Front Page

Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's SECOND letter to the Corinthians

(Return to Framework Contents)


 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Corinthians 11

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Cor 11:Folly & Boasting


        v.1-5 Paul's Foolishness

v.6-11 Paul's Defence

v.12-15 Paul & false prophets

v.16-21 Paul's Boasting: 3. Ironically as a fool

v.22-27 Paul's Boasting: 4. His Experiences

v.28-33 Paul's Boasting: 5. His Concern for the Churches


[Chapter Synopsis: This is a fascinating chapter where Paul says he will break the habit of a lifetime (implied) and in order to distinguish himself from the workers of the enemy, he will boast of the way of life he has lived, serving without payment, coping with counterfeit ministries, coping with perils of all sorts.]



v.1-5 Paul's Foolishness


v.1 (I feel rather silly talking like this but…) I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me!

v.2 (… I am very jealous for you having brought you to Christ like his bride-to-be) I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

v.3 (but I worry that you may have been led astray by the enemy) But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

v.4 (and I fear you might accept different saviours, spirits or gospels) For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

v.5 (so I have to defend our ministry against other who you might follow) I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” [Or to the most eminent apostles]


[Passage Synopsis: Any defensive language he might use is because he is jealous for them and fears they may get led astray by the enemy.]



v.6-11 Paul's Defence


v.6 (I may not be as eloquent as some but I do have knowledge [from Christ] which I have shared with you) I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

v.7 (did I do wrong by not charging for my services?) Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?

v.8 (other churches supported me so I could serve you) I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.

v.9 (I asked for nothing from you for the brothers from Macedonia supplied me) And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.

v.10 (I will tell this truth if necessary wherever I go) As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.

v.11 (…because I love you”!) Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!


[Passage Synopsis: he hadn't come with great eloquence and he hadn't been a burden to them, allowing others from elsewhere to support him to enable him to be there.]



v.12-15 Paul & false prophets


v.12 (I will persevere in our ministry to stand out from other who boast) And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

v.13 (but they are false deceivers, pretenders) For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.

v.14 (just like Satan does all these things) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

v.15 (as his servants they do the same and will get what they deserve) It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.


[Passage Synopsis: Paul seek to distinguish himself from false workers who imitate their master, the devil.]



v.16-21 Paul's Boasting: 3. Ironically as a fool


v.16 (he says he's willing to look a fool to put the record straight) I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.

v.17 (this is me, not the Lord) In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool.

v.18 (for a moment I'll use the same approach as the world to make things clear) Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.

v.19 (being the wise people you are I know you'll understand my apparent foolishness) You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!

v.20 (because I know you will put up even with the foolishness of the deceivers who seek to enslave you) In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.

v.21 (I'm not strong enough to do that.) To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about.


[Passage Synopsis: Almost using satire Paul says he will dare appear foolish to compete on equal terms with the world, even challenging those other boasters he had spoken of before.]



v.22-27 Paul's Boasting: 4. His Experiences


v.22 (check out our backgrounds; mine is fine) Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

v.23 (I've worked harder than most and suffered more than most) Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

v.24 (indeed five times I've been beaten) Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

v.25 (I've been beaten stoned and shipwrecked, all for the ministry [implied]) Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,

v.26 (constantly on the move it's been a life of constant danger) I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.

v.27 (sleepless, hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked, I've kept on) I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.


[Passage Synopsis: He throws caution to the wind and tells the sort of life he's lived since being called by God to be an apostle.]



v.28-33 Paul's Boasting: 5. His Concern for the Churches


v.28 (and on top of all this I've been constantly anxious for all the churches) Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

v.29 (when they feel weak, I am weak, when they fail, I feel it) Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

v.30 (if I have to boast to reveal the truth, I will boast in my weakness) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

v.31 (the Lord knows I speak the truth) The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

v.32 (on one occasion I was arrested to save me…) In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.

v.33 (and on another I had to escape over the wall in a basket) But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

[Passage Synopsis: he continues to explain the anguish he has experienced on behalf of the churches sand the weakness he has felt coping with the things that have happened to him.]


Chapter Brief Summary/Recap:

Ch.11: Folly & Boasting

•  Paul distinguish himself from the workers of the enemy,

•  he does it by boasting of the way of life he has lived, serving without payment, coping with counterfeit ministries, coping with perils of all sorts



Continue to Chapter 12