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Paul and His Opponents

11 I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you are being patient with me! For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband,[a] to present you as a pure[b] virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that[c] just as the serpent[d] deceived Eve by his treachery,[e] your minds may be led astray[f] from a sincere and pure[g] devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims[h] another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed,[i] or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received,[j] or a different gospel than the one you accepted,[k] you put up with it well enough![l] For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles.”[m] And even if I am unskilled[n] in speaking, yet I am certainly not so in knowledge. Indeed, we have made this plain to you in everything in every way. Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself[o] so that you could be exalted, because I proclaimed[p] the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you![q] When[r] I was with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia fully supplied my needs.[s] I[t] kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine[u] will not be stopped[v] in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do![w] 12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals[x] in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful[y] workers, disguising themselves[z] as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself[aa] as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves[ab] as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.[ac]

Paul’s Sufferings for Christ

16 I say again, let no one think that I am a fool.[ad] But if you do, then at least accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence[ae] I do not say the way the Lord would.[af] Instead it is, as it were, foolishness. 18 Since many[ag] are boasting according to human standards,[ah] I too will boast. 19 For since you are so wise, you put up with[ai] fools gladly. 20 For you put up with[aj] it if someone makes slaves of you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone behaves arrogantly[ak] toward you, if someone strikes you in the face. 21 (To my disgrace[al] I must say that we were too weak for that!)[am] But whatever anyone else dares to boast about[an] (I am speaking foolishly), I also dare to boast about the same thing.[ao] 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. 24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one.[ap] 25 Three times I was beaten with a rod.[aq] Once I received a stoning.[ar] Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. 26 I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers,[as] in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness,[at] in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, 27 in hard work and toil,[au] through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.[av] 28 Apart from other things,[aw] there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern[ax] for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin,[ay] and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast,[az] I will boast about the things that show my weakness.[ba] 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus, the governor[bb] under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus[bc] in order to arrest[bd] me, 33 but I was let down in a rope-basket[be] through a window in the city wall, and escaped his hands.


  1. 2 Corinthians 11:2 tn That is, to Christ.
  2. 2 Corinthians 11:2 tn Or “chaste.”
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:3 tn Grk “I fear lest somehow.”
  4. 2 Corinthians 11:3 tn Or “the snake.”
  5. 2 Corinthians 11:3 tn Or “craftiness.”
  6. 2 Corinthians 11:3 tn Or “corrupted,” “seduced.”
  7. 2 Corinthians 11:3 tc Although most mss (א2 H Ψ 0121 0243 1739 1881 M) lack “and pure” (καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος, kai tēs hagnotētos; Grk “and purity”) several significant and early witnesses (P46 א* B D[2] F G 33 81 104 ar r co) retain these words. Their presence in such mss across such a wide geographical distribution argues for their authenticity. The omission from the majority of mss can be explained by haplography, since the -τητος ending of ἁγνότητος is identical to the ending of ἁπλότητος (haplotētos, “sincerity”) three words back (ἁπλότητος καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος); further, since the meanings of “sincerity” and “purity” are similar they might seem redundant. A copyist would scarcely notice the omission because Paul’s statement still makes sense without “and from purity.”
  8. 2 Corinthians 11:4 tn Or “preaches.”
  9. 2 Corinthians 11:4 tn Grk “another Jesus whom we have not proclaimed.”
  10. 2 Corinthians 11:4 tn Grk “a different spirit which you did not receive.”
  11. 2 Corinthians 11:4 tn Grk “a different gospel which you did not accept.”
  12. 2 Corinthians 11:4 tn Or “you endure it very well.”
  13. 2 Corinthians 11:5 tn The implicit irony in Paul’s remark is brought out well by the TEV “I do not think that I am the least bit inferior to those very special so-called ‘apostles’ of yours!”sn The ‘super-apostles’ refers either (1) to the original apostles (the older interpretation) or (2) more probably, to Paul’s opponents in Corinth, in which case the designation is ironic.
  14. 2 Corinthians 11:6 sn Unskilled in speaking means not professionally trained as a rhetorician.
  15. 2 Corinthians 11:7 sn Paul is referring to humbling himself to the point of doing manual labor to support himself.
  16. 2 Corinthians 11:7 tn Or “preached.”
  17. 2 Corinthians 11:8 sn That is, serve them free of charge (cf. the end of v. 7).
  18. 2 Corinthians 11:9 tn Grk “you, and when.” A new sentence was started here in the translation.
  19. 2 Corinthians 11:9 tn If the participle ἐλθόντες (elthontes) is taken as temporal rather than adjectival, the translation would be, “for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, fully supplied my needs” (similar to NASB).
  20. 2 Corinthians 11:9 tn Grk “needs, and I kept.” A new sentence was started here in the translation.
  21. 2 Corinthians 11:10 tn That is, that Paul offers the gospel free of charge to the Corinthians (see 2 Cor 11:7).
  22. 2 Corinthians 11:10 tn Or “silenced.”
  23. 2 Corinthians 11:11 tn Grk “God knows!” The words “I do” are supplied for clarity. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
  24. 2 Corinthians 11:12 tn Grk “an opportunity, so that they may be found just like us.”
  25. 2 Corinthians 11:13 tn Or “dishonest.”
  26. 2 Corinthians 11:13 tn Or “workers, masquerading.”
  27. 2 Corinthians 11:14 tn Or “Satan himself masquerades.”
  28. 2 Corinthians 11:15 tn Or “also masquerade.”
  29. 2 Corinthians 11:15 tn Or “their works.”
  30. 2 Corinthians 11:16 tn Or “am foolish.”
  31. 2 Corinthians 11:17 tn Grk “with this confidence of boasting.” The genitive καυχήσεως (kauchēseōs) has been translated as an attributive genitive (the noun in the genitive functions as an adjective of the noun modified).
  32. 2 Corinthians 11:17 tn Or “say with the Lord’s authority.”
  33. 2 Corinthians 11:18 sn Many is a reference to Paul’s opponents.
  34. 2 Corinthians 11:18 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
  35. 2 Corinthians 11:19 tn Or “you tolerate.”
  36. 2 Corinthians 11:20 tn Or “you tolerate.”
  37. 2 Corinthians 11:20 tn See L&N 88.212.
  38. 2 Corinthians 11:21 tn Or “my shame.”
  39. 2 Corinthians 11:21 sn It seems best, in context, to see the statement we were too weak for that as a parenthetical and ironic comment by Paul on his physical condition (weakness or sickness) while he was with the Corinthians (cf. 2 Cor 12:7-10; Gal 4:15).
  40. 2 Corinthians 11:21 tn The words “to boast about” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, and this phrase serves as the direct object of the preceding verb.
  41. 2 Corinthians 11:21 tn Grk “I also dare”; the words “to boast about the same thing” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, and this phrase serves as the direct object of the preceding verb.
  42. 2 Corinthians 11:24 tn Grk “forty less one”; this was a standard sentence. “Lashes” is supplied to clarify for the modern reader what is meant.
  43. 2 Corinthians 11:25 sn Beaten with a rod refers to the Roman punishment of admonitio according to BDAG 902 s.v. ῥαβδίζω. Acts 16:22 describes one of these occasions in Philippi; in this case it was administered by the city magistrates, who had wide powers in a military colony.
  44. 2 Corinthians 11:25 sn Received a stoning. See Acts 14:19, where this incident is described.
  45. 2 Corinthians 11:26 tn Or “bandits.” The word normally refers more to highwaymen (“robbers”) but can also refer to insurrectionists or revolutionaries (“bandits”).
  46. 2 Corinthians 11:26 tn Or “desert.”
  47. 2 Corinthians 11:27 tn The two different words for labor are translated “in hard work and toil” by L&N 42.48.
  48. 2 Corinthians 11:27 tn Grk “in cold and nakedness.” Paul does not mean complete nakedness, however, which would have been repugnant to a Jew; he refers instead to the lack of sufficient clothing, especially in cold weather. A related word is used to 1 Cor 4:11, also in combination with experiencing hunger and thirst.
  49. 2 Corinthians 11:28 sn Apart from other things. Paul refers here either (1) to the external sufferings just mentioned, or (2) he refers to other things he has left unmentioned.
  50. 2 Corinthians 11:28 tn “Anxious concern,” so translated in L&N 25.224.
  51. 2 Corinthians 11:29 tn Or “who is caused to stumble.”
  52. 2 Corinthians 11:30 tn Grk “If boasting is necessary.”
  53. 2 Corinthians 11:30 tn Or “about the things related to my weakness.”
  54. 2 Corinthians 11:32 tn Grk “ethnarch.”sn The governor was an official called an “ethnarch” who was appointed to rule on behalf of a king over a certain region.
  55. 2 Corinthians 11:32 tn Grk “the city of the Damascenes.”
  56. 2 Corinthians 11:32 tn Or “to seize,” “to catch.”
  57. 2 Corinthians 11:33 tn In Acts 9:25 the same basket used in Paul’s escape is called a σπυρίς (spuris), a basket larger than a κόφινος (kophinos). It was very likely made out of rope, so the translation “rope-basket” is used.

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