Grace for Christmas
Like most people, the Corinthians were slow to absorb the truth that divine standards differ radically from those of the world. Paul had tried to make this clear in his former letter concerning the message of the Cross: the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world (1 Cor. 1:18–25). If, however, the Corinthians persisted in looking at things from the world’s point of view, he would accommodate himself to their perspective. But he would still try to lead them to realize that divine accreditation should be seen not against the backdrop of human greatness but human weakness. The marks of an apostle were the marks of Christ, including weakness and suffering (2 Cor. 13:4; cf. Isa. 53:3–4; Mark 9:12). In this passage (2 Cor. 11:16–12:10) Paul recounted his frailties and with poignant irony said, in essence, “These are the credentials of an apostle” (cf. 1 Cor. 4:9–13).
Countless explanations concerning the nature of his thorn in the flesh have been offered. They range from incessant temptation, dogged opponents, chronic maladies (such as ophthalmia, malaria, migraine headaches, and epilepsy), to a disability in speech. No one can say for sure what his was, but it probably was a physical affliction (for the work of Satan in this, cf. 1 Cor. 5:5; 10:10). It is understandable that Paul would consider this thorn a hindrance to wider or more effective ministry (cf. Gal. 4:14–16) and that he would repeatedly petition God for its removal (2 Cor. 12:8).
FOR A MOVE OF GOD
FOR THE WORD OF GOD
FOR THE FAVOR OF GOD
The phrase ‘he has said to me’ is translated ‘his answer was’ [REB, TEV]. The perfect tense may indicate an act which has ongoing effect, i.e., the answer given continues to be valid