12:1 It 1 is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will
come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
(1) He continues in his purpose, and because those braggarts
boasted of revelations, he reckons up those things which
lift him up above the common capacity of men. But he uses
a preface, and prudently excuses himself.
12:2 I knew a man a in Christ above fourteen years ago,
(whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the
body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to
the b third heaven.
(a) I speak this in Christ, that is, it is spoken without
boastfulness, for I seek nothing but Christ Jesus only.
(b) Into the highest heaven: for we do not need to dispute
subtly upon the word "third". But yet this passage is
to be marked against those who would make heaven to be
12:4 How that he was caught up into c paradise, and heard d
unspeakable words, which it is not e lawful for a man to
(c) So the Greeks name that which we call a park, that is
to say, a place where trees are planted, and wild
beasts kept. And those that translated the Old
Testament out of Hebrew into Greek, called the garden
of Eden by this name, into which Adam was put
immediately after his creation, as a most delicate and
pleasant place. And from this it occurred that the
blessed seat of the glory of God is called by that
(d) Which no man is able to utter.
(e) Which the saints themselves are not by any means able
to express, because it is God himself. This is the way
that Clement of Alexandria explains this passage,
12:52 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not
glory, but in mine infirmities.
(2) To remove all suspicion of seeking glory, he witnesses that
he brags not of those things as though they were of
himself, but as outside of himself. And yet nonetheless he
pretends nothing, lest by this occasion other men should
attribute to him more than he indeed is: and therefore he
would rather glory in his miseries.
12:73 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the
abundance of the revelations, there was given to me f a
thorn in the flesh, the messenger of g Satan to buffet
me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
(3) An excellent doctrine: why God will have even his best
servants to be vexed by Satan, and by every type of
temptations: that is, lest they should be too much puffed
up, and also that they may be made perfect by being
continually exercised in them.
(f) He means sinful lust, that sticks fast in us as it
were a thorn, to such a degree that it forced Paul
himself who was regenerated to cry out, "I do not that
good that I would", etc. And he calls it a thorn by a
metaphor taken from thorns, or stumps, which are very
dangerous and harmful for the feet, if a man walks
through woods that are cut down.
(g) Which sets those lusts on fire.
12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord h thrice, that it
might depart from me.
12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for
my strength is made perfect in weakness. 4 Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the
power of Christ may i rest upon me.
(4) He concludes that he will only set his miseries against the
vain braggings of the false apostles, and with this also
excuses himself, because by their troublesome braggings he
was forced to speak as much of those things as he did.
That is, because if his apostleship were subverted, his
doctrine would necessarily fall.
(i) That I might feel the power of Christ more and more:
for the weaker that our tabernacles are, the more does
Christ's power appear in them.
12:10 Therefore I take k pleasure in infirmities, in
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses
for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
(k) I do not only take them patiently and with a good
heart, but I also take great pleasure in them.
12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: 5
for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing
am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be
(5) Again he makes the Corinthians witnesses of those
things by which God had sealed his apostleship among
them, and again he declares by certain arguments how
far he is from all covetousness, and also how he is
affectionate towards them.
12:12 Truly the l signs of an apostle were wrought among you
in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
(l) The arguments by which it may well appear that I am
indeed an apostle of Jesus Christ.
12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches,
except [it be] that I myself was not m burdensome to
you? forgive me this wrong.
(m) I was not slothful with my own hands, so that I might
not be burdensome to you.
12:166 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless,
being crafty, I caught you with guile.
(6) He sets aside another most grievous slander, that is, that
he did subtly and by others make his gain and profit of
12:197 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we
speak before God in n Christ: but [we do] all things,
dearly beloved, for your edifying.
(7) He concludes that he does not write these things to them as
though he needed to defend himself, for he is guilty of
nothing: but because it is appropriate for them to doubt
nothing of his fidelity, who instructed them.
(n) As it becomes him to speak truly and sincerely, that
professes himself to be in Christ, that is to say, to
be a Christian.
12:208 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you
such as I would, and [that] I shall be found unto you such
as ye would not: lest [there be] debates, envyings,
wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings,
(8) Having confirmed his authority to them, he rebukes them
sharply, and threatens them also like an apostle, showing
that he will not spare them from now on, unless they
repent, seeing that this is the third time that he has