Chapter 11 verses 16 to 33

Chapter 11 verses 16 to 33Friday 12th May 2017

Posted by Neil Todman

Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Having underlined his allegiance to Christ in chapter 10, and having exposed his criticis in the first half of chapter 11 as masqueraders, working for the cause of Satan, Paul now fights them on their own turf: the field of boasting.

Paul’s enemies loved to boast of their accomplishments. They focused on triumphant moments in their lives and their ministries.  Paul, to reach out once more to those he loved in Corinth, decides to play them at their own game.  Except, as we shall see, none of the pieces he puts on the board were anything like those used by his opponents.

Verses 16 to 21, and Paul’s comment in parentheses in verse 23, show how toe-curling Paul found engaging with the Corinthians in this way.  Paul finds it utterly foolish.  But because the Corinthians are surrendering to such dangerous men, who are exploitative and spiritually abusive, Paul goes into battle for their souls.

His opening lines in verses 21 to 23 look as if he is teeing off to out-boast his enemies in terms of his own accomplishments.  Paul underscores his Jewish credentials and his devotion to Christ.  Maybe following his phrase “I have worked much harder” we would expect him to follow on with stories of souls won, churches planted and money raised.  But no!  Paul goes where his opponents would never go and lists all his weakest moments.  In verses 23 to 25 he lists all the times he was punished for his faith.  Verses 25 to 26 list the dangers he had been in as he travelled sharing the gospel.  Verse 27 shows how living for Christ had almost broken him physically.  Verses 28 and 29 show the daily emotional cost to pastor Paul of interceding for those afflicted by suffering and sin.  Finally, in verses 30 to 33, he draws his boasting to an end, by telling another story which shamed him.  In Damascus, a city where once he was held in high esteem, he was forced to flee (see Acts 9:23-25).

All this makes it clear that suffering, not accomplishments, adorn the lives of those who are truly serving Christ.

Reflection

Reflect on how much Jesus suffered for you. Ask his Spirit to make you willing to suffer for the cause of the gospel.