Saturday, 26 December 2015
And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—
2 Corinthians 12:3
Paul now seems to repeat himself for the purpose of emphasis, and many scholars generally take it that way. So far the words of verses 2 and 3 can be compared by noting them side by side –
*I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
*And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—
In verse 3, he has added in the word kai, or “and.” This then seems to indicate not emphasis of the same thought, but the introduction of a new thought. Verse 4 will bring that revelation to light, but regardless of what verse 4 says, Paul continues on with the same line of reasoning which is found in verse 2. He is referring to himself in the third person, and he is completely unaware of whether what he will describe actually occurred in the body or out of the body. To him, it remained an enduring mystery which only God knows.
The word “whether” is used in both verses. If there is a distinction being made between the two events, then he was unsure of his state in both circumstances as they occurred.
Life application: Paul, as an apostle of Christ, has the right to make the claim that he is making concerning his visions. His words are a part of the biblical record and God used Paul for that very purpose. He will note that the things he saw and heard while in this state were “unlawful for a man to utter.” It would logically follow then that what he saw was not to be described by him (which he refrains from doing) and therefore the same would apply to anyone else who claims to have made such a heavenly visitation. It is better to not trust the visions of others than it is to find out that their words were not true. In the end, we have the Bible and so any such extra revelations, even if true, would not add to what we need for our faith and practice. So why buy the book?
Lord God, it is very hard to know the truth of the words of others at times. They make convincing stories about heavenly visits, marvelous visions, prophetic utterances, and other such things. Over the years, they are normally proven false. But one thing I know… You have already given us Your word. So why would I need extra revelations anyway? If the Bible is all-sufficient for my faith and practice, then I’ll be content to let the other stuff fall by the wayside! I’m all in for Your superior word which tells me all I need to know for my trip back to You. Thank You for this precious book of love and doctrine. Amen.