2 Corinthians 11:23
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.

King James Bible
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

Darby Bible Translation
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as being beside myself) I above measure so; in labours exceedingly abundant, in stripes to excess, in prisons exceedingly abundant, in deaths oft.

World English Bible
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

Young's Literal Translation
ministrants of Christ are they? -- as beside myself I speak -- I more; in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths many times;

2 Corinthians 11:23 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Are they ministers of Christ? - Though Jews by birth yet they claimed to be the ministers of the Messiah.

I speak as a fool - As if he had said, "Bear in mind, in what I am now about to say, that he who speaks is accused of being a fool in boasting. Let it not be deemed improper that I should act in this character, and since you regard me as such, let me speak like a fool." His frequent reminding them of this charge was eminently suited to humble them that they had ever made it, especially when they were reminded by an enumeration of his trials, of the character of the man against whom the charge was brought.

I am more - Paul was not disposed to deny that they were true ministers of Christ. But he had higher claims to the office than they had. He had been called to it in a more remarkable manner, and he had shown by his labors and trials that he had more of the true spirit of a minister of the Lord Jesus than they had. He therefore goes into detail to show what he had endured in endeavoring to diffuse the knowledge of the Saviour; trials which the had borne probably while they had been dwelling in comparative ease, and in a comfortable manner, free from suffering and persecution.

In labors more abundant - In the kind of labor necessary in propagating the gospel. Probably he had now been engaged in the work a much longer time than they had, and had been far more indefatigable in it.

In stripes - In receiving stripes; that is, I have been more frequently scourged; 2 Corinthians 11:24. This was a proof of his being a minister of Christ, because eminent devotedness to him at that time, of necessity subjected a man to frequent scourging. The ministry is one of the very few places, perhaps it stands alone in this, where it is proof of special qualification for office that a man has been treated with all manner of contumely, and has even been often publicly whipped. What other office admits such a qualification as this?

Above measure - Exceedingly; far exceeding them. He had received far more than they had, and he judged, therefore, that this was one evidence that he had been called to the ministry.

In prisons more frequent - In the Book of Acts , Luke mentions only one imprisonment of Paul before the time when this Epistle was written. That was at Philippi with Silas, Acts 16:23 ff. But we are to remember that many things were omitted by Luke. He does not profess to give an account of all that happened to Paul; and an omission is not a contradiction. For anything that Luke says, Paul may have been imprisoned often. He mentions his having been in prison once; he does not deny that he had been in prison many times besides; see on Acts 16:24.

In deaths oft - This is, exposed to death; or suffering pain equal to death; see on 2 Corinthians 1:9. No one familiar with the history of Paul can doubt that he was often in danger of death.

2 Corinthians 11:23 Parallel Commentaries

Letter ii (A. D. 1126) to the Monk Adam
To the Monk Adam [3] 1. If you remain yet in that spirit of charity which I either knew or believed to be with you formerly, you would certainly feel the condemnation with which charity must regard the scandal which you have given to the weak. For charity would not offend charity, nor scorn when it feels itself offended. For it cannot deny itself, nor be divided against itself. Its function is rather to draw together things divided; and it is far from dividing those that are joined. Now, if that
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Of this Weakness of His, He Saith in Another Place...
13. Of this weakness of his, he saith in another place, "We made ourselves small among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." [2510] For in that passage the context indicates this: "For neither at any time," saith he, "used we flattering words, as ye know, nor an occasion of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others when we might have been burdensome to you as the Apostles of Christ: but we made ourselves small among you, even as a nurse cherisheth
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

That the Ruler Should be a Near Neighbour to Every one in Compassion, and Exalted Above all in Contemplation.
The ruler should be a near neighbour to every one in sympathy, and exalted above all in contemplation, so that through the bowels of loving-kindness he may transfer the infirmities of others to himself, and by loftiness of speculation transcend even himself in his aspiration after the invisible; lest either in seeking high things he despise the weak things of his neighbours, or in suiting himself to the weak things of his neighbours he relinquish his aspiration after high things. For hence it is
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Laboring under Difficulties
While Paul was careful to set before his converts the plain teaching of Scripture regarding the proper support of the work of God, and while he claimed for himself as a minister of the gospel the "power to forbear working" (1 Corinthians 9:6) at secular employment as a means of self-support, yet at various times during his ministry in the great centers of civilization he wrought at a handicraft for his own maintenance. Among the Jews physical toil was not thought strange or degrading. Through Moses
Ellen Gould White—The Acts of the Apostles

Cross References
Jeremiah 36:5
Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, "I am restricted; I cannot go into the house of the LORD.

Acts 9:16
for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

Acts 16:23
When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;

Romans 8:36

1 Corinthians 3:5
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

1 Corinthians 4:9
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

1 Corinthians 4:11
To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;

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