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2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Title: Strong When Weak


090422 Document for Praxis Class Meeting

2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Title: Strong When Weak

1. Word Prayer (All): “Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say(verse 6)." We give thanks and praise to God for protecting and guiding us during this time. Looking back, there were many hard and difficult things at every moment, but we confess that it was only by the grace of God that we have come this far today. Holy Spirit, please be present in our gathering today and lead us to the wonderful spiritual experience Paul experienced. So, there are many problems in life that we have to overcome in the future, but please help us overcome all those difficulties with the power of the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus. amen.

2. Icebreaker: Let's share with each other what is bothering me the most in my life.

3. Singing(Hymn): assigned by leader

4. Reading the scripture: 2Corinthians 12:1-10

1 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up[b] to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

5. Understanding the Text:

Paul was a man who had tremendous spiritual experiences such as visions and revelations by the grace of God (verse 1). Paul, who experienced visions and revelations, said that he was “a man in Christ” and introduced a spiritual body different from a physical body. Paul's spiritual body ascended to the third heaven 14 years ago. He calls this place paradise (v. 4). He said that his appearance that he was led to Paradise was so mysterious that he could not tell whether he was in the body or whether he was outside the body (vv. 2,3). And he confesses that when he arrives in paradise, he hears indescribable words. It is said that the reason Paul had this wonderful spiritual experience was his weakness rather than his position or ability.

Paul had a physical illness called “epilepsy.” In ancient Ireland, epilepsy was called "Paul's disease." Paul describes his illness as “a thorn in the flesh” or “a messenger of Satan” (v. 7). We can imagine how distressed he must have been when he saw himself having seizures while preaching or preaching. Paul writes about the Galatia church that loved Paul despite this disease. "As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.(Galatians 4:13-14).”

If the text says that Paul prayed three times for the thorn in his body to disappear, we can see how badly this thorn tormented Paul (verse 8). But to Paul's prayer, God said, "My grace is all you need" and answered, "My power works best in weakness" (verse 9). The thorn in the flesh that remained on Paul was the scourge of God that humbled him so that he would not be overconfident (verse 7). Also, Paul realized that Paul's weakness was the channel through which he could receive more of God's grace and power. That is why Paul rejoiced greatly and boasted it, although he had his weakness, thorns in his flesh(verse 9).

Though Paul was a man being physically weak with the thorn, he became an apostle of God being spiritually powerful. In addition to physical illness, Paul writes about the things that make him weak: in reproach, in need, in being persecuted, in suffering of all kinds for the sake of Christ. In spite of those things, he rather rejoices(v. 10). Being weak for Christ's sake means humble and laying down ourselves for Christ's sake. After all, all kinds of reproach, privation, persecution, and hardship because of Christ make Christians strong and are the channels through which they receive the power of God. That is why Paul rejoices in the midst of much pain and tribulation, confidently proclaiming, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

6. Questions:

6.1. What did Paul inevitably boast about (verse 1)?

6.2. What did God give Paul, so that he would not be overconfident (verse 7)?

6.3. How many times did Paul pray for the thorn in the flesh to be removed (verse 8)?

6.4. What was God's answer to Paul's prayer (verse 9)?

7. Application questions

7.1. What did I realize in today's study? What words do you think are most important to you?

7.2. What is my spiritual state right now? What is my prayer topic now?

7.3. Like Paul, what spiritual experiences do you have that you can be proud of?

7.4. How can I live as a strong Christian even when I am weak?

8. Prayer(can add your prayer lists):

Jesus, there are many thorns in the flesh that pierce and sting us in our daily lives. Help us not to despair or give up because of these thorns. Rather, grant us the grace to draw closer to God the more I get pierced. Help us to become victors who achieve salvation despite the thorns in the flesh like Jesus, who accomplished salvation on the cross while wearing a crown of thorns on his head and being pierced in his side with a spear. Paul rejoiced even though he was despised, persecuted, and suffered with hardship. The reason was because he knew that the weaker he was, the stronger God made him. God, raise us up as spiritual soldiers who experience your grace through weakness and receive your power. I pray in Jesus' name. amen.

9. Praise/ Announcements/

10. End with Lord's Prayer