It is not expedient for me - There are several various readings on this verse which are too minute to be noticed here; they seem in effect to represent the verse thus: "If it be expedient to glory, (which does not become me), I will proceed to visions," etc. The plain meaning of the apostle, in this and the preceding chapter, in reference to glorying is, that though to boast in any attainments, or in what God did by him, was in all possible cases to be avoided, as being contrary to the humility and simplicity of the Gospel; yet the circumstances in which he was found, in reference to the Corinthian Church, and his detractors there, rendered it absolutely necessary; not for his personal vindication, but for the honor of the Gospel, the credit of which was certainly at stake.
I will come to visions - Οπτασιας· Symbolical representations of spiritual and celestial things, in which matters of the deepest importance are exhibited to the eye of the mind by a variety of emblems, the nature and properties of which serve to illustrate those spiritual things.
Revelations - Αποκαλυψεις· A manifestation of things not before known, and such as God alone can make known, because they are a part of his own inscrutable counsels.
It is not expedient - It is not well; it does not become me. This may either mean that he felt and admitted that it did not become him to boast in this manner; that there was an impropriety in his doing it though circumstances had compelled him, and in this sense it is understood by nearly, or quite, all expositors; or it may be taken ironically. “Such a man as I am ought not to boast. So you say, and so it would seem. A man who has done no more than I have; who has suffered nothing; who has been idle and at ease as I have been, ought surely not to boast. And since there is such an evident impropriety in my boasting and speaking about myself, I will turn to another matter, and inquire whether the same thing may not be said about visions and revelations. I will speak, therefore, of a man who had some remarkable revelations, and inquire whether he has any right to boast of the favors imparted to him.” This seems to me to be the probable interpretation of this passage.
To glory - To boast; 2 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 11:10. One of the charges which they alleged against him was, that he was given to boasting without any good reason. After the enumeration in the previous chapter of what he had done and suffered, he says that this was doubtless very true. Such a man has nothing to boast of.
I will come - Margin, “For I will.” Our translators have omitted the word ( γὰρ gar) for in the text, evidently supposing that it is a mere expletive. Doddridge renders it, “nevertheless.” But it seems to me that it contains an important sense, and that it should be rendered by then. “Since it is not fit that I should glory, then I will refer to visions, etc. I will turn away then from that subject, and come to another.” Thus, the word ( γὰρ gar) is used in John 7:41. “Shall then μὴ γὰρ mē garChrist come out of Galilee?” Acts 8:31. “How can I then τὼ tō γὰρ except some man should guide me?” see also Acts 19:35; Romans 3:3; Philemon 1:18. To visions - The word “vision” is used in the Scriptures often to denote the mode in which divine communications were usually made to people. This was done by causing some scene to appear to pass before the mind as in a landscape, so that the individual seemed to see a representation of what was to occur in some future period. It was usually applied to prophecy, and is often used in the Old Testament; see my note on Isaiah 1:1, and also on Acts 9:10. The vision which Paul here refers to was that which he was permitted to have of the heavenly world; 2 Corinthians 12:4. He was permitted to see what perhaps no other mortal had seen, the glory of heaven. And revelations of the Lord - Which the Lord had made. Or it may mean manifestations which the Lord had made of himself to him. The word rendered “revelations” means properly an “uncovering” ( ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsisfrom ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptōto uncover), and denotes a removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness, so that an object may be clearly seen; and is thus applied to truth revealed, because the obscurity is removed and the truth becomes manifest.
To visions - The word “vision” is used in the Scriptures often to denote the mode in which divine communications were usually made to people. This was done by causing some scene to appear to pass before the mind as in a landscape, so that the individual seemed to see a representation of what was to occur in some future period. It was usually applied to prophecy, and is often used in the Old Testament; see my note on Isaiah 1:1, and also on Acts 9:10. The vision which Paul here refers to was that which he was permitted to have of the heavenly world; 2 Corinthians 12:4. He was permitted to see what perhaps no other mortal had seen, the glory of heaven.
And revelations of the Lord - Which the Lord had made. Or it may mean manifestations which the Lord had made of himself to him. The word rendered “revelations” means properly an “uncovering” ( ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsisfrom ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptōto uncover), and denotes a removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness, so that an object may be clearly seen; and is thus applied to truth revealed, because the obscurity is removed and the truth becomes manifest.
The apostle Paul, who had received many revelations from the Lord, met difficulties from various sources and amidst all his conflicts and discouragements, he did not lose his trust and confidence in God. Under the special tuition of the Holy Spirit, his judgment was purified, refined, elevated, sanctified. The devisings of human beings and of the enemy against him were to him a means of discipline and education, and he declares that thus he gained most excellent knowledge, because he made the Lord Jesus his dependence. “Yea doubtless,” he declares, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).... TDG 191.2Read in context »
The apostle Paul early in his Christian experience was given special opportunities to learn the will of God concerning the followers of Jesus. He was “caught up to the third heaven,” “into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” He himself acknowledged that many “visions and revelations” had been given him “of the Lord.” His understanding of the principles of gospel truth was equal to that of “the very chiefest apostles.” 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4, 1, 11. He had a clear, full comprehension of “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” Ephesians 3:18, 19. AA 469.1Read in context »
The apostle Paul had been caught up to the third heaven and had seen and heard things that could not be uttered, and yet his unassuming statement is: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after.” Philippians 3:12. Let the angels of heaven write of Paul's victories in fighting the good fight of faith. Let heaven rejoice in his steadfast tread heavenward, and that, keeping the prize in view, he counts every other consideration dross. Angels rejoice to tell his triumphs, but Paul makes no boast of his attainments. The attitude of Paul is the attitude that every follower of Christ should take as he urges his way onward in the strife for the immortal crown. AA 562.1
Let those who feel inclined to make a high profession of holiness look into the mirror of God's law. As they see its far-reaching claims, and understand its work as a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, they will not boast of sinlessness. “If we,” says John, not separating himself from his brethren, “say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8, 10, 9. AA 562.2
There are those who profess holiness, who declare that they are wholly the Lord's, who claim a right to the promises of God, while refusing to render obedience to His commandments. These transgressors of the law claim everything that is promised to the children of God; but this is presumption on their part, for John tells us that true love for God will be revealed in obedience to all His commandments. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth, to make a profession of faith in Christ, to believe that Jesus is no impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments,” John wrote, “is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.” “He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.” 1 John 2:4, 5; 3:24. AA 562.3Read in context »
(Matthew 7:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12.) An Unfailing Test—Satan has come down in these last days to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets, in the sight of men, claiming that he is indeed Christ Himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep's clothing seems so real, so genuine, that the wolf can be discerned only as we go to God's great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah (The Review and Herald, August 25, 1885). 6BC 1106.1
Preparing for the Final Act—This world is a theater. The actors, the inhabitants of the world, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. God is lost sight of. There is no unity of purpose, except as parties of men confederate to gain their ends. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama—Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect (Letter 141, 1902). 6BC 1106.2
(Ephesians 6:10-12.) Constant Vigilance Demanded—[Ephesians 6:10-12 quoted.] Every one who has enlisted under the bloodstained banner of Christ has entered upon a warfare that demands constant vigilance. Satan is determined to keep up the warfare to the end. Coming as an angel of light, claiming to be the Christ, he will deceive the world. But his triumph will be short. No storm or tempest can move those whose feet are planted on the principles of eternal truth. They will be able to stand in this time of almost universal apostasy (Manuscript 74, 1903). 6BC 1106.3Read in context »