New American Standard Bible
I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
King James Bible
I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
Darby Bible Translation
I have become a fool; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended by you; for I have been nothing behind those who were in surpassing degree apostles, if also I am nothing.
World English Bible
I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best apostles, though I am nothing.
Young's Literal Translation
I have become a fool -- boasting; ye -- ye did compel me; for I ought by you to have been commended, for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles -- even if I am nothing.
2 Corinthians 12:11 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
I am become a fool in glorying - The meaning of this expression I take to be this. "I have been led along in speaking of myself until I admit I appear foolish in this kind of boasting. It is folly to do it, and I would not have entered on it unless I had been driven to it by my circumstances and the necessity which was imposed on me of speaking of myself." Paul doubtless desired that what he had said of himself should not be regarded as an example for others to follow. Religion repressed all vain boasting and self-exultation; and to prevent others from falling into a habit of boasting, and then pleading his example as an apology, he is careful to say that he regarded it as folly; and that he would by no means have done it if the circumstances of the case had not constrained him. If, anyone, therefore, is disposed to imitate Paul in speaking of himself and what he has done, let him do it only when he is in circumstances like Paul, and when the honor of religion and his usefulness imperiously demand it; and let him not forget that it was the deliberate conviction of Paul that boasting was the characteristic of a fool!
Ye have compelled me - You have made it necessary for me to vindicate my character and to state the evidence of my divine commission as an apostle.
For I ought to have been commended of you - By you. Then this boasting, so foolish, would have been unnecessary. What a delicate reproof! All the fault of this foolish boasting was theirs. They knew him intimately. They had derived great benefits from his ministry, and they were bound in gratitude and from a regard to right and truth to vindicate him. But they had not done it; and hence, through their fault, he had been compelled to go into this unpleasant vindication of his own character.
For in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles - Neither in the evidences of my call to the apostolic office (see 1 Corinthians 9:1 ff); nor in the endowments of the Spirit; nor in my success; nor in the proofs of a divine commission in the power of working miracles; see the note on 2 Corinthians 11:5.
Though I be nothing - This expression was either used in sarcasm or seriously. According to the former supposition it means, that he was regarded as nothing; that the false apostles spoke of him as a mere nothing, or as having no claims to the office of an apostle. This is the opinion of Clarke, and many of the recent commentators. Bloomfield inclines to this. According to the latter view, it is an expression of humility on the part of Paul, and is designed to express his deep sense of his unworthiness in view of his past life - a conviction deepened by the exalted privileges conferred on him, and the exalted rank to which he had been raised as an apostle. This was the view of most of the early commentators. Doddridge unites the two. It is not possible to determine with certainty which is the true interpretation; but it seems to me that the latter view best accords with the scope of the passage, and with what we have reason to suppose the apostle would say at this time. It is true that in this discussion (2 Corinthians 10ff) there is much that is sarcastic. But in the whole strain of the passage before us he is serious. He is speaking of his sufferings, and of the evidences that he was raised to elevated rank as an apostle, and it is not quite natural to suppose that he would throw in a sarcastic remark just in the midst of this discussion. Besides, this interpretation accords exactly with what he says, 1 Corinthians 15:9; "For I am the least of all the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle." If this be the correct interpretation, then it teaches:
(1) That the highest attainments in piety are not inconsistent with the deepest sense of our nothingness and unworthiness.
(2) that the most distinguished favors bestowed on us by God are consistent with the lowest humility.
(3) that those who are most favored in the Christian life, and most honored by God, should not he unwilling to take a low place, and to regard and speak of themselves as nothing. Compared with God, what are they? - Nothing. Compared with the angels, what are they? - Nothing. As creatures compared with the vast universe, what are we? - Nothing. An atom, a speck. Compared with other Christians, the eminent saints who have lived before us, what are we? Compared with what we ought to be, and might be, what are we? - Nothing. Let a man look over his past life, and see how vile and unworthy it has been; let him look at God, and see how great and glorious he is; let him look at the vast universe, and see how immense it is; let him think of the angels, and reflect how pure they are; let him think of what he might have been, of how much more he might have done for his Saviour; let him look at his body, and think how frail it is, and how soon it must return to the dust; and no matter how elevated his rank among his fellow-worms, and no matter how much God has favored him as a Christian or a minister, he will feel, if he feels right, that he is nothing. The most elevated saints are distinguished for the deepest humility; those who are nearest to God feel most their distance; they who are to occupy the highest place in heaven feel most deeply that they are unworthy of the lowest.
I. Perhaps I can expound the text best if I first TURN IT THE OTHER WAY UP, and use it as a warning. When I am strong, then am I weak. Perhaps, while thinking of the text thus turned inside out, we shall be getting light upon it to be used when we view it with the right side outwards, and see that when we are weak, then we are strong. I am quite sure that some people think themselves very strong, and are not so. Their proud consciousness of fancied strength is the indication of a terrible weakness. …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 34: 1888
Introductory Note to Chapter iii. By the Editor
The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Christ Our Life.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
1 Corinthians 3:7
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
1 Corinthians 13:2
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 15:9
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
2 Corinthians 3:1
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
2 Corinthians 5:13
For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
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