Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 11

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

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Verse 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. (Challoner)

Verse 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 Matthew ix. 13.; Apocalypse xxi. 2. (Witham) --- 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.

Verse 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. (Witham)

Verse 4

You might well bear with him. These new teachers pretended at least to preach only the doctrine of Christ. St. 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. (Witham)

Verse 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. St. Paul here wished to refute those who called themselves the disciples of Peter, and other apostles. (Calmet)

Verse 6

Though I be rude in speech, (as St. Jerome also thought) in my expressions in the Greek tongue, yet not in knowledge, the chief or only thing to be regarded. Nay, St. Paul’s adversaries acknowledged that his letters were weighty and strong. (chap. x. ver. 11.) St. John Chrysostom in many places, and St. Augustine, lib. iv. de Doct. Christians, chap. vi. and vii tom. 3. p. 68. and seq., shews at large the solid rhetoric and eloquence of St. Paul, even in this and the next chapter. (Witham)

Verse 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 St. 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 St. Paul would not do, though it was but reasonable that he should live by the gospel. See 1 Corinthians chap. ix. (Witham)

Verse 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)

Verse 12

St. 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. (St. Augustine and Estius)

Verse 16

Otherwise take me as one foolish. St. Paul divers times excuses himself for mentioning thins 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 chap. xii. ver. 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, (ver. 20.) he means a metaphorical striking them, that is, by imperious ways, and insolent language. (Witham)

Verse 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)

Verse 20

St. 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)

Verse 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. (Witham)

Verse 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. (Witham)

Verse 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 Deuteronomy xxv. 3. permitted, but did not command, forty stripes to be inflicted; it strictly forbad that number to be exceeded.

Verse 25

Thrice I suffered shipwreck. This was before the shipwreck in his voyage to Rome, by which we make take notice, that St. Luke, in the Acts, omits a great many things relating to St. 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 St. John Chrysostom 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. (Witham) --- St. 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. (Pastorini)



Nocte et die in profundo maris sui, Greek: en to butho pepoieka.


Verse 28

My daily instance. The labours that come in, and press upon me every day. (Challoner)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.