The Book of 2 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 12 Part 1

We go on to 2 Cor 12:1-6
v1: It is…not profitable…to boast: First and foremost Paul wanted to do the things that were profitable for him spiritually (in his speech, thoughts and actions). Many of the false apostles were boasting – but they were boasting about their experiences in order to call the attention to themselves. Paul did not do this. A true servant of G-d does not want the attention to be upon him or herself but rather upon what G-d has done in or through their lives for His purposes. 
·      Visions and revelations: Paul makes a distinction between these two things. A vision is something that someone sees. A revelation is something made known to someone intellectually. 
v2: I know a man: Paul is NOT speaking in the third person about himself but is speaking about others. Paul turns his attention here toward the mighty things that G-d does in the lives of those who are faithful to Him (This is conjecture, but Paul could have been referring to someone like John who was caught up into heaven when he received the book of Revelation). 
·      In Messiah: This person was in a covenantal relationship with G-d. 
·      Fourteen years ago: The implication is that Paul knows this man and 14 years prior to Paul writing this letter this man had seen a vision, he had been given revelation. 
·      Whether in the bodyor…out: Paul did not know if just this man’s soul was taken to heaven or if it was his entire being (his whole body). Paul repeats this in verse 3. 
·      Caught up: This is the same word in Greek that is used to refer to the rapture. It is a word that speaks of a removal – not of someone being sustained in place. Either this man’s soul separated from his body, or he was bodily removed in order to experience this heavenly experience. 
·      Third heaven: Scripturally we cannot dogmatically know what this ‘third heaven’ is referring to – the sky, outer space, the heavens where G-d dwells and where the angels are frequently located…we do not know. The number ‘3’ is a number Biblically that speaks of revelation. This third heaven is simply a revelation of the true heaven – the place where G-d is. 
v3: I know such a man: There is a debate as to whether this is the same man with this same experience referred to above or if this is a different man who had a different experience to the one referred to above.  
v4: Caught up: Paul used the same word to speak of a removal or a rapture like experience. 
·      Paradise: ‘Paradise’, a place of the dead, also known as ‘Abraham’s bosom’, refers to a place of absolute provision. Those who had the faith of Abraham (and who died before Yeshua had died on the cross) went to this place when they died. It is a place that was connected in some way to the presence of G-d and to G-dliness. Yeshua promised the thief on the cross that He would be with Him in this place when he died (Luke 23:43). When Yeshua died He went to Paradise as well as descended to Hades to reveal Himself to the people there (1 Peter 3:19-20 and Eph 4:8-10) The Bible reveals to us that Yeshua, when He ascended, led captives in His train – He emptied out Paradise and all those who believed in Him went to be where He was (see also Psalm 68:18). 
·      Inexpressible words: Not only did this man receive a vision but he also received information, G-dly truth and G-dly perspective was revealed to Him. 
·      Not lawful for a man to utter: This man received words that were not for his time. They weren’t words that he could use for ministry purposes. They were words in regard to a future time, in regard to Kingdom things. G-d allowed these men to see these visions and to hear these words because He was pleased with them as they were men that were, like Enock (Gen 5:22-24), submissive and faithful to G-d. The revelation given to these men showed G-d’s approval of them. 
 v5: Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast: This confirms to us that Paul was speaking of other men and not of himself in regard to these visions or words. 
·      Infirmities: Weaknesses. G-d has given us all assignments. Paul, like every servant of G-d will, testified that these callings/assignments were greater than his ability, capabilities, intelligence etc. In our own strength and intellect, we cannot carry out what G-d has called us to do. We are too weak. But when we are obedient to G-d’s call these things that are impossible for us to do get done…not because of ourselves, but because of the working, moving and provision of G-d in our lives! The fact that G-d got involved and overcame Paul’s weaknesses confirmed Paul’s call as an apostle. If Paul was doing something that he should not do or that G-d had not called him to do then G-d wouldn’t have participated in it and Paul, in his own weakness, would not have been able to accomplish what he did. 
v6: I will not be a fool: Paul did not want to boast about his own accomplishments, but he could have spoken gloriously about what G-d had done through Him. Paul wanted G-d to get the glory and not himself. 
·      I will speak the truth, but I forbear (refrain): Paul’s boasting (about his experiences and the signs confirming his ministry etc) would not have been untrue but he didn’t want the people to think more highly of him than they ought to have. He wanted to refer them back to Scriptural truth and rather elevate that than his life’s accomplishments. 
·      Think of me above what he sees…or hears from me: Paul didn’t want people’s opinions of him to be based on experiences that couldn’t be documented or proven. He didn’t want to sensationalize anything but rather wanted a testimony about what G-d has done in and through his ministry. 

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