Lectionary Year B
July 6, 2003
2 Corinthians 12:2-10

Step II: Disposition


The pericope comes in direct address with simple narrative about an inexpressable event. Paul makes allusion to "a man," which is himself it would appear (given verse 7). Paul models humility by establishing twice that he does not know his state of being during the trip, that no one can express what he saw, and by not mentioning his name directly or attributing any qualities of apostleship or otherwise to a man who would be taken up. Also, humility is modeled in the emphasis on being caught up to heaven.


The structure of the text seems to emphasize the importance of the grace and power of God. My own summary of the passage follows:

What God does through a man caught up to heaven, of that Paul will boast. Of what belongs to a man, Paul will only boast of the weaknesses. This is Paul's preference because in boasting of the weaknesses, the grace and power of Christ might rest on him, as well as Chist's strength. Paul must guard against exaltation above measure, but in any case God is guarding against it by leaving Paul with the thorn but also with the message that God's grace is sufficient and that God's power is perfected in our weakness.

Why does Paul say "God only knows" twice?
What is the third heaven?

It seems that Paul is saying: One can boast if it is the truth and not be a fool, but it is important that peoples' opinion match your speech and actions and not the height to which God lifts you. This latter point is important not only to Paul but also to God, ergo the thorn is not taken away.

Where are the places I have been caught up - or in other words where are the points where Baron stops and God starts in the things that I do?
Is weakness only usefull to perfect God's power when the weakness is manifested "for the sake of Christ?"
When we fail to acknowledge God in all our ways, does our weakness fail to bring about the power of Christ?
What makes something for the sake of Christ?
Can we do enough for the sake of Christ?
Does God send us messengers of Satan?

This text encourages me because I think of overcoming obstacles and the active presence of God.

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