2 Corinthians 11

Paul and His Opponents

1I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you are being patient with me! 2For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband,
That is, to Christ.
to present you as a pure
Or “chaste.”
virgin to Christ.
3But I am afraid that
Grk “I fear lest somehow.”
just as the serpent
Or “the snake.”
deceived Eve by his treachery,
Or “craftiness.”
your minds may be led astray
Or “corrupted,” “seduced.”
from a sincere and pure
Although most mss2 H Ψ 0121 0243 1739 1881 Maj.) lack “and pure” (καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος, kai tēs hagnotētos; Grk “and purity”) several important and early witnesses (Ƥ46 א* B D[2] F G 33 81 104 pc 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.”
devotion to Christ.
4For if someone comes and proclaims
Or “preaches.”
another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed,
Grk “another Jesus whom we have not proclaimed.”
or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received,
Grk “a different spirit which you did not receive.”
or a different gospel than the one you accepted,
Grk “a different gospel which you did not accept.”
you put up with it well enough!
Or “you endure it very well.”
5For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles.”
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!”
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.
6And even if I am unskilled
Unskilled in speaking means not professionally trained as a rhetorician.
in speaking, yet I am certainly not so in knowledge. Indeed, we have made this plain to you in everything in every way.
7Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself
Paul is referring to humbling himself to the point of doing manual labor to support himself.
so that you could be exalted, because I proclaimed
Or “preached.”
the gospel of God to you free of charge?
8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you!
That is, serve them free of charge (cf. the end of v. 7).
Grk “you, and when.” A new sentence was started here in the translation.
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.
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).
Grk “needs, and I kept.” A new sentence was started here in the translation.
kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.
10As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine
That is, that Paul offers the gospel free of charge to the Corinthians (see 2 Cor 11:7).
will not be stopped
Or “silenced.”
in the regions of Achaia.
11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
Grk “God knows!” The words “I do” are supplied for clarity. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
12And 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
Grk “an opportunity, so that they may be found just like us.”
in the things they boast about.
13For such people are false apostles, deceitful
Or “dishonest.”
workers, disguising themselves
Or “workers, masquerading.”
as apostles of Christ.
14And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself
Or “Satan himself masquerades.”
as an angel of light.
15Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves
Or “also masquerade.”
as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.
Or “their works.”

Paul’s Sufferings for Christ

16 I say again, let no one think that I am a fool.
Or “am foolish.”
But if you do, then at least accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.
17What I am saying with this boastful confidence
Grk “with this confidence of boasting.” The genitive καυχήσεως (kauchēseōs) has been translated as an attributed genitive (the noun in the genitive gives an attribute of the noun modified).
I do not say the way the Lord would.
Or “say with the Lord’s authority.”
Instead it is, as it were, foolishness.
18Since many
Many is a reference to Paul’s opponents.
are boasting according to human standards,
Grk “according to the flesh.”
I too will boast.
19For since you are so wise, you put up with
Or “you tolerate.”
fools gladly.
20For you put up with
Or “you tolerate.”
it if someone makes slaves of you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone behaves arrogantly
See L&N 88.212.
toward you, if someone strikes you in the face.
21(To my disgrace
Or “my shame.”
I must say that we were too weak for that!)
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).
But whatever anyone else dares to boast about
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.
(I am speaking foolishly), I also dare to boast about the same thing.
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.
22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23Are 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. 24Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one.
Grk “forty less one”; this was a standard sentence. “Lashes” is supplied to clarify for the modern reader what is meant.
25Three times I was beaten with a rod.
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.
Once I received a stoning.
Received a stoning. See Acts 14:19, where this incident is described.
Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea.
26I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers,
Or “bandits.” The word normally refers more to highwaymen (“robbers”) but can also refer to insurrectionists or revolutionaries (“bandits”).
in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness,
Or “desert.”
in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers,
27in hard work and toil,
The two different words for labor are translated “in hard work and toil” by L&N 42.48.
through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.
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.
28Apart from other things,
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.
there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern
“Anxious concern,” so translated in L&N 25.224.
for all the churches.
29Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin,
Or “who is caused to stumble.”
and I do not burn with indignation?
30If I must boast,
Grk “If boasting is necessary.”
I will boast about the things that show my weakness.
Or “about the things related to my weakness.”
31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying. 32In Damascus, the governor
Grk “ethnarch.”
The governor was an official called an ethnarch who was appointed to rule over a particular area or constituency on behalf of a king.
under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus
Grk “the city of the Damascenes.”
in order to arrest
Or “to seize,” “to catch.”
33but I was let down in a rope-basket
In Acts 9:25 the same basket used in Paul’s escape is called a σπυρίς (spuris), a basket larger than a κόφινος (kofinos). It was very likely made out of rope, so the translation “rope-basket” is used.
through a window in the city wall, and escaped his hands.

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