SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW)

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Chapter 12

1 (Philippians 3:8). Paul Taught by the Holy Spirit—The apostle Paul, who had received many revelations from the Lord, met difficulties from various sources, and amid all his conflicts and discouragements he did not lose his trust and confidence in God. Under the special tuition of the Holy Spirit, his judgment was purified, refined, elevated, sanctified. The devisings of human beings and of the enemy against him were to him a means of discipline and education, and he declares that thus he gained most excellent knowledge, because he made the Lord Jesus his dependence. “Yea doubtless,” he declares, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” How greatly this gospel enriches the garden of the soul, enabling it to produce most precious fruit (Letter 127, 1903)! 6BC 1106.6

1-4. Paul's Preaching With Power—Through Paul God has given many wonderful lessons for our instruction. In his visions Paul saw many things not lawful for a man to utter. But many other things which he saw in the heavenly courts were woven into his teachings. The truth flashed from his lips as a sharp, two-edged sword. The impressions made upon his mind by the Holy Spirit were strong and vivid, and they were presented to the people in a way that no one else could present them. Paul spoke in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power (Letter 105, 1901). 6BC 1106.7

(1 Corinthians 9:27.) Paul Remained Humble—The apostle Paul was highly honored of God, being taken in holy vision to the third heaven, where he looked upon scenes whose glories might not be revealed to mortals. Yet all this did not lead him to boastfulness or self-confidence. He realized the importance of constant watchfulness and self-denial, and plainly declares, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (The Review and Herald, May 3, 1881). 6BC 1107.1

(Philippians 3:12; 1 Timothy 1:15.) Paul had a very humble opinion of his own advancement in the Christian life. He says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” He speaks of himself as the chief of sinners. Yet Paul had been highly honored of the Lord. He had been taken, in holy vision, to the third heaven, and had there received revelations of divine glory which he could not be permitted to make known (The Signs of the Times, January 11, 1883). 6BC 1107.2

(Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:8, 9; Colossians 1:26.) Hidden Mysteries Revealed—Mysteries which had been hidden for ages were revealed to him [Paul], and as much as he could bear of the workings of God, and of His dealings with human minds, was made known. The Lord told Paul that he must preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Light was to be given to the Gentiles. This is a mystery which had been hidden for ages (The Signs of the Times, January 30, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, March 25, 1897). 6BC 1107.3

4 (ch. 4:17, 18). Glories of Heaven Indescribable—Paul had a view of heaven, and in discoursing on the glories there, the very best thing he could do was to not try to describe them. He tells us that eye had not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him. So you may put your imagination to the stretch, you may try to the very best of your abilities to take in and consider the eternal weight of glory, and yet your finite senses, faint and weary with the effort, cannot grasp it, for there is an infinity beyond. It takes all of eternity to unfold the glories and bring out the precious treasures of the Word of God (Manuscript 13, 1888). 6BC 1107.4

7-9 (see EGW on Acts 9:8, 9). Paul's Affliction Not Removed—Paul had a bodily affliction; his eyesight was bad. He thought that by earnest prayer the difficulty might be removed. But the Lord had His own purpose, and He said to Paul, Speak to Me no more of this matter. My grace is sufficient. It will enable you to bear the infirmity (Letter 207, 1899). 6BC 1107.5

Painful Impediments in Paul's Work—A deep sadness still rested upon the mind and heart of Paul because of his apprehensions concerning the Corinthian church. While at Philippi he commenced his second epistle to them, for they hung as a heavy weight upon his soul. The depression of spirits from which the apostle suffered was, however, attributable in a great degree to bodily infirmities, which made him very restless when not engaged in active service. But when working for the salvation of souls, he rose superior to physical debility. He felt that the disease under which he suffered was a terrible impediment to him in his great work, and repeatedly besought the Lord to relieve him. God did not see fit to answer his prayers in this respect, though He gave him assurance that divine grace should be sufficient for him (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 175, 176). 6BC 1107.6