“lest I should be exalted above measure” 2 Cor 12:7

This article is going to be an in depth look at the phrase “exalted above measure“.

Like many phrases in the Bible, they’re actually the English interpretations of singular words in Greek that describe the entire action in just one word; like the words blasphemy or abomination or love. The singular word in Greek that is translated as “exalted above measure” is used only 3 times in the entire New Testament. It’s the word ὑπεραίρομαι huperairomai G5229 and it means:

1) to lift yourself up or raise yourself up over something or someone.

2) to lift one’s self up, to exalt one’s self, be haughty, to become haughty: – exalt self, or to be exalted above measure.

Two times this word is used by Paul in 2 Cor 12:7 when Paul is telling us all “lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations; there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

In this verse Paul is specifically speaking about the temptation to exalt himself by putting the focus upon himself and his ability to receive divine revelations from God rather than on the Testimony of Jesus that was being shown to him through those revelations. Basically, huperairomai G5229 is used by Paul to mean; to lift oneself up higher than the Message they are sent with, or assign oneself any greater importance or authority than the ONE sending the Message.

Like I said, Paul only used this word huperairomai G5229 three times in all of his writings and he is the only writer out of all of the New Testament authors to use it. Twice, Paul chose to use it in one paragraph of scripture as we can see above in 2 Cor 12:7 which should show us all the importance of it’s application, and then Paul used it one final time in 2 Thes 2:4.

2 Thes 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 

Before Paul used this word to describe being skewed by self discernment and lifted up by self importance, Mark used a word that is very similar to this and used it only one time in his writings. It’s huperēphania G5243 and is translated as pride in Mark 7:22 but its real translation is:

1) pride, haughtiness, arrogance
2) the character of one who, with a swollen estimate of his own powers or merits, looks down on others and even treats them with insolence and contempt.

Here is verse 21 and 22 for context.

Mar 7:21  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 
Mar 7:22  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

The words huperairomai G5229 (a verb) and huperēphania G5243 (an adjective turned into a noun by describing the state of the noun, like the suffix- ness) both stem from the very same root word huperēphanos G5244 (an adjective) and this word is used only 5 times in the New Testament by authors such as Luke, Paul, James and Peter and is translated as “proud” or more properly “prideful” but it’s true translation in Greek is:

1) showing one’s self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent
2) an overweening estimate of one’s means or merits, haughty.

Example: James 4:6  But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

All three have to do specifically with pride and how one perceives themselves. Paul knew that even though he had such amazing revelations from God, he too could succumb to the temptation of pride and be exalted beyond measure.

1Co 9:27  But 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

That word “castaway” is G96 adokimos and is translated as reprobate, 6 times out of the 8 times it’s used in the New Testament; 1 time being translated as castaway and the other as rejected. So if “once saved always saved” was a thing, Paul would not have had this concern for himself. To whom much is given, much is required according to the Word of God and all that desire to be teachers will be judged more harshly by God, because they are who feed His Sheep.

Okay, now lets get back the 3rd and final time that Paul uses the word huperairomai G5229 (self elevation) in 2 Thes 2:4. This is verse is poorly translated from Greek into English in the KJV and many of the words chosen are not even close to the words actually used in Greek. Let me show you, and I encourage everyone to download a free Bible app and go over every word used in this verse in Greek to test my translating abilities. Here is 2 Thes 2:3-12

2 Thes 2:3-12 Prevent certain ones from deceiving you by any manner: Because unless there comes a falling away first and the men of error are exposed, the sons of utter destruction. The adversaries and self exalted over all things spoken of God or worshipped; in order that themselves even as God sit among the temple of God promoting themselves as God. Don’t you remember how when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you understand what holds them back from being revealed in their time. For the hidden lawlessness is already at work, but they are being held back at this time until they are revealed amongst your midst. And then the wicked shall be revealed, those whom the Lord shall expend the spirit of their mouths and shall deprive them of their influence through the appearing of their presence. Whose appearing will be according to the workings of Satan by every ability, even signs and lying wonders, and by every deceivability of unrighteousness and will be destroyed in their opposition because they didn’t accept the love of the Truth that they might be saved. And its because of this that God will send them an effectual mental straying so they will be persuaded by their lie, in order that there be a separation of those that don’t believe the Truth and think there is good in their unrighteousness.

You must admit, the verse makes a lot more sense when it’s read in the original language it was written in.

So, as a quick recap, the word for self elevation due to pride huperairomai G5229 is so detrimental to our Christian walk that Paul shared this caution that he applied to himself and confessed that God Himself sent a messenger of Satan to buffet and challenge his flesh to keep him humble before men and especially himself. Based on Paul’s 3rd and final use of this word we should all recognize that basically the Kryptonite to any spiritual Superman is the temptation to draw the attention to yourself and your gifts rather than on the Testimony and Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Remember this always: it’s not who we think we are, it’s who others testify we are. Jesus Himself said that if He testified on His own behalf, His testimony would not be valid. John 5:31. Jesus asked His disciples “Who do YOU say that I am?” leaving it to the Father to reveal to them WHO HE WAS.

So if your ministry is wrapped up in who you are, what you can do, how you have heard from God, or how you have had a visitation… You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Your giftings are no different than the humble donkey that God chose to transport the pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the census. In no way did that donkey feel he should have been revered or honored for doing what he was chosen to do. It’s the MESSAGE of Christ on behalf of the Father that is to be LIFTED UP not the messenger delivering it for Christ that should be given any undue glory or honor. Jesus sat down all of His disciples and rolled up His sleeves and crouched down and washed the dirtiest part of their bodies, and told them that THEY needed to do the same for others on behalf of His name and ministry. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING that sounds glorious or elevated amongst our peers in the washing of someone’s sweaty, mud crusted feet that have been walking around in sandals in the desert.

I pray that this article has you thinking about the REAL threat to your salvation and your standing with the Lord; Pride and Self Elevation. Remember Jesus told us all what would be required of those that would choose to FOLLOW HIM. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him DENY himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Mat 16:24

God Bless you, Be Free and Set Free in Jesus Name~

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