Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 12

Proper attitudes if God shows us secret and special things

2 Corinthians 12:1

It astonished Paul to hear about the pride of some people who wanted to teach in Corinth’s church. It was bad enough that they were proud of their own importance. They were so pleased to tell everyone about the things that they had achieved. They considered that those things made them much greater than everyone else.

However, that was not the end of their proud words. Those same people also spoke very proudly about the things that God had shown them. They said that God had shown them secret, or special things. Paul does not here discuss whether God really had shown them these things. Elsewhere, he warns that they were not truly serving God*. He also says that they were teaching wrong things*.

However, if God really had shown them great things, they ought not to be proud about it. It would be no reason for them to consider themselves better than the other Christians. Instead, what God had shown them should cause them to respect God more. Then they would want to serve weaker Christians, and not to control them. Paul tried hard to have pride only in what God has done*. He knew that he must not be proud about himself. God had spoken to Paul on several occasions, and God often did astonishing things by means of Paul. Paul gave the honour to God; he did not claim any honour for himself. These things were much too sacred for Paul to speak proudly about.

However, other people spoke proudly about such things, so Paul must speak about them too. He did not want any honour for himself. He wrote about these things to show that all the honour for them belongs to God alone.

Next part: The man who visited the ‘third heaven’ (12:2-4)


* See complete article for these Bible references.

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© 2016, Keith Simons.