It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)XII.
(1) It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come . . .—The English “doubtless” corresponds to a Greek illative particle. To boast, then, is not expedient for me. The MSS., however, present a considerable variety of readings. The best-authenticated text is probably that which would be represented in English by, I must needs glory. It is not, indeed, expedient, but I will come . . . The sequence of thought would seem to be that the Apostle felt constrained by the taunts of his opponents to indulge in what looked like self-assertion in vindication of his own character; that he was conscious, as he did so, that it was not, in the highest sense of the word, expedient for him; and that, under the influence of these mingled feelings, he passed over other topics on which he might have dwelt, and came at once to that which had been made matter of reproach against him.
Visions and revelations of the Lord.—It need scarcely be said that the history of the Acts is full of such visions (Acts 9:4-6; Acts 16:9; Acts 18:9; Acts 22:18; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23). One other instance is referred to in Galatians 2:2. There is scarcely any room for doubt that this also had been made matter of reproach against him, and perhaps urged as a proof of the charge of madness. In the Clementine Homilies—a kind of controversial romance representing the later views of the Ebionite or Judaising party, in which most recent critics have recognised a thinly-veiled attempt to present the characteristic features of St. Paul under the pretence of an attack on Simon Magus, just as the writer of a political novel in modern times might draw the portraits of his rivals under fictitious names—we find stress laid on the alleged claims of Simon to have had communications from the Lord through visions and dreams and outward revelations; and this claim is contrasted with that of Peter, who had personally followed Christ during his ministry on earth (Hom. xvii. 14-20). What was said then, in the form of this elaborate attack, may well have been said before by the more malignant advocates of the same party. The charge of insanity was one easy to make, and of all charges, perhaps, the most difficult to refute by one who gloried in the facts which were alleged as its foundation—who did see visions, and did “speak with tongues” in the ecstasy of adoring rapture (1Corinthians 14:18). It may be noted as an instance of St. Luke’s fairness that he, ignorant of, or ignoring, the charge of madness that had been brought against St. Paul, does not grudge the Apostle of the Circumcision whatever glory might accrue from a true revelation thus made through the medium of a vision (Acts 10:10-11).2 Corinthians 12:1. After enumerating, in the former chapter, his almost incredible labours and sufferings for the gospel, the apostle, in this, proceeds to speak of some visions and revelations that had been made to him, as a further proof of his apostleship, and of the regard which ought to be paid to his doctrines, his advices, exhortations, or reproofs. It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory — Or boast of any thing I have done or suffered, as a minister of Christ, unless on so pressing an occasion. Yet, or nevertheless, as γαρ must be here understood to signify, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord — That he might not offend any one’s delicacy, he forbears to say that these visions and revelations were given to himself; although, doubtless, some of the Corinthians would inter, from his manner of speaking, that he himself had been favoured with them. Visions were things presented to a person in a supernatural manner, so as to be the objects of his sight while awake. Thus Zacharias, (Luke 1:11.) and Mary, (Luke 1:26,) and Cornelius, (Acts 10:3,) had visions of angels. Probably here the apostle means his seeing the Lord Jesus on different occasions, after his ascension; and especially those visions of Christ which he saw when he was caught up into the third heaven. And revelations of the Lord — These were discoveries of matters unknown, which Christ made to Paul by an internal impression on his mind; or by speech, such as the revelations mentioned Acts 13:2; 1 Timothy 4:1. Perhaps also those which, he says, (2 Corinthians 12:4,) he heard in paradise. Of the former kind were all the inspirations of the Spirit bestowed on the apostles, and on those who in the first age, preached the gospel by revelation.
To glory - To boast; 2 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 11:10. One of the charges which they alleged against him was, that he was given to boasting without any good reason. After the enumeration in the previous chapter of what he had done and suffered, he says that this was doubtless very true. Such a man has nothing to boast of.
I will come - Margin, "For I will." Our translators have omitted the word (γὰρ gar) for in the text, evidently supposing that it is a mere expletive. Doddridge renders it, "nevertheless." But it seems to me that it contains an important sense, and that it should be rendered by then. "Since it is not fit that I should glory, then I will refer to visions, etc. I will turn away then from that subject, and come to another." Thus, the word (γὰρ gar) is used in John 7:41. "Shall then μὴ γὰρ mē gar Christ come out of Galilee?" Acts 8:31. "How can I then τὼ tō; γὰρ gar except some man should guide me?" see also Acts 19:35; Romans 3:3; Philippians 1:18.
To visions - The word "vision" is used in the Scriptures often to denote the mode in which divine communications were usually made to people. This was done by causing some scene to appear to pass before the mind as in a landscape, so that the individual seemed to see a representation of what was to occur in some future period. It was usually applied to prophecy, and is often used in the Old Testament; see my note on Isaiah 1:1, and also on Acts 9:10. The vision which Paul here refers to was that which he was permitted to have of the heavenly world; 2 Corinthians 12:4. He was permitted to see what perhaps no other mortal had seen, the glory of heaven.
And revelations of the Lord - Which the Lord had made. Or it may mean manifestations which the Lord had made of himself to him. The word rendered "revelations" means properly an "uncovering" (ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsis, from ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptō, to uncover), and denotes a removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness, so that an object may be clearly seen; and is thus applied to truth revealed, because the obscurity is removed and the truth becomes manifest.
2Co 12:1-21. Revelations in Which He Might Glory: But He Rather Glories in Infirmities, as Calling Forth Christ's Power: Signs of His Apostleship: His Disinterestedness: Not That He Is Excusing Himself to Them; but He Does All for Their Good, lest He Should Find Them Not Such as He Desired, and So Should Have to Be Severe at His Coming.
1. He proceeds to illustrate the "glorying in infirmities" (2Co 11:30). He gave one instance which might expose him to ridicule (2Co 11:33); he now gives another, but this one connected with a glorious revelation of which it was the sequel: but he dwells not on the glory done to himself, but on the infirmity which followed it, as displaying Christ's power. The oldest manuscripts read, "I MUST NEEDS boast (or glory) though it be not expedient; for I will come." The "for" gives a proof that it is "not expedient to boast": I will take the case of revelations, in which if anywhere boasting might be thought harmless. "Visions" refers to things seen: "revelations," to things heard (compare 1Sa 9:15) or revealed in any way. In "visions" their signification was not always vouchsafed; in "revelations" there was always an unveiling of truths before hidden (Da 2:19, 31). All parts of Scripture alike are matter of inspiration; but not all of revelation. There are degrees of revelation; but not of inspiration.
of—that is, from the Lord; Christ, 2Co 12:2.2 Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul showeth that, though he had been favoured with
(1) He continues in his purpose, and because those braggarts boasted of revelations, he reckons up those things which lift him up above the common capacity of men. But he uses a preface, and prudently excuses himself.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Corinthians 12:1. Scarcely has Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:32 f., begun his καυχᾶσθαι τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας with the incident in Damascus, when he breaks off again with the thought which, in the instantaneous, true tact of his consciousness (comp. on 2 Corinthians 11:32 f.), as it were bars his way: ΚΑΥΧᾶΣΘΑΙ ΔΕῖ, Οὐ ΣΥΜΦΈΡΕΙ ΜΟΙ (see the critical remarks): to boast of myself is necessary, not beneficial for me. Let it be observed that οὐ συμφ. is the antithesis of ΔΕῖ (necesse, non utile est), and that a comma only must therefore stand after δεῖ; further, that ΜΟΙ belongs not merely to ΣΥΜΦ., but also to ΔΕῖ (Tob 5:14; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iii. 3. 10, Anab. iii. 4. 35; Mätzner, ad Antiph. p. 257); lastly, that συμφ. means the moral benefit as opposed to the ethical disadvantage of the self-exaltation (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7, and see Theophyl.): “saluberrimum animo ἡ τῆς οἰήσεως συστολή,” Grotius. Comp. Ignat. Trall. 4 : πολλὰ φρονῶ ἐν θεῷ, ἀλλʼ ἐμαυτὸν μετρῶ, ἵνα μὴ ἐν καυχήσει ἀπόλωμαι. The δεῖ arose out of the existing circumstances of the Corinthians, by which Paul had seen himself necessitated to the καυχᾶσθαι; but the οὐ συμφέρει prevails with him to pass on to something else and far higher, as that in which there lay no self-glory (2 Corinthians 12:5). With the reading δή (see the critical remarks) the δή would only make the notion of καυχᾶσθαι more significantly prominent, like the German eben or ja [certainly, or indeed] (see Krüger, § 69, 19. 2; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 392; Bäumlein, Partikell. p. 98), but could not, as Hofmann (with an inappropriate appeal to Hartung) assumes, denote glorying “simply and absolutely,” in contrast with a καυχᾶσθαι τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας. This Paul would have known how to express by something like ἉΠΛῶς ΔῊ ΚΑΥΧᾶΣΘΑΙ.
ἘΛΕΎΣΟΜΑΙ] not: I would (to which Hofmann practically comes), but: I will (now) come to speak. See Wolf, Curae; Dissen, ad Pind. Ol. ix. 83, p. 119.
γάρ] He might also have said ΟὖΝ, but his conception is, that by his passing over to something else the Οὐ ΣΥΜΦΈΡΕΙ ΜΟΙ is illustrated and confirmed. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 235; Bäumlein, Partik. p. 86.
εἰς ὀπτασίας καὶ ἀποκαλ. κυρίου] i.e. to facts, in which Christ imparted to me visions and revelations. The genitivus subjecti κυρίου is the characteristic definition, which both words need (not simply the second, to which Hofmann limits it). Theophylact remarks that in ἀποκαλ. there is added to ὀπτασ. something more, ἡ μὲν γὰρ μόνον βλέπειν δίδωσιν, αὕτη δὲ καί τι βαθύτερον τοῦ ὁρωμένου ἀπογυμνοῖ. This distinction, however, keeps the two ideas apart contrary to their nature, as if the apocalyptic element were not given with the ὀπτασία. Ὀπτασία (“species visibilis objecta vigilanti aut somnianti,” Grotius) is rather a special form of receiving the ἀποκάλυψις (comp. Lücke, Einl. in d. Offenb. Joh. I. p. 27, ed. 2), which latter may take place by means of such a miraculous vision (Daniel 9:23; Daniel 10:1; Daniel 10:16); see also Luke 1:22; Acts 26:19. This is the meaning of ὀπτασία here, and ἀποκαλ. is a wider idea, inasmuch as revelations occur also otherwise than in the way of visions beheld, although here ensuing in that way; comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7, where ἀποκαλ. stands alone.
That Paul by what follows wishes to prove, with a polemic object against the Christine party, that external acquaintance with Christ was superfluous (so Baur; see also Oecumenius), is not to be assumed, just because otherwise the mention of his having had a vision of Christ would be necessary for its bearing on the sequel. Nor can we from this passage infer it as the distinctive feature of the Christines, that they had claimed to stand by visions and revelations in a mystical connection with Christ (Schenkel, Dähne, de Wette, Goldhorn; comp. also Ewald, Beyschlag), since Paul is contending against specifically Judaistic opponents, against whom he pursues his general purpose of elucidating his apostolic dignity, which enemies obscured in Corinth, from the special distinctions which he, and not his opponents, had to show (comp. Räbiger, p. 210; Klöpper, p. 99 ff.).
 See on ver. 1 ff., Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 206 ff.; Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1864, p. 173 ff.; and again, Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1865, p. 217 ff.; also Holsten, zum Evang. des Paul. u. d. Petr. 1868, p. 21 ff.
 Reiche (Comment. crit. I. p. 404) objects that Paul must have written “solenniter et perspicue:” καυχᾶσθαι ἐμὲ δεῖ, οὐ δὲ συμφέρει μοι. But if μοι were not to be referred jointly to δεῖ, seeing that δεῖ with the dative and infinitive certainly is found in classical writers seldom (see also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 399 f.), and never in the N. T., an ἐμέ would not be necessary; but καυχ. δεῖ may be taken absolutely: boasting is necessary (under the circumstances given), not advantageous is it to me. The non-use of δέ or ἀλλά is in keeping with the very common asyndetic juxtaposition of contrasted statements, 1 Corinthians 7:6; Romans 2:29; 2 Corinthians 5:3, et al. Reiche himself, defending the Recepta, lays the whole emphasis on μοι: my boasting takes place not for my own advantage, but for yours (in order to correct your judgment regarding me, etc.). He explains it, therefore, as if Paul had written: οὐκ ἐμοί or οὐκ ἐμαυτῷ συμφέρει. Theodoret had already taken it erroneously, quite like Reiche.
 “Δή est particula determinativa, id verbum, quod sequitur, graviter efferens,” Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iii. 7. 2. Comp. also Hartung, Partik. I. p. 283. Erasm.: “gloriari sane non expedit mihi.” It might accordingly be taken also with a touch of irony, like scilicet: boast indeed I must. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 173 E; Hartung, l.c. Holsten also, l.c. p. 28, takes it in the ironical sense.
 As is well known, from this passage arose the apocryphal Ἀποκάλυψις Παύλου, and (or?) the Ἀναβατικὸν Παύλου. See Lücke, Einl. in d. Offenb. Joh. I. p. 244 ff. ed. 2. Theophylact finds the proof that this treatise is not genuine in ἄῤῥητα, ver. 4.
 According to Hilgenfeld, Paul means now to impart yet something greater than the vision of Christ (?) at his call. Not something greater, but something quite of another kind. Holsten, too, finds in the ὀπτασίας something, which exalts Paul above the original apostles, since to the latter such things had not been imparted after the resurrection of Christ. That, indeed, we do not at all know. We are acquainted with analogous disclosures also by Peter. And how scanty are our sources regarding the history of the Twelve!2 Corinthians 12:1-6. THE APOSTLE’S VISION: IF HE CHOSE, HE COULD BOAST OF IT.2 Corinthians 12:1-6. The Visions and Revelations vouchsafed to St Paul
1. It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come] The Greek text here is in the most utter confusion. Out of the seven Greek words which commence this chapter, the genuineness of only three is guaranteed by the agreement of the MSS. and versions. Some MSS. read, instead of as the A. V., I must glory, it is not expedient for me, for—(or yet). Others again, I must glory, it is not, I grant, expedient, yet—. The Vulgate begins with if (if it bihoveth to have glorie, it spedith not, but I schal come, Wiclif), no doubt from ch. 2 Corinthians 11:30. The A. V. avoids the difficulty of choosing between for and but before I will come by leaving out both. The usual rule in the case of a doubtful reading is to prefer the more difficult one, on the ground that a transcriber was more likely to evade what seemed to him to be a difficulty by the substitution of an easier word, than of his own accord to add to the difficulty of the passage. This rule is inapplicable here, where the alterations have clearly proceeded from an inability to comprehend the passage as it stood. The reading is therefore to be preferred which falls in best with the general scope of St Paul’s argument. As regards the first portion of the sentence it makes very little difference to the sense whether we follow the A. V. and render I am quite aware (δή) that it is not well for me to boast, or with other authorities, I must boast, I know it is not good for me. With regard to for or but, the latter seems to fall in best with the context. If we read for, we must regard St Paul as intending to give an additional proof of the undesirableness of boasting, as shewn by the fact that (2 Corinthians 12:7) even when there be anything to boast of, it is invariably in the end a source of weakness. If we read but, we must suppose St Paul to feel himself compelled to boast, lest the incident to which he has just referred (ch. 2 Corinthians 11:31-33) should be turned into an accusation of cowardice. Therefore in spite of himself he gives a proof which few would venture to challenge, that he has a right to speak in the name of God, in order that his confessions of weakness might not be used against him. For expedient and glory see ch. 2 Corinthians 8:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:12.
visions and revelations of the Lord] Visions are the sight of things ordinarily beyond our mortal ken, whether waking or in dreams. Revelations (see 1 Corinthians 1:7 in the Greek, and Galatians 1:12; Galatians 1:16; Galatians 2:2) are here the mental and spiritual discoveries resulting from such visions.2 Corinthians 12:1. Δὴ) truly.—οὐ συμφέρει μοι, it is not expedient for me) on account of the danger of becoming elated, and of the buffetings of Satan, and of hindering the exercise of Christ’s power.—ἐλεύσομαι) I will come, he does not say, I come. He does not eagerly run at it; so, I will glory, not I glory, at the very conclusion of 2 Corinthians 12:5.—γὰρ, for) The cause, stated in the form of a short preface.—ὀπτασίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεις, visions and revelations) Visions, in reference to seeing; revelations, to hearing, 1 Samuel 9:15, LXX. Both in the plural number, because those raptures had two degrees [when he was caught up first “to the third heaven,” 2 Corinthians 12:2; then “into paradise,” 2 Corinthians 12:4], as he presently mentions. So of revelations, 2 Corinthians 12:7. Paul had more visions and revelations, independently of these here.—Κυριου, of the Lord) 2 Corinthians 12:8, i.e., of Christ, 2 Corinthians 12:2.Verse 1. - It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. This rendering follows the best-attested reading; but it is at least doubtful whether, instead of δεῖ or δὲ, the ironic δὴ of Κ, Μ, and the Greek Fathers is not the true reading. In mere vowel variations, especially in passages where the meaning does not lie on the surface, the diplomatic (external) evidence is less important. If St. Paul wrote δὴ, it means, "of course it is not expedient for me to boast." I will come; for I will come; if the reading of D is correct. In that case it is hardly possible to define the counter currents of feeling which caused the use of the conjunction. Visions and revelations. The word used for "visions" means presentations perceived in a state which is neither sleeping nor waking, but which are regarded as objective; "revelations" are the truths apprehended as a result of the visions. Optasia, for "visions," only occurs elsewhere in Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23; Acts 26:19 (comp. Galatians 2:2).
See on Revelation 1:1.
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