory of God is called by that name.
(d) Which no man is able to utter.
(e) Which the saints themselves are not by any
means able to express, because it is God himself. This is the way that Clement
of Alexandria explains this passage, Strom. 5.
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine
(2) To remove all suspicion of seeking glory, he
witnesses that he brags not of those things as though they were of himself,
but as outside of himself. And yet nonetheless he pretends nothing, lest by
this occasion other men should attribute to him more than he indeed is: and
therefore he would rather glory in his miseries.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the
revelations, there was given to me f a
thorn in the flesh, the messenger of g
Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
(3) An excellent doctrine: why God will have even
his best servants to be vexed by Satan, and by every type of temptations: that
is, lest they should be too much puffed up, and also that they may be made
perfect by being continually exercised in them.
(f) He means sinful lust, that sticks fast in us
as it were a thorn, to such a degree that it forced Paul himself who was
regenerated to cry out, "I do not that good that I would", etc. And
he calls it a thorn by a metaphor taken from thorns, or stumps, which are very
dangerous and harmful for the feet, if a man walks through woods that are cut
(g) Which sets those lusts on fire.
12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord h
thrice, that it might depart from me.
12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 4
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may i rest upon me.
(4) He concludes that he will only set his
miseries against the vain braggings of the false apostles, and with this also
excuses himself, because by their troublesome braggings he was forced to speak
as much of those things as he did. That is, because if his apostleship were
subverted, his doctrine would necessarily fall.
(i) That I might feel the power of Christ more
and more: for the weaker that our tabernacles are, the more does Christ's
power appear in them.
12:10 Therefore I take k
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
(k) I do not only take them patiently and with a
good heart, but I also take great pleasure in them.
12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have
compelled me: 5 for I ought to have been
commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though
I be nothing.
(5) Again he makes the Corinthians witnesses of
those things by which God had sealed his apostleship among them, and again he
declares by certain arguments how far he is from all covetousness, and also
how he is affectionate towards them.
12:12 Truly the l
signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and
wonders, and mighty deeds.
(l) The arguments by which it may well appear
that I am indeed an apostle of Jesus Christ.
12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior
to other churches, except [it be] that I myself was not m
burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
(m) I was not slothful with my own hands, so that
I might not be burdensome to you.
6 But be it so, I did not burden you:
nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
(6) He sets aside another most grievous slander,
that is, that he did subtly and by others make his gain and profit of them.
7 Again, think ye that we excuse
ourselves unto you? we speak before God in n
Christ: but [we do] all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
(7) He concludes that he does not write these
things to them as though he needed to defend himself, for he is guilty of
nothing: but because it is appropriate for them to doubt nothing of his
fidelity, who instructed them.
(n) As it becomes him to speak truly and
sincerely, that professes himself to be in Christ, that is to say, to be a
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and [that]
I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest [there be] debates,
envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
(8) Having confirmed his authority to them, he
rebukes them sharply, and threatens them also like an apostle, showing that he
will not spare them from now on, unless they repent, seeing that this is the
third time that he has warned them.