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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

2 Corinthians Chapter 11

2 Corinthians 11:1

co2 11:1


As my boasting may seem to you. Ironically spoken of that legitimate self-vindication demanded by the circumstances. Rev., foolishness.

Bear with me (ἀνέχεσθε)

Some render as indicative: ye do bear with me.

2 Corinthians 11:2

co2 11:2

I am jealous (ζηλῶ)

The translation is correct. The word is appropriate to the image which follows, in which Paul represents himself as the marriage-friend who has betrothed the bride to the bridegroom, and consequently shares the bridegroom's jealousy of his bride (see on Joh 3:29). Compare the Old-Testament passages in which God is represented as the spouse of His people: Isa 54:5; Isa 62:5; Jer 3:1; Eze 16:8; Hos 2:18, Hos 2:19. For the different senses of the word, see on envying, Jam 3:14. Theodoret's comment on the passage is: "I was your wooer for your husband, and the mediator of your marriage; through me you received the bridegroom's gifts; wherefore I am now affected with jealousy."

I have espoused (ἡρμοσάμην)

Only here in the New Testament. Lit., have fitted together. Used in the classics of carpenter's or joiner's work; of arranging music, tuning instruments, and fitting clothes or armor. As here, of betrothing or taking to wife. The Septuagint usage is substantially the same.


Compare Eph 5:27.

2 Corinthians 11:3

co2 11:3

The serpent

Paul's only allusion to the story of the serpent in Eden.


In accordance with the representation of the Church as the bride.

Simplicity that is in Christ

Rev. adds, and the purity, following Westcott and Hort's text. Simplicity, single-hearted loyalty. In Christ; better, as Rev., towards (εἰς).

2 Corinthians 11:4

co2 11:4

Another Jesus - another Spirit (ἄλλον - ἕτερον)

Rev., another Jesus, a different Spirit. See on Mat 6:24. Another denies the identity; a different denies the similarity of nature. It is the difference of "individuality and kind" (Alford). See on Gal 1:6, Gal 1:7.

Ye might well bear (καλῶς ἠνείχεσθε)

Following the reading which makes the verb in the imperfect tense, putting the matter as a supposed case. The Rev. follows the reading ἀνεχέσθε, present tense, and puts it as a fact: ye do well to bear. Lit., ye endure them finely. The expression is ironical. You gladly endure these false teachers, why do you not endure me?

2 Corinthians 11:5

co2 11:5

The very chiefest apostles (τῶν ὑπερλίαν ἀποστόλων) Lit., those who are preeminently apostles. Not referring to the genuine apostles, but ironically to the false teachers, the false apostles of Co2 11:13. Compare Co2 12:11. Farrar renders the extra-super apostles.

2 Corinthians 11:6

co2 11:6

Rude (ἰδίωτης)

See on Co1 14:16.

Have been made manifest (φανερωθέντες)

The correct reading is φανερώσαντες, active voice, we have made it manifest.

2 Corinthians 11:7

co2 11:7

Abasing myself

By working at his trade.

Preached the Gospel - freely (δωρεὰν)

Gratuitously. Rev., for nought, is not an improvement, but is quite as ambiguous as freely. Without charge would be better. Paul's very self-denial in this matter had been construed to his injury by his opponents, as indicating his want of confidence in the Corinthian Church, and his making gain for himself under the guise of disinterestedness. It was also urged that a real apostle would not thus relinquish his right to claim subsistence from the Church. Hence his question, Did I commit a sin, etc.?

2 Corinthians 11:8

co2 11:8

I robbed (ἐσύλησα)

Only here in the New Testament, though it appears in the verb ἱεροσυλέω to commit sacrilege, Rom 2:22, and in ἱεροσύλοι robbers of churches, Act 19:37. Originally to strip off, as arms from a slain foe, and thence, generally, to rob, plunder, with the accompanying notion of violence. Paul thus strongly expresses the fact that he had accepted from other churches more than their share, that he might not draw on the Corinthians.

Wages (ὀψώνιον)

See on Rom 6:23.

2 Corinthians 11:9

co2 11:9

I was chargeable (κατενάρκησα)

Only in this epistle. From νάρκη numbness, deadness; also a torpedo or gymnotus, which benumbs whatever touches it. Compare Homer: "His hand grew stiff at the wrist" ("Iliad," viii., 328). Meno says to Socrates: "You seem to me both in your appearance and in your power over others, to be very like the flat torpedo-fish (νάρκῃ), who torpifies (ναρκᾶν ποιεῖ) those who come near him with the touch, as you have now torpified (ναρκᾶν) me, I think" (Plato, "Meno," 80). The compound verb used here occurs in Hippocrates in the sense of growing quite stiff. The simple verb occurs in the Sept., Gen 32:25, Gen 32:32, of Jacob's thigh, which was put out of joint and shrank. Compare Job 33:19. According to the etymology of the word, Paul would say that he did not benumb the Corinthians by his demand for pecuniary aid. Rev., rather mildly, I was not a burden.

2 Corinthians 11:10

co2 11:10

No man shall stop me of this boasting (ἡ καύχησις αὕτη οὐ φραγήσεται εἰς ἐμὲ)

Lit., this boasting shall not be blocked up as regards me. The boasting is that of preaching gratuitously. For the verb, compare Rom 3:19; Heb 11:33.

2 Corinthians 11:12

co2 11:12

I will do

Will continue to do; refuse to receive pay.

Cut off (ἐκκόψω)

Lit., cut out. See on Luk 13:7, and compare Rom 11:24.

Occasion (τὴν ἀφορμὴν)

The force of the article must be carefully noted; the particular occasion of fault-finding which concerned his pecuniary relations with the Corinthians. His refusal to receive pay cut out from among other causes of complaint this one.

They may be found even as we

I can find no satisfactory explanation of this clause, and will not attempt to add to the hopeless muddle of the commentators. It is evident that the false teachers had sought occasion for glorifying themselves in comparison with Paul; that they consequently caught eagerly at every pretext for disparaging him; and that this disparagement was in some way connected with Paul's refusal to receive compensation from the Corinthians. Further, that Paul's way of counteracting their attempts was by persisting in this refusal. The intimation in the last clause is apparently to the effect that by this course he will not only remove the occasion for attack, but that the result will show both his opponents and himself in their true light. Compare find and be found, Co2 12:20.

2 Corinthians 11:13

co2 11:13

Transforming themselves (μετασχηματιζόμενοι)

Rev., better, fashioning, thus preserving the distinctive force of σχῆμα outward fashion, which forms part of the compound verb. See on Mat 17:2; see on Co1 4:6.

2 Corinthians 11:14

co2 11:14


See on Luk 10:18. The rabbinical writings represent the devil rather as the enemy of man than of God or of good. They use none of the New-Testament names for the Evil One except Satan, and contain no mention of a kingdom of Satan. Edersheim says: "Instead of the personified principle of evil to which there is response in us - we have only a clumsy and often a stupid hater." It is also to be observed that in the Septuagint the usage is limited to the enemy of man, as is that of διάβολος devil by which Satan is translated. See Ch1 21:1; Est 7:4; Est 8:1; Psa 108:1-13 :(109) Psa 108:5; Job 1:6; Zac 3:1, Zac 3:2.

2 Corinthians 11:17

co2 11:17

Confidence (ὑποστάσει)

See on Co2 9:4.

2 Corinthians 11:20

co2 11:20

Bringeth you into bondage (καταδουλοῖ)

Only here and Gal 2:4, where it is used of the efforts of the Jewish party to bring the christian Church under the ceremonial law. Compare Gal 5:1.

Devour (κατεσθίει)

Your property. Compare Mat 23:14.

Take (λαμβάνει)

A.V. supplies of you, evidently with reference to property, which has already been touched upon in devour. The meaning is to take as a prey, as Luk 5:5.

Exalteth himself (ἐπαίρεται)

As Co2 10:5. It is noticeable that these are the only two instances out of nineteen in the New Testament where the word is used figuratively.

Smite you on the face

The climax of insult. Compare Mat 5:39; Luk 22:64; Act 23:2. Also the injunction to a bishop not to be a striker, Ti1 3:3; Tit 1:7. Stanley notes the decree of the Council of Braga, a.d. 675, that no bishop, at his will and pleasure, shall strike his clergy.

2 Corinthians 11:21

co2 11:21

As concerning reproach (κατὰ ἀτιμίαν)

Better, Rev., by way of disparagement. Intensely ironical. Yes, you have borne with these enslavers and devourers and smiters. I could never ask you to extend such toleration to me. I speak as one without position or authority, having shown myself weak as you know.

I speak foolishly (ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ)

Rev., in foolishness. My pretensions are equal to theirs, but, of course, it is folly to advance them, and they amount to nothing. Yet, even speaking in this foolish way, I possess every qualification on which they plume themselves.

2 Corinthians 11:22

co2 11:22


See on Act 6:1.


See on Act 3:12, and compare Phi 3:5, and the phrase Israel of God, Gal 6:16, and an Israelite indeed, Joh 1:48.

Seed of Abraham

Compare Mat 3:9; Joh 8:33; Rom 9:7; Rom 11:1; Gal 3:16; Heb 2:16. The three names are arranged climactically, Hebrews pointing to the nationality; Israelites to the special relation to God's covenant; seed of Abraham to the messianic privilege. Compare with the whole, Phi 3:4, Phi 3:5.

2 Corinthians 11:23

co2 11:23

Ministers of Christ

Referring to his opponents' claim to have a closer connection with Christ than he had. See the note on Co1 1:12.

As a fool (παραφρονῶν)

Only here in the New Testament. See the kindred παραφρονία madness, Pe2 2:16. Lit., being beside myself Rev., as one beside myself. This expression is stronger than that in Co2 11:21, because the statement which it characterizes is stronger. Up to this point Paul has been asserting equality with the other teachers. Now he asserts superiority "I more;" and ironically characterizes this statement from their stand-point as madness.

More abundant (περισσοτέρως)

Lit., more abundantly, as Rev.

Stripes above measure (ὑπερβαλλόντως)

This peculiar form of suffering is emphasized by details. He specifies three Roman scourgings, and five at the hands of the Jews. Of the former, only one is recorded, that at Philippi (Act 16:22, Act 16:23. See on Act 22:25), and none of the latter. The Jewish scourge consisted of two thongs made of calf's or ass's skin, passing through a hole in a handle. Thirteen blows were inflicted on the breast, thirteen on the right, and thirteen on the left shoulder. The law in Deu 25:3 permitted forty blows, but only thirty-nine were given, in order to avoid a possible miscount. During the punishment the chief judge read aloud Deu 28:58, Deu 28:59; Deu 29:9; Psalm 68:38, 39. The possibility of death under the infliction was contemplated in the provision which exonerated the executioner unless he should exceed the legal number of blows. Paul escaped Roman scourging at Jerusalem on the ground of his Roman citizenship. It is not related that he and Silas urged this privilege at Philippi until after the scourging. It is evident from the narrative that they were not allowed a formal hearing before the magistrates; and, if they asserted their citizenship, it may have been that their voices were drowned by the mob. That this plea did not always avail appears from the case cited by Cicero against Verres, that he scourged a Roman citizen in spite of his continued protest under the scourge, "I am a Roman citizen" (see on Act 16:37), and from well-known instances of the scourging of even senators under the Empire.


At Philippi, and other places not recorded.


Perils of death, as at Damascus, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Thessalonica, Beroea.

2 Corinthians 11:25

co2 11:25

Beaten with rods

Roman scourgings.


At Lystra, Act 14:19.

Thrice I suffered shipwreck

The shipwreck at Malta, being later, is, of course, not referred to; so that no one of these three is on record.

A night and a day (νυχθήμερον)

A compound term occurring only here in the New Testament, and rarely in later Greek.

Have I been in the deep (ἐν τῷ βυθῷ πεποίηκα)

Lit., I have made (spent) a night and a day in the deep. For a similar use of ποιέω to make, see Act 15:33; Act 18:23; Act 20:3; Jam 4:13. βυθός bottom or depth occurs only here. Of the event itself there is no record.

2 Corinthians 11:26

co2 11:26

Perils of rivers

From the sudden swelling of mountain streams or flooding of dry water-courses. "The rivers of Asia Minor, like all the rivers in the Levant, are liable to violent and sudden changes, and no district in Asia Minor is more singularly characterized by its water-floods than the mountainous tract of Pisidia, where rivers burst out at the bases of huge cliffs, or dash down wildly through narrow ravines" (Conybeare and Howson, i., ch. 6).


The tribes inhabiting the mountains between the table-land of Asia Minor and the coast were notorious for robbery. Paul may have encountered such on his journey to the Pisidian Antioch, Act 13:14.

Mine own countrymen

Conspiracies of the Jews at Damascus, Lystra, Thessalonica, Beroea, etc.

The Gentiles

As at Philippi and Ephesus.

False brethren

Judaizing Christians, as Gal 2:4.

2 Corinthians 11:27

co2 11:27


See on Co2 6:5.

2 Corinthians 11:28

co2 11:28

Those things that are without (τῶν παρεκτὸς)

Some explain, external calamities; others, the things which are left out in the enumeration, as Mat 5:32; Act 26:29. Better, the latter, so that the literal meaning is, apart from the things which are beside and outside my enumeration: or, as Alford, not to mention those which are beside these. The word does not occur in classical Greek, and no instance of its usage in the former sense occurs in the New Testament or in the Septuagint. See Rev., margin.

That which cometh upon me (ἐπισύστασις)

Lit., a gathering together against. Both here and Act 24:12, the best texts read ἐπίστασις onset. Rev., that which presseth upon me. "The crowd of cares."

Farrar remarks upon Co2 11:23-28, that it is "the most marvelous record ever written of any biography; a fragment beside which the most imperiled lives of the most suffering saints shrink into insignificance, and which shows us how fractional at the best is our knowledge of the details of St. Paul's life." Eleven of the occurrences mentioned here are not alluded to in Acts.

2 Corinthians 11:29

co2 11:29


With sorrow over the stumbling or with indignation over the cause. This and Co1 7:9 are the only instances in which the word is used figuratively.

2 Corinthians 11:30

co2 11:30

The things which concern mine infirmities (τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μοῦ)

He will be attested as a true apostle by the sufferings which show his weakness, which make him contemptible in his adversaries' eyes, and not by the strength of which his opponents boast.

2 Corinthians 11:31

co2 11:31

Blessed, etc.

See on Rom 9:5, and compare Rom 1:25.

2 Corinthians 11:32

co2 11:32

The governor (ἐθνάρχης)

Only here in the New Testament. A governor ruling in the name of a king: a prefect.


Or Hareth, the father-in-law of Herod Antipas. Hs capital was the rock-city of Petra, the metropolis of Arabia Petraea. Herod's unfaithfulness to his daughter brought on a quarrel, in which Herod's army was defeated, to the great delight of the Jews. The further prosecution of the war by Roman troops was arrested by the death of Tiberius, and it is supposed that Caligula assigned Damascus as a free gift to Aretas.

Kept with a garrison (ἐφρούρει)

Imperfect tense, was maintaining a constant watch. Compare Act 9:24 : They watched the gates day and night.

To apprehend (πιάσαι)

See on Act 3:7.

2 Corinthians 11:33

co2 11:33

Through a window (διὰ θυρίδος)

Only here and Act 20:9. Diminutive of θύρα a door. The same expression is used in Sept., Jos 2:15, of the escape of the spies from Jericho, and Sa1 19:12, of David's escape from Saul by the aid of Michal.

Basket (σαργάνῃ)

Lit., braided work; a rope-basket or hamper. Luke, in his narrative of the incident, uses σπυρίς, for which see on Mat 14:20.

Next: 2 Corinthians Chapter 12