Come Follow Me LDS- 2 Corinthians 8-13 Part 2

'A Thorn In The Flesh'
- Weakness is humility
- Starting with weakness is better than starting with strength
- Recognizing deceivers (The Super Apostles)
- Recognizing our weaknesses is the first step toward strength

The video file on this episode was unplayable so only the audio is used.



Come Follow Me

LDS Mormon New Testament Bible


in this episode we learn about a foreign

in the flesh here we go all right in

this Cwic media episode this is part 2

of second Corinthians 8 to 13 in this

episode we're gonna cover chapters 11 12

and 13 we're gonna dip in here to 11 and

remember what's happening here in the

last episode we talked about at the end

how there are these super apostles so to

speak that are arriving in Corinth and

that are teaching some form at least of

Christianity now Paul alludes to the

fact that this is not correct that this

is they're being deceived but it is a

form of Christianity and they're known

as super apostles which goes right along

with Paul's idea of strength and

weakness and remember he's always gonna

refer to himself as being weak and so he

makes this contrast between him being

weak along with the Savior being weak

I'll get to why in a minute and then he

has not just these other apostles so to

speak or other messengers preachers that

are going to Corinth talking about

Christianity but they are super apostles

in other words they're there in strength

and so there is this contrast that he is

putting out there and he wants us to

understand that it's out of the weak

things that great things are made and

that is the theme throughout a number of

his letters and so he talks about his

worried and concerned with the people in

Corinth and he says here in verse 3 of

chapter 11 but I fear lest by any means

as the serpent beguiled Eve through his

subtlety so your minds should be

corrupted from

simplicity that is in Christ remember

simplicity again we're back to plain and

simple things of Nephi and Paul right so

oftentimes the simple things that are of

the gospel the fundamentals of the

gospel they become cloudy they become

very nuanced and complex and someone who

is a super apostle or someone who wants

to be more elite in teaching the gospel

might want to go well beyond the simple

things so that they are in control they

are the gatekeeper of the information of

the knowledge we can see this principle

played out all the time

professionally or in academia or amongst

our friends and family etc there is a

natural lower law proud feeling of

having a greater knowledge than somebody

else but I think it's interesting here

and a good point to bring up at this

time in the history of the church that

Paul is referring to Eve being beguiled

we have moved a little bit I think from

one end to the one end of the spectrum

to the other end of the spectrum on the

Garden of Eden in the story and the

implications of listen make let's use a

better word the interpretations of the

acts of Adam and Eve we have gone from

really a much more of a traditional

Protestant view and Catholic view quite

frankly of Eve especially as being the

first one to partake of the fruit and

therefore as a representative of women

she was in a way the weakest right and

she was the one that was beguiled first

and then she tried to get Adam to

partake as well we've moved from that

end over there where it's much more

negative and the Lord is much more

condemning of them as he discovers this

over to the idea that Adam and Eve knew

exactly what was going on and that it

was a noble and conscious act of

goodness and righteousness for them to

partake of

tree of the knowledge of good and evil

maybe it was I don't know but it seems

to me as we get references in the

scriptures that the prophets and the

apostles here don't interpret it that

simply on one end of the spectrum or the

other in other words Paul here and other

prophets refer to Adam and Eve being

beguiled and cast out into the lone

injury world and certainly Satan had a

role in enticing Adam and Eve to partake

of the fruit so I don't think that we

want to forget that I think we need to

know that there's two ways really to

look at that and they both might be true

in a way it might not be black or white

in this instance but just as a point of

context in your understanding of the

story of Adam and Eve I think it's

important to realize that there are two

sides of this and both might be playing

a part in the actions of the story of

the Garden of Eden

so then Paul gets right back into the

weakness and strengths the big theme

that he typically has and we go down to

verse six here and he says but though I

be rude in speech remember in the last

episode in the last chapter in chapter

10 these super apostles were claiming

and attacking Paul in his character and

his physical appearance right so they're

saying hey he's a small weak sickly dude

and they're mocking him in a sense for

that saying that he hey don't listen to

him he's weak and that his speech and

his writing is very contemptible right

it's a disgrace he's no good at it so

you can imagine again who are these

super apostles well they must feel

pretty good about themselves their

stature probably may be wealth in the

way they're dressed that would show

strength and wealth and power and

more than once

Paul implies that they receive money for

their services and Paul continually says

I will not take

can he help from you I refuse to do that

he makes that contrast we go back and we

can think about the priest craft in the

Book of Mormon that applies here

directly and that it was priests craft

that was going to take the church down

is what they were worried about in the

Book of Mormon and it did but Paul

revels in a sense of this position of

what he calls weakness now we need to be

we need to have a little bit of an

understanding of what he is saying here

as far as weakness coach so I'm gonna

carry throughout this episode kind of

this idea of weak Natal and his

weaknesses but he's again making this

contrast hey I'm weak these super

apostles are strong and basically in

this case for a servant of the Lord

strong is bad and weak is good and down

in 13 here he says for such are false

apostles deceitful workers transforming

themselves into the apostles of Christ

right again when we say apostles here we

don't know that they're trying to mimic

specifically the office of an apostle in

the priesthood but rather one that is

sent forth that's what apostle means is

one that is sent out and so it would be

like a preacher or a missionary which is

in a sense kind of why we have the

missionaries and they're called elders

and we also have the Apostles who we

refer to as elders because they are sent

forth they go out but he says hey they

are deceitful workers transforming

themselves into the apostles of Christ

so again going back and making this

connection to Eve in the Garden of Eden

that they are in a sense beguiling you

you are like Eve and in the Garden of

Eden and Paul says here look I have

betrothed you as a virgin I'm saying the

church and Corinth to the Lord and

referring back to a woman which is often

what is done in the New Testament and

the Old Testament but especially the New

Testament because it's the woman that is

married to Christ so to speak the church

is the Bride and Jesus Christ is the

bridegroom and so he's saying I've

betrothed you but you are acting

as if you are being beguiled like Eve

was beguiled and then he says here in

verse 14 and no Marvel for Satan himself

is transformed into an angel of light so

in other words look a lot of deceit

comes from those that profess goodness

and in fact that's usually the way it

always works very rarely does an act

come about that is just purely preached

as being evil that's pretty rare right

it always moves in kind of packaged in

light packaged in goodness and

righteousness but inside is something

else and there's an interesting parallel

here to Doctrine and Covenants section

129 right that's where Joseph Smith

talks about if an angel of light ever

comes to you and that there's three

different types one is a resurrected

being and he'll shake your hand and he's

got a physical hand and one is a

messenger from God that has not been

resurrected yet but he won't shake your

hand and one is the third is one who

does not have a body and if you reach

out to shake his hand he will try to

shake your hand but you will feel

nothing that's a direct parallel here to

what he's talking about deceit and

messengers that those that will deceive

are going to try to do everything to go

along with your proofs right they may

try to sway you through it but they're

gonna try to come in the back door and

try to deceive you based on

righteousness or compassion or empathy

or love or justice or whatever good

principle there might be they're gonna

take that package it up around the

deceit and then bring it in and slowly

that then becomes unpackaged so he's

concerned with the people the members of

the church and Corinth that they are

going to be swayed by these arguments by

this straw

that is being shown to them but again

going back through the scriptures and

the prophets weakness is always brought

up as a positive because it produces

humility and that is one of the keys to

seeing a true Messenger of God is

humility and so when he says weakness

throughout hear what he's typically

saying is a sense of humility and that I

recognize I have my shortcomings and at

the beginning of chapter 12 he says he

gives a reference to the third heaven

says 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


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 they always say this but God

knoweth how that he was caught up into

paradise and heard unspeakable words

which it is not lawful for man to utter

who else had this vision Joseph Smith

had this vision as they were in section

76 caught up into the third heaven but

again this idea of visions I think that

it's important so that we can help

translate these sayings infer what is

being told to us it's being told a

vision is being told to us in symbolic

language think about when you have

dreams it's very symbolic you may not

even understand what's going on because

you're trying to read it in a temporal

mortal manner a scientific manner of

your normal experience with your normal

conscious experience but a vision is

very different and it's given to us in

symbolism and so one thing to do is when

you're going through the scriptures and

you don't quite understand something and

it's very odd and you can see just a lot

of things that could represent something

else a lot of symbolism in there think

to yourself is this a vision because

sometimes we

try to take things literally and what we

might actually be seeing is something

that is a vision right and maybe the

prophets had a vision and they are

putting this out there and allowing us

through the spirit to try to understand

what was seen think of the book of

Revelation very strange these creatures

all this - what's going on here it

doesn't mean it's literal it means it's

a vision and they always qualify this

with it whether in the body or not I

cannot tell this could be a dream right

it could have been that there was a

dream and that is a way for the Lord to

deliver revelation I've had that

experience and maybe you have - you know

nothing grandiose but I have had that

experience and then in verse 7 Paul gets

back to this theme of weakness and he

says and lest I should be exalted above

measure through the abundance of the

revelations there was given unto me a

thorn in the flesh the messenger of

Satan to buff at me lest I should be

exalted above measure the thorn in the

flesh what is he talking about he's

saying that he is really small in

stature and very sickly and this is a

great weakness for him and he's been to

Corinth already as he's writing this

letter they know Paul and he may be the

exact opposite of what these super

apostles are who may be also very

educated and very eloquent in their

writing and in their speech and Paul is

educated at least theologically but he

doesn't have the same ability perhaps as

an orator or as a writer remember that

it's Mormon and Moroni also who are very

very similar to Paul that talk about

their weakness in writing and as we they

present the Book of Mormon to us in a

sense as they write they say hey if

there are weaknesses in here if there

are mistakes in here it's because we're

weak there they're acknowledging

weakness it's an important thing because

the more you acknowledge your personal

weakness the more you say you are

leaning on a different power and a

different strength not your own that's

an important

thing how do you trust someone that is

leaning on their own strength and so if

they're given their own these weaknesses

that they've got to overcome how are

they going to overcome them how are they

going to work with them well hopefully

they are leaning on the Lord and the

sacrifice of the Lord to work their way

through this and he says lest I should

be exalted above measure in other words

I've been giving these weaknesses to

make sure that I am humble and in verse

8 he says for this thing I besought the

Lord thrice right why three times we've

gone over this before right a couple of

times did you really go over the he

besought the Lord thrice that it might

depart from me so he asked the Lord

throughout his life three times to be

healthy and then he stopped that seems a

little bit odd to me what do you think I

think that's a little odd I think again

what is being done here is that three is

a symbolic number in other words he has

exhausted himself and committed himself

to this and he has not had this taken

away that the Lord sees fit to keep Paul

sickly and weak I think that's what

three means here and I think that's what

three oftentimes means it means

something finalized complete exhausted

and then in verse nine he says what the

Lord told him as he begged him to take

these infirmities away from him he said

he said unto me my grace is sufficient

this is the Lord for thee my grace is

sufficient for thee you don't need to be

healed on this for my strength is made

perfect in weakness that makes a lot of

sense in other words the Lord's strength

is made perfect in Paul's weakness

why because again he has to lean on the

Lord because of this weakness it's not

from him the strength comes from

somewhere else

I think that's a great symbol so to

speak of so many different facets of our


where we are given adversity we are

given infirmities we are given an

inability to sometimes be successful

with something and these are all lessons

for us to have greater faith and when we

say faith again it's not belief it's the

understanding that we need to trust in

the Lord in the principles of the gospel

in truth and in his sacrifice is healing

sacrifice and then he actually says then

and maybe this is just because he may

have asked so many times continuing in

verse 9 most gladly therefore will I

rather glory in my infirmities that the

power of Christ may rest upon me in

other words he's resigned himself to say

okay this is the way it's going to be

and now I accept it and I glory in it

because it makes me lean on the Lord

that much more it's a pretty solid

attitude pretty tough to get there but a

pretty solid attitude and he qualifies

it a little bit more than in verse 10

therefore I take pleasure in infirmities

in reproaches in necessities in

persecutions in distress for Christ's

sake for when I am weak then am i strong

how many times do we think about that

that when were weak we are strong in an

important point here is that Paul sees

his weakness he knows what it is in this

case it's his physical infirmities it's

very easy to see it's very easy to

recognize we may have other weaknesses

that are not so easy to recognize that's

a good step to understand that because

once you see that then you can make a

change right then you can perhaps it's a

process of repentance you recognize it

and then you go and you make the change

to it Neal a Maxwell said the following

about this he said it is not an easy

thing to be shown one's weakness

nevertheless this is part of coming into

Christ and it is a vital if painful

part of God's plan of happiness so

that's probably a really good way to

help improve ourselves to progress in

the gospel is by looking at ourselves

and really recognizing what our

weaknesses are and then in one way or

another they will be made strong now

let's talk about that for just a second

here how would that be made strong is

that all of a sudden taken away well

perhaps that's something that through

prayer and effort and maybe change in

behavior it can be changed especially if

we lean on the Lord to make that change

but it can also become strong even if it

is never removed just like with Paul

because it becomes a strength in the

sense that we then in that area lean on

the Lord so Paul with the infirmities he

has to lean on the Lord for his physical

strength and it makes him a stronger

person a more faithful or full of faith

person and with us we may have a

weakness that does eventually change

into something we're personally it

becomes a trait that is a strength for

us if we've leaned on the Lord to get it

there or again like Paul it's never

removed but we still make it a strength

by leaning on the Lord for it and this

is part of what is said in ether right

again Mormon and Moroni very similar to

Paul and this is Moroni who is inserting

himself here into the book of ether here

in chapter 12 verse 37 and he says the

following and because thou has seen thy

weakness thou shalt be made strong so

again this is a re veil ation a

revelation a self resonant revelation

that we can look and have introspection

with our character our behaviors or

habits and say where am i weak and by

the way it might be something that is

perceived by others around us as a

strength but maybe not in the gospel so

that introspection and looking at

ourselves saying where do we have

a weakness if we recognize it then the

Lord can help us in making that a

strength even unto the sitting down in

the place which I have prepared in the

mansions of my father so even though you

have great weaknesses I can help make

them strengths even to the point of

bringing you to exaltation so Paul's

theme here of weak and strong right very

important to understand how these two

work together and how he's comparing

himself and contrasting himself with the

super apostles they're the exact


they're bringing strength in their

strengths in to their preaching and

exalting themselves through pride maybe

boasting more than likely the way Paul

writes this he implies that they are

boasting of their strengths but then

that doesn't put them in a position of

humility or in a position of relying on

the Lord for his strength and then in

chapter 13 here we get this scripture in

verse 1 that we've heard before it says

this is the third time I am coming to

you in the mouth of two or three

witnesses shall every word be

established so that is a principle that

the Lord in with the gospel in spreading

the gospel in strengthening the Saints

in building a testimony individually we

are to look for more than one witness

and of course that's what we get in the

tagline of the Book of Mormon right

another witness of Jesus Christ so the

Lord is providing additional witnesses

just as he should especially because

we're in a new dispensation we could

call the Doctrine and Covenants another

witness we could call the pearl of great

price another witness we can call each

of the apostles and prophets that we've

had in the restoration in the last days

here additional witnesses so there's not

just one anchor point the Lord's plan is

to provide several if we'll have them to

corroborate truth and to help guide us

in the right direction and then down to

verse four

he brings in the Savior in his weakness

and he says here for though he was

crucified through weakness yet he lived

by the power of God for we also are weak

in him but we shall live with him by the

power of God toward you so how is it

possible that Jesus where the Savior was

weak again what is he saying here what

his weakness really mean it means that

he's relying on a greater power he was

relying on Heavenly Father as well he

gives all glory to heavenly Father he is

humble he has to be humble even Jesus

has to be humble to be the right example

and to be the right type of person to

not only be the Savior but to return to

Heavenly Father again the fluid

hierarchy he is a part of that it is not

just for himself that wouldn't make any

sense he's giving all the glory to

another being to the Father through out

through humility and dedication and

obedience and suffering and how is he

weak because he was made weak completely

as he was incarcerated and crucified and

especially in Gethsemane where all of

the weight of all sufferings and all sin

were laid upon him so that is what Paul

is saying by pointing out that in

Christ's weakness we join him in that

and how would we join in him that in be

weak well we would bring the suffering

of others upon us as well and we would

share that burden and we would serve

others and love others just like the

example of a savior so this ends the

second epistle to the Corinthians or the

second epistle that we have and here

Paul again focuses on this weakness and

this strength and that for us in the

right perspective being weak is a good

thing being weak if we rely on the lord

we will become strong to the point of

being exalted literally becoming strong

and exalted above

where we are and being exalted in the

sense of returning to our Heavenly

Father and to becoming more like him and

that process of going from these

weaknesses to be strengths and being

exalted by God is Faith Hope charity

using your spiritual gifts and through

that love helping those around you out

watching out for false or super apostles

and not being beguiled and finding those

that are humble and look to a higher

power and not to themselves I'll talk to

you next time


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