Archive for May 21st, 2020

2 Corinthians 11:5-8

In 2 Corinthians 11:5-8 Paul defends his standing as an apostle. He takes head on the idea some in the Corinthian church had about other ‘super apostles’ that they held in higher esteem because of their view of Paul. He makes no excuses for standing tall. “I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.” Paul probably writes sarcastically in reference to those who thought of and promoted themselves as “super-duper apostles.” It likely was not other apostles we know of like Peter or Apollos but likely some who claimed to be superior and definitely not someone Paul respected in that way.

Paul, according to the standards of the Greeks, was untrained in speech. In his day, the ability to speak in a polished, sophisticated, entertaining way was popular. The Corinthian church was a bit snobbish around things like that and felt Paul didn’t meet their expectations so they discounted him. “Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” It didn’t matter to Paul because he wasn’t concerned with meeting people’s standards for a “polished” or “entertaining” speaker; he was concerned with faithfully preaching the gospel. He couldn’t have cared less. He was focused on teaching and preaching truth which is what he always did.

Paul makes it clear that he wasn’t going to follow the world’s thinking around speaking and money. In the culture of that day, if a public speaker didn’t take money for his speaking he was often disregarded as a poor speaker, with worthless teaching. Many people thought of someone who charged no speaking fee as strictly an amateur. But Paul didn’t care about the opinion of others when it came to his heart for preaching the gospel without being accused of doing it for money. “Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge?”

He did make it clear that the Corinthian church had been stingy when it came to supporting the ministry. He had never expected anything from them, although they should have given him much. “I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.” Paul uses a strong word with the church when he says he robbed others. In classical Greek, this word was used for stripping a dead soldier of his armor. The Corinthian Christians should have supported him when he ministered to their spiritual needs, but instead he was supported by other churches even though the church at Corinth benefited from his ministry directly. They were allowing others to pay their responsibility.

%d bloggers like this: