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II Corinthians 12

1 It is necessary for me, not being profitable, [that] I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know [a] man1 in Christ before fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, whether out of the body I do not know, God knows— such [a] one snatched to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such [a] man— whether in the body or apart from the body, God knows— 4 that he was snatched to paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not permitted for man to speak. 5 Concerning such [a man] I will boast, but concerning myself I will not boast except in my weaknesses. 6 For if I wish to boast, I will not be foolish, for I will speak truth. But I forbear, lest any reckon in me above that which he sees me [to be] or hears from me, 7 and by the surpassingness of the revelations. Therefore in order that I not be elated, there was given me [a] thorn2 in the flesh, [an] angel [of] Satan, in order that he beat me, in order that I not be elated. 8 Concerning this I called upon the Lord thrice, in order that it depart from me. 9 And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is completed3 in weakness. Gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ dwell upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weakness, in arrogance, in necessity, in persecutions, in difficulties, concerning Christ, for when I am weak, then I am able. 11 I am become [a] fool; you have compelled me. For I ought to be commended by you. For in nothing am I inferior to the most chief of [the] apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Indeed the signs of the apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs, in wonders, and in powers. 13 For what is it [in] which you are inferior to the rest of the assemblies4 , except that I myself did not burden you? Be gracious to me [for] this injustice! 14 Behold this third time I have readiness to come to you, and I will not burden [you], for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not be treasuring up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 So I will gladly spend and be spent for your psyche-lives5 . If I more abundantly agape-love you, the less I be agape-loved. 16 But let6 it be [so], I will not burden you, but being cunning I took you with deceit. 17 Any of those I sent to you, through him did I defraud you?7 Did we not walk in the same spirit? In the same footsteps? 19 Long ago you suppose that we defend ourselves to you. Before god in Christ we speak, but [we do] everything, agape-beloved, for your upbuilding. 20 For I fear lest, having come, I find you not such as I would, and I be found by you such as you would not, lest [there be] strife, zeal8, wraths, disputes, slanders, gossiping, conceit, unrulinesses; 21 lest when I again have come, God humble me before you, and I mourn many of [those] having sinned beforehand and having not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and licentiousness which they have practiced.

1Paul is probably referring to himself

2or "splinter"

3or "perfected"

4EKKLESIA (εκκλησια) from "called out". Appears 114 times in the N.T., but only in two places in the Gospels ( Matt.16:18 (twice) and Matt.18:17 (twice)). It's worth noting that when Jesus uses the term EKKLESIA, Christian community as we know it didn't yet exist—there were only the disciples. EKKLESIA is apparently different from 'synagogue' (SYNAGOGE (συναγωγη) which occurs 56 times in the N.T.) EKKLESIA is used in secular Greek literature of a popular assembly 'called to assemble', and also of those 'called' to a cult. EKKLESIA is used frequently in the N.T. outside of the Gospels to refer to Christian communities, but in Acts.7:38 it is used of the people of Israel led through the desert by Moses, and in Acts.19:32 ff. of a secular assembly. Thus, all told, the common translation of EKKLESIA as 'church' doesn't really reflect 1st century usage—it seems to mean more like 'a group of people assembled for some specific purpose'.

5from PSYCHE (ψυχη): an individual manifestation of life/consciousness. Animals have PSYCHEs as well as humans. Contrast ZOE (ζωη)—Life 'collectively', interdependent, interconnected.


7grammer indicates "no" answer expected or expresses uncertainty

8or "jealousy"