12:1 It is necessary to go on boasting. 1 Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. 12:3 And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) 12:4 was caught up into paradise 2 and heard things too sacred to be put into words, 3 things that a person 4 is not permitted to speak. 12:5 On behalf of such an individual I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. 12:6 For even if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I would be telling 5 the truth, but I refrain from this so that no one may regard 6 me beyond what he sees in me or what he hears from me, 12:7 even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, 7 so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble 8 me – so that I would not become arrogant. 9 12:8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 12:9 But 10 he said to me, “My grace is enough 11 for you, for my 12 power is made perfect 13 in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly 14 about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in 15 me. 12:10 Therefore I am content with 16 weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties 17 for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
12:11 I have become a fool. You yourselves forced me to do it, for I should have been commended by you. For I lack nothing in comparison 18 to those “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12:12 Indeed, the signs of an apostle were performed among you with great perseverance 19 by signs and wonders and powerful deeds. 20 12:13 For how 21 were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this injustice! 12:14 Look, for the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you, because I do not want your possessions, but you. For children should not have 22 to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 12:15 Now I will most gladly spend and be spent for your lives! 23 If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 12:16 But be that as it may, I have not burdened you. Yet because I was a crafty person, I took you in by deceit! 12:17 I have not taken advantage of you through anyone I have sent to you, have I? 24 12:18 I urged Titus to visit you 25 and I sent our 26 brother along with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? 27 Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit? Did we not behave in the same way? 28 12:19 Have you been thinking all this time 29 that we have been defending ourselves to you? We are speaking in Christ before God, and everything we do, dear friends, is to build you up. 30 12:20 For I am afraid that somehow when I come I will not find you what I wish, and you will find me 31 not what you wish. I am afraid that 32 somehow there may be quarreling, jealousy, intense anger, selfish ambition, 33 slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 12:21 I am afraid that 34 when I come again, my God may humiliate me before you, and I will grieve for 35 many of those who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced.
1 tn Grk “Boasting is necessary.”
2 sn In the NT, paradise is mentioned three times. In Luke 23:43 it refers to the abode of the righteous dead. In Rev 2:7 it refers to the restoration of Edenic paradise predicted in Isa 51:3 and Ezek 36:35. The reference here in 2 Cor 12:4 is probably to be translated as parallel to the mention of the “third heaven” in v. 2. Assuming that the “first heaven” would be atmospheric heaven (the sky) and “second heaven” the more distant stars and planets, “third heaven” would refer to the place where God dwells. This is much more likely than some variation on the seven heavens mentioned in the pseudepigraphic book 2 Enoch and in other nonbiblical and rabbinic works.
3 tn Or “things that cannot be put into words.”
4 tn Grk “a man.”
5 tn Or “speaking.”
6 tn Or “may think of.”
7 tc Most
8 tn Or “to harass.”
9 tn The phrase “so that I might not become arrogant” is repeated here because it occurs in the Greek text two times in the verse. Although redundant, it is repeated because of the emphatic nature of its affirmation.
10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” because of the contrast implicit in the context.
11 tn Or “is sufficient.”
12 tc The majority of later
tn The pronoun “my” was supplied in the translation to clarify the sense of Paul’s expression.
13 tn Or “my power comes to full strength.”
14 tn “Most gladly,” a comparative form used with superlative meaning and translated as such.
15 tn Or “may rest on.”
16 tn Or “I take delight in.”
17 tn Or “calamities.”
18 tn Or “I am in no way inferior.”
19 tn Or “patience,” “endurance.”
20 tn Or “and miracles.”
21 tn Grk “For in what respect.”
22 tn Grk “children ought not,” but this might give the impression that children are not supposed to support sick or aging parents in need of help. That is not what Paul is saying. His point is that children should not have to pay their parent’s way.
23 tn Grk “souls.”
24 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative answer, indicated by the ‘tag’ question “have I?” at the end of the clause. The question is rhetorical.
25 tn The words “to visit you” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, and must be supplied for the modern reader.
26 tn Grk “the.”
27 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative answer, indicated by the ‘tag’ question “did he?” at the end of the clause.
28 tn Grk “[Did we not walk] in the same tracks?” This is an idiom that means to imitate someone else or to behave as they do. Paul’s point is that he and Titus have conducted themselves in the same way toward the Corinthians. If Titus did not take advantage of the Corinthians, then neither did Paul.
29 tc The reading “all this time” (πάλαι, palai) is found in several early and important Alexandrian and Western witnesses including א* A B F G 0243 6 33 81 365 1175 1739 1881 lat; the reading πάλιν (palin, “again”) is read by א2 D Ψ 0278 Ï sy bo; the reading οὐ πάλαι (ou palai) is read by Ì46, making the question even more emphatic. The reading of Ì46 could only have arisen from πάλαι. The reading πάλιν is significantly easier (“are you once again thinking that we are defending ourselves?”), for it softens Paul’s tone considerably. It thus seems to be a motivated reading and cannot easily explain the rise of πάλαι. Further, πάλαι has considerable support in the Alexandrian and Western witnesses, rendering it virtually certain as the original wording here.
30 tn Or “for your strengthening”; Grk “for your edification.”
31 tn Grk “and I will be found by you.” The passive construction has been converted to an active one in the translation.
32 tn The words “I am afraid that” are not repeated in the Greek text, but are needed for clarity.
33 tn Or “intense anger, hostility.”
34 tn The words “I am afraid that” are not repeated in the Greek text from v. 20, but are needed for clarity.
35 tn Or “I will mourn over.”