Paul wrote, “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 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— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities” (2 Corinthians 12:1-5).
In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul is speaking of himself. And we know that for the following reasons:
- The reference to visions was in the midst of an account of events connected with his own life and ministry.
- Paul designated these visions and revelations as made directly to himself: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (vs. 7).
- Paul used the third person in order to avoid the appearance of boasting. John, on account of his Christian modesty and humility, similarly avoided identifying himself (John 13:23, 24; 19:26; 21:20).
Although Paul received a great and unique revelation, he realized that it was no credit to him personally (1 Timothy 1:15), and refused to take any credit to himself for it. His only reason for writing about it was to answer the charges of his objectors.
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In His service,