2 Corinthians 12:2-10

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Ordinary B32


I knowA a personB in ChristC who fourteen years ago was caught upD to the third heavenE—whether in the bodyF or out of the body I do not know; GodG knows. 

Notes on verse 2

A “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
B “person” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
C “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
D “caught up” = harpazo. 14x in NT. Perhaps from haireomai (to choose, take); probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is to grab with force, seize, pluck, get through robbery, snatch up. This is taking something openly and violently – not subtly or in secret.
E “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
F “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
G “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

3 And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into ParadiseH and heardI thingsJ that are not to be told,K that no mortalL is permittedM to repeat. 

Notes on verses 3-4

H “Paradise” = paradeisos. 3x in NT. From “Persian pardeda- (enclosure, garden, park); from Old Iranian paradaioa and pardesa (estate); from Proto-Iranian paridayjah (enclosure).” This is a garden or paradise. It could be park grounds for leisure or hunting, a grove, or specifically Eden. It is the same root that “paradise” comes from. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%80%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%BF%CF%82#Ancient_Greek
I “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
J “things” = rhema. Related to “not to be told” in v4. From rheo (see note K below). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
K “not to be told” = arretos. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + rhetos (explicitly, distinctly); {from rhetos (stated); from rheo (to say, command)}. This is unspoken, secret. It could be kept silent because one is too afraid to speak or because the matter is inexpressible.
L “mortal” = anthropos. Same as “person” in v2. See note B above.
M “is permitted” = exesti. From ek (out, out of) + eimi (to be, exist). This is what is permitted or what is allowed under the law. It can mean what is right, what holds moral authority, or, more broadly, something that is shown out in public.

5 On behalf of such a one I will boast,N but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.O But if I wishP to boast, I will not beQ a fool,R

Notes on verses 5-6a

N “boast” = kauchaomi. Perhaps from auxen (neck). This is literally holding one’s head high – to boast proudly or to glory, joy, exult, rejoice. It can be boasting in a positive or negative sense.
O “weaknesses” = astheneia. From asthenes (without strength, sick, deprivation; weak in a moral or physical sense); {From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is weakness, frailty, illness, suffering, or calamity. It is any kind of sickness or injury that includes weakness or diminishes your ability to enjoy or accomplish what you would choose.
P “wish” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
Q “be” = eimi. Related to “permitted” in v4. See note M above.
R “fool” = aphron. 11x in NT. From a (not, without) + phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); {perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb)}. This is not having reason – foolish, unperceptive, unwise. It denotes short-sightedness and lack of perspective, which leads one to act without prudence. It is not grasping cause and effect, even willful ignorance. It implies being rash or egotistical.

for I will be speakingS the truth.T But I refrainU from it, so that no one may thinkV better of me than what is seenW in me or heard from me, 

Notes on verse 6b

S “speaking” = ereo. Related to “not to be told” and “things” in v4. Perhaps from rheo (see note above). This is to say, mention, command.
T “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.
U “refrain” = pheidomai. 10x in NT. This is to spare, refrain, or to treat with leniency.
V “think” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
W “seen” = blepo. This is literally to see – it is primarily used in the physical sense. However, figuratively it can be seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, and acting on the visual information. It can also mean beware.

even considering the exceptional characterX of the revelations.Y Therefore, to keep me from being too elated,Z a thornAA was givenBB me in the flesh,CC

Notes on verse 7a

X “exceptional character” = huperbole. 8x in NT. From huperballo (to surpass, exceed, or excel; properly, to throw beyond or run beyond; transcending, eminent, or surpassing); {from huper (over, above, beyond) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, rush, drop)}. This is excess, surpassing, exceedingly. Properly, it means to throw past so it can also mean abundance or preeminence. It is where the word “hyperbole” comes from.
Y “revelations” = apokalupsis. 18x in NT. From apokalupto (properly to uncover; revealing something that was hidden or obstructed; particularly refers to revealing the essence of something; to make plain or manifest); {from apo (from, away from) + kalupto (to cover, hide, conceal; figuratively, to keep hidden or secret) {related to kalube (hut, cabin)}. This is uncovering, unveiling, appearing, manifestation, or revelation. This is where the word “apocalypse” comes from.
Z “being too elated” = huperairo. Related to “caught up” in v3. 3x in NT – twice here and in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 of the man of lawlessness who exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship.  From huper (over, beyond, on behalf of, concerning) + airo (see note D above). This word is to lift or raise over; can be to uplift oneself or exalt oneself – so arrogant, haughty, or insolent.
AA “thorn” = skolops. 1x in NT. From skelos (the leg from the hip down) + optanomai (to appear, be seen by). This is anything pointed, but specifically a stake or thorn. Something with a point or prickle – figurative for any sharp affliction. There’s a different word that means thorn used elsewhere in the NT (aknatha, appearing 14x).
BB “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
CC “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).

a messengerDD of SatanEE to tormentFF me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealedGG to the LordHH about this, that it would leaveII me, 

Notes on verses 7b-8

DD “messenger” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
EE “Satan” = Satanas. From Hebrew satan (adversary, Satan); from satan (to be an adversary, attack, accuse, resist). This is Satan, the adversary, or an adversary.
FF “torment” = kolaphizo. 5x in NT. From kolaphos (to hit with a fist); from the base of kolazo (to punish, particularly to punish slaves so that they are restricted or chastised); from kolos (docked). This is to punch – literally to hit with knuckles. It can also more generally mean violent mistreatment.
GG “appealed” = parakaleo. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.
HH “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
II “leave” = aphistemi. 14x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm). This is to remove, repel, refrain, depart from, foment a revolt, repel.

but he said to me, “My graceJJ is sufficientKK for you, for powerLL is made perfectMM in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladlyNN of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwellOO in me. 

Notes on verse 9

JJ “grace” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
KK “sufficient” = arkeo. 8x in NT. This is to be content or satisfied. It can also mean to ward off.
LL “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
MM “made perfect” = teleo. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is to complete, fulfill, accomplish, end.
NN “more gladly” = hedista. 2x in NT.  From heuds (sweet); from hedeos (sweetly, enjoyable, gladly); from hedone (pleasure, passion – generally of the senses); from hedomai (to enjoy self); from hadano (to please). This is most sweetly, most pleasantly. It focuses on an action done entirely gladly without regret or reservation.
OO “dwell” = episkenoo. 1x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + skenoo (to encamp, pitch a tent, dwell); {from skenos (tent, booth, tabernacle, or dwelling)}. This is to set up or reside in a tent. Figuratively, it can refer to dwelling or abiding more broadly.

10 Therefore I am contentPP with weaknesses, insults,QQ hardships,RR persecutions,SS

Notes on verse 10a

PP “am content” = eudokeo. From eu (good, well, well done) + dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to think well of, to be pleased or resolved. Properly, this is what someone finds good or acceptable – approving of some action or generally thinking well of.
QQ “insults” = hubris. 3x in NT. From hubrizo (to insult, mistreat, steal; figuratively, to harm someone so that they experience a loss, particularly to their reputation or honor; violence or abuse). This is insult, injury, violence, insolence. It is where the word “hubris” comes from.
RR “hardships” = anagke. 18x in NT. From ana (up, again, anew) + agcho (to press tightly, compress) OR related to agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load). This is necessity – something that happens that requires an immediate response. It is generally associated with pain or distress.
SS “persecutions” = diogmos. 10x in NT. From dioko to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight). This is chase, pursuit, or persecution. It is hunting someone like an animal.

and calamitiesTT for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak,UU then I am strong.VV

Notes on verse 10b

TT “calamities” = stenochoria. 4x in NT. From stenos (narrow, confined) + chora (space, area). This is a narrow space – used figuratively for a difficulty coming from external pressure. It is distress, difficulty, or anguish.
UU “am weak” = astheneo. Related to “weaknesses” in v5. From asthenes (see note O above). This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
VV “strong” = dunatos. Related to “power” in v9. From dunamai (see note LL above). This is mighty or powerful. It speaks of ability of persons, possibility of things. It is what can be given the power or ability that the subject exhibits. The root verb is also related to miracles i.e. deeds of power.

Image credit: “Paul and Barnabas in Turkey” by John Paul Stanley of YoMinistry.

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