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                             Chapter Twelve


1) To understand why the Lord allowed Paul to suffer so much 

2) To see why Paul took pleasure in his infirmities suffered for 
   Christ's sake


We find Paul compelled to continue his "foolish boasting".  Coming to
the issue of visions and revelations of the Lord, he describes "a man
in Christ" (most commentators believe Paul has reference to himself) 
who fourteen years before had been caught up into Paradise and heard 
inexpressible words unlawful to utter.  Paul would boast of "such a
one", but in direct reference to himself he would only boast in his 
"infirmities", lest people think too highly of him (1-6).

Lest he be exalted above measure because of the abundance of
revelations he had received, a "thorn in the flesh" (also described as
a "messenger of Satan") was given to buffet him (that is, to keep him
humble).  When he asked the Lord on three separate occasions to remove
it, the Lord's reply was that His grace was sufficient and His strength
was made complete in times of weakness.  This prompted Paul to take 
pleasure in his "infirmities" endured for Christ's sake (which I 
believe to have been the "thorn in the flesh").  For when he was weak,
the power of Christ in him made him strong (7-10).

Paul's "foolish boasting" concludes with a mild rebuke for their 
compelling him to do it, for it is they who should have commended him.
Indeed, while with them he demonstrated the "signs of an apostle" 
(signs, wonders, mighty deeds) that clearly showed he was not in anyway
behind "the most eminent apostles".  The only charge that could be 
brought against him?  He had not accepted support from them like he had
from other churches (11-13).

The remaining part of this chapter is filled with an expression of love
and concern for them.  He explains again why he will not accept support
from them:  like parents for their children, Paul will gladly spend and
be spent for their souls.  Neither he nor those he sent to them had
taken advantage of them in any way, and have sought to do all things
for their edification (14-19).  Finally, he expresses his fear that
when he comes the conditions will not be what he and they wish.  He is
fearful that there will be all sorts of strife, and that many of those 
who have sinned will not have repented (20-21).



      1. Though such boasting is not profitable, Paul finds it 
         necessary to discuss visions and revelations of the Lord (1)
      2. He writes of one (possibly himself) who:
         a. Was caught up to the third heaven, that is, Paradise (2-4a)
         b. Heard inexpressible words, unlawful for a man to utter (4b)
      3. Of such a one Paul would boast, but not of himself, except in
         his infirmities (5)
      4. His concern is that people might think too highly of him (6)

      1. That he not be exalted above measure by the abundance of his
         revelations, he was given a thorn in the flesh (7)
         a. Called a messenger of Satan
         b. Designed to buffet him
      2. He pleaded with the Lord that this "thorn" might depart from
         him (8-9a)
         a. He did so three times (8)
         b. The Lord's reply (9a)
            1) "My grace is sufficient for you"
            2) "My strength is made perfect in weakness"
      3. This led Paul to boast in his infirmities, for in his weakness
         the power of Christ has opportunity to make him strong (9b-10)

      1. He was compelled to engage in foolish boasting by those who
         ought to have commended him (11a)
         a. For in nothing was he behind "the most eminent apostles"
         b. For among them he accomplished the signs of an apostle:
            signs, wonders, and mighty deeds (12)
      2. His only mistake?  He had not been a financial burden to them!


   A. HIS LOVE FOR THEM (14-19)
      1. Ready to come for the third time, he will not be burdensome to
         them (14-16)
         a. He does not seek what is theirs, but them (14a)
         b. Like parents providing for their children, he will gladly
            spend and be spent for their souls (14b-15a)
         c. Even though it seems to jeopardize their love for him (15b)
      2. Some have taken this to be craftiness and guile on his part
         a. But he asks them whether he has taken advantage of them by
            any of those he had sent to them (17-18)
         b. He needs no excuse, for he does all things for their 
            edification (19)

      1. His fear is that when he comes, they will not find one another
         the way they wish (20a)
      2. His fear is that there will all sorts of strife (20b)
      3. His fear is that he will find many of them unrepentant of 
         their sins (21)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Paul's "foolish boasting" continues (1-13)
   - Paul's love and concern (14-21)

2) As Paul continues his "foolish boasting", what does he now come to?
   - Visions and revelations of the Lord

3) Where was the "man in Christ" taken?  What did he hear? (2-4)
   - To the third heaven (Paradise); inexpressible words, unlawful for
     a man to utter

4) Of himself, in what would Paul boast?  About what was he concerned?
   - In his infirmities; lest anyone think of him too highly

5) Why was Paul given "a thorn in the flesh"? (7)
   - Lest he be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations
     he received

6) How many times did Paul plead with the Lord to remove the "thorn"?
   What did the Lord respond? (8-9)
   - Three times
   - "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect 
     in weakness."

7) In what, then, did Paul choose to boast?  Why? (9-10)
   - His infirmities for Christ's sake
   - That Christ's power might rest upon him and make him strong

8) What were the "signs of an apostle" that Paul had done among the
   Corinthians? (12)
   - Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds

9) What had Paul done that some charged made the Corinthians inferior
   to other churches? (13)
   - He had not been a burden to them (i.e., had not accept monetary

10) Why would Paul continue not to be a burden to them? (15)
   - He would very glad spend and be spent for their souls, like a 
     parent does for a child

11) What was the motive behind all that Paul did for the Corinthians?
   - Their edification

12) What was Paul afraid might occur when he got to Corinth? (20)
   - Contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,
     backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults

13) What was Paul afraid of finding when he got to Corinth? (21)
   - That some of them had not repented of their uncleanness,
     fornication, and licentiousness
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