2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
The word “conversation” is a word that has undergone change in meaning since it was originally written. When the Bible was translated into English, the word was used to express the sum of what was done, what was said, and all of the interaction of the experience. Today the term has been limited to only what was said so that if you read the passage as only what was said, you do not get the full of the meaning.
The above verse is one of those examples that make the understanding of the verse more difficult. The apostle Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth, which he had established on his second missionary journey. Later he wrote to this church in response to several important issues that they had asked him about. Now he is writing a second letter to encourage the church and to further clarify their doctrine.
He uses the example of his own experience to clarify how a christian is to conduct themselves in their lives. He points out that God is the one who has delivered them in the past and he is the one who is working in the present and even further, He is the one in whom Paul has placed his confidence in, to be delivered in the future. (verse 10)
In verse 11 we see Paul pointing out that the Corinthians were also a part of Paul’s ministry in praying for them. The Christian walk is not a lone individual shinning like the sun, but a corroborative effort by all Christians that cause a celebration by everyone.
Now he points to his own rejoicing by saying that his own walk was one of simply focusing on God and following Him. He point out that it was not one of “fleshly wisdom” that is present in the old nature but one of faith that follows the Spirit of God and Scriptures. Then he makes the point that it is the grace of God that enables him to be successful in the world and especially with the Corinthians.
So many times, it is not the wonderful oratory that convinces and convicts, but it is the small things that God uses to reveal the consistency of the message. Paul is thankful that he was dependent upon God working and not on his own wisdom. They were the proof of God’s working. We must place our faith in Him and not in ourselves.