Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day.

Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Corinthians 11

Verse 1

2 Corinthians 11:1 . Ὄφελον , would that ) He step by step advances with a previous mitigation [73] and anticipation of blame to himself [ ΠΡΟΕΠΊΠΛΗΞΙς ] of a remarkable description, to which the after-extenuation [ ἘΠΙΘΕΡΑΠΕΊΑ ] at 2Co 12:11 corresponds. ΜΑΚΡῸΝ , a little ) The antithesis is found at 2 Corinthians 11:4 ; 2 Corinthians 11:20 . τῇ ἀφροσύνῃ , in my folly ) He gives it this appellation, before that he explains it, and by that very circumstance gains over the Corinthians. This is a milder word than μωρία . [74] ἀνέχεσθε , bear with ) The imperative; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:16 .

[73] See App., under the tit. Προθεραπέια . Here, an anticipatory apology for what he is about to say, which might seem inconsistent with modesty on his part.

[74] Ἄφρων , according to Tittmann (Syn. New Testament), is one who does not rightly use his mental powers. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:16 , calls himself ἄφρων , because after the manner of men he boasted ὡς ἄφρων . The fault of the ἄφρονες is ἀφροσύνη ; that of the ἀνοήτοι (those who follow false rules of thought and action) is μωρία , opposed to σοφία . ʼ Αφροσύνη , ‘insipientia,’ is applied to what is senseless, imprudent , ex. gr. rashness in speaking , Mark 7:22 . But Μωρία , ‘stultitia,’ folly of a perverse and often of a wicked kind, Matthew 5:22 . ED.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 11:2 . Ζηλῶ γὰρ , for I am jealous ) In this and the following verse the cause of his folly is set before us: for lovers seem to be out of their wits. [75] The cause of the forbearance due to Paul is explained 2 Corinthians 11:4 , comp. 2 Corinthians 11:20 . Θεοῦ ζήλῳ , with a godly jealousy ) a great and holy jealousy. [ If I am immoderate , says he, I am immoderate to God . V. g.] ἡρμοσάμην , I have espoused ) There is an apposition, to one husband , viz. Christ , and both are construed with, that I may present you [viz. to one husband, Christ ]. Therefore I espoused is put absolutely. [But Engl. V. I have espoused you to one husband .] Moreover ἁρμόζομαι , I espouse , is usually applied to the bridegroom. But here Paul speaks of himself in the same feeling of mind as when he ascribes to himself ‘jealousy,’ which belongs properly to the husband; for all that he felt, and all that he did, was for the sake of Christ. παρθἑνον ἁγνὴν , a chaste virgin ) not singly [the individual members], but conjointly [the whole body together]. He does not say, chaste virgins , παρθένους ἁγνάς .

[75] The Latin words are, “ amantes enim videntur amentes ,” which cannot be imitated in a translation. T.

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 11:3 . Φοβοῦμαι , I fear ) Such fear is not only not contrary to love, but it is a property of love, ch. 2Co 12:20 ; 2 Corinthians 12:19 . [ All jealousy doubtless arises from fear . V. g.] δὲ , but ) This is opposed to, I have espoused . ὡς , as ) a very apposite comparison. Εὖαν , Eve ) who was simple and unacquainted with evil. πανουργίᾳ , through subtilty ) which is most inimical to simplicity . οὕτως , so ) The saints, even though original sin were entirely quiescent, may be tempted. φθαρῇ , should be corrupted ) Having lost their virgin purity. Seducers threatened the Corinthians; see next verse. An abbreviated mode of expression for, May be corrupted and drawn from their simplicity . ἀπλότητος , the simplicity ) which is intent on one object, and most tender; which seeks not another [Jesus; ἄλλον ] nor a different [Spirit: ἕτερον , second and different ], 2 Corinthians 11:4 .

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 11:4 . Εἰ , if ) He lays down a condition, on the part of the real fact, which is impossible; he therefore says in the imperfect, you might tolerate it [but as the condition is impossible, you ought not tolerate it]; but as regards the attempt of the false apostles, not only is the condition laid down possible, but is actually realized and present. He therefore says in the present, preacheth [not Imperf. as, ἠνείχεσθε , Ye might tolerate it]; comp. Galatians 1:6-7 . γὰρ ) The reason of Paul’s fear was the yielding character of the Corinthians. ὁ ἐρχόμενος , he that cometh ) any one; out of Judea, if you please; Genesis 42:5 , ἦλθον μετὰ τῶν ἐρχομένων , they came with those that came . [ He already states, what the Corinthians were in duty bound to allow to be stated , 2 Corinthians 11:1 . V. g.] ἄλλον · ἕτερον , another a different ) These words are different from each other. See Acts 4:12 , note. ἄλλον separates [from the true person] by a far less definite boundary here than ἕτερον . [76] ΟὐΚ ἘΛΆΒΕΤΕ , ye have not received . οὐκ ἐδέξασθε , ye have not accepted ) Distinct words, well suited to the respective subjects; the will of man does not concur in ‘receiving’ [ λαμβανετε ἘΛΆΒΕΤΕ ] the Spirit, as in ‘accepting’ [ ἘΔΈΞΑΣΘΕ ] the Gospel. [77] ΕὐΑΓΓΈΛΙΟΝ ἛΤΕΡΟΝ , or another gospel ) The words, if there be , or, if you receive , are appropriately [for convenience’ sake] left to be understood. καλῶς ἠνείχεσθε , you might well bear with ) This forbearance , as being likely to lead to corruption [ 2Co 11:3 ], is not approved, but the word, with καλῶς , is used as at Mark 7:9 . The fulness [saturitas, fulness to satiety ] of the Corinthians is noticed, and their eagerness for a more novel and splendid Christianity, if any such was to be found.

[76] Ἄλλος , according to Tittmann, denotes another , without regard to any diversity or difference, save that of number. Ἕτερος indicates not merely another, but also one different. Ἕτερος , according to Ammonius, is said ἐπὶ δυοῖν in the case of two; ἄλλος , ἐπὶ πλειόνων in the case of more than two. ED.

[77] The Engl. V. has happily expressed the distinction by ‘received,’ ἐλάβετε , of a thing in receiving which we are passive, and which is not dependent on our will: ‘accepted,’ ἐδέξασθε of that, the receiving of which is at our own will; to receive to one’s self, to accept, to welcome. ED.

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 11:5 . Γὰρ , for ) The particle connecting the discussion with the proposition [the subject he proposed to discuss]. The sum of Paul’s boasting is here stated and repeated, ch. 2 Corinthians 12:11 . τῶν ὑπερλίαν , the very chiefest ) such as James, Kephas, John [ distinguished for their high privilege in being witnesses of the transfiguration of Jesus . V. g.], or even the other survivors of the twelve, Galatians 2:2 , not merely such as those, who are called apostles in a wider sense, i.e. I am as much an apostle as he who is most so. Peter has no title to any preference. [Acts 26:13 ; Acts 26:16 ; Galatians 1:16 .]

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 11:6 . Εἰ , if ) He proves himself to be an apostle, 1. from his knowledge worthy of an apostle; 2. from his self-denial in refraining from asking them for maintenance, 2 Corinthians 11:7-8 . He makes by anticipation a way to himself for stating both of these facts, so that the necessity of stating them may be clearly seen. ἰδιώτης , rude ) This word is opposed to his apostolic eminence [ 2Co 11:5 ]. His detractors spoke of Paul as ‘rude’ [untutored]. He declares that he was not rude in knowledge , which was the first gift of an apostle: and an extraordinary instance of it is found in the next chapter. That he was rude in speech, he neither very strongly denies, since that was not injurious to the apostleship, nay, it conduced to its advantage, 1 Corinthians 1:17 , etc.: nor does he confess it with greater prolixity [at greater length] than his power in speaking allowed; nor does he answer, that other apostles also may be considered rude in speech, but he leaves the matter undetermined, comp. ch. 2 Corinthians 10:10-11 , and to be decided by the Corinthians themselves; for he adds: but we have been made manifest to you in all things , etc. [ He therefore removes out of the way one after another of those things, which the Corinthians opposed to his prerogative as an apostle . V. g.] ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ φανερωθένες ἐν πᾶσιν εἰς ὑμᾶς ) The Vulgate has, but we are manifested in all things to you , [78] as if either ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ or ἘΝ ΠᾶΣΙΝ were superfluous. But the two expressions have a different meaning: ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ , in every thing, even in speech and knowledge; ἐν πᾶσιν , in all men, ch. 2 Corinthians 1:12 , 2 Corinthians 3:2 , 2 Corinthians 4:2 . ἐν πᾶσι , is used in the Masc. gend., 1 Corinthians 8:7 ; Hebrews 13:4 , and in other places. At the same time it occurs in the Neut. gend., 1 Timothy 3:11 ; 1Ti 4:15 ; 2 Timothy 2:7 ; 2 Timothy 4:5 ; Titus 2:9-10 ; Hebrews 13:18 . But ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ occurs only in the Neut. gend., and that too very often, 2 Corinthians 11:9 , ch. 2 Corinthians 4:8 , 2 Corinthians 6:4 , 2 Corinthians 7:5 ; 2Co 7:11 ; 2 Corinthians 7:16 , 2 Corinthians 8:7 , 2 Corinthians 9:8 ; 2 Corinthians 9:11 ; Philippians 4:6 . Therefore in this passage ἘΝ ΠᾶΣΙΝ is masculine, ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ neut. So Philippians 4:12 , ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ ΚΑῚ ἘΝ ΠᾶΣΙ ΜΕΜὐΗΜΑΙ . ΕἸς ὙΜᾶς , with respect to [among] you ) From the circumstance, that Paul was also engaged among others, the fruit redounded to the hearts of the Corinthians .

[78] In omnibus autem manifestati sumus vobis . So also the Ante-Hieronymic Lat. Versions fg and the uncial MS. G. But the weight of authorities support both ἐν παντὶ and ἐν πᾶοιν . ED.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 11:7 . Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ) Or have I committed a sin? So, an objection might be raised against that assertion of the apostle in last verse, ἐν παντὶ , in everything . ταπεινῶν , abasing myself ) in my mode of living. [ He had waived his apostolic right in this matter . V. g.] ὑψωθῆτε , ye might be exalted ) spiritually. τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον , the Gospel of God ) divine , most precious.

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 11:8 . Ἐσύλησα , I robbed ) He imputes to himself the receiving of payment, to which he was most justly entitled, as robbery , and afterwards as sloth and a burden , comp. notes on 1 Corinthians 9:17 . This word and wages are figurative expressions derived from military affairs. λαβὼν , taking wages ) for my journey, when I came to you. The antithesis is present , when I was with you [ 2Co 11:9 ].

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 11:9 . Προσανεπλήρωσαν , [further] supplied in addition ) A double compound. Paul supplied something by his own manual labour. καὶ τηρήσω , and I will keep ) so far is he from repenting. See 2 Corinthians 12:14 .

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 11:10 . Ἒστιν ἀλήθεια , there is truth ) The verb is emphatically put first; it stands [fast as the ( a ) truth of Christ]. The expression refers to a special truth, [79] comp. Romans 9:1 , note. Οὐ , not ) a metonymy or substitution of the consequent for the antecedent: my boasting will not be stopped, i.e. , I will be in no way more burdensome to you hereafter than heretofore.

[79] Not to the truth in general: therefore the article is omitted. ED.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 11:11 . Ὅτι , because ) Love is often offended even by refusing [favours].

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 11:12 . Καὶ ποιήσω ) I will also still do . ἐκκόψω , I may cut off ) It did not suit the false apostles to preach for nothing, 2 Corinthians 11:20 . τὴν ἀφορμην , the occasion ) in this matter, presently afterwards without the article, ἀφορμὴν , in any matter whatever. ἐν ᾧ , in which ) their boasting consisted in this, that they said: we are found to be, as Paul.

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 11:13 . Οἱ γὰρ τοιοῦτοι , for such ) The reason is herein given, [aetiologia] why he is unwilling, that they should be thought like him. ψευδαπόστολοι , false apostles ) This is now part of the predicate; the antithesis is at 2 Corinthians 11:5 . At length he calls a spade a spade. Δόλιοι , deceitful , presently afterwards, is in conformity with it. [ This is remarkable severity of language. Not a few have been of opinion: Such men are of a disposition not altogether to be despised, and it was not proper, that they should be so invidiously covered with disgrace: viz., They saw Christ, and now give their daily testimony to Him; they therefore ought to hold some place among others. But the cause of truth is most delicate; and the Indifferentism, which is so pleasant to many in the present day , was not cultivated by Paul . (Er war kein so gefälliger Toleranz-Prediger. He was no pleasant preacher of toleration. ) There is this to be taken into account, that when his life was frequently in danger, the zeal of the apostle continued without showing any symptoms of weakness . V. g.] εἰς ἀποστόλους Χριστοῦ , as the apostles of Christ ) They a not altogether deny Christ, but they did not preach Him truly, 2 Corinthians 11:23 .

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 11:14 . Οὐ θαυμαστὸν , and no marvel ) no great thing in the following verse. It is more marvellous concerning [in the case of] Satan, inasmuch as he differs farther from an angel of light. αὐτὸς ) he himself , their author and master. μετασχηματίζεται , transforms himself ) Present, i.e. is accustomed to transform himself. He did that already in Paradise. The second Oration on the annunciation, ascribed to Gregory Thaumaturgus, in describing the character [Ethopoeia] of Mary, thus proceeds: μὴ πάλιν εἰς ἄγγελον φωτὸς μετασχηματισθεὶςἀρχέκακος δαίμων , κ . τ . λ ., the devil the author of evil not being again transformed into an angel of light , etc. ἄγγελον φωτὸς , an angel of light ) He does so, not only to injure us, but also to enjoy honour. φωτὸς , of light ) although Satan’s power is still in darkness.

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 11:15 . Οὐ μέγα , no great thing ) no difficult matter. αὐτοῦ , his ) Satan’s . δικαιοσύνης , of righteousness ) which is in Christ. τὸ τέλος , the end ) Whatever may be the specious appearance, on which they now plume themselves, the form [alluding to their transforming themselves into “ministers of righteousness”] is at last stripped off from them. A most effectual criterion is derived from the future end of things, in the case of good and evil alike, Philippians 3:19 ; Philippians 3:21 .

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 11:16 . Πάλιν λέγω , I say again ) He begins this new subject of boasting with a prefatory repetition of the anticipatory mitigation [ προθεραπείαν ] from 2 Corinthians 11:1 , which certainly no man that is a fool , ἄφρων uses. μὴ , let not ) a particle of prohibition, let no man think, that I am a fool . This clause is not put in the way of parenthesis, but the meaning of the word λέγω , I say , falls upon this very clause.

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 11:17 . Ὃ λαλῶ , οὐ λαλῶ κατὰ Κυρίον , that which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord ) Therefore whatever Paul wrote without this express exception, was inspired and spoken after the Lord; nay even he wrote this passage, so as he has written it, and the exception peculiar to this passage, according to the rule of divine propriety, having received his instructions from the Lord; precisely as a literary man dictates to a boy a letter suited to a boy, though the boy could not have so written it of himself.

Verse 18

2 Corinthians 11:18 . Πολλοὶ , many ) What is allowed to many, is the more easily granted as an indulgence to one. κατὰ σάρκα , according to the flesh ) for example, that they are Hebrews, 2 Corinthians 11:22 .

Verse 19

2 Corinthians 11:19 . Ἡδέως ) [gladly] willingly .

Verse 20

2 Corinthians 11:20 . Γὰρ , for ) An intensive particle; ye suffer fools; for ye even suffer oppressors. Cleon in Thucydides, lib. iii. πέφυκενἄνθρωπος τὸ μὲν θεραπεῦον ὑπερφρονεῖν · τὸ δὲ μὴ ὑπεῖκον θαυμάζειν , the man was naturally disposed to treat with contempt flattering attentions, but to admire independence . εἴ τις , if any one ) as the false apostles, who were given to much boasting. καταδουλοῖ , bring you into bondage ) The genus; two pairs of species follow. κατεσθίει ) So LXX., Psalms 53:5 . λαμβάνει , takes ) viz. from you; for ὑμᾶς , you , is not necessarily to be supplied, as appears if we compare the following clause. ἐπαίρεται , exalt himself [ is exalted ]) under the pretext of the apostolic dignity. εἰς πρόσωπον δέρει , smite you on the face ) under the appearance of divine zeal. That may have happened to the Corinthians: comp. Isa 58:4 ; 1 Kings 22:24 ; Nehemiah 13:25 ; 1Co 4:11 ; 1 Timothy 3:3 .

Verse 21

2 Corinthians 11:21 . Κατὰ ἀτίμιαν , in the way of ignominy [ as concerning reproach ]) as if I were already considered as one dishonoured [‘despised’]. See 1 Corinthians 4:10 , and from the same passage we may also compare the term weak with this before us, and wise , φρόνιμοι , at 2 Corinthians 11:19 . Comp. with the use of κατὰ here, the καθʼ ὑστέρησιν , in respect of, in the way of, want , Philippians 4:11 . ὡς ὅτι ἡμεῖς ἠσθενήσαμεν ) as though we had been weak in mind, having nothing, of which we might boast and in which we might show boldness. The antithesis follows: but wherein soever any one is bold: the weak and dishonoured [ ἄτιμοι ] cannot boast, but still I will be bold; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:30 . ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ , foolishly ) So he terms it κατʼ ἄνθρωπον , after the manner of men: comp. v. 16; and for the sake of modesty.

Verse 22

2 Corinthians 11:22 . Ἑβραῖοι , Hebrews ) He indicates the principal topics of boasting, of which the first and second are natural, the third and fourth are spiritual privileges: comp. Philippians 3:5 . κᾀγώ , so am I ) a Hebrew (not a Hellenist) of the [sprung from] Hebrews.

Verse 23

2 Corinthians 11:23 . Διάκονοι , ministers ) outwardly. [80] παραφρονῶν λαλῶ , I speak as a fool ) Paul wrote these things, while he constantly laboured to deny himself. ὑπὲρ ) above , [I am] more than they. The more a man suffers, the more he ministers . περισσοτέρως , more abundantly ) The false apostles had also experienced labours and imprisonments , but in a less degree, the other hardships were peculiar to Paul.

[80] And yet there was no need of this distinction, if the Critical Note on this passage be compared: “It is a question; for he affirms, that they were not the ministers of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 11:15 . The Germ. Ver. agrees with this. E. B.

Verse 24

2 Corinthians 11:24 . Πεντάκις , five times ) It is of advantage to the servants of God accurately to remember all that they have done and suffered with a view to relate them, according as it may be afterwards necessary. Comp. Galatians 1:0 . τεσσαράκοντα παρὰ μίαν , forty save one ) Thirteen strokes with a triple lash made thirty-nine. See Buxt. dedic. Abbrev.

Verse 25

2 Corinthians 11:25 . Τρὶς ἐναυάγησα , thrice I was shipwrecked ) before the shipwreck at Melita (Malta). ἐν τῷ βυθῷ ) ὁ βυθὸς denotes anything deep: but when it is used absolutely, the sea , especially here, as being connected with the mention of shipwrecks. The LXX. generally translate מצולה by βυθός . ἐπόιησα ) I have spent, swimming. Many persons, who have been shipwrecked, thus contend with the waters for many hours, so that they may at last escape.

Verse 26

2 Corinthians 11:26 . Ὁδοιπορίαις , in journeyings ) See Acts. ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις , among false brethren ) This danger is most distressing; being added to the others contrary to expectation [ παρὰ προσδοκίαν ], it has a pleasing effect. [ These men were bitter and pestiferous, although not destitute of the appearance of good . Galatians 2:4 . V. g.]

Verse 27

2 Corinthians 11:27 . Ἐν , in ) Five clauses; the second agrees with the first, the fourth with the third, in pleasant harmony. ἐν λιμῷ , in hunger ) Deuteronomy 28:48 , ἐν λιμῷ καὶ ἐν δίψει , καὶ ἐν γυμνότητι , καὶ ἐν ἐκλείψει πάντων .

Verse 28

2 Corinthians 11:28 . Χωρὶς , beside ) The particle serves the purpose of connection. τῶν παρεκτὸς ) It is thus he terms external labours and troubles. Hitherto he describes his own; he now refers to those of others, that had been shared with him. ἡ ) The Apposition of the oblique and nominative case, such as that of Basil of Seleucia, ὢ φωνῆς , σωτηρίας πηγή : comp. note on Chrys. de Sacerd. p. 504. ἐπισύστασίς μου , that which cometh upon me ) The LXX. often use the verb ἐπισυνίστημι , and the verbal noun ἐπισύστασις , of the sedition of Korah and his associates: comp. Acts 24:12 . Here therefore we remark the disorderly conduct of those, who troubled Paul by the perverseness of their doctrine or life; for example, Galatians 6:17 . καθʼ ἡμέραν , daily ) A large extent of time; and of place, in the words, of all . πασῶν , of all ) This is more modest than if he had said πάσης τῆς ἐκκλησίας , of the whole church. Of all , of those even, to whom I have not come, Colossians 2:1 . Peter could not have alleged that of himself in an equal degree. [81]

[81] Since Peter was the apostle of the circumcision peculiarly. Whereas Paul was, of all the numerous churches of the uncircumcision. ED.

Verse 29

2 Corinthians 11:29 . Τίς , who ) He not merely cares for the churches, but for the souls of individuals. ἀσθενῶ , I am weak ) not only through condescension, συγκατάβασις , 1 Corinthians 9:22 , but through compassion. σκανδαλίζεται , is offended ) To be weak and to be offended , at least in this passage, differ, comp. Romans 14:21 , note. The former comes by itself; the latter, by means of others. καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ πυροῦμαι , and I burn not ) He adds I , not in the former [no ἐγὼ before ἀσθενῶ ], but in this part of the verse, for there he suits himself to the weak man; here he confesses that he bears no resemblance to the party offending, as he himself , for the sake of the offended party, takes up the duties neglected by the offender. The duties, neglected by the person offending, are love, prudence, etc. Paul however at the same time takes upon himself the part of the offended person, or the inconvenience, which the offended person feels. All these things thus follow from the force of the relatives [the things mutually related]. Πυροῦσθαι τοῖς θυμοῖς is read more than once in 2 Macc. They think or speak badly, who, seeing a scandal or offence, say in the mother tongue [alluding to a German saying], I have caused myself to offend .

Verse 30

2 Corinthians 11:30 . Εἰ ) if, i.e. since. τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μου καυχήσομαι , I will glory of the things, which concern my infirmities ) an admirable oxymoron; 2 Corinthians 12:5 ; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 , for infirmity and glorying are antithetic terms.

Verse 31

2 Corinthians 11:31 . Εὐλογητὸς , blessed ) This increases the sacredness of the cath. οἶδεν , knoweth ) The persecution at Damascus was one of the first and greatest, and belonged particularly to this place; and Paul calls God to witness, for he could produce to the Corinthians no witness among men, concerning a matter which was known to few, and had happened long before: comp. Galatians 1:20 . Luke afterwards recorded it, Acts 9:25 . This religious preface increases even the credit of the circumstances, related in the following chapter.

Verse 32

2 Corinthians 11:32 . Ἐθνάρχης .) Thus Simon the high priest is called, 1Ma 14:15 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.