In this passage Paul referrers to man who appears to have ascended to the third Heaven, and in reading it seemed to me that Paul was expressing doubt about the man's claims. I was particularly struck by his saying; For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth:

2nd Corinthians 12:1 through 9 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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    Paul is the man. He's speaking about himself in the third person. – user2910 Jul 12 '14 at 15:13
  • @MarkEdward Is that your opinion or are you basing that on something you can reference? – BYE Jul 12 '14 at 15:51
  • @Bye Mark is correct, Paul is speaking in 3rd person singular when refering to the revelations, yet 1st peerson singular when speaking of his infirmities. He betrays himself in vs 7,"...lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations.." His method of speaking can be described as "Illeism", where the narrator seeks to convey impartiality, although he is also the protagonist. A young Marine in bootcamp is taught this to convey his thoughts in this method, as his DI doesn't regard his opinion, only what his sensory organs tell him. – Tau Jul 12 '14 at 16:23
  • @Bye My internet went out in a storm last night, so I can't grab any references at the moment. It is an opinion, but it's the general opinion held by many commentators. The context of chapters 11-12 is about 'superapostles' bragging about their personal achievements, so Paul responds by listing all his personal achievements, including a vision he had, and then says he'd rather brag in his weaknesses. – user2910 Jul 12 '14 at 19:06
  • @MarkEdward After reviewing All of 2nd Corinthians and reading some commentaries I have come to agree with your answer. Thank you for putting me on the right path. – BYE Jul 12 '14 at 21:17

I do not think that Paul was being facetious, but is actually commenting about meeting the Apostle John after experiencing what he documents in Revelation 10. The similarity of these two such strange experiences, such as Rev 10:4 and 2Cor 12:4 document, seems incredible that they are not related.

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    Are you implying Apostle Paul is speaking of Apostle John? – Nihil Sine Deo Jun 30 '19 at 3:15

I think, the other half of the sentence make it clear.

but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

According to,
Matthew Henry's Commentary,
Pulpit Commentary
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Gill's Exposition
he was speaking about himself, Though there is disagreement on the date of the incident(14 years) but some believe e.g. Perry Stone that he was mentioning the stoning at Lystra.

Stoning always ends in the death of that person so he must have died and regarding his experience he was being humble.

"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." Proverbs 29:23 (KJV)

His own words are

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;"Ephesians 4:2(KJV)

So he was certian about it but was not bragging as lots of people look at him for inspiration.

Most of the time different translations help me to understand some verse.


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