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Verse 23. 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 feel 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 fitted 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 one 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 labours 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 endeavouring to diffuse the knowledge of the Saviour—trials which he had borne probably while they had been dwelling in comparative ease, and in a comfortable manner, free from suffering and persecution.

In labours more abundant. In the kind of labour 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 Co 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 peculiar qualification for office that's 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. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, mentions only one imprisonment of Paul before the time when this epistle was written. That was at Philippi, with Silas, Ac 16:23; seq. 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 Barnes "2 Co 11:24".


In deaths oft. That is, exposed to death; or suffering pain equal to death. See Barnes "2 Co 1:9".

No one familiar with the history of Paul can doubt that he was often in danger of death.

{*} "fool" "as one foolish" {a} "more abundant" 1 Co 15:10 {b} "above measure" Ac 9:16; 20:23; 21:11

{c} "deaths oft" 1 Co 15:30-32 {+} "oft" "often"

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