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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Corinthians: Chapter 12)

12:1 {I must needs glory} (\kauchasthai dei\). This is the
reading of B L Latin Syriac, but Aleph D Bohairic have \de\ while
K M read \dē\. The first is probably correct. He must go on with
the glorying already begun, foolish as it is, though it is not
expedient (\ou sumpheron\). {Visions} (\optasias\). Late word
from \optazō\. See on ¯Lu 1:22; Ac 26:19. {Revelations of the
(\apokalupseis Kuriou\). Unveilings (from \apokaluptō\ as
in Re 1:1)
. See on ¯2Th 1:7; 1Co 1:7; 14:26. Paul had both
repeated visions of Christ (Ac 9:3; 16:9; 18:9; 22:17; 27:23f.)
and revelations. He claimed to speak by direct revelation (1Co
11:23; 15:3; Ga 1:12; Eph 3:3, etc.)

12:2 {I know a man} (\oida anthrōpon\). Paul singles out one
incident of ecstasy in his own experience that he declines to
describe. He alludes to it in this indirect way as if it were
some other personality. {Fourteen years ago} (\pro etōn
. Idiomatic way of putting it, the preposition
\pro\ (before) before the date (Robertson, _Grammar, p. 621f.) as
in Joh 12:1. The date was probably while Paul was at Tarsus
(Ac 9:30; 11:25). We have no details of that period. {Caught
(\harpagenta\). Second aorist passive participle of
\harpazō\, to seize (see on Mt 11:12). {Even to the third
(\heōs tritou ouranou\). It is unlikely that Paul alludes
to the idea of seven heavens held by some Jews (_Test. of the
Twelve Pat._, Levi ii. iii.)
. He seems to mean the highest heaven
where God is (Plummer).

12:3 {I do not know} (\ouk oida\). Paul declines to pass on his
precise condition in this trance. We had best leave it as he has
told it.

12:4 {Into Paradise} (\eis paradeison\). See on ¯Lu 23:43 for
this interesting word. Paul apparently uses paradise as the
equivalent of the third heaven in verse 2. Some Jews (_Book of
the Secrets of Enoch_, chapter viii)
make Paradise in the third
heaven. The rabbis had various ideas (two heavens, three, seven).
We need not commit Paul to any "celestial gradation" (Vincent).
{Unspeakable words} (\arrēta rēmata\). Old verbal adjective (\a\
privative, \rētos\ from \reō\)
, only here in N.T. {Not lawful}
(\ouk exon\). Copula \estin\ omitted. Hence Paul does {not} give
these words.

12:5 {But on mine own behalf} (\huper de emautou\). As if there
were two Pauls. In a sense there were. He will only glory in the
things mentioned above, the things of his weaknesses (11:30).

12:6 {I shall not be foolish} (\ouk esomai aphrōn\). Apparent
contradiction to 11:1,16. But he is here speaking of the Paul
"caught up" in case he should tell the things heard (condition of
the third class, \ean\ and first aorist subjunctive \thelēsō\)
{Of me} (\eis eme\). To my credit, almost like dative (cf. \en
emoi\ in 1Co 14:11)

12:7 {By reason of the exceeding greatness} (\tēi huperbolēi\).
Instrumental case, "by the excess." {That I should not be exalted
(\hina mē huperairōmai\). Present passive subjunctive
in final clause of \huperairō\, old verb to lift up beyond, only
here in N.T. This clause is repeated at the end of the sentence.
{A thorn in the flesh} (\skolops tēi sarki\). This old word is
used for splinter, stake, thorn. In the papyri and inscriptions
examples occur both for splinter and thorn as the meaning. In the
LXX it is usually thorn. The case of \tēi sarki\ can be either
locative (in) or dative (for). What was it? Certainly it was some
physical malady that persisted. All sorts of theories are held
(malaria, eye-trouble, epilepsy, insomnia, migraine or
sick-headache, etc.)
. It is a blessing to the rest of us that we
do not know the particular affliction that so beset Paul. Each of
us has some such splinter or thorn in the flesh, perhaps several
at once. {Messenger of Satan} (\aggelos Satana\). Angel of Satan,
the affliction personified. {Buffet} (\kolaphizēi\). See on ¯Mt
26:67; 1Co 4:11 for this late and rare word from \kolaphos\,
fist. The messenger of Satan kept slapping Paul in the face and
Paul now sees that it was God's will for it to be so.

12:8 {Concerning this thing} (\huper toutou\). More likely,
"concerning this messenger of Satan." {That it might depart from
(\hina apostēi aph' emou\). Second aorist active
(intransitive) subjunctive of \aphistēmi\ in final clause, "that
he stand off from me for good."

12:9 {He hath said} (\eirēken\). Perfect active indicative, as if
a final word. Paul probably still has the thorn in his flesh and
needs this word of Christ. {Is sufficient} (\arkei\). Old word of
rich meaning, perhaps kin to Latin _arceo_, to ward off against
danger. Christ's grace suffices and abides. {Is perfected}
(\teleitai\). Present passive indicative of \teleō\, to finish.
It is linear in idea. Power is continually increased as the
weakness grows. See Php 4:13 for this same noble conception.
The human weakness opens the way for more of Christ's power and
grace. {Most gladly rather} (\hēdista mallon\). Two adverbs, one
superlative (\hēdista\), one comparative (\mallon\). "Rather"
than ask any more (thrice already) for the removal of the thorn
or splinter "most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses." Slowly
Paul had learned this supreme lesson, but it will never leave him
(Ro 5:2; 2Ti 4:6-8). {May rest upon me} (\episkēnōsēi ep'
. Late and rare verb in first aorist active subjunctive with
\hina\ (final clause), to fix a tent upon, here upon Paul himself
by a bold metaphor, as if the Shechinah of the Lord was
overshadowing him (cf. Lu 9:34), the power (\dunamis\) of the
Lord Jesus.

12:10 {Wherefore I take pleasure} (\dio eudokō\). For this noble
word see on ¯Mt 3:17; 2Co 5:8. The enemies of Paul will have a
hard time now in making Paul unhappy by persecutions even unto
death (Php 1:20-26). He is not courting martyrdom, but he does
not fear it or anything that is "for Christ's sake" (\huper
. {For when} (\hotan gar\). "For whenever," indefinite
time. {Then I am strong} (\tote dunatos eimi\). At that very
time, but not in myself, but in the fresh access of power from
Christ for the emergency.

12:11 {I am become foolish} (\gegona aphrōn\). Perfect active
indicative of \ginomai\. In spite of what he said in verse 6
that he would not be foolish if he gloried in the other Paul. But
he feels that he has dropped back to the mood of 11:1,16. He
has been swept on by the memory of the ecstasy. {For I ought to
have been commended by you}
(\egō gar ōpheilon huph' humōn
. Explanation of "ye compelled me." Imperfect
active \ōpheilon\ of \opheilō\, to be under obligation, and the
tense here expresses an unfulfilled obligation about the present.
But \sunistasthai\ is present passive infinitive, not aorist or
perfect passive. He literally means, "I ought now to be commended
by you" instead of having to glorify myself. He repeats his boast
already made (11:5f.), that he is no whit behind "the
super-extra apostles" (the Judaizers), "though I am nothing" (\ei
kai ouden eimi\)
. Even boasting himself against those false
apostles causes a reaction of feeling that he has to express (cf.
1Co 15:9; 1Ti 1:15f.)

12:12 {Of an apostle} (\tou apostolou\). "Of the apostle"
(definite article). Note the three words here for miracles
wrought by Paul (\sēmeia\, signs, \terata\, wonders, \dunameis\,
powers or miracles)
as in Heb 2:4.

12:13 {Wherein ye were made inferior} (\ho hēssōthēte\). First
aorist passive indicative of \hēssoomai\, the text of Aleph B D
instead of the usual \hēttēthēte\ from the common \hēttaomai\ to
be inferior or less from the comparative \hēttōn\. See \hēssōn\
in verse 15. \Ho\ is the neuter accusative with the passive
verb (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 479). {Forgive me this wrong}
(\charisasthe moi tēn adikian tautēn\). Consummate irony to the
stingy element in this church (cf. 11:9).

12:14 {Third time I am ready to come} (\triton touto hetoimōs
. Had he been already twice or only once? He had changed
his plans once when he did not go (1:15f.). He will not change
his plans now. This looks as if he had only been once (that in
Ac 18)
. Note the third use of \katanarkaō\ (11:9; 12:13,14).
They need not be apprehensive. He will be as financially
independent of them as before. "I shall not sponge on you." {Not
yours, but you}
(\ou ta humōn, alla humas\). The motto of every
real preacher. {To lay up} (\thēsaurizein\). For this use of the
verb see 1Co 16:2 (Mt 6:19-21; Jas 5:3).

12:15 {I will most gladly spend and be spent} (\hēdista dapanēsō
kai ekdapanēthēsomai\)
. Both future active of old verb \dapanaō\
(Mr 5:26) to spend money, time, energy, strength and the future
passive of \ekdapanaō\, late compound to spend utterly, to spend
out, (\ek-\), to spend wholly. Only here in N.T.

12:16 {I did not myself burden you} (\egō ou katebarēsa humas\).
First aorist active of late verb \katabareō\, to press a burden
down on one. Only here in N.T. {Crafty} (\panourgos\). Old word
from \pan\, all, and \ergo\, to do anything (good or bad). Good
sense is skilful, bad sense cunning. Only here in N.T. and Paul
is quoting the word from his enemies. {With guile} (\dolōi\).
Instrumental case of \dolos\, bait to catch fish with. The
enemies of Paul said that he was raising this big collection for
himself. Moffatt has done well to put these charges in quotation
marks to make it plain to readers that Paul is ironical.

12:17 {Did I take advantage} (\epleonektēsa\). Paul goes right to
the point without hedging. For this verb from \pleon\ and \echō\,
to have more, see on ¯2Co 2:11; 7:2. {By any one of them}
(\tina--di' autou\). An anacoluthon for \tina\ is left in the
accusative without a verb and \di' autou\ takes up the idea, "as
to any one by him." {Whom} (\hōn\). The genitive relative is
attracted from the accusative \hous\ into the case of the
unexpressed antecedent \touton\). \Mē\ expects the negative
answer as does \mēti\ in 18.

12:18 {The brother} (\ton adelphon\). Probably the brother of
Titus (cf. 8:18). {Did Titus take advantage of you?} (\mēti
epleonektēsen humas Titos?\)
. That puts the issue squarely. {By
the same Spirit}
(\tōi autōi pneumati\). That translation refers
to the Holy Spirit and makes the case instrumental. The locative
case, "in the same spirit," makes it mean that Paul's attitude is
the same as that of Titus and most likely is correct, for "in the
same steps" (\tois autois ichnesin\) is in locative case.

12:19 {Ye think all this time} (\palai dokeite\). Progressive
present indicative, "for a long time ye have been thinking." {We
are excusing ourselves}
(\apologoumetha\). He is not just
apologizing, but is in deadly earnest, as they will find out when
he comes.

12:20 {Lest by any means, when I come, I should find you not such
as I would}
(\mē pōs elthōn ouch hoious thelō heurō humas\). An
idiomatic construction after the verb of fearing (\phoboumai\)
with \mē pōs\ as the conjunction and with \ouch\ as the negative
of the verb \heurō\ (second aorist active subjunctive of
, \mē\ the conjunction, \ouch\ the negative. See
Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 995. {And I be found} (\kagō
. Same construction with first aorist passive
subjunctive. {Such as ye would not} (\hoion ou thelete\). Neat
change in voice just before and position of the negative here.
{Lest by any means} (\mē pōs\). Still further negative purpose by
repeating the conjunction. With graphic pen pictures Paul
describes what had been going on against him during his long
absence. {Backbitings} (\katalaliai\). Late and rare word. In
N.T. only here and 1Pe 2:1. If it only existed nowhere else!
{Whisperings} (\psithurismoi\). Late word from \psithurizō\, to
whisper into one's ear. An onomatopoetic word for the sibilant
murmur of a snake charmer (Ec 10:11). Only here in N.T.
{Swellings} (\phusiōseis\). From \phusioō\, to swell up, late
word only here and in ecclesiastical writers. Did Paul make up
the word for the occasion? See on ¯1Co 4:6 for verb. {Tumults}
(\akatastasiai\). See on 2Co 6:5.

12:21 {When I come again} (\palin elthontos mou\). Genitive
absolute. Paul assumes it as true. {Lest my God humble me} (\mē
tapeinōsēi me ho theos mou\)
. Negative final clause (\mē\ and
first aorist active subjunctive)
, going back to \phoboumai\ in
20. He means a public humiliation as his fear. The conduct of
the church had been a real humiliation whether he refers to a
previous visit or not. {That have sinned heretofore} (\tōn
. Genitive plural of the articular perfect active
participle of \proamartanō\ to emphasize continuance of their
sinful state as opposed to \mē metanoēsantōn\ (did not repent) in
the aorist tense.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Corinthians: Chapter 12)