Second Corinthians 12:1-10
‘(Paul said:) “I knew a man in Christ more than fourteen years ago…, caught up to the third Heaven…. He was caught up into Paradise…. Of such a one, I will glory!… I will…glory in my infirmities…, lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations…given to me!”‘ Second Corinthians 12:2-7.
Calvin comments on the words “‘I know a man in Christ’…. He (Paul) speaks of himself in the third person…. God acted upon him in a way that he himself did not understand…. He says that he does not know whether he was taken up into Heaven entire, soul and body — or whether only his soul was caught up….
“At the beginning, the Lord showed Himself to Paul in a vision — when He wished to convert him from Judaism to the faith of the Gospel…. Then, he still needed Ananias to instruct him in the first rudiments of the Gospel (Acts 9:12)…. It is possible that he is referring here to the vision mentioned by Luke in Acts 22:17…. Paul himself kept silent for fourteen years, and would never have said a word if he had not been forced to….
“(Paul says that he was then caught up) ‘ to the third Heaven’…. The number ‘three’ is used as a perfect number, to indicate what is highest…. The word ‘Heaven’…means…God’s blessed and glorious Kingdom above…the firmament itself…. (He was caught up) ‘into Paradise’.., .the garden of God…, the heavenly glory…. This thing happened for Paul’s own sake…
“‘Of such a one, (I will glory)!’…. As if he had said: ‘I have good reason to glory; but I do so most unwillingly’…, (as) a man whom God has greatly honoured…. ‘I will..glory…in my infirmities!’… ‘I could glory with good reason and without any fear of being rightly accused of vanity; for I have something to boast of — but I abstain!’…
“Even those who have good grounds for their glorying, are foolish and affected — if they give way to empty bragging and self-seeking…. But the Apostle here takes it as settled that his glorying…is…done in humility…. ‘Lest any man should account…me (above that which he sees me to be)’….
“He is content to fill the place that God has assigned him. ‘My appearance and my speech, he says, ‘give no promise of anything outstanding in me — and I do not object to being held in low esteem’…. He was in no way put out, by the poorness of appearance and speech that he recognized in himself — ‘in order that I should not be exalted by the excellence of revelations (there was given to me)!'”
Calvin also says in his Institutes IV:3:3: “In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:1-10)…, Paul…contends…there is nothing in the Church more noble and glorious than the Ministry of the Gospel. Seeing it is the administration of…eternal life!”
Paul concludes: ‘I take pleasure in infirmities and persecutions — for Christ!’ Do you?