Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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.

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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 wishes to refute those who called themselves the disciples of Peter, and other apostles. (Calmet)

Ver. 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. Chrysostom in many places, and St. Augustine, lib. iv. de Doct. Christiana, 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)

Ver. 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 form 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 16. &c. Otherwise take me as one foolish. St. Paul divers times excuses himself for mentioning things 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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)

Ver. 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.

Ver. 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. 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)

Ver. 28. My daily instance. The labours that come in, and press upon me every day. (Challoner)


[1] Ver. 25. Nocte et die in profundo maris sui, en to butho pepoieka.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

He is forced to commend himself and his labours, lest the Corinthians should be imposed upon by the false apostles.

1 Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do, bear with me:

2 For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

3 But I fear lest, *as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity which is in Christ.

4 For if he that cometh, preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel, which you have not received: you might well bear with him.

5 For I suppose that I have done nothing less than the great apostles.

6 For though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but in all things, we have been made manifest to you.

7 Or did I commit a fault, abasing myself, that you might be exalted? Because I have preached to you the gospel of God gratis?

8 I have taken from other churches, receiving wages of them to serve you.

9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was burthensome to no man: for that which was wanting to me, the brethren supplied who came from Macedonia; and in all things I have kept myself without being a burthen to you, and so I will keep myself.

10 The truth of Christ is in me, that this glory shall not be stopt in me in the regions of Achaia.

11 Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth it.

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off the occasion from them that desire occasion, that in what they glory, they may be found even as we.

13 For such false apostles are deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

14 And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as the ministers of justice: whose end shall be according to their works.

16 I say again, (let no man think me to be foolish, otherwise take me as one foolish, that I also may glory a little.)

17 That which I speak, I speak not according to God, but as it were in foolishness, in this matter of glorying.

18 Seeing that many glory according to the flesh, I will glory also.

19 For you gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise.

20 For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be extolled, if a man strike you on the face.

21 I speak according to dishonour, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man is bold, (I speak foolishly) I am bold also.

22 They are Hebrews: so am I. They are Israelites: so am I. They are the seed of Abraham: so am I.

23 They are the ministers of Christ: (I speak as one less wise) I am more: in many more labours, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

24 Of the Jews *five times did I receive forty stripes, save one.

25 *Thrice was I beaten with rods, **once I was stoned, ***thrice I suffered shipwreck: a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea.

26 In journeying often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren.

27 In labour and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Besides those things that are without: my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I do not burn?

30 If I must needs glory: I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity.

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not.

32 *At Damascus, the governor of the nation, under Aretas, the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me:

33 And through a window in a basket I was let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands.



3: Genesis iii. 4.

24: Deuteronomy xxv. 3.

25: Acts xvi. 22. — ** Acts xiv. 18. — *** Acts xxvii. 41.

32: Acts ix. 24.