The’s Top 100+2 -

Countdown Verses #43 - #39

2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Countdown #43: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Hebrews 13:1-17, Countdown #42: Hebrews 13:5

2 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:2, Countdown #41, 52: 2 Corinthians 5:17, 5:21

Matthew 11:20-30, Countdown #39, 47, 61: Matthew 11:28, 11:29, 11:30

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2 Corinthians 11:33 - 12:9 from Papyrus 46. Click to enlarge. Note the absence of word spacing, punctuation, paragraphs, and chapter breaks.  See below for provenance.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Countdown #43: 2 Corinthians 12:9 (5/23/12)

You need to read the Bible for yourself. Many commentaries say that the person Paul is talking about in vss. 2 - 4 is Paul himself. They think that vss. 6 - 7 somehow demonstrate for sure that he is speaking of himself, either because the thorn in the flesh was given to him to keep him from being arrogant, or because he apparently talks about revelations that he has received.

Now, I think Paul is given to boasting; he’s like me – he just can’t help himself. However, I don’t think Paul is given to saying two different things in one sentence (except when it is absolutely clear that he is being sarcastic). If we think he’s just pretending to boast about somebody else in 2 - 5a and then saying in 5b - 7 that he won't boast about himself, that’s a fairly serious contradiction. I think he really is talking about somebody else in 2 - 5a, and that he is, or at least feels that he should he, humbled by knowing that person.

But that’s just my opinion. Our Countdown Verse #43 is, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.” You need to read the Bible for yourself and ignore what I say, so that I can ignore my weaknesses and boast about you.

Hebrews 13:1-17, Countdown #42: Hebrews 13:5 (5/24/12)

I have a lot of stuff; how about you? Our Countdown Verse #42 says, “Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” The writer of Hebrews quotes a promise that God made to Joshua (Joshua 1:5), as David also reminded Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:20).

Notice, however, that the writer uses this promise to instruct about our attitude toward money and things: because we can rely on God not to abandon us, we must not love money or try to gather up a lot of stuff. This lesson is packed in with a number of others: love the brethren, be hospitable, visit prisoners, obey your leaders, and be faithful in marriage, worship, and prayer. Love of God and people: good. Love of money and stuff: bad.

2 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:2, Countdown #41, 52: 2 Corinthians 5:17, 5:21 (5/25/12)

I may have said once or twice (or a hundred times) that you need to get a Bible with study notes. The NET Bible has built-in study notes, as shown by all the blue numbers in it. I’ve looked at some of them, and mostly they seem to give you either a reference to a related scripture or the literal meaning of the Greek or Hebrew. Sometimes the notes comment on variations among the manuscripts – many Bibles have little footnotes that begin “mss” (manuscripts) or “wit” (witnesses) that give these variations. Occasionally there is an interesting comment on the text or on the culture of the time, e.g., note #14 in Matthew 1:19.

Today we have two countdown verses. Countdown Verse #41 tells what happens to us: “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” Countdown Verse #52 tells us what makes it happen: “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.”

Matthew 11:20-30, Countdown #39, 47, 61: Matthew 11:28, 11:29, 11:30 (5/28/12)

There is no more comforting and beautiful promise in the entire Bible than our Countdown Verses #39, 47, and 61:

“Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

So it’s kind of a shock to see that immediately before this comforting promise, Jesus is making a completely different type of promise – a promise of judgment and condemnation for those who see his mighty works of power and then reject his call to repentance.

All of which leads me to my real comment for today. Notice that the NET Bible (like many others) adds headlines to the text. Such headlines can be extremely useful guides to us as we study; however, let me tell you about my grandson. Last summer, at age four, he got his older sister’s story Bible when she received a new, more grown-up Bible. We were talking about his Bible in the car, and he mentioned that it has lots of questions to think about. I told him that those were useful, but not really a part of the Bible. He said, “They’re fake.” I said, “I wouldn’t call them fake; I’d call them ‘commentary.’” He responded, very firmly, “Commentary fake!”

The headlines in your study Bible (you do have a study Bible, right?) are a form of commentary, not a part of the text. They tell you what one translator or translation team thinks about how to divide the text. They can't tell you how the text really should be divided into topics, because the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts weren't divided into topics! You can see from the example at the top of this page that there are no spaces between the words and no paragraph or chapter breaks, much less headlines!

As you read the Bible, be careful not to let the commentary fake so influence your understanding that you lose the connection between the promise of comfort that Jesus makes to us if we come to him and the promise of condemnation if we reject him. And the same goes for my own commentary fake – don’t take my word for what the Bible says. Read it for yourself!

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Countdown Verse #1

Copyright 2012, 2021 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

The image of a folio from Papyrus 46, containing 2 Corinthians 11:33 - 12:9 is from the Wikimedia Commons, a freely licensed media file repository. The image is a faithful photographic reproduction of the original. This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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