My Grace Is Sufficient: What Does 2 Corinthians 12:9?


2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation2 Corinthians 12:9
ESVBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
NASBAnd He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
NIVBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
NLTEach time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

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My Grace Is Sufficient: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

12:7-10 The apostle gives an account of the method God took to keep him humble, and to prevent his being lifted up above measure, on account of the visions and revelations he had. We are not told what this thorn in the flesh was, whether some great trouble, or some great temptation.

But God often brings this good out of evil, that the reproaches of our enemies help to hide pride from us. If God loves us, he will keep us from being exalted above measure; and spiritual burdens are ordered to cure spiritual pride.

This thorn in the flesh is said to be a messenger of Satan which he sent for evil; but God designed it, and overruled it for good. Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh, we should give ourselves to prayer.

If an answer be not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we are to continue praying. Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and are continued, to teach us to continue instant in prayer. Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always give what is asked for: as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love.

When God does not take away our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives grace enough for us, we have no reason to complain. Grace signifies the good-will of God towards us, and that is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort in all afflictions and distresses.

His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified. When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we feel that we are weak in ourselves, then we go to Christ, receive strength from him, and enjoy most the supplies of Divine strength and grace.

Also see Pray For Your Enemies to learn more.

2 Corinthians 12:9 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. said—literally, “He hath said,” implying that His answer is enough [Alford].

is sufficient—The trial must endure, but the grace shall also endure and never fail thee [Alford], (De 33:25). The Lord puts the words into Paul’s mouth, that following them up he might say, “O Lord, Thy grace is sufficient for me” [Bengel].

my strength—Greek, “power.”

is made perfect—has its most perfect manifestation.

in weakness—Do not ask for sensible strength, FOR My power is perfected in man’s “strengthlessness” (so the Greek). The “for” implies, thy “strengthlessness” (the same Greek as is translated “weakness”; and in 2Co 12:10, “infirmities”) is the very element in which My “power” (which moves coincident with “My grace”) exhibits itself more perfectly.

So that Paul instead of desiring the infirmity to “depart,” “rather” henceforth “glories in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest (Greek, ‘tabernacle upon,’ cover my infirmity all over as with a tabernacle; compare Greek, Joh 1:12) upon” him. This effect of Christ’s assurance on him appears, 2Co 4:7; 1Co 2:3, 4; compare 1Pe 4:14.

The “My” is omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts; the sense is the same, “power” (referring to God’s power) standing absolutely, in contrast to “weakness” (put absolutely, for man’s weakness). Paul often repeats the word “weakness” or “infirmity” (the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters) as being Christ’s own word.

The Lord has more need of our weakness than of our strength: our strength is often His rival; our weakness, His servant, drawing on His resources, and showing forth His glory. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity; man’s security is Satan’s opportunity. God’s way is not to take His children out of trial, but to give them strength to bear up against it (Ps 88:7; Joh 17:15).

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