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II Corinthians Chp. 12

                                        II Corinthians Chp. 12

                                                            by Joyce Webb


The group of believers that Paul is writing to have had some other men come to their group to preach to them.

It seems that these men have been very good speakers. But some of the things they have been teaching have not been right.

The people have been comparing Paul with these speakers. Paul’s speaking and ways of doing things was not as smooth and did not sound as expert or “polished”.

The people were very influenced by these new speakers. But Paul knows that some of the things they have said was not right.

Paul is trying to get the people to see that , he, Paul, knows what he is talking about. He wants them to understand that he has taught them the truth. Even if his speaking was not so expert or smooth, what he said was the truth.

Paul also reminds that they he feels like a father to them. He was the first one to come to them to teach them about Jesus being God’s son and dying on the cross for their sin.

Paul feels responsible for their spiritual understanding. He is not happy that these new men have come and taught the people things that are not right.

Paul is not jealous that they have had other men come, but he does not like it that they are not teaching correctly.

Yet the people have accepted these new men and what they have been preaching, and have put aside what Paul has taught them. Some of the people are saying that Paul did not have as much knowledge as these new men, because Paul was not as smooth and expert in his speaking ability.

Paul has written in the last couple of “chapters” of this letter telling the people of his experience and background and why they should trust him.

Paul feels like he is “bragging” and being “proud” to talk about himself this way, but he wants the people to know why they should trust him.

So we begin in Chp 12 with Paul still talking about what he has done.

Vs. 1 Paul says It is not wise for him to be talking about all this because it makes it seem like he is being proud. However, he is telling them the truth about what has happened to him.

He says I will talk to you about visions I have had and revelations that the Lord has given to me.

He says 14 years ago I was caught up into heaven. I do not know if it was just a vision in my mind that I saw these things, or if my body was taken up into heaven for a time.

But I saw things and heard things that were amazing. I could tell about these things and be proud of seeing such things but I will not go on about it.

Vs. 5 Paul says I will not brag about the “glory things” I have seen. Instead, I will tell you of my weakness and how God has helped me and used me even as a weak person.

Vs. 6 Paul says I would like to talk about all those things and be “proud” of what things God has shown me, but that would be foolish to be like that.

Vs. 7 People would be “impressed and in wonder” at what God has shown me, but then they would think that I am special in some way, I do not want that.

To keep me humble, God let me have a “thorn” in the flesh. (In other words, God let him have a physical problem. Vs. 8 Paul prayed for God to heal it and take it away 3 times but God did not do it.)

So, Paul, has to learn to live with it and learn to trust God to help him.

(We do not know what this problem was but many Bible teachers think it was his eyes. That he had trouble with his eyes. We know he could not see well, because at the end of some of his letters he says that someone else wrote the letter, but at the very end Paul wrote a few words. His writing was very large, because he could not see well and had to write big letters to see it.)

(We know from the book of Acts Chp. 9 that Paul was made blind for a time. A man prayed for him and he could see again. It could be that God let Paul have some eye problems from that time just to remind Paul of how God changed his life and make Paul depend on God’s help.)

Vs. 9 After Paul prayed for healing 3 times, and God did not heal him, God said to him, “My grace is sufficient (enough) for you. For My Strength is made perfect in (your) weakness.)

That meant because of Paul’s weakness he was going to have to depend on God for help, and that would be better than for Paul to be well on his own.

When all is well with us and we have no problems we sometimes forget we need God’s help and strength. We go on and do God’s work in our own strength. That is not good.

Doing God’s work in our own strength and wisdom is not good. We can miss God’s plan or what He wants to do.

But when we have a problem where we have to have God’s help to go on, we think about God all the time and pray to Him for help and strength. We need Him so much we can not go on our own.

So our “problem” serves a purpose of keeping us close to God for his help.

God said to Paul My grace is enough for you.

More than healing, God’s grace and watching and help everyday to be able to do the work was a better thing.

Vs. 9 Paul sees the wisdom of this. He says I would rather have this problem and have the power of God rest on me.

Vs. 10 Paul says So it is better for me to have this problem and to have these bad things happen to me such as people being against me, my being beaten, in prison, all those hard things that happened to me because of my preaching for Jesus.

Because of these things, when I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord’s strength.

Vs. 11 It has been foolish of me to be “bragging” about all of these things. I feel that you forced me to do it.

Instead of standing up for me, and saying good things about me, I have had to defend myself by telling all these things about myself.

Even though I am just a humble servant of God, yet compared to any of the other speakers I am equal to them or more in education and experience.

Vs. 12 When I was with you you saw the miracles and healings that happened. This is a sign of an apostle. How can you think that I am not an apostle?

Vs. 13 In all ways in teaching in miracles you have had as much as any other church.

The only thing you did not have was to have to pay me wages. Because I took care of my own needs and you did not have to give me anything.

So you think I should have made you pay so you could be like other churches?

Vs. 14 Paul tells the believers at Corinth, this is the 3rd time I will be coming to you. I am not coming so that you will give me money. I am coming because I want to see you.

It is not for the “children” to provide for the parents, it is for the parents to provide for the children.

(Paul is saying this because other speakers who have come to speak to this group have received offerings of money from them and it seems that they expected to be paid.

Then when criticism of Paul was made Paul reminded them that he never asked for anything from them. He worked and paid his own way while he was with them.)

Vs. 15 Paul says I am willing to spent of myself for you. But it seems that the more

I show love to you, the less you love me.

Vs. 16 Paul says I did not burden you with having to provide for me, but some are saying that I was sneaky and tricked you.

Vs. 17 Paul asks Did I gain anything from the brothers that I sent to you?

Vs. 18 Paul asks I sent Titus and another Christian brother with him. Did Titus gain anything from that?

Did not Titus and I both act toward you with the same Christian spirit?

Vs. 19 Do you think we are trying to make excuses? Before God, and Christ who sees us we did everything for your benefit and good.

Vs. 20 I am afraid that when I come to you I will not be happy about some of these things. And you will not be happy with me because of what I will say to you about it?

I am afraid that when I come I will find that among you there is arguing, fighting, those who are jealous, anger, selfishness, back stabbing, gossip, being proud, bad behavior.

I am afraid that when I come, God will humble me again because of you. I will be sorry and grieve because many of you who sinned before have not repented of your wrong doing, or your sexual bad behavior, and your wanting lustful pleasure.







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