With New Eyes: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

With New Eyes: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Re-reading the Bible in search of examples of patience and humility. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 — “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

MacArthur commentary for 2 Corinthians 7-10: “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan.” This was sent to him by God, to keep him humble. As with Job, Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause. Paul’s use of the word “messenger” (Greek, angelos or angel) from Satan suggests the “thorn in the flesh” (lit., “a stake for the flesh”) was a demonized person, not a physical illness. Possibly, the best explanation for this demon was that he was indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthian conspiracy, the leader of the false prophets. Through them he was tearing up Paul’s beloved church and thus driving a painful stake through Paul…”to keep me from becoming conceited.” The assault was painful but purposeful. God was allowing Satan to bring these severe trouble in the church for the purpose of humbling Paul who, having had so many revelations, including a trip to heaven and back, would have been proud. The demonized false apostle attacking his work in Corinth was the stake being driven through his otherwise proud flesh. “Three times I pleaded.” Both Paul and Jesus had their request denied, but were granted grace to endure their ordeals…Paul took no pleasure in the pain itself, but rejoiced in the power of Christ that it revealed through him.

 

“Humiliation” Word Study: James 1:9-11

“Humiliation” Word Study: James 1:9-11

A Biblical word study in ESV. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

James 1:9-11 — “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”

MacArthur commentary for James 1:9-11: boast. This word refers to pride in a privilege or possession; it is the joy of legitimate pride. Although having nothing in this world, the poor believer can rejoice in his spiritual standing before God by grace and the hope which that brings (cf. Rom. 8:17-18; 1 Peter 1:4). his humiliation. Refers to the rich believer’s being brought low by trials. Such experiences help him rejoice and realize that genuine happiness and contentment depend on the true riches of God’s grace, not earthly wealth.

“Humiliation” Word Study: Acts 8:33

“Humiliation” Word Study: Acts 8:33

A Biblical word study in ESV. May Good grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

Acts 8:33 – “‘In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.'”

MacArthur’s commentary for Acts 8:33 references Isaiah 53:7-8 as the origin of this quote. This quote refers to Jesus.

“Humble” Word Study: 1 Peter 5:6-7

“Humble” Word Study: 1 Peter 5:6-7

A Biblical word study in ESV. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

1 Peter 5:6-7 — “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

MacArthur commentary for 1 Peter 5:6-7: “The readers of Peter’s letter were not to fight the sovereign hand of God, even when it brought them through testings. One of the evidences of lack of submission and humility is impatience with God in his work of humbling believers (see notes on 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). ‘At the proper time he may exalt you.’ Cf. Luke 14:11. God will lift up the suffering, submissive believers in his wisely appointed time. See notes on Job 42.”

“Humble” Word Study: James 4:10

“Humble” Word Study: James 4:10

A Biblical word study in ESV. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.”

MacArthur commentary for James 4:10: “‘Humble’ comes from a word meaning ‘to make oneself low.’ Those conscious of being in the presence of the majestic, infinitely holy God are humble (cf. Isaiah 6:5).”

“Humble” Word Study: Isaiah 66:2

“Humble” Word Study: Isaiah 66:2

A Biblical word study in ESV. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

Isaiah 66:2 – “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LordBut this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

MacArthur commentary for Isaiah 66:2: “…God is looking for a heart to dwell in, a heart that is tender and broken, not one concerned with the externalities of religion (cf. Matthew 5:3-9). God is looking to dwell in the heart of a person who takes his word seriously (cf. Isaiah 66:5; John 14:23).”

“Patience” Word Study: 2 Peter 3:15

“Patience” Word Study: 2 Peter 3:15

A Biblical word study in ESV. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.

2 Peter 3:15 — “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him…”

MacArthur commentary: “…during the time of God’s patience, Christians should engage in seeking the salvation of souls.”

It appears that I have a long way to go in understanding and embracing patience and humility. Even as I study, the familiar flashes of ideas of how God might use me to do BIG things and make a name for myself (i.e. maybe out of this study I’ll write a best-selling book) distract me like tired mosquitoes buzzing in my ears. May God completely re-purpose my heart, and with it, my idea of serving and of success.