Paul Defends His Apostleship

11 I wish that you would put up with me in something a little foolish[a]—but indeed you are putting up with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds may be led astray from the sincerity and the purity of devotion to Christ. For if the one who comes proclaims another Jesus whom we have not proclaimed, or you receive a different spirit which you did not receive, or a different gospel which you did not accept, you put up with it well enough! For I consider myself in no way to be inferior to the preeminent apostles.[b] But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not in knowledge; certainly in everything we have made this clear to you in every way. Or did I commit a sin by[c] humbling myself in order that you may be exalted, because I proclaimed the gospel of God to you without payment? I robbed other churches by[d] accepting support from them for the ministry to you. And when I[e] was present with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will keep myself from being a burden. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine[f] will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why[g]? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 But what I am doing, I will also do, in order that I may remove the opportunity of those who want an opportunity, that they may be found just as also we are in what they are boasting about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Paul Boasts in His Sufferings

16 Again I say, do not let anyone think I am foolish. But indeed, if you do, accept me even as foolish, in order that I also may boast a little. 17 What I am saying in this project of boasting, I am not saying as the Lord would say, but as in foolishness. 18 Since many are boasting according to human standards, I also will boast. 19 For because you[h] are wise, you put up with foolish people gladly! 20 For you put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone devours you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone is presumptious toward you, if someone strikes you in the face. 21 I say this to my shame, namely, that we have been weak.

But in whatever anyone dares to boast—I am speaking in foolishness—I also dare to boast. 22 Are they Hebrews? I am also! Are they Israelites? I am also! Are they descendants of Abraham? I am also! 23 Are they servants of Christ?—I am speaking as though I were beside myself—I am more so, with far greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with beatings to a much greater degree, in danger of death many times. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. A day and a night I have spent in the deep water. 26 I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own people, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers because of false brothers, 27 with toil and hardship, often in sleepless nights, with hunger and thirst, often going hungry, in cold and poorly clothed. 28 Apart from these external things, there is the pressure on me every day of the anxiety about all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to sin, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If it is necessary to boast, I will boast about the things related to my weakness[i]. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever[j], knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to take me into custody, 33 and I was lowered through a window through the wall in a rope-basket, and I escaped his hands.


  1. 2 Corinthians 11:1 Literally “a little something of foolishness”
  2. 2 Corinthians 11:5 Some interpreters take this to refer to the original apostles in Jerusalem; others take Paul to be referring sarcastically to his opponents in Corinth.
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:7 Here “by” is supplied as a component of the participle (“humbling”) which is understood as means
  4. 2 Corinthians 11:8 Here “by” is supplied as a component of the participle (“accepting”) which is understood as means
  5. 2 Corinthians 11:9 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“was present”) which is understood as temporal
  6. 2 Corinthians 11:10 Literally “to me”
  7. 2 Corinthians 11:11 Literally “because of what”
  8. 2 Corinthians 11:19 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“are”) which is understood as causal
  9. 2 Corinthians 11:30 Literally “the things of my weakness”
  10. 2 Corinthians 11:31 Literally “to the ages”