Even if St. Paul seems a little foolish to the Corinthians, he begins to boast a little, but in unexpected ways. While the false apostles have been strong to enslave the Corinthians in false teaching, St. Paul was far too weak for that. He is Hebrew, and Israelite, and an offspring of Abraham. He is a better servant of Christ for all of the suffering that he has endured for the Lord’s sake, from the time of his call to his present ministry. In all of his boasting, St. Paul focuses on his weaknesses so that God receives all the glory and blessing.
Rev. Mark Squire, pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Ansgar, IA, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study 2 Corinthians 11:16-31.
“A Letter of Comfort” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the epistle of 2 Corinthians. St. Paul writes again to the Christians in Corinth to bring them the ongoing comfort of the Gospel in the midst of the attacks of false doctrine from so-called “super apostles.” He seeks to give confidence to the Corinthians—and to us—that the good news of Christ crucified and risen proclaimed by His called ministers will accomplish all that He intends.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
2 Corinthians 11:16-31
Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle
16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would[a] but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[b] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org