Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians

Chapter 11

Out of his jealousy over the Corinthians, who seemed to make more account of the false apostles than of him, Paul enters into a forced commendation of himself, 1-4, of his equality with the chief apostles, 5, 6, of his preaching the gospel to them freely, and without any charge to them, 7-12; showing that he was not inferior to those deceitful workers in any legal prerogative, 13-22; and in the service of Christ, and in all kinds of sufferings for his ministry, far superior, 23-33.

1 I earnestly wish you could bear with me a little in my folly. Indeed, bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one husband so that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit which you have not received, or another gospel which you have not accepted, you do well to put up with him. 5 For I suppose I was not at all inferior to the very greatest apostles. 6 Although I am rude in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. Indeed, we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.

7 Have I committed an offense in abasing myself so that you might be exalted because I have preached to you the gospel of God without reward? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to do you service. 9 And when I was present with you and was in need, I was chargeable to no man. For that which was lacking to me the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied. And in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows.

12 But what I do, that I will do so that I may cut off occasion from those who desire occasion, so that in what they glory, they may be found even as we are. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers are also transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

16 I say again, let no man think me a fool. If otherwise, yet as a fool receive me so that I may boast myself a little. 17 That which I speak, I do not speak it according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For you bear with fools gladly, seeing you yourselves are wise. 20 For you bear with it, if a man brings you into bondage, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man exalts himself, if a man smites you on the face. 21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. But in whatever respect any is bold (I speak foolishly), I am bold also. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more, with labors more abundant, with stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, and near death more often. 24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brothers; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Besides those things that are outside, there is that which comes upon me daily: the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall into sin, and I do not burn?

30 If I must glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forevermore, knows that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes, desiring to apprehend me. 33 And through a window in a basket I was let down by the wall and escaped his hands.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 11[➚]


[v.3] - "as the serpent beguiled Eve" - Reference, Genesis 3:1-6.

[v.4] - "you do well to put up with him" - This is spoken with irony. From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: "There would be an excuse for your conduct, though a bad one (for you ought to give heed to no Gospel other than what you have already heard from me, Galatians 1:6-7); but the false teachers do not even pretend they have 'another Jesus' and a 'different Gospel' to bring before you; they merely try to supplant me, your accredited Teacher. Yet you not only 'bear with' them, but prefer them."

[v.24] - In other words, on five occasions, Paul received 39 stripes. The law states that those who cause controversy and are found guilty by the judges are to receive no more than forty stripes, or lashes. See, Deuteronomy 25:1-3. From the Jamieson-Faucet-Brown Bible Commentary: "Deuteronomy 25:3 ordained that not more than forty stripes should be inflicted. To avoid exceeding this number, they gave one short of it: thirteen strokes with a treble lash (Bengel). This is one of those minute agreements with Jewish usage, which a forger would have not been likely to observe."

[v.32-33] - Reference, Acts 9:24-25.