Brothers and sisters:
If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts may be corrupted
from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.
For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles.”
Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge;
in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge?
I plundered other churches by accepting from them
in order to minister to you.
And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone,
for the brothers who came from Macedonia
supplied my needs.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
By the truth of Christ in me,
this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia.
And why? Because I do not love you?
God knows I do!
(2 Corinthians 11:1-11)
11:1 bear with me: Paul asks readers to tolerate a little boasting on his part, even though he dislikes it and knows it is foolish.
11:2 I betrothed you to Christ: Paul is the “father” (1 Cor 4:15) of the Corinthians and thus in charge of safeguarding their purity before marriage. He is preserving them for Christ, the husband, who is already betrothed to them by covenant but who waits to receive them into his home as a chaste bride (literally, “virgin”). This marital imagery is frequent in the NT (Mt 25:1–13; Eph 5:23–32; Rev 19:7) (CCC 505, 796).
11:3 the serpent deceived Eve: An allusion to Gen 3:1–7. ● Paul looks back to the Fall of Adam and Eve to warn readers that the same danger once present in the Garden of Eden is now lurking in Corinth. He fears that the Corinthians, like Eve, will be lured away from Christ by the seductive voice of evil. Satan is once again the intruder, this time disguised as the “false apostles” (11:13).
11:4 another Jesus: A distorted message about Jesus in conflict with the apostolic gospel.
11:5 superlative apostles: A sarcastic title for the counterfeit apostles in Corinth (12:11). It suggests they viewed themselves as superior to Paul. See note on 2 Cor 11:13.
11:7–11 Paul defends his practice of refusing financial assistance from the Corinthians. He was able to support himself among them by donations from other Churches (11:8) and by manual labor, probably tent making (Acts 18:3). The Corinthians unfortunately took this as an insult and an indication that Paul did not love them (2 Cor 11:11). To counter this, Paul reveals several reasons for this pastoral decision. (1) He wished to lay no unnecessary burden on them (11:9). (2) He hoped to accentuate the stark difference between his ministry and that of his opponents, who greedily took advantage of the Corinthians’ resources (11:20). (3) As their spiritual “father” (1 Cor 4:15), he wanted to provide for them in the same way that parents do for their children (2 Cor 12:14). In the end, Paul’s tireless labor was a greater expression of love than accepting their monetary gifts (12:15).
The whole passage shows very clearly St Paul’s passionate temperament and his ardent zeal for souls; he does not mind doing something which costs him a great deal, if that is what has to be done to ensure that souls he has won for Christ are not lost; and he overlooks the fact that the Corinthians have not spoken out on his behalf, as was their duty, that they have not responded to his love and vigilance for them, or that his words have been misinterpreted. His attitude stands as a very good example of upright intention: he devotes his whole life to souls, seeking no human recompense.
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.