2 Corinthians 12:11-21 Signs of an Apostle

Because they had been exposed to boasting by the Judaizers, the Corinthians expected Paul to also boast about his accomplishments and more importantly, about the blessings bestowed upon the apostle by almighty God.

Instead of boasting about things that set him apart from other apostles, Paul’s boasting was aimed at glorifying God and edifying the saints throughout Corinth.

11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.

Paul blames the Corinthians for compelling him to boast, which he condemned of false teachers yet found himself boasting as well, though about his infirmities rather than the Judaizers’ claimed wealth or riches. Boasting should not have been necessary, instead Paul feels he should have been commended by the Corinthians for signs he performed while with them.

12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.”

Paul reminds the Corinthians of the signs and miracles performed by himself and other anointed teachers chosen by God during previous visits to the Greek region, proving his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

Paul asks the Corinthians for forgiveness based on the fact he had been teaching them for free, without asking or expecting compensation. This was contradictory with the Judaizers who were asking for wages for their teaching, as it was customary for teachers and philosophers to receive compensation for public speaking and teaching around that time.

14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Paul announces his willingness to visit corinth once again during which he will pursue the Corinthians’s heart, not their money. The apostle compares his relationship with the Corinthians as parent-child type whereas parents should look after their children, not the other way around. Paul would once again go against tradition and teach them free of charge.

15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning!

The apostle once again reiterates his love for the Corinthians and his burning desire to preach the gospel to them and lead them to Jesus Christ. Paul uses sarcasm to illustrate how he tricked the believers in Corinth into not supporting him financially instead, the apostle would rely on other churches for financial support.

17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

Paul establishes the fact neither he nor anyone sent by him, including Titus asked for compensation for his ministry. Unlike the Judaizers, the apostle and his fellow workers spread the good news about Jesus Christ free of charge, replying on God’s promise for food and shelter.

19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.”

By not charging a wage for their teaching, Paul and his ministers might have been regarded as rebellious. It was important for the apostle to justify their involvement meant for the Corinthians’ benefit rather than Paul’s.

20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.”

Paul calls on believers to repent of their sins before his next visit, or he was prepared to rebuke more aggressively in person than in this section of his letter. The apostle lists numerous human weaknesses for us to rid ourselves of before Christ’ second coming. Scripture tells us to guard ourselves as we prepare for Jesus’ to return like a thief in the night. Are you ready for His return? Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.