‘For a correct interpretation of Sacred Scripture it is therefore necessary to seek attentively what the hagiographers have truly wished to state and what it has pleased God to express in human words’. This is the wise counsel that Pope Benedict XVI had imparted to the participants of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 2009.
In fact, Greek is a very rich language that requires a demanding work of interpretation, whereby certain passages of Revelation are not easily grasped by amateurs. More importantly, beyond having a profound knowledge of this language, it is assumed that an exegete is also completely submissive to the Holy Spirit, so as not to cast the shadow of his own ideas upon that which is really the Word of God. The Pauline epistles are the best example of this, for which reason the following study was elaborated.
Enter the various parts of our study
II – Of what weaknesses did Saint Paul really boast?
III – Sin is not a factor of union with God, but rather of separation
IV – Those who stray from the Lord should repent and receive sacramental absolution
I – Introductory exegetic clarification
In Chapter 12 of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle repeats the terms ‘boast’ and ‘weakness’ (καυχήσομαι / ἀσθενείαις):
‘I must boast; not that it is profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord’ (2Cor 12:1).
‘About this person I will boast, but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth’ (2Cor 12:5-6).
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2Cor 12:9-10).
What are these weaknesses? Is it true that they are sins? It seems not, for in other parts of the same Epistle, when he uses the word ‘sin’, he uses other terms: ἁμαρτίαν / προημαρτηκότων.