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2 Corinthians 12:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— I must needs glory, though it is not expedient; but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Well, it is not of profit to me to boast, for I will come to visions and revelations of [the] Lord.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— To be boasting, is needful,—it is not, indeed, profitable, yet will I come to visions and revelations of [the] Lord:—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— To boast, really, is not profitable for me, for I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— It is not expedient for me, doubtlesse, to glory, I wil come to visions and reuelations of the Lord.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— I might boast, but it is not expedient; for I come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Glorying must be, but it is not profitable: so I proceed to visions and revelations of our Lord.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
It is y4851
[4851] Standard
From G4862 and G5342 (including its alternate); to bear together (contribute), that is, (literally) to collect, or (figuratively) to conduce; especially (neuter participle as noun) advantage.
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
not y3756
[3756] Standard
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
expedient 4851
{4851} Prime
From G4862 and G5342 (including its alternate); to bear together (contribute), that is, (literally) to collect, or (figuratively) to conduce; especially (neuter participle as noun) advantage.
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
(3756) Complement
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
for me 3427
{3427} Prime
The simpler form of G1698; to me.
doubtless 1211
{1211} Prime
Probably akin to G1161; a particle of emphasis or explicitness; now, then, etc.
to glory. 2744
{2744} Prime
From some (obsolete) base akin to that of αὐχέω [[aucheo]] (to boast) and G2172; to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense).
<5738> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 109
[1063] Standard
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).
I will x1063
(1063) Complement
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).
come 2064
{2064} Prime
Middle voice of a primary verb (used only in the present and imperfect tenses, the others being supplied by a kindred [middle voice] word, ἐλεύθομαι [[eleuthomai]], {el-yoo'-thom-ahee}; or [active] ἔλθω [[eltho]], {el'-tho}; which do not otherwise occur); to come or go (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
<5695> Grammar
Tense - Future (See G5776)
Voice - Middle Deponent (See G5788)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 271
to 1519
{1519} Prime
A primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases.
visions 3701
{3701} Prime
From a presumed derivative of G3700; visuality, that is, (concretely) an apparition.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
revelations 602
{0602} Prime
From G0601; disclosure.
of the Lord. 2962
{2962} Prime
From κῦρος [[kuros]] (supremacy); supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Corinthians 12:1

_ _ 2 Corinthians 12:1-21. Revelations in which he might glory: but he rather glories in infirmities, as calling forth Christ’s power: Signs of his apostleship: his disinterestedness: not that he is excusing himself to them; but he does all for their good, lest he should find them not such as he desired, and so should have to be severe at his coming.

_ _ He proceeds to illustrate the “glorying in infirmities” (2 Corinthians 11:30). He gave one instance which might expose him to ridicule (2 Corinthians 11:33); he now gives another, but this one connected with a glorious revelation of which it was the sequel: but he dwells not on the glory done to himself, but on the infirmity which followed it, as displaying Christ’s power. The oldest manuscripts read, “I MUST NEEDS boast (or glory) though it be not expedient; for I will come.” The “for” gives a proof that it is “not expedient to boast”: I will take the case of revelations, in which if anywhere boasting might be thought harmless. “Visions” refers to things seen: “revelations,” to things heard (compare 1 Samuel 9:15) or revealed in any way. In “visions” their signification was not always vouchsafed; in “revelations” there was always an unveiling of truths before hidden (Daniel 2:19, Daniel 2:31). All parts of Scripture alike are matter of inspiration; but not all of revelation. There are degrees of revelation; but not of inspiration.

_ _ of — that is, from the Lord; Christ, 2 Corinthians 12:2.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

_ _ Here we may observe,

_ _ I. The narrative the apostle gives of the favours God had shown him, and the honour he had done him; for doubtless he himself is the man in Christ of whom he speaks. Concerning this we may take notice, 1. Of the honour itself which was done to the apostle: he was caught up into the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2. When this was we cannot say, whether it was during those three days that he lay without sight at his conversion or at some other time afterwards, much less can we pretend to say how this was, whether by a separation of his soul from his body or by an extraordinary transport in the depth of contemplation. It would be presumption for us to determine, if not also to enquire into, this matter, seeing the apostle himself says, Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell. It was certainly a very extraordinary honour done him: in some sense he was caught up into the third heaven, the heaven of the blessed, above the aerial heaven, in which the fowls fly, above the starry heaven, which is adorned with those glorious orbs: it was into the third heaven, where God most eminently manifests his glory. We are not capable of knowing all, nor is it fit we should know very much, of the particulars of that glorious place and state; it is our duty and interest to give diligence to make sure to ourselves a mansion there; and, if that be cleared up to us, then we should long to be removed thither, to abide there for ever. This third heaven is called paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4), in allusion to the earthly paradise out of which Adam was driven for his transgression; it is called the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7), signifying to us that by Christ we are restored to all the joys and honours we lost by sin, yea, to much better. The apostle does not mention what he saw in the third heaven or paradise, but tells us that he heard unspeakable words, such as it is not possible for a man to utter — such are the sublimity of the matter and our unacquaintedness with the language of the upper world: nor was it lawful to utter those words, because, while we are here in this world, we have a more sure word of prophecy than such visions and revelations. 2 Peter 1:19. We read of the tongue of angels as well as men, and Paul knew as much of that as ever any man upon earth did, and yet preferred charity, that is, the sincere love of God and our neighbour. This account which the apostle gives us of his vision should check our curious desires after forbidden knowledge, and teach us to improve the revelation God has given us in his word. Paul himself, who had been in the third heaven, did not publish to the world what he had heard there, but adhered to the doctrine of Christ: on this foundation the church is built, and on this we must build our faith and hope. 2. The modest and humble manner in which the apostle mentions this matter is observable. One would be apt to think that one who had had such visions and revelations as these would have boasted greatly of them; but, says he, It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory, 2 Corinthians 12:1. He therefore did not mention this immediately, nor till above fourteen years after, 2 Corinthians 12:2. And then it is not without some reluctancy, as a thing which in a manner he was forced to by the necessity of the case. Again, he speaks of himself in the third person, and does not say, I am the man who was thus honoured above other men. Again, his humility appears by the check he seems to put upon himself (2 Corinthians 12:6), which plainly shows that he delighted not to dwell upon this theme. Thus was he, who was not behind the chief of the apostles in dignity, very eminent for his humility. Note, It is an excellent thing to have a lowly spirit in the midst of high advancements; and those who abase themselves shall be exalted.

_ _ II. The apostle gives an account of the methods God took to keep him humble, and to prevent his being lifted up above measure; and this he speaks of to balance the account that was given before of the visions and revelations he had had. Note, When God's people communicate their experiences, let them always remember to take notice of what God has done to keep them humble, as well as what he has done in favour to them and for their advancement. Here observe,

_ _ 1. The apostle was pained with a thorn in the flesh, and buffeted with a messenger of Satan, 2 Corinthians 12:7. We are much in the dark what this was, whether some great trouble or some great temptation. Some think it was an acute bodily pain or sickness; others think it was the indignities done him by the false apostles, and the opposition he met with from them, particularly on the account of his speech, which was contemptible. However this was, God often brings this good out of evil, that the reproaches of our enemies help to hide pride from us; and this is certain, that what the apostle calls a thorn in his flesh was for a time very grievous to him: but the thorns Christ wore for us, and with which he was crowned, sanctify and make easy all the thorns in the flesh we may at any time be afflicted with; for he suffered, being tempted, that he might be able to succour those that are tempted. Temptations to sin are most grievous thorns; they are messengers of Satan, to buffet us. Indeed it is a great grievance to a good man to be so much as tempted to sin.

_ _ 2. The design of this was to keep the apostle humble: Lest he should be exalted above measure, 2 Corinthians 12:7. Paul himself knew he had not yet attained, neither was already perfect; and yet he was in danger of being lifted up with pride. If God love us, he will hide pride from us, and keep us from being exalted above measure; and spiritual burdens are ordered, to cure spiritual pride. This thorn in the flesh is said to be a messenger of Satan, which he did not send with a good design, but on the contrary, with ill intentions, to discourage the apostle (who had been so highly favoured of God) and hinder him in his work. But God designed this for good, and he overruled it for good, and made this messenger of Satan to be so far from being a hindrance that it was a help to the apostle.

_ _ 3. The apostle prayed earnestly to God for the removal of this sore grievance. Note, Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh we should give ourselves to prayer. Therefore we are sometimes tempted that we may learn to pray. The apostle besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from him, 2 Corinthians 12:8. Note, Though afflictions are sent for our spiritual benefit, yet we may pray to God for the removal of them: we ought indeed to desire also that they may reach the end for which they are designed. The apostle prayed earnestly, and repeated his requests; he besought the Lord thrice, that is, often. So that if an answer be not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we must hold on, and hold out, till we receive an answer. Christ himself prayed to his Father thrice. As troubles are sent to teach us to pray, so they are continued to teach us to continue instant in prayer.

_ _ 4. We have an account of the answer given to the apostle's prayer, that, although the trouble was not removed, yet an equivalent should be granted: My grace is sufficient for thee. Note, (1.) Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always answer it in the letter; as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love. (2.) When God does not remove our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives us grace sufficient for us, we have no reason to complain, nor to say that he deals ill by us. It is a great comfort to us, whatever thorns in the flesh we are pained with, that God's grace is sufficient for us. Grace signifies two things: — [1.] The good-will of God towards us, and this is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses. [2.] The good work of God in us, the grace we receive from the fulness that is in Christ our head; and from him there shall be communicated that which is suitable and seasonable, and sufficient for his members. Christ Jesus understands our case, and knows our need, and will proportion the remedy to our malady, and not only strengthen us, but glorify himself. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified; he ordains his praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.

_ _ III. Here is the use which the apostle makes of this dispensation: He gloried in his infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9), and took pleasure in them, 2 Corinthians 12:10. He does not mean his sinful infirmities (those we have reason to be ashamed of and grieved at), but he means his afflictions, his reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ's sake, 2 Corinthians 12:10. And the reason of his glory and joy on account of these things was this — they were fair opportunities for Christ to manifest the power and sufficiency of his grace resting upon him, by which he had so much experience of the strength of divine grace that he could say, When I am weak, then am I strong. This is a Christian paradox: when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

2 Corinthians 12:1

It is not expedient — Unless on so pressing occasion. Visions are seen; revelations, heard.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Corinthians 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.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

2 Corinthians 8:10 And herein I give [my] advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
John 18:14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

to glory:

2 Corinthians 12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
2 Corinthians 11:16-30 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. ... If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

I will come:
Gr. For I will come


2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Numbers 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream.
Ezekiel 1:1-28 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of Chebar, [that] the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. ... As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
Ezekiel 11:24 Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.
Daniel 10:5-10 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins [were] girded with fine gold of Uphaz: ... And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and [upon] the palms of my hands.
Joel 2:28-29 And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: ... And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Acts 9:10-17 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. ... And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
Acts 22:17-21 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; ... And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Acts 26:13-19 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. ... Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
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Nu 12:6. Ezk 1:1; 11:24. Dn 10:5. Jol 2:28. Jn 16:7; 18:14. Ac 9:10; 18:9; 22:17; 23:11; 26:13. 1Co 6:12; 10:23. 2Co 8:10; 11:16; 12:7, 11. Ga 1:12; 2:2. 1Jn 5:20.

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