King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Corinthians 11

The apostle gives the reasons for speaking in his own commendation. (1-14) Shows that he had freely preached the gospel. (5-15) Explains what he was going to add in defence of his own character. (16-21) He gives an account of his labours, cares, sufferings, dangers, and deliverances. (22-33)

2 Corinthians 11 Audio:

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The apostle gives the reasons for speaking in his own commendation

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Shows that he had freely preached the gospel

5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Explains what he was going to add in defence of his own character

16 I say again, let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.

19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

He gives an account of his labours, cares, sufferings, dangers, and deliverances

22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

23 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.

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25 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;

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. My folly. So he calls his reciting his own praises, which commonly speaking, is looked upon as a piece of folly and vanity; though the apostle was constrained to do it, for the good of the souls committed to his charge. Ch.

Ver. 2. With the jealousy of God, or that came from God: it may also signify a great, or godly jealousy. — To present you, that is, the Church of Corinth, a chaste virgin to Christ, as the whole Catholic Church is called the chaste spouse of Christ. See Matt. ix. 13. Apoc. xxi. 2. Wi. — I cannot suffer these false prophets thus to destroy what has been prepared with so much labour, but I am not jealous for my own sake; it is for the honour of God; for I do not wish to prepare this spouse for myself, but for God. Tirinus. — It is a duty incumbent on me to preserve you in the purity of the faith you have received, to present you to him as a virgin, holy, and free from every spot or blemish, and hence arise my fear and solicitude, lest by insinuating and designing men, you suffer yourselves to be drawn away from the simplicity of your faith in Christ Jesus, the Lord.

Ver. 3. So your minds shall be corrupted by those false teachers, from the simplicity in Christ, from the sincerity and purity of the gospel doctrine. Wi.

Ver. 4. You might well bear with him. These new teachers pretended at least to preach only the doctrine of Christ. S. Paul tells them, they might in some measure be excused, if they preached a new doctrine, or another gospel that brought them greater blessings, or another Spirit accompanied with greater spiritual gifts, than they had already received by his preaching. But I think, and may say, I have nothing less than the greatest apostles, and you have received the same blessings from me, as others from them. Wi.

Ver. 5. For I suppose. Many understand this as spoken ironically, and alluding to the false apostles, who called themselves great. But it ought rather to be understood in a literal sense, that God had performed as many and great miracles by his hands, as by any of the apostles. S. Paul here wishes to refute those who called themselves the disciples of Peter, and other apostles. C.

Ver. 6. Though I be rude in speech, (as S. Jerom also thought) in my expressions in the Greek tongue, yet not in knowledge, the chief or only thing to be regarded. Nay, S. Paul’s adversaries acknowledged that his letters were weighty and strong. c. x. v. 11. S. Chrys. in many places, and S. Aug. l. iv. de Doct. Christiana, c. vi. and vii. tom. 3. p. 68. and seq. shews at large the solid rhetoric and eloquence of S. Paul, even in this and the next chapter. Wi.

Ver. 7. Did I commit a fault? &c. It is a kind of reproach to them, and by the figure, called irony, with a reflection on the false preachers, who some way or other, got themselves handsomely maintained, while S. Paul neither took, nor would take any thing of them, that his adversaries might not have an occasion to say, he did as they did, or that they only did as he did. And lest they should suspect that he would receive nothing from them, because he did not love them (as men sometimes refuse presents from those whom they do not love) he appeals to God, how much he loves them. But he will have this to boast of against his adversaries, those false apostles and crafty labourers, who cunningly endeavoured to transform themselves, that they might be thought the apostles of Christ, insinuating themselves into their favour, and receiving at least presents from them, which S. Paul would not do, though it was but reasonable that he should live by the gospel. See 1 Cor. c. ix. Wi.

Ver. 10. The truth of Christ is in me. This is a kind of asseveration; I assure you by the truth of Christ, which is in me, that what I say is true, and that no one can deny it in Achaia. Theodoret.

Ver. 12. S. Paul declares that he will continue to receive nothing for his preaching and his labours, that the false apostles may not glory in their disinterestedness; or rather, that he will not, by receiving any thing, authorize by his example, these new teachers, who only seek their own ease, to live on the Church, and to receive their support from it. S. Aug. and Estius.

Ver. 16. &c. Otherwise take me as one foolish. S. Paul divers times excuses himself for mentioning things in his own commendation: he owns that this in itself, and unless it were necessary, might be blamed as folly, that it would not be according to God, but he declares himself forced by them to it, and that he will speak nothing but the truth. See c. xii. v. 6. 11. He tells them that they bear with others that are foolish, even with those false preachers that endeavour to bring them into slavery by their domineering carriage, by making them perhaps subject to the yoke of the Mosaical law. Who devour them, that is, their goods and substance, who take from them, who in a manner strike them on the face, (v. 20.) he means a metaphorical striking them, that is, by imperious ways, and insolent language. Wi.

Ver. 19. I trust that you will permit me to speak in my own praise, since as wise as you are, you have permitted others, who have not greater wisdom than myself. And if it be folly to praise one’s self, as you have pardoned them, I trust you will also pardon me. Calmet.

Ver. 20. S. Paul still continues to speak ironically, that they will permit him to praise himself in his own justification, since they have permitted these false teachers to reduce them to bondage under the law, to devour their substance, and to behave haughtily to them, striking them on the face, &c. Calmet.

Ver. 21. I speak according to dishonour, as if we had been weak in this part. The interpreters are divided on this verse; the sense seems to be, I speak what others took upon as dishonourable in us, that we had not the like authority over you as these false teachers, and therefore could not keep you in such subjection as they have done. But yet I must tell you, that wherein if any man is bold, I am bold also; that is, I have no less motives to domineer and boast, than they have. And then he proceeds to particulars. Wi.

Ver. 23. They are ministers of Christ: I am more. To wit, an apostle chosen and sent by Jesus Christ, appointed in a special manner to be the apostle of the Gentiles, your apostle. Wi.

Ver. 24. The Jews had power under the Romans to inflict punishments, not indeed capital, but corporal, such as flogging, &c. See Mark xiii. 9. The law, in Deut. xxv. 3. permitted, but did not command, forty stripes to be inflicted; it strictly forbad that number to be exceeded.

Ver. 25. Thrice I suffered shipwreck. This was before the shipwreck in his voyage to Rome, by which we make take notice, that S. Luke, in the Acts, omits a great many things relating to S. Paul; as also when he adds,[1] a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea. We do not read expressed in the Greek, of the sea; but the Greek word is observed to imply the same: and so it is understood by S. Chrys. who gives these two expositions; first, that he was truly and literally in the middle of the sea. Secondly, that he was floating or swimming in the sea after shipwreck, which seems the more common interpretation. Wi. — S. Paul could have avoided that disgrace, as a Roman. See Acts xxiii.; but in Acts xvi. he refused to claim his privilege, that he might have an opportunity of converting the guard of the prison. P.

Ver. 28. My daily instance. The labours that come in, and press upon me every day. Ch.


[1] V. 25. Nocte et die in profundo maris sui, en to butho pepoieka.