Today's passage: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
- Paul's continued “boasting” in order to “earn the respect” of his doubters in Corinth results in his being content with “weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”
- The kinds of things others boasted about to get attention, Paul had actually experienced.
- Paul's experiences had led back to weakness. And in his weakness, he rejoiced.
- The man Paul refers to in this passage is himself, which is made clear in the context. His hesitancy to speak of this experience compelled him to try to distance himself from this “man.”
- We don't know what this “thorn in the flesh” was which Paul experienced. All of the hardships we know Paul endured in his lifetime would fit the criteria.
- The important thing is not to decipher exactly what the “thorn” was, but to know that in our weakness, God can use us in strength. (“When I am weak, then I am strong.”)
Questions to consider:
- What does it appear Paul saw in his vision? Since we have no other record of his experience, what was it's purpose? What didn't Paul do with it that would have been encouraged by many today (and back then)?
- What are we being instructed to value more than “amazing experiences” we can tell everyone else about? What is the truly amazing experience of living the Christian life?
- Why and how was Paul made strong? Was it in Paul? Did he find it deep down inside himself? Who gave him this strength? Who will therefore also give it to you? Where does the strength to serve the Lord effectively come from?