2 Corinthians 12

(1-10) Paul really doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s boasting about himself in the first few verses, but he acts like it’s somebody else. If he’s going to boast, it’s about his weakness. If he can’t do it in his own strength, then it’s God working through him. And God has helped him out with that, by giving him a “thorn in the flesh” to deal with! Although there are many suggestions concerning what that was, it seems best to see it as a physical ailment because of the way it’s described. Paul wasn’t above asking it to be removed, and did so three times. But three times it was revealed to him that it was God’s will for the thorn to remain, so he stopped asking. How does this correlate with the idea that we are to be persistent in prayer? Well, Paul seemingly got an answer, so he stopped. Should this remind us of Jesus in the Garden?

(11-21) Paul reminds them that he lacks nothing compared to the “super-apostles.” He displayed the “signs of an apostle” (identified as “signs and wonders and powerful deeds“). Neither he nor his companions were ever a burden to them, nor would they be. The difference in ministry was so stark compared to his opponents that they claimed he was only that way to try to deceive the Corinthians! All Paul wants to do is build them up on his next visit, but he’s worried that it won’t happen. He’s afraid that after all his boasting about them and his care for them that they will still be engaging in sinful practices.

There is quite a list here of things that we (as individuals) and we (as churches) should stay away from: quarreling, jealousy, intense anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, disorder, sexual immorality, and licentiousness (lack of self-restraint, probably in sexual matters). How are you doing?

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