The Vision of Paradise
1It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to #Acts 16:9; 18:9; 22:17, 18; 23:11; 26:13–15; 27:23visions and #Acts 9:3–6; 1 Cor. 14:6; 2 Cor. 12:7; (Gal. 1:12; 2:2; Eph. 3:3–6)revelations of the Lord: 2I know a man #Rom. 16:7; Gal. 1:22in 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 #Acts 22:17was caught up to the third heaven. 3And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4how he was caught up into #Luke 23:43; (Rev. 2:7)Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not #2 Cor. 11:30boast, except in my infirmities. 6For 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
7And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a #Num. 33:55; Ezek. 28:24; Hos. 2:6; Gal. 4:13, 14thorn in the flesh was given to me, #Job 2:7; Matt. 4:10; Luke 13:16; (1 Cor. 5:5)a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8#Deut. 3:23; Matt. 26:44Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly #2 Cor. 11:30I will rather boast in my infirmities, #(1 Pet. 4:14)that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore #(Rom. 5:3; 8:35)I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. #2 Cor. 13:4For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Signs of an Apostle
11I have become #2 Cor. 5:13; 11:1, 16; 12:6a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for #1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 11:5in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though #1 Cor. 3:7; 13:2; 15:9I am nothing. 12#Acts 14:3; Rom. 15:18Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and #Acts 15:12wonders and mighty #Acts 14:8–10; 16:16–18; 19:11, 12; 20:6–12; 28:1–10deeds. 13For 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#2 Cor. 1:15; 13:1, 2Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for #Acts 20:33; (1 Cor. 10:24–33)I do not seek yours, but you. #1 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 4:19For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15And I will very gladly spend and be spent #John 10:11; Rom. 9:3; 2 Cor. 1:6; Phil. 2:17; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 2:8; (2 Tim. 2:10)for your souls; though #2 Cor. 6:12, 13the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
16But be that as it may, #2 Cor. 11:9I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! 17Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18I urged Titus, and sent our #2 Cor. 8:18brother 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#2 Cor. 5:12Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? #(Rom. 9:1, 2); 2 Cor. 11:31We speak before God in Christ. #1 Cor. 10:33But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that #1 Cor. 4:21; 2 Cor. 13:2, 10I 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; 21lest, when I come again, my God #2 Cor. 2:1, 4will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many #2 Cor. 13:2who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, #1 Cor. 5:1fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.