Paul has just described one of the most wonderful experiences that a Christian could have*. It was a very special and sacred experience in that manís relationship with God. That man actually saw and heard things that were happening inside heaven.
Paul insisted that it would be very wrong to speak proudly about such experiences. He too had known some very wonderful experiences during his Christian life*. Sometimes he even considered it right to tell people about those experiences*. However, he would never speak about those experiences in a proud manner, in order to impress people.
Paul could tell people about another manís experience, because Paul gained no honour by it. There was no possible advantage for Paul when he spoke about someone else. However, it was dangerous for Paul when he spoke about his own experiences. He had to be careful not to take for himself the honour that belongs to God alone.
With great care, therefore, Paul might speak about his own experiences when God guided him to do that. God had shown Paul some wonderful things, but Paul must not become proud. Especially, Paul must not use those experiences to try to gain authority, honour, importance or other advantages from people.
However, Paul did not need to be so careful when he spoke about his weaknesses. Paul could not become proud of his weaknesses, and these things would impress nobody. People would see Paul as an ordinary man, whom God was using in an extraordinary way. Therefore, they would praise God - and not Paul - for the wonderful things that God was doing in Paulís life.
Next part: The right impression (12:6)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.