The grace of God (2 Cor. 1:12)

“Indeed,

This is our boast,

The testimony

Of our conscience.

We have behaved

In the world

And abundantly towards you

With frankness,

And divine sincerity,

Not by earthly wisdom,

But by the grace of God.”

Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν ἁγιότητι καὶ εἰλικρινίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλ’ ἐν χάριτι Θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.

Paul said that indeed, this is our boast (Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν), the testimony of our conscience (τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν).  We have behaved (ἀνεστράφημεν) in the world (ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ) and more abundantly towards them (περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς) with frankness (ὅτι ἐν ἁγιότητι), and divine sincerity (καὶ εἰλικρινίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ), not by earthly wisdom (οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ), but by the grace of God (ἐν χάριτι Θεοῦ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word καύχησις, that means a boasting, glorying, or exultation, and the word ἁγιότητι, that means singleness, simplicity, or graciousness, and the word εἰλικρινίᾳ, that means clearness, sincerity, or purity, as well as the word σαρκικῇ, that means pertaining to the flesh, carnal, or earthly.  Paul boasted that his conscience was clear.  He had behaved in the world and especially with the Corinthians with a single-minded frankness and a divine sincerity, not according to human earthly standards of wisdom, but based on the grace of God.  Paul maintained he had a clear sincere focus against those who questioned his motives.  He was not using human ingenuity, but the grace of God.  He was not that good at human wisdom, but God provided for him.  Notice the many unique Pauline words in this personal defense of his single-minded purpose.  Have you ever had to defend yourself?

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