God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, who led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men (Ephesians 4:8).
Epanorthosis or correction is a recalling of what has been said, in order to correct it as by an afterthought. It occurs when a writer or speaker has said something, and immediately recalls it in order to substitute something better, stronger, or weightier, in its place, thus correcting what has been said. Two of my favorite examples of this figure are found in I Corinthians 15:10 and Galatians 2:20.
I Corinthians 15:9-10:
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
The phrase “I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” is the figure of speech epanorthosis. In the English it would be called “correction.” It’s as if as soon as he says it, he realizes it’s so much bigger, and he has to clarify it. It is not that what he said was wrong. He just wants to make sure we see how magnificent the truth is so he repeats it in a better, stronger, or weightier way so we don’t miss its importance.
Three times the grace of God is mentioned in verse ten. Paul realized that it was the grace of God in his life that allowed him to do what he did. It was the grace of God that allowed him to minister, to teach, to preach, to move the Word, to believe for doors of utterance, to do signs, miracles and wonders. It was that wonderful, magnificent grace of God. Yes, he labored more abundantly than they all, but just so people weren’t mistaken, thinking he did it by his own ability or will power, he restates it so no one will miss the point. It was because of God’s gracious hand of blessing on his life. We have the same hand on our lives; God is no respecter of persons.
It’s as if he said, “By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: [did you get that?] it’s not by my own ability that I labored so abundantly it’s because of the grace of God which was with me which empowered me and allowed me to do so much more than I could have ever thought possible.”
God’s grace allows us to go far beyond what we ever thought we could do. Yes, we can teach, we can minister, we can love people, but God’s grace allows us to do those things better than we ever thought we could. . . better than we have any right to do. . . far beyond where our natural ability could take us. It’s God’s grace at work in us that allows us to go beyond the limits that we impose on ourselves. I would have never thought that I could love people like I do today, but I do. That’s God’s grace working in me to will and to do of His good pleasure. God’s grace is the catalyst to our growth and our maturing in our walk for God. If we will just identify with Christ Jesus and allow that grace to work within us, we will be amazed where we can go and what we can do.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The phrase “Christ liveth in me.” is another example of the figure of speech epanorthosis. It’s a correction of what he previously said as if by afterthought. Paul initially says, “I live,” but saying, “I live” was not strong enough. “Live” or “life” is used 5 times in this verse. Paul doesn’t want us to miss the magnificence of what he is trying to communicate. Paul so identified with Christ that he knew he was not only crucified with Christ, but that he now lived by the faith of Christ. The correction is to get us to see the grandeur of our life. The greatness of our life is that Christ lives in us, and when we walk by the spirit it is as if Christ is living through us.
The correction in both of these verses is to get us to see the grace of God that makes our life so magnificent. Yes, we labor; yes, we live, but it’s the grace of God that allows us to go beyond what is naturally possible. Our life is to be more than abundant. Jesus came so we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows (John 10:10 Amp). Why not? We’re God’s best and certainly God blessed.