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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
2 Corinthians 11

 

 

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Verse 1

Would that ye could bear with me (οπελον ανειχεστε μουophelon aneichesthe mou). Koiné{[28928]}š way of expressing a wish about the present, οπελονophelon (as a conjunction, really second aorist active indicative of οπειλωopheilō without augment) and the imperfect indicative instead of ειτεeithe or ει γαρei gar (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003). Cf. Revelation 3:15. See note on Galatians 5:12 for future indicative with οπελονophelon and note on 1 Corinthians 4:8 for aorist. ΜουMou is ablative case after ανειχεστεaneichesthe (direct middle, hold yourselves back from me). There is a touch of irony here.

Bear with me (ανεχεστε μουanechesthe mou). Either imperative middle or present middle indicative (ye do bear with me). Same form.

In a little foolishness (μικρον τι απροσυνηςmikron ti aphrosunēs). Accusative of general reference (μικρον τιmikron ti). “Some little foolishness” (from απρωνaphrōn foolish). Old word only in this chapter in N.T.


Verse 2

With a godly jealousy (τεου ζηλωιtheou zēlōi). Instrumental case of ζηλοςzēlos With a jealousy of God.

I espoused (ηρμοσαμηνhērmosamēn). First aorist middle indicative of αρμοζωharmozō old verb to join, to fit together (from αρμοςharmos joint). Common for betrothed, though only here in N.T. The middle voice indicates Paul‘s interest in the matter. Paul treats the Corinthians as his bride.


Verse 3

The serpent beguiled Eve (ο οπις εχηπατησεν ευανho ophis exēpatēsen Heuan). Paul‘s only mention of the serpent in Eden. The compound εχαπαταωexapataō means to deceive completely.

Lest by any means (μη πωςmē pōs). Common conjunction after verbs of fearing.

Corrupted (πταρηιphtharēi). Second aorist passive subjunctive with μη πωςmē pōs of πτειρωphtheirō to corrupt.


Verse 4

Another Jesus (αλλον Ιησουνallon Iēsoun). Not necessarily a different Jesus, but any other “Jesus” is a rival and so wrong. That would deny the identity.

A different spirit (πνευμα ετερονpneuma heteron). This is the obvious meaning of ετερονheteron in distinction from αλλονallon as seen in Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:6. But this distinction in nature or kind is not always to be insisted on.

A different gospel (ευαγγελιον ετερονeuaggelion heteron). Similar use of ετερονheteron

Ye do well to bear with him (καλως ανεχεστεkalōs anechesthe). Ironical turn again. “Well do you hold yourselves back from him” (the coming one, whoever he is). Some MSS. have the imperfect ανειχεστεaneichesthe (did bear with).


Verse 5

That I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles (μηδεν υστερηκεναι των υπερλιαν αποστολωνmēden husterēkenai tōn huperlian apostolōn). Perfect active infinitive of υστερεωhustereō old verb to fall short with the ablative case. The rare compound adverb υπερλιανhuperlian (possibly in use in the vernacular) is probably ironical also, “the super apostles” as these Judaizers set themselves up to be. “The extra-super apostles” (Farrar). Also in 2 Corinthians 12:11. He is not referring to the pillar-apostles of Galatians 2:9.


Verse 6

Rude in speech (ιδιωτης τωι λογωιidiōtēs tōi logōi). Locative case with ιδιωτηςidiōtēs for which word see note on Acts 4:13; note on 1 Corinthians 14:16, note on 1 Corinthians 14:23, and 1 Corinthians 14:24. The Greeks regarded a man as ιδιωτηςidiōtēs who just attended to his own affairs (τα ιδιαta idia) and took no part in public life. Paul admits that he is not a professional orator (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:10), but denies that he is unskilled in knowledge (αλλ ου τηι γνωσειall' ou tēi gnōsei).

Among all men (εν πασινen pāsin). He has made his mastery of the things of Christ plain among all men. He knew his subject.


Verse 7

In abasing myself (εμαυτον ταπεινωνemauton tapeinōn). Humbling myself by making tents for a living while preaching in Corinth. He is ironical still about “doing a sin” (αμαρτιαν εποιησαhamartian epoiēsa).

For nought (δωρεανdōrean). Gratis. Accusative of general reference, common adverb. It amounts to sarcasm to ask if he did a sin in preaching the gospel free of expense to them “that ye may be exalted.”


Verse 8

I robbed (εσυλησαesulēsa). Old verb to despoil, strip arms from a slain foe, only here in N.T. He allowed other churches to do more than their share.

Taking wages (λαβων οπσωνιονlabōn opsōnion). For οπσωνιονopsōnion see note on 1 Corinthians 9:7; note on Romans 6:23. He got his “rations” from other churches, not from Corinth while there.


Verse 9

I was not a burden to any man (ου κατεναρκησα ουτενοςou katenarkēsa outhenos). First aorist active indicative of καταναρκαωkatanarkaō Jerome calls this word one of Paul‘s cilicisms which he brought from Cilicia. But the word occurs in Hippocrates for growing quite stiff and may be a medical term in popular use. ΝαρκαωNarkaō means to become numb, torpid, and so a burden. It is only here and 2 Corinthians 12:13. Paul “did not benumb the Corinthians by his demand for pecuniary aid” (Vincent).

From being burdensome (αβαρηabarē). Old adjective, free from weight or light (αa privative and βαροςbaros weight). See note on 1 Thessalonians 2:9 for same idea. Paul kept himself independent.


Verse 10

No man shall stop me of this glorying (η καυχησις αυτη ου πραγησεται εις εμεhē kauchēsis hautē ou phragēsetai eis eme). More exactly, “This glorying shall not be fenced in as regards me.” Second future passive of πρασσωphrassō to fence in, to stop, to block in. Old verb, only here in N.T.

In the regions of Achaia (εν τοις κλιμασιν της Αχαιαςen tois klimasin tēs Achaias). ΚλιμαKlima from κλινωklinō to incline, is Koiné{[28928]}š word for declivity slope, region (our climate). See chapter 1 Corinthians 9 for Paul‘s boast about preaching the gospel without cost to them.


Verse 11

God knoweth (ο τεος οιδενho theos oiden). Whether they do or not. He knows that God understands his motives.


Verse 12

That I may cut off occasion (ινα εκκοπσω την απορμηνhina ekkopsō tēn aphormēn). Purpose clause with ιναhina and first aorist active subjunctive of εκκοπτωekkoptō old verb to cut out or off (Matthew 3:10; Matthew 5:30). See note on 2 Corinthians 5:12 for απορμηνaphormēn

From them which desire an occasion (των τελοντων απορμηνtōn thelontōn aphormēn). Ablative case after εκκοπσωekkopsō There are always some hunting for occasions to start something against preachers.

They may be found (ευρετωσινheurethōsin). First aorist passive subjunctive of ευρισκωheuriskō to find with final conjunction ιναhina f0).


Verse 13

False apostles (πσευδαποστολοιpseudapostoloi). From πσευδηςpseudēs false, and αποστολοςapostolos Paul apparently made this word (cf. Revelation 2:2). In 2 Corinthians 11:26 we have πσευδαδελποςpseudadelphos a word of like formation (Galatians 2:4). See also πσευδοχριστοιpseudochristoi and πσευδοπροπηταιpseudoprophētai in Mark 13:22.

Deceitful (δολιοιdolioi). Old word from δολοςdolos (lure, snare), only here in N.T. (cf. Romans 16:18).

Fashioning themselves (μετασχηματιζομενοιmetaschēmatizomenoi). Present middle (direct) participle of the old verb μετασχηματιζωmetaschēmatizō for which see note on 1 Corinthians 4:6. Masquerading as apostles of Christ by putting on the outward habiliments, posing as ministers of Christ (“gentlemen of the cloth,” nothing but cloth). Paul plays with this verb in 2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Corinthians 11:15.


Verse 14

An angel of light (αγγελον πωτοςaggelon phōtos). The prince of darkness puts on the garb of light and sets the fashion for his followers in the masquerade to deceive the saints. “Like master like man.” Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11; Galatians 1:8. This terrible portrayal reveals the depth of Paul‘s feelings about the conduct of the Judaizing leaders in Corinth. In Galatians 2:4 he terms those in Jerusalem “false brethren.”


Verse 15

As ministers of righteousness (ως διακονοι δικαιοσυνηςhōs diakonoi dikaiosunēs). Jesus (John 10:1-21) terms these false shepherds thieves and robbers. It is a tragedy to see men in the livery of heaven serve the devil.


Verse 16

Let no man think me foolish (μη τις με δοχηι απρονα ειναιmē tis me doxēi aphrona einai). Usual construction in a negative prohibition with μηmē and the aorist subjunctive δοχηιdoxēi (Robertson, Grammar, p. 933).

But if ye do (ει δε μη γεei de mē ge). Literally, “But if not at least (or otherwise),” that is, If you do think me foolish.

Yet as foolish (καν ως απροναkan hōs aphrona). “Even if as foolish.” Paul feels compelled to boast of his career and work as an apostle of Christ after the terrible picture just drawn of the Judaizers. He feels greatly embarrassed in doing it. Some men can do it with complete composure (sang froid).


Verse 17

Not after the Lord (ου κατα Κυριονou kata Kurion). Not after the example of the Lord. He had appealed to the example of Christ in 2 Corinthians 10:1 (the meekness and gentleness of Christ). Paul‘s conduct here, he admits, is not in keeping with that. But circumstances force him on.


Verse 18

After the flesh (κατα σαρκαkata sarka). It is κατα σαρκαkata sarka not κατα Κυριονkata Kurion

I also (καγωkagō). But he knows that it is a bit of foolishness and not like Christ.


Verse 19

Gladly (ηδεωςhēdeōs). Irony again. Cf. καλοςkalos in 2 Corinthians 11:4 (Mark 7:9). So as to προνιμοι οντεςphronimoi ontes (being wise).


Verse 20

For ye bear with a man (ανεχεστε γαρanechesthe gar). “You tolerate tyranny, extortion, craftiness, arrogance, violence, and insult” (Plummer). Sarcasm that cut to the bone. Note the verb with each of the five conditional clauses (enslaves, devours, takes captive, exalteth himself, smites on the face). The climax of insult, smiting on the face.


Verse 21

By way of disparagement (κατα ατιμιανkata atimian). Intense irony. Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:8.

As though (ως οτιhōs hoti). Presented as the charge of another. “They more than tolerate those who trample on them while they criticize as ‹weak‘ one who shows them great consideration” (Plummer). After these prolonged explanations Paul “changes his tone from irony to direct and masterful assertion” (Bernard).

I am bold also (τολμω καγωtolmō kagō). Real courage. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:2, 2 Corinthians 10:12.


Verse 22

So am I (καγωkagō). This is his triumphant refrain with each challenge.


Verse 23

As one beside himself (παραπρονωνparaphronōn). Present active participle of παραπρονεωparaphroneō Old verb from παραπρωνparaphrōn (παρα πρηνparaυπερ εγωphrēn), beside one‘s wits. Only here in N.T. Such open boasting is out of accord with Paul‘s spirit and habit.

I more (υπερhuper egō). This adverbial use of εγωhuper appears in ancient Greek (Euripides). It has no effect on περισσοτερωςegō not “more than I,” but “I more than they.” He claims superiority now to these “superextra apostles.”

More abundant (εν πυλακαιςperissoterōs). See 2 Corinthians 7:15. No verbs with these clauses, but they are clear.

In prisons (υπερβαλλοντωςen phulakais). Plural also in 2 Corinthians 6:5. Clement of Rome (Cor. V.) says that Paul was imprisoned seven times. We know of only five (Philippi, Jerusalem, Caesarea, twice in Rome), and only one before II Corinthians (Philippi). But Luke does not tell them all nor does Paul. Had he been in prison in Ephesus? So many think and it is possible as we have seen.

Above measure (υπερβαλλοντωνhuperballontōs). Old adverb from the participle υπερβαλλωhuperballontōn (εν τανατοις πολλακιςhuperballō to hurl beyond). Here only in N.T.

In deaths oft (en thanatois pollakis). He had nearly lost his life, as we know, many times (2 Corinthians 1:9.; 2 Corinthians 4:11).


Verse 24

Five times received I forty stripes save one (πεντακις τεσσερακοντα παρα μιαν ελαβονpentakis tesserakonta para mian elabon). The Acts and the Epistles are silent about these Jewish floggings (Matthew 27:36). See note on Luke 12:47 for omission of plēgas (stripes). Thirty-nine lashes was the rule for fear of a miscount (Deuteronomy 25:1-3). Cf. Josephus (Ant. IV. 8, 1, 21).


Verse 25

Thrice was I beaten with rods (τρις ερραβδιστηνtris errabdisthēn). Roman (Gentile) punishment. It was forbidden to Roman citizens by the Lex Porcia, but Paul endured it in Philippi (Acts 16:23, Acts 16:37), the only one of the three named in Acts. First aorist passive of ραβδιζωrabdizō from ραβδοςrabdos rod, Koiné{[28928]}š word, in N.T. only here and Acts 16:22 which see.

Once was I stoned (απαχ ελιταστηνhapax elithasthēn). Once for all απαχhapax means. At Lystra (Acts 14:5-19). On λιταζωlithazō Koiné{[28928]}š verb from λιτοςlithos see note on Acts 5:26.

Thrice I suffered shipwreck (τρις εναυαγησαtris enauagēsa). First aorist active of ναυαγεωnauageō from ναυαγοςnauagos shipwrecked (ναυςnaus ship, αγνυμιagnumi to break). Old and common verb, in N.T. only here and 1 Timothy 1:19. We know nothing of these. The one told in Acts 27 was much later. What a pity that we have no data for all these varied experiences of Paul.

Night and day (νυχτημερονnuchthēmeron) Rare word. Papyri give νυκτημαρnuktēmar with the same idea (night-day).

Have I been in the deep (εν τωι βυτωι πεποιηκαen tōi buthōi pepoiēka). Vivid dramatic perfect active indicative of ποιεωpoieō “I have done a night and day in the deep.” The memory of it survives like a nightmare. υτοςButhos is old word (only here in N.T.) for bottom, depth of the sea, then the sea itself. Paul does not mean that he was a night and day under the water, not a Jonah experience, only that he was far out at sea and shipwrecked. This was one of the three shipwrecks-already named.


Verse 26

In journeyings (οδοιποριαιςhodoiporiais). Locative case of old word, only here in N.T. and John 4:6, from οδοιποροςhodoiporos wayfarer.

In perils (κινδυνοιςkindunois). Locative case of κινδυνοςkindunos old word for danger or peril. In N.T. only this verse and Romans 8:35. The repetition here is very effective without the preposition ενen (in) and without conjunctions (asyndeton). They are in contrasted pairs. The rivers of Asia Minor are still subject to sudden swellings from floods in the mountains. Cicero and Pompey won fame fighting the Cilician pirates and robbers (note ληιστωνlēistōn not κλεπτωνkleptōn thieves, brigands or bandits on which see Matthew 26:55). The Jewish perils (εκ γενουςek genous from my race) can be illustrated in Acts 9:23, Acts 9:29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 17:5, Acts 17:13; Acts 18:12; Acts 23:12; Acts 24:27, and they were all perils in the city also. Perils from the Gentiles (εχ ετνωνex ethnōn) we know in Philippi (Acts 16:20) and in Ephesus (Acts 19:23.). Travel in the mountains and in the wilderness was perilous in spite of the great Roman highways.

Among false brethren (εν πσευδαδελποιςen pseudadelphois). Chapters 2 Corinthians 10; 11 throw a lurid light on this aspect of the subject.


Verse 27

In labour and travail (κοπωι και μοχτωιkopōi kai mochthōi). Both old words for severe work, combined here as in 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8, “by toil and moil” (Plummer). The rest of the list is like the items in 2 Corinthians 6:4.

In cold (εν πσυχειen psuchei). Old word from πσυχωpsuchō to cool by blowing. See Acts 28:2. See the picture of the aged Paul later in the Roman dungeon (2 Timothy 4:9-18).


Verse 28

Besides those things that are without (χωρις των παρεκτοςchōris tōn parektos). Probably, “apart from those things beside these just mentioned.” Surely no man ever found glory in such a peck of troubles as Paul has here recounted. His list should shame us all today who are disposed to find fault with our lot.

That which presseth upon me daily (η επιστασις μοι η κατ ημερανhē epistasis moi hē kath' hēmeran). For this vivid word επιστασιςepistasis see note on Acts 24:12, the only other place in the N.T. where it occurs. It is like the rush of a mob upon Paul.

Anxiety for all the churches (η μεριμνα πασων των εκκλησιωνhē merimna pasōn tōn ekklēsiōn). Objective genitive after μεριμναmerimna (distractions in different directions, from μεριζωmerizō) for which word see Matthew 13:22. Paul had the shepherd heart. As apostle to the Gentiles he had founded most of these churches.


Verse 29

I burn (πυρουμαιpuroumai). Present passive indicative of πυροωpuroō old verb to inflame (from πυρpur fire). When a brother stumbles, Paul is set on fire with grief.


Verse 30

The things that concern my weakness (τα της αστενειας μουta tēs astheneias mou). Like the list above.


Verse 31

I am not lying (ου πσευδομαιou pseudomai). The list seems so absurd and foolish that Paul takes solemn oath about it (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:23). For the doxology see note on Romans 1:25, note on Romans 9:5.


Verse 32

The governor under Aretas (ο ετναρχης αρεταho ethnarchēs Hareta). How it came to pass that Damascus, ruled by the Romans after b.c. 65, came at this time to be under the rule of Aretas, fourth of the name, King of the Nabatheans (2 Maccabees 5:8), we do not know. There is an absence of Roman coins in Damascus from a.d. 34 to 62. It is suggested (Plummer) that Caligula, to mark his dislike for Antipas, gave Damascus to Aretas (enemy of Antipas).

Guarded (επρουρειephrourei). Imperfect active of προυρεωphroureō old verb (from προυροςphrouros a guard) to guard by posting sentries. In Acts 9:24 we read that the Jews kept watch to seize Paul, but there is no conflict as they cooperated with the guard set by Aretas at their request.

To seize (πιασαιpiasai). Doric first aorist active infinitive of πιεζωpiezō (Luke 6:38) for which see note on Acts 3:7.


Verse 33

Through a window (δια τυριδοςdia thuridos). For this late word see note on Acts 20:9, the only N.T. example.

Was I let down (εχαλαστηνechalasthēn). First aorist passive of χαλαωchalaō the very word used by Luke in Acts 9:25.

In a basket (εν σαργανηιen sarganēi). Old word for rope basket whereas Luke (Acts 9:25) has εν σπυριδιen sphuridi (the word for the feeding of the 4,000 while κοπινοςkophinos is the one for the 5,000). This was a humiliating experience for Paul in this oldest city of the world whither he had started as a conqueror over the despised Christians.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/2-corinthians-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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