Sunday Food for Thought–Linda Belleville on what Saint Paul means when he says ‘for when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Paul concludes with for when I am weak, then I am strong (v. 10). His statement has the character of a settled conviction rather than a rote repetition of God’s answer. But what does it mean? How can one be weak and strong at the same time? The paradox is noted by all. It is sometimes suggested that Paul is saying that whenever God’s servants humble themselves and acknowledge their weakness, Christ’s power can flow through them…. But the point throughout has been that Christ’s power is perfected in, not in spite of, weakness. It is likelier that Paul is asserting that the weaknesses themselves represent the effective working of Christ…. How so? We often think that without human strength we are destined to fail and without personal courage we are bound to falter. Yet good as these are, such qualities tend to push us to self-sufficiency and away from God-dependency. Samson was superlatively endowed with strength, but in the end this very strength brought about his destruction (Judg 15:16; 16:18-30). Human strength is like the flower of the field that has its day in the sun but then shrivels up and dies. Enduring strength lies in God alone–Linda Belleville The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, 2 Corinthians (Downer’s Grove: 1996, p.213), used by yours truly in the morning sermon


Posted in Theology: Scripture