January 14, 2024

Paul’s Foolish Boasting, part 2

Passage: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

2 Cor 11:22-33 amounts to Paul’s resume. His purpose in describing all these experiences is that he wants to prove to his readers that he is a genuine apostle and that the church should retain its loyalty to him and to the Gospel, and not to the false teachers.

I mentioned last week that Paul’s frustration with the people of the church is showing through in this section of the book. He seems to be really disappointed that the people of the church are putting up with these false teachers. So he uses some rather severe language here in an effort to show how foolish it is to follow the false teachers.

In fact, he admits (.17) that he’s speaking “not according to the Lord.” That is, he knows that he’s not following Jesus’ example of meekness or gentleness (cf. 10:1). He’s defending himself in a way that Jesus never did—“according to the flesh” (.18). He’s speaking foolishly and not in a Christ-like manner. But he’s resorting to this kind of language in an effort to get through to the people of the church. They “put up with fools gladly” (.19), so Paul is going to act the part of a fool so they’ll listen to him. And part of that foolishness is boldly boasting about his experiences in serving the Lord (.18).

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