2 Corinthians


8. Paul defends his ministry, 10:1-12:21

iii] The interlopers are identified and opposed


Paul now sets out to confront the slander emanating from the leaders of the opposition party. First he apologizes for his self-commendation, because in dealing with the slander of the opposition party he is bound to progress his own apologia, and so he hopes his readers will bear with him, certainly as easily as they bear with the interlopers. Sadly, many of the Corinthian believers have adopted a distorted gospel which has led them away from their sincere and pure devotion to Christ and this has personally affected Paul.


i] Context: See 10:1-11. We now come to what is known as Paul's Fool's Speech, 11:1-12:10. where, for the sake of the Corinthian's spiritual standing, Paul undertakes to boast illegitimately, foolishly, about his apostolic qualities, to boast "in an unspiritual fashion", ie., "as the world does." Paul's speech seems to present in two parts:

A refutation against the slander directed at Paul by the "false apostles", 11:1-15;

A presentation of his apostolic credentials, 11:16-12:10:

Paul's credentials and his experiences, 11:16-33;

Paul's vision and revelation, v12:1-6;

The thorn in the flesh, 12:7-10.


It is suggested by some commentators that chapters 10:1 to 12:18 stands as a separate piece of rhetoric, the exordium and narratio covering chapter ten, and the argumentatio covering 11:1-12:18, although with a reversal of the usual format, ie., proof / probatio followed by refutation. Here we have the refutation first, 11:1-15, followed by the proof, 11:16-12:18. Of course, there is some dispute as to where Paul's Fool's Speech ends, eg., Furnish, 12:13, Thrall, 12:18......


ii] Background: See 1:1-7.


iii] Structure: The interlopers and identified and opposed:

A personal appeal: Bear with me and not the leaders of the opposition group, v1-4.

A defense against the slander of the false apostles, v5-15:

The slander that Paul is a poor public speaker, v5-6;

The slander that Paul is unprofessional - he ministers free of charge, v7-9;

Paul affirms his pattern of ministry, v10-12;

The flawed character of the interlopers, v13-15.


iv] Interpretation:

In progressing his apologia, Paul denies that he is in any way inferior to the leaders of the opposition party (Judaizers, interlopers, missionaries, delegates from the circumcision party in Jerusalem??). They have suggested that he is a pathetic public speaker and that he is unprofessional. Paul answers this slander by pointing out that his knowledge of the gospel is second-to-none, and that although a public speaker would normally be compensated for their work, he applies Christian principles to his ministry and so acts with humility by offering the gospel free of charge. This "boast" is one Paul is unwilling to let go and one that will inevitably expose the interlopers for who they are. Those who criticize Paul's style of ministry are "false apostles"; as Satan masquerades as an angel of light, they masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will pay for actions.


Who are the Super-apostles? Some commentators are of the view that the "super-apostles" Paul refers to in this passage are not the leaders of the opposition party in Corinth, nor the representatives from the circumcision party in Jerusalem, the Judaizers, but are actually some of the apostles from Jerusalem, eg., Chrysostrom argued that Paul is referring to Peter, James and John. It does seem rather strange that Paul would class these "super-apostles" as his equals, 11:5, but then seemingly align them with false apostles who are servants of Satan, 11:13-15. The implication is that Paul has two groups in mind, the Jerusalem apostles and the leaders of the opposition party - the opposition party having formed around the visiting Jerusalem apostles. Yet, it is more likely that Paul is conceding that the interlopers are his equal, even his better, when it comes to oratory, but that in the end, they are "false apostles."


What is the heresy promoted by Paul's opponents? In 2 Corinthians, Paul confronts a challenge to his apostolic role in Corinth, a challenge which stems from a theological difference between Paul and the opposition party. Yet, although Paul confronts the challenge to his authority, he hardly touches on the theological issue which lies at the heart of the confrontation. In v4 we are given a rare insight into the theological position adopted by the opposition party - they proclaim another Jesus, and have received a different Spirit and gospel.

If this is not an ironic throwaway-line, one wonders why Paul doesn't go into more detail and expose the heresy rather than just focus on its proponents. Of course, he may already be planning to do just that. Paul's letter to the Romans presents as a refutation of heresy, a document composed during his stay in Corinth. One can well imagine Paul in the Corinthian congregation workshopping his argumentatio for full justification by grace apart from works.

So, when it comes to the heresy, these notes follow Plummer, Bruce, Barrett, etc. who see it as a law / grace issue, although more in terms of nomism than legalism, and certainly not in terms of the new perspective, of an obligation to maintain Jewish distinctiveness, so Dunn. Of course, other heresies have been proposed, eg., gnosticism, the incorporation into 1st./2nd. Christian thought of a Greek philosophical / religious tradition which claimed to possess secret knowledge that can unite the soul to the divine. This platonic heresy was of great concern to the Church Fathers, but of course, Romans is not a treatise against Gnosticism.

See further v4.


v] Homiletics: A gospel devoid of the Spirit

The message of those who "disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness", v15, is a gospel devoid of the Spirit (see notes on v4), and is inevitably no gospel. A sermon that examines the text of the chorus "Trust and Obey" from the perspective of Paul, but also James, can serve as a useful means of drawing out the sense of receiving "a different spirit from the Spirit you received."

"TRUST and OBEY for there is no other way to be HAPPY IN JESUS but to trust and obey." Would Luther happily sing this chorus?

Text - 11:1

Paul's confrontation with the false apostles, v1-15: i] A personal appeal: Bear with me and not the leaders of the opposition group, v1-4. "Please, will you put up with a bit of worldly boasting on my part. Please, just for a moment!"

ofelon (ofeilw) aor. part. "I hope" - hoping, wishing [that you were bearing with me in a certain small bit]. Best viewed as a periphrastic present construction with the verb to-be estin assumed, taking the sense "would that / O that / if only", so Harris, Long, BDF #67.2. "If only you would put up with me in a little bit of foolishness! Yes, do put up with me!", Harris.

afrosunhV (h) gen. "foolishness" - of foolishness. The genitive is adjectival, partitive, so Harris, Zerwick, although Long treats it as attributive, limiting the "certain small bit."

alla kai "Yes" - but and = indeed. The function of alla kai here depends on whether the verb anecesqe, "to bear with", is taken as an indicative or an imperative. If indicative then alla will be adversative and kai emphatic, "but indeed"; "well and good then, you do bear with me", Cassirer, so Barnett. If imperative then alla kai together will be emphatic, "indeed / yes indeed", as NIV, so Harris, Guthrie, Thrall, .. Most commentators and translation go with the imperative, so serving to underling the urgency of Paul's appeal. Paul will go on to explain why he has this sense of urgency.

mou gen. pro. "me" - [you do bear with] me. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to bear with."


Paul now explains why he asks the Corinthians to put up with some afrosunh, "foolishness" = worldly boasting on his part. He tells us that he acts this way because he is jealous for them with a god-like jealously. He then explains why he is jealous for them; he is jealous because he organized their betrothal to Christ. Then, he gives the purpose of this betrothal, namely that in the last day he might present the church to the Lord, a church pure and unsullied by false doctrine.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the Corinthians should bear with his "foolishness", "because I am jealous for you."

uJmaV pro. "for you" - [i am jealous] for you. Accusative of respect, "with respect to you."

zhlw/ (oV) dat. "with a [godly] jealousy" - in / with a jealousy. The dative is adverbial, modal, expressing manner, as NIV. "I love you with the same strength of emotion as God loves you."

qeou (oV) gen. "godly" - of god. The genitive could be taken as ablative, source / origin, "with a jealousy from God", which is derived from God, or adjectival, attributive, as NIV, "a divine jealousy."

gar "-" - for [i fitted together = betrothed you]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul is "jealous" of the Corinthians, namely, "because I arranged your betrothal." As their spiritual father / guardian Paul brought the Corinthians into a relationship with Christ and under his care has nurtured that relationship in order that in the last day he might present the church to Christ, not as a sullied bride (previously married, etc. = led astray by false doctrine), but as a pure virgin.

eni andri (hr roV) dat. "to one husband" - to one husband. Dative of indirect object.

tw/ Cristw/ (oV) dat. "to Christ" - [to present you a pure virgin] to christ. Dative of indirect object.

parasthsai (paristhmi) aor. inf. "so that I might present you" - The infinitive serves to introduce a propose clause, "in order that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ"


Paul has expressed his hope of presenting the Corinthian believers to Christ on the last day, in like manner to a father who presents his pure virgin daughter to the groom on the day of her wedding. Yet (de), Paul now expresses the fear that this hope is being undermined. He fears that the Corinthian believers are being led away from the simple purity of their love for Christ. Paul's gospel, grace is all, encapsulates such simple purity, as opposed to the pietists (Judaizers - the opposition party in Corinth??) who link blessing with law-obedience.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, here to a contrasting point.

mh pwV + subj. "[I am afraid] that" - [i fear] lest somehow that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul fears, as NIV. The negation mh indicates an undesired outcome. This construction is only found twice in the NT, here and in 12:20. "But my fear is that, just as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, so it might somehow come about that your thoughts should be corrupted and you might be led away from your single-minded devotion to Christ", Cassirer.

wJV "just as" - as, like. Here introducing a correlative comparative construction; "I fear, as Eve was deceived ....... so also you are being deceived."

en + dat. "by [the serpent's cunning]" - [the serpent deceived eve] in / by [the cunning of him]. Instrumental, expressing means.

to nohmata (a atoV) "[your] minds" - so also the thoughts [of you]. Referring to the thinking process, so "attitudes".

apo + gen. "from" - [should be led astray] from. Expressing separation; "away from."

thV aplothtoV (hV htoV) gen. "your sincerity" - the simplicity, single-mindedness / sincerity. Here probably "simplicity" rather than "sincerity".

thV agnothtoV (hV htoV) gen. "pure devotion" - [and] the purity. This variant is read by Furnish, Thrall, as NRSV, NIV, but not Martin, "a sincere commitment to Christ", as JB, REB.

thV gen. "-" - the [into christ]. The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase eiV ton Criston, "to Christ", into an adjectival modifier; "which is to Christ." The preposition eiV, may express reference / respect, "with respect to Christ", Long, or spacial, "in relation to Christ", Harris (eiV = en), or "toward Christ", Barnett.


Paul now explains why he is fearful; It seems that too many of the Corinthian believers readily accept the theology of the false teachers. Oh for more information, and this because the little we have prompts a plethora of theories as to the substance of their theology. One of the more satisfying arrangements of the three failings of the false teachers is that proposed by Barnett who makes the point that in the New Testament, the preaching of Christ is usually tied to the reception of the Spirit, and that together they entail the substance of the gospel - believe in Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit = the gospel. The gospel announces that the time for the fulfillment of the full appropriation of the promised blessings of the covenant (encapsulated in the gift of the Spirit) is realized through faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (his life-giving obedience to the Father on our behalf). Therefore, repent, believe, and receive.

It seems likely that the "super-apostles" have decoupled the promised blessings by the improper inclusion of works / law-obedience into the mix. So instead of

FAITH = RIGHTEOUSNESS = BLESSINGS = WORKS, the "super-apostles" teach


Their FAITH + WORKS formula decouples the BLESSINGS, creating a gospel that is no gospel, and this because the blessings are wholly a gift of grace, through faith, apart from works of the law.

We are reminded of Philip's ministry in Samaria where he preached and baptized, but there was no reception of the Spirit, and Peter and John had to travel from Jerusalem to sort things out, cf., Acts 8. It is more than likely that a lack of information was the problem, although Luke only mentions prayer and the laying on of hands. Apollos, Acts 18:24-28, is another example of someone who needed the "Way of God" explained more accurately. So also Paul's meeting with the disciples of John, Acts 19:1-7; they needed further information to enable the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses the core values of the gospel when he states that "no one is justified before God by the law, because, The righteous will live by faith", 3:11 - "live" in the sense of possess the new Spirit-life - "by faith we ... receive the promise of the Spirit", 3:14, "the full right of sons." Yet, Paul asks his readers whether "after beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort", 3:3. "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace", 5:4.

Paul is of the view that there are core values, which, without them, the gospel is no gospel, and thus is unable to provide access to the promised blessings of the covenant. These blessings (the new Spirit-life, life eternal) are gained when a person is judged right in the sight of God / justified by grace (the unbounded mercy of God) through faith (the faithfulness of Christ + the faith-response of the believer) apart from works of the law. For Paul, a gospel message devoid of these core values is no gospel; it promotes death, not life.

Given that Paul's general letter to the Romans argues this line, that it is composed some months after 2 Corinthians, and that it is written in Corinth, then it is more than likely that this is the heresy of the "super-apostles."

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul is fearful; "because ...."

ei men "if" - if, as is the case, [the one coming preaches another jesus whom we did not preach, or if you receive a another spirit which you did not receive, or if you receive another gospel which you did not receive] then [you are well patient (you easily put up with it)]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true, for argument sake / hypothetical (although actually real). The particle men here is emphatic, giving strength to the three part protasis of the conditional clause - in the second and third part ei is assumed.

oJ ercomenoV (ercomai) pres. mid. part. "someone comes to you" - the one coming. The participle serves as a substantive. The use of this verb here supports the view that the trouble makers are newcomers to the church - interlopers, missionaries, delegates from the circumcision party in Jerusalem???

allon adj. "other than [the Jesus we preached]" - [preaches] another [jesus whom we did not preach]. Note that although Paul mainly uses the singular throughout his Fool's Speech, he drops back into the royal plural / apostolic plural for "we did not preach."

h] "or if" - or. "If", ei, is assumed. The Gk., does not overly support the arrangement, Christ = Spirit, ie., gospel, given the presence of an equally balanced correlative construction, ei .. h] ... h], although structure doesn't overrule intent.

eJteron adj. "different [spirit]" - another [spirit you receive which you did not receive]. Probably the Holy Spirit is intended and therefore the comment has to be ironic. It is not possible to receive another Spirit, since there is only one Spirit, and so if the gospel a person responds to is not the gospel, and if the Christ they commit themselves to isn't the Christ of the New Testament, then the Spirit they receive is no Spirit, ie., nothing.

kalwV adv. "[you put up with it] easily enough" - [you are] well [patient (you easily put up with it)]. Modal adverb, "easily". The statement is ironic and best expressed as TEV, "You gladly tolerate anyone who comes to you and preaches a different Jesus, and not the one we preached; "Apparently you cheerfully accept a man who comes to you preaching a different Jesus from the one we told you about", Phillips.


ii] A defense against the slander of the false apostles, v5-15: a) Paul is no public speaker, v5-6.

gar "-" - for. More reason that cause, explanatory, although it only makes sense if there is an ellipsis; "You accept them, why not me? For / indeed, I do not think .....". It is possibly just serving as a transitional connective, indicating the next step in the argument, ie., standing in for de as it sometimes does.

mhden uJsterhkenai (uJsterew) perf. inf. "I am in the least inferior" - [i consider] nothing to lack. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul thinks; "I am not aware of being in any way inferior to those super-apostles", REB. Zerwick suggests that mhden, "no, nothing / no one", is an accusative of respect; "I do not consider, with respect to anyone, that I am inferior to these super-apostles." This seems unlikely, so "I hold that I am not one whit inferior to those precious apostles!", Moffatt. "Inferior" with respect to ministry skills.

twn ... apostolwn (oV) gen. "to those [super-]apostles" - of the [special] apostles. The genitive is ablative, of comparison. The adverb uJperlian, "outstanding, special", serves as an adjective. "Very special / superlative apostles"; the statement is ironic and refers to Paul's rivals in Corinth.


Paul does not see himself as inferior to the leaders of the opposition party, but he admits that he is idiwthV tw/ logw/, "untrained in word" = not a person trained in rhetoric, in public speaking in the Socratic tradition. Of course, Paul's point is 'so what?'; he possesses divine knowledge and is well able to communicate it. "It's true that I don't have their voice, haven't mastered that smooth eloquence that impresses you so much. But when I do open my mouth, I at least know what I'm talking about", Peterson.

kai "indeed" - [but/and] and. Ascensive; "even".

ei + ind. "-" - if, as is the case, [i lack skill in the word (I am not a professional orator trained in rhetoric), then (alla) i do not lack skill in knowledge, but in everything / everyway having communicated this among all to your benefit]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true, ie., Paul concedes that he may lack skill as a professional orator, but that he doesn't lack skill when it comes to the truth of the gospel, which truth he has communicated to the Corinthians for their benefit. The apodosis of the conditional clause, the then clause, is introduced by the first alla and presents as a counterpoint construction, ou .... alla, not this but that. The negation is a double negative, "not untrained in knowledge" = "I do have knowledge." Although Paul concedes that he is not skilled in rhetoric, his letters indicate that he knows the art-form well enough.

tw/ logw/ (oV) "as a speaker" - in word. As with "in knowledge", dative of reference / respect; "with respect to public speaking", "with respect to theology."

fanerwsanteV (fanerow) aor. part. "we have made this perfectly clear" - having communicated, manifested, revealed. Berkeley takes the participle as adjectival, "I certainly do not lack knowledge, which we have in every way", but the participle doesn't agree with the dative "knowledge". It seems more likely that we have another periphrastic construction with the verb to-be assumed, as NIV.

en + dat. "-" - in [all]. Probably local, space; "among all people."

eiV + acc. "to [you]" - Spacial / direction.

en + dat. "in [every way]" - The preposition here is adverbial, modal, expressing manner, as NIV.


b) The slander that Paul is unprofessional - he ministers free of charge, v7-9. As well as being an inferior public speaker, Paul is charged with causing offense, accepting support from the Macedonian churches, but not from Corinth. Of course, the problem may be more than just causing personal offense, it can be viewed as unprofessional behavior in not accepting a stipend for services rendered. Paul's "self-humbling was for the sake of his converts and so for the better progress of the gospel", Thrall.

h] "-" - or. The particle here serves to introduce a rhetorical question, so BAGD 342b, as NIV; "Did I commit a sin .....? NRSV.

tapeinwn (tapeinow) pres. part. "to lower [myself]" - [did i do = commit a sin] humbling [myself]. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, "by humbling myself."

iJna + subj. "in order to" - that. Serving to introduce a final clause expressing purpose, as NIV; "so that you might be exalted", ESV. Possibly, "so that you might be richer", but it is more likely that spiritual enrichment is in Paul's mind.

uJmeiV pro. "you" - you [might be elevated, exalted, lifted up]. The pronoun is emphatic by use; "that you indeed may be elevated", Barnett.

oJti "by [preaching the gospel]" - because [i proclaimed]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why he supposedly committed a sin; "because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge", ESV. It is possible that here oJti is epexegetic, introducing an explanation of the supposed sin, "in that ....", as NIV, so Harris.

tou qwou (oV) "of God" - [the gospel] of god. The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin, but it may be taken as verbal, subjective.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

dwrean adv. "free of charge" - freely = without charge? Modal adverb expressing manner. "I wonder, did I make a big mistake proclaiming (communicating) God's message to you without asking for something in return?", Peterson.


Paul continues to assert his affection for the Corinthians by not only ministering in Corinth without seeking a stipend, but by looking for support beyond Corinth (Macedonia, in particular Philippi) so as not to burden the Corinthian believers with his upkeep, so Barnett. The construction of v6 and 7 indicates a contrast, so Harris; instead of accepting a stipend from the Corinthians he looked to the Macedonian church for support.

esulhsa (sulaw) aor. "I robbed" - i plundered [other churches]. The word is a strong one with a military background. Obviously figurative and ironic, unless this is part of the accusation against Paul, of Paul raiding the funds of others when he should be looking to the Corinthians to fund their own teaching ministry, or even, he used his claim to offer the gospel free of charge as a pretext for fleecing other churches.

labwn (lambanw) aor. part. "by receiving [support for them]" - having taken [wages]. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means.

proV + acc. "so as to" - for. Here expressing purpose; "in order to serve you", ESV.

uJmwn gen. pro. "you" - [the service] of you. The genitive is verbal, objective; "in order to minister to you."


Specifically referring to the time when he first ministered the gospel in Corinth, Paul reminds his readers that he wasn't a financial burden to them. According to the Acts record, he plied his trade as a tent maker, Acts 18:3, cf., 1Cor.4:12. Any extra support he needed came from "the brothers who came from Macedonia" (Timothy and Titus???). So, back then he wasn't a burden, and he will not be a burden to them when he visits soon.

parwn (pareimi) pres. part. "when I was" - being, being present. The participle, as with uJsterhqeiV, "having been lacking", is adverbial, temporal, as NIV. "When I was staying with you and found myself in want", Cassirer.

proV acc. "with [you]" - toward [you, and having been lacking, i did not burden no one]. Here the preposition expresses association, as NIV.

gar "for" - because [the brothers having come from macedonia made up the lack of me]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why he wasn't a burden.

elqonteV (ercomai) aor. part. "who came]" - having come. Although anarthrous (without an article), the NIV, as with most translations, takes the participle as adjectival, attributive, limiting "brothers"; "my needs were supplied by the friends who came from Macedonia", NRSV. Possibly adverbial, temporal, so Long; "the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied all my needs."

kai .... kai "..... and ...." - and [in every way i kept myself not burdensome to you], and [i will keep]. Correlative construction, "both this and that."

abarh (hV eV) "from being a burden" - Complement of the direct object "myself" in a double accusative construction.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.

en + dat. "in [any way]" - in all, every way. Here the preposition is adverbial, modal, expressing manner; "I have not been a burden in the past, and I will never be a burden", CEV.


c) Paul affirms his pattern of ministry, v10-12. When it comes to the principle of offering the gospel free of charge, Paul affirms its validity in the form of an oath, v10. For Paul, offering the gospel free of charge is his "boast", his self recommendation, something of which he is proud, and it is a boast that ou graghsetai, "will not be silenced." Thrall notes an inconsistency here, given that Paul has already made the point that the only boast worth anything is one "of the Lord." As part of his Fools Speech Paul seems willing to offer up his own credentials to counter the boasting of his opponents.

Cristou (oV) gen. "[the truth] of Christ" - [truth] of christ [is]. It seems likely that these words serve to introduce an oath, which would then make the genitive adjectival, possessive, rather than verbal, subjective, "truth given by Christ", Harris, so "Christ's truth"; "By the truth of Christ in me", Phillips.

en + dat. "in me" - in me. Local, sphere.

oJti "-" - that. Serving to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech, here expressing the content of the oath; "this boast of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia", Barnett.

thV AcaiaV (a) gen. "[the regions] of Achaia" - [in the regions] of achia. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / local; "the districts which are located in the province of Achaia."

eiV + acc. "of mine" - [this boasting] to, into [me will not be silenced]. Here expressing advantage, as NIV.


Paul now identifies the motivation for his actions. It is not out of disregard for the Corinthians that Paul has refused to accept their support (an idea encouraged by his opponents, the intruders / missionaries / delegates ...???), but because he loves them.

dia ti "Why?" - because why? The dia is used to strengthen the interrogative ti, "why"; emphatic. "Why is that?", Cassirer.

oJti "because" - because [i do not love you? god knows]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul's "boast" "will not be silenced." "Because I have no love for you? God knows that I have", Cassirer.


Paul's "boast" (his practice of offering the gospel free of charge) stems from love, but it also serves to undermine any advantage his opponents thought they may possess over him. It seems likely that the leaders of the opposition party accept support from the Corinthian church; by not accepting support, Paul is able to claim ethical superiority. Harris is of the view that the super-apostles "wanted to goad Paul to alter his policy and accept support so that the embarrassing difference between them could be eradicated." Contra Meyer who argued that the issue is one of greed, Paul having been slandered by his opponents. Paul is therefore careful when it comes to the offer of financial support.

de "-" - but/and [what i do]. Here most likely as a transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument.

kai "and" - and = also [i will do]. Probably adjunctive; "what I do I will also do" = "what I am doing I will continue to do", ESV.

iJna + subj. "in order" - that. Serving to introduce a purpose clause, "in order that", as NIV.

thn aformhn (h) "[I may cut] the ground [from under]" - [i may cut off] the ground, basis / opportunity, pretext / favorable circumstance. The sense "ground / basis" seems best, as NIV, // 5:12, the basis of the Corinthians pride in Paul. "In order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that ...", RSV.

twn qelontwn (qelw) gen. pres. part. "of those who want [an opportunity]" - of the ones wanting [a basis, opportunity]. The participle serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, possessive.

iJna + subj. "to be [considered]" - that [they may be found in which they boast]. Here introducing an epexegetic clause specifying the "basis / ground = claim", namely, "that they work in the same way that we do", TEV, ie., that their vaunted apostleship should be viewed on the same level as Paul's. Paul again moves to the plural, most likely an apostolic plural = "we apostles."

kaqwV "equal [with us]" - as [also we]. Comparative, with the kai being adjunctive, "also".

en + dat. "in" - in [which they boast]. It seems likely that the preposition serves to introduce an adverbial clause, reference / respect, "with respect to the things that they boast about", possibly even temporal, "while they boast", so Barrett, see Mk.2:19, Jn.5:7. What are they boasting about? Martin suggests their boast is that Corinth is their legitimate field of operation, but given what Paul says in this verse, their boast is that they are apostles, just as Paul is an apostle, and probably on a higher scale, given their oratorial skills.


d) The flawed character of the interlopers, v13-15. Paul now cuts to the chase and labels the super-apostles as false-apostles.

gar "for" - for [such ones are false apostles]. Probably serving here as a transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument and so best left untranslated. "They are sham apostles", Berkeley.

dolioi adj. "deceitful" - deceitful [workers]. Nominative in apposition to "false apostles." Numerous translations are proposed, often leaning toward "dishonest", but better toward the sense of the NIV; "industrious schemers", Isaacs.

metaschmatizomenoi (metaschmatizw) pres. mid. part. "masquerading" - transforming self = masquerading. Although anarthrous, the participle is best treated as adjectival, attributive, introducing an attributive modifier of the noun "industrious schemers"; "who masquerade as apostles of Christ." Moffatt opts for a periphrastic construction with the verb to be assumed; "- they are masquerading as apostles of Christ." Other possibilities offer themselves; see Long.

eiV "as" - into [apostles]. Probably purpose / end-view, "with a view to presenting themselves as apostles of Christ", possibly as wJV, "as if apostles of Christ, cf., v15." "Posing as Christ's agents, but sham to the core", Peterson.

Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.


Paul argues that the presence of false teachers in a congregation, industrious schemers who present as if apostles of Christ, particularly in this case, teachers with skills in oratory, should not be a matter of wonder, a matter of surprise, given that Satan presents as an angel of light.

gar "for" - [and no wonder] for [satan himself masquerades]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why it should not be a matter of surprise to the reader that false-apostles can be found within a Christian congregation, "because ....."

fwtoV (wV wtoV) gen. "[an angel] of light" - [into = as / as if an angel] of light. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "angel"; "presents as if a good angel / a godly angel."


Paul has charged that the leaders of the opposition party masquerade as apostles of Christ. Now he goes a step further by charging that these so called "servants of righteousness" are none other than the servants of Satan, agents sent to undermine Paul's gospel ministry. They will share the same end as their master. This is a strong charge to bring against someone and really the only time Paul makes such a charge against his rivals. Clearly he is angry, but his words are used with persuasive intent and so he is probably not calling them satanic / possessed, but rather that their actions are placing them in Satan's camp, a camp they need to vacate before it's too late.

oun "[is is not surprising] then" - therefore [it is no great thing]. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion; "so it is nothing extraordinary if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness", Berkeley.

ei + ind. "if" - if, as is the case, [the servants of him also masquerade like = as if servants of righteousness, then ....]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true.

autou gen. pro. "his [servants]" - the genitive is adjectival, possessive.

wJV "as" - like. Comparative, "as if", now used instead of eiV, v13.

dikaiosunhV (h) "of righteousness" - The genitive is adjectival, possibly just a simple attributive, "righteous / upright servants / ministers", but it may be more descriptive / idiomatic indicating something significant about the interlopers, "servants / ministers who proclaim the righteousness of the Law", ie., Judaizers, "agents of legal righteousness", so Barrett.

w|n gen. pro. "their [end]" - then [the end] of whom [will be]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

kata + acc. "what [their actions deserve]" - according to [the words of them]. Expressing a standard; "they will get exactly what their actions deserve", TEV.


2 Corinthians Introduction

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