2 Corinthians 12-13, Psalm 76
As we finish 2 Corinthians, I want to stress Paul’s unique use of words throughout both letters to this church. The key to Paul’s meaning is his paradoxical idea that in Christ, weakness is strength. This colors our comprehension for common words he uses often like “boast” and “wisdom”. For Paul, boasting is only reserved for what someone else, specifically God has done. Wisdom is foolishness and if we want to be wise, we must behold the cross which is folly to Jew and Greek. For this church in Corinth that had a Greek mindset elevating philosophical wisdom as one of humanity’s great cultural achievements, Paul’s insistence on being a “fool” before the Corinthians is but another example of how Paul portrays the upside down nature of the Christian message. Paul certainly has wisdom, knows God’s power, and even has had special revelations (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Though Paul has reason to boast in his wisdom and strength, he will only boast in his foolishness and weakness. If you read 2 Corinthians without properly understanding Paul’s intentional use of words to provoke, then you will completely misunderstand him. Boasting is of course bad, except when boasting in weakness, and weakness is of definitely strength, you see. When we grasp this from the onset, we are better prepared to follow Paul’s central arguments against undue adulation for human leaders. When we have come to such realizations we can find good news in God’s message to Paul that states, ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) If we are to become vulnerable, that is weak, we can have comfort that the grace of God can meet every affliction we face with greater strength than we possess.