Some Things are Too Sacred to Mention - The Importance of Words


I was piddling through the Scriptures this evening and stumbled across a text in 2 Corinthians 12 that I had to think about for a little while. I know there is more to this section than what I have discovered. Nevertheless, one simple truth that I gathered mainly in verse 4 is that words need to be chosen carefully, and the words of God are sacred and must be handled very carefully. I'll share the text and then a commentary from Matthew Henry. The commentary covers all of the verses. If you have any more insight into verse 4 or the other verses I would like to read your response. Thanks.

2 Corinthians 12:1-6 KJV
" 1It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2I 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.
3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6For 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."


Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary
2 Corinthians 12:1-6
"Here we may observe, I. The narrative the apostle gives of the favours God had shown him, and the honour he had done him; for doubtless he himself is the man in Christ of whom he speaks. Concerning this we may take notice, 1. Of the honour itself which was done to the apostle: he was caught up into the third heaven, v. 2. When this was we cannot say, whether it was during those three days that he lay without sight at his conversion or at some other time afterwards, much less can we pretend to say how this was, whether by a separation of his soul from his body or by an extraordinary transport in the depth of contemplation. It would be presumption for us to determine, if not also to enquire into, this matter, seeing the apostle himself says, Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell. It was certainly a very extraordinary honour done him: in some sense he was caught up into the third heaven, the heaven of the blessed, above the aerial heaven, in which the fowls fly, above the starry heaven, which is adorned with those glorious orbs: it was into the third heaven, where God most eminently manifests his glory. We are not capable of knowing all, nor is it fit we should know very much, of the particulars of that glorious place and state; it is our duty and interest to give diligence to make sure to ourselves a mansion there; and, if that be cleared up to us, then we should long to be removed thither, to abide there for ever. This third heaven is called paradise (v. 4), in allusion to the earthly paradise out of which Adam was driven for his transgression; it is called the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7), signifying to us that by Christ we are restored to all the joys and honours we lost by sin, yea, to much better. The apostle does not mention what he saw in the third heaven or paradise, but tells us that he heard unspeakable words, such as it is not possible for a man to utter-such are the sublimity of the matter and our unacquaintedness with the language of the upper world: nor was it lawful to utter those words, because, while we are here in this world, we have a more sure word of prophecy than such visions and revelations. 2 Pt. 1:19. We read of the tongue of angels as well as men, and Paul knew as much of that as ever any man upon earth did, and yet preferred charity, that is, the sincere love of God and our neighbour. This account which the apostle gives us of his vision should check our curious desires after forbidden knowledge, and teach us to improve the revelation God has given us in his word. Paul himself, who had been in the third heaven, did not publish to the world what he had heard there, but adhered to the doctrine of Christ: on this foundation the church is built, and on this we must build our faith and hope. 2. The modest and humble manner in which the apostle mentions this matter is observable. One would be apt to think that one who had had such visions and revelations as these would have boasted greatly of them; but, says he, It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory, v. 1. He therefore did not mention this immediately, nor till above fourteen years after, v. 2. And then it is not without some reluctancy, as a thing which in a manner he was forced to by the necessity of the case. Again, he speaks of himself in the third person, and does not say, I am the man who was thus honoured above other men. Again, his humility appears by the check he seems to put upon himself (v. 6), which plainly shows that he delighted not to dwell upon this theme. Thus was he, who was not behind the chief of the apostles in dignity, very eminent for his humility. Note, It is an excellent thing to have a lowly spirit in the midst of high advancements; and those who abase themselves shall be exalted."

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