The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 47 of 181
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inflicting upon himself or is the consequence on his own folly, but the believer, for the
Lord's sake, can even welcome it, for then he can be strong, not in himself, but in the
Lord and the power of His might (Eph. 6: 10).
A new section now starts in the Corinthian epistle which deals with the signs of a true
apostle. Paul has now finished what he termed his foolish boasting which was forced
upon him by his enemies at Corinth. May we all learn the lesson of the `thorn that
remains', and the glorious overshadowing power of the Saviour which can be our
continual experience.
12: 11 - 13: 14.
pp. 21 - 26
Chapter 12: 11 commences a new section in this epistle. Paul has finished his
`foolish boasting'. As we have seen, it would not have been necessary for him to have
started it had not his opposers at Corinth forced him to do so by reason of their exalting
themselves and belittling him as the apostle of Christ. He could say `in nothing was I
behind the very chiefest apostles, though I am nothing' (verse 11). The Corinthians had
had the miraculous signs of a true apostle manifested before their eyes when Paul
evangelized their city:
"Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and
wonders and mighty works" (II Cor. 12: 12, R.V.).
Just as Christ's earthly ministry to Israel had been confirmed by evidential miracles
(`miracles, wonders and signs' Acts 2: 22) as also was the witness of the Jerusalem
apostles (Acts 2: 43), so had the ministry of Paul been so attested by God. There could
be no doubt then of his apostleship. None of the false apostles at Corinth could claim
such Divine credentials. Why did some of them then doubt him? They had enjoyed all
the blessings that other churches had received through his ministry. Why should they
then think they had received inferior treatment (12: 13)?  He had refused to be
burdensome to them and for this `wrong' he ironically begs their pardon.
Paul now refers to a third visit in verse 14. The second visit to them was the `painful'
one referred to in 2: 1.  This third visit would also prove painful if the situation
warranted it (see 13: 1, 2), though the Apostle doubtless fervently hoped that they would
mend their ways and make such apostolic discipline unnecessary.
Once more he makes known his motives to them. He does not want to be a burden,
nor does he want their property, but it is themselves he is anxious to win. They are his
spiritual children and as such it was right for him as their spiritual father to make
provision for them, not the reverse (verse 14). He is prepared to go to the limit in
spending himself for their spiritual profit and his love for them was unbounded. If only
theirs for him had been likewise! (verse 15).