Read verses 3-4
Q: The word “caught up” in v.4 is used elsewhere and translated as what?
A: It’s the word that is also translated as “rapture”. It’s used in Acts 8:39 to describe what happened to Philip after baptizing the Ethiopian. Here it is plural and could be literally translated “these raptures” referring to “visions” and “revelations”.
Point: Like others before and after him, Paul had a unique experience that brought him into the direct presence of Christ. Like Ezekiel or Daniel before God, or John before Christ, these experiences are often so profound that those experiencing them can’t fully explain in human terms all that has happened. It’s more important to understand that Paul, in trying to explain weakness, is contrasting a glory that has only been experienced by the likes of Daniel or Ezekiel, and how Paul puts it into the proper perspective so that Christ will be glorified, not Paul.
Q: What is the point of having such an experience, of being transported into Christ’s very presence and hearing His very words, if one is not permitted to repeat those words to others?
A: First, it’s an indication of a PERSONAL experience in which Paul is PERSONALLY reinforced in His faith by Christ. It’s not an automatic nor logical continuation to assume that ALL such experiences are meant to send a message, or even be a witness, to others.
Second, let’s re-visit the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31) What was Moses’ response to the rich man to send someone back with a message in hopes of saving the lives of the rich man’s brothers? (Luke 16:30-31, “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”) The Word of God, in our very hands as we go through this study right now, has already provided us everything we need to know. Obedience to the Word WITHOUT such revelations or visions is the ultimate test of faith over knowledge. Or another way to put it: A vision or revelation guarantees nothing without subsequent obedience in one’s personal life.
For Your Consideration: How many people’s testimony are you aware of that tell of coming to know the Lord without the involvement of humans? (It’s very, very rare.) The point in time of salvation may not have another human present, but there’s almost always an accompanying testimony of what others said or witnessed leading up to the experience. Even after Paul’s vision of Christ on the road to Damascus God still sent Ananias to complete the work. The point is that God is presently at work through yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ in sufficient power that you never need the kind of experience Paul is relating.