- 2 Corinthians 11:21-25
- 2 Cor 11:21 (KJB)
- I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.
Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold
- Reproach - Dishonor, disgrace, or shame
- Is bold - May be daring or brave
- I am bold - Am daring or brave
- Here Paul had reproached himself in that he has allowed these false
teachers to think of him as being weak. His physical appearance may have
seemed to lack power but because he was careful on how to answer concerning
his defense of the Gospel and himself, he chose not to use any type of
unkind words. On the tail of that admission Paul then states that if those
false teachers proclaim themselves to be bold, he was ready to match their
boldness with his boldness and that he had courage in this matter just as
much as anyone else had. Maybe some in Corinth had thought that Paul was
speaking as a fool, even though Paul stated he was speaking foolishly, it
was for the benefit of the false teachers to see how foolish boasting really
was and that was what Paul was trying to get across to them.
- 2 Cor 11:22 (KJB)
- Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I.
Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
- There was a group in Judea called the Ebionites who lived from about the
first to the fourth century. They were a group of Judaizers who believed
that it was necessary to follow the Jewish law and customs. In fact, they
disbelieved the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They had spread a rumor
about Paul that he was really not a Hebrew but a Gentile by birth. This is
why Paul had to defend himself against this charge also. He asks are they
Hebrews? He then states that he is also a Hebrew. He then asks are they of
the nation of Israel? Paul answers by stating that he is of the nation of
Israel. Then he asks if they are the seed of Abraham? He then states that he
is of the seed of Abraham. The seed in view here is not the spiritual seed
of salvation but he is speaking of the physical lineage of Abraham. It could
not be the spiritual seed because the false teachers were not saved. Paul
was definitely of the spiritual seed of Abraham because he was saved.
- 2 Cor 11:23 (KJB)
- Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am
more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure,
in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
- Ministers - Servants
- As a fool - I am beside myself
- Labours - Toil and weariness
- Stripes - Lashes from a whip
- The false teachers were claiming that they were servants of Christ. Well
Paul is now stating that he is much more a servant of Christ and he
apologizes by stating that he is beside himself. Paul then goes to give the
evidences of his ministry by means of what he has suffered for the cause of
Christ. Those who are in false ministry never suffer anything but seem to
get rich in the things of the world, so Paul wants to make a true comparison
between his sufferings for Christ in ministry and those false teachers who
have never suffered.
- Paul makes four comparisons of his ministry to those of the false
teachers. First, he was in much labor and toils concerning all the churches
he had planted and the problems he had to contend with, just as at Corinth.
Did the false teachers labor as much? Then Paul states for his ministry
efforts he was whipped way beyond any of the false teachers. Had any of them
been tied to a stake and flogged for their gospel? Then Paul states that he
was in prison may more times than any of his detractors. Did any of them
languish in prison for their gospel? Then Paul states that he was faced with
death many times and this would have happened because whenever he would
bring the gospel into a town, the people would be stirred up and cause a
near riot and this put Paulís life in danger. Did any of the false teachers
stir the towns up? The answer to the four questions is no because false
teachings always fall in line with the world.
- 2 Cor 11:24 (KJB)
- Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
- Paul here states that he had received thirty nine lashes on five
separate occasions. When you add that up it comes out to 195 lashes. Paulís
back must have been a mass of scars because of the whipping. Every time he
would receive a flogging, the whip would not only open new scars on his back
but also the old ones causing excruciating pain. It is an absolute miracle
of God that Paul did not die under the lash from blood loss or from
infection. Which one of the false teachers suffered like this for Christ?
- 2 Cor 11:25 (KJB)
- Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered
shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
- Paul continues on with the proof of his ministry. Three times he was
beaten with rods. This was also a Roman method of punishment. Paul may have
suffered this at Philippi and two other places. (Acts 16) Then Paul was
stoned at Lystra. (Acts 14) Three times he had suffered from a shipwreck.
One of his shipwrecks is given in detail in Acts 27. As a result of one of
these ship wrecks, Paul had to stay in the water a night and a day. It is
unknown as to how many hours Paul spent in the water but the time mentioned
would have been sufficient to tire a person to the point of them slipping
under the water. This section of Scripture is a definite fulfillment of the
Lordís prophecy, spoken to Ananias, of Paulís life.
(Acts 9:16 KJV) For I will show him how great
things he must suffer for my name's sake.