Online Bible


2 Corinthians 12 - An Understandable Version (2005 edition)

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

1. Although I must boast about myself [See 11:21-27], it [really] is not profitable. So, I will go on to [tell about] visions and [inspired] revelations given [to me] from the Lord.

2. I know a man in [fellowship with] Christ who, fourteen years ago, was taken [literally, “snatched”] up to the third heaven. [Note: The first heaven would be where birds fly; the second where the stars are; and the third where God is]. (I do not know whether he was in his physical body or whether it was an “out­of-the-body” experience, but God knows). [Note: Paul is obviously telling about a personal experience. See verse 7].

3. I know that this man --- whether in his body or out of it, I do not know, but God does ---

4. was [actually] taken up into Paradise. [Note: This is the same as the “third heaven” of the previous verse, and was a place in the presence of God. See Luke 23:43; Rev. 2:7]. There he heard inexpressible words which are not permitted for people to repeat.

5. I will boast on behalf of this person, but I will not boast about myself [anymore], except about my weaknesses.

6. However, if I wanted to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will hold back, so that no one will think more of me than what he sees or hears from me.

7. But, so that I would not become too conceited over the tremendous revelations [I received], a “thorn in the flesh” was given to me as a messenger from Satan to torment me. [Note: This “thorn” was probably some physical handicap, possibly defective eyesight. See Gal. 4:14-15; 6:11].

8. I pled with the Lord about this matter three times, that He would remove this problem from me.

9. But God said to me, “My unearned favor is enough for you, for my power is made complete in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast, so that the power of Christ can rest on me.

10. So, I am pleased to [endure] weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties, [all] for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak [physically], then I am strong [spiritually].

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians

11. I have become foolish [i.e., by my boasting], but you made me do it [i.e., in order to vindicate myself] For I should have been commended by you [i.e., for my effective ministry there in Corinth], because I was not inferior in any way to those “super apostles” [See 11:5], even though I am nothing.

12. Truly, I endured [opposition] patiently, while showing evidence of being an apostle among you. I performed [supernatural] signs, and wonders and powerful miracles.

13. For in what way were you people inferior to the rest of the churches, unless it was that I was not a [financial] burden to you? Forgive me for this wrong.

14. Now, this is the third time I have been ready to come to you, and I will not be a[financial] burden to you. For I do not want your possessions but you yourselves, because children should not [have to] save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

15. So, I will most gladly spend [all I have], and [even] spend myself for the sake of your souls. If I love you so much, should you love me less [than that]?

16. So, let it be [said] that I did not become a burden to you. But being a clever person, [some are saying] that I took you in by trickery. [Note: Paul is saying that even though he took no financial support from the church, they are accusing him of taking financial advantage of them through other people].

17. Did I take [financial] advantage of you by any of those men I sent to you?

18. I urged Titus [i.e., to go to you to arrange for the special offering. See 8:6], and I sent the brother with him. [See 8:18]. Did Titus take any [financial] advantage of you? Do we not [both] have the same attitude [in this matter]? Do we not [both] follow the same procedures?

19. You have been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves [have you not]? We are [simply] speaking [the truth] before God in [fellowship with] Christ. But everything [we are doing], dear friends, is to build you up [spiritually].

20. For I am afraid that somehow, when I come [to you], I might not find you the way I want you to be, and you might not find me the way you want me to be. I am afraid there might be quarrelling, jealousy, angry outbursts, factious spirits, slander, gossip, arrogance and [other] disturbances [there].

21. I am afraid that, when I come, my God will humiliate me in front of you, and I will be grieved over many [of those] who have sinned in the past without repenting of the [moral] impurity, sexual immorality and unrestrained indecency they have practiced.