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11. Paul and False Apostles

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 5For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 6But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. 7Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 8I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 10As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

16I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. 17That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 21I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23Are 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. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

1. Would that ye did bear with me. As he saw that the ears of the Corinthians were still in part pre-engaged, 793793     “Des propos des faux apostres;” — “By the speeches of the false apostles.” he has recourse to another contrivance, for he turns to express a wish, as persons do when they do not venture openly to entreat. 794794     “Ceux ausquels ilsont affaire;” — “Those with whom they have to do.” Immediately afterwards, however, as if gathering confidence, he nevertheless entreats the Corinthians to bear with his folly. He gives the name of folly to that splendid proclamation of his praises, which afterwards follows. Not as if he were a fool in glorying; for he was constrained to it by necessity, and besides, he restrained himself in such a manner, that no one could justly regard him as going beyond bounds; but as it is an unseemly thing to herald one’s own praises, and a thing that is foreign to the inclinations of a modest man, he speaks by way of concession.

What I have rendered in the imperative — bear with me, Chrysostom interprets as an affirmation, and certainly the Greek word is ambiguous, and either sense suits sufficiently well. As, however, the reasons that the Apostle subjoins are designed to induce the Corinthians to bear with him, and as we will find him afterwards expostulating with them again on the ground of their not conceding anything to him, I have followed the Old Interpreter. 795795     The rendering of the Vulgate is as follows: “Sed supportate me.” (“But bare with me.”) Wiclif (1380) reads: “But also supporte ye me.” Tyndale (1534) also renders in the imperative, as follows: “Yee, and I pray you forbeare me.” — Ed. By saying, Would that, etc., he had seemed to be distrustful; now, as if correcting that hesitation, he openly and freely commands.

2. For I am jealous Mark why it is that he acts the fool, for jealousy hurries a man as it were headlong. “Do not demand that I should show the equable temper 796796     “Vne equalite et moderation;” — “An evenness and moderation.” of a man that is at ease, and not excited by any emotion, for that vehemence of vehemence of jealousy, with which I am inflamed towards you, does not suffer me to be at ease.” As, however, there are two kinds of jealousy — the one springs from self love, and of a wicked and perverse nature, while the other is cherished by us on God’s account, 797797     “De laquelle nous sommes esmeus pour l’amour de nostre Dieu;” — “By which we are influenced out of love to our God.” he intimates of what sort his zeal is. For many are zealous — for themselves, not for God. That on the other hand, is the only pious and right zeal, that has an eye to God, that he may not be defrauded of the honors that of right belong to him.

For I have united you to one man. That his zeal was of such a nature, he proves from the design of his preaching, for its tendency was to join them to Christ in marriage, and retain them in connection with him. 798798     “Et les faire perseuerer en saincte conionction auec luy;” — “And to lead them to persevere in holy connection with him.” Here, however, he gives us in his own person a lively picture of a good minister; for One alone is the Bridegroom of the Church — the Son of God. All ministers are the friends of the Bridegroom, as the Baptist declares respecting himself. (John 3:29.) Hence all ought to be concerned, that the fidelity of this sacred marriage remain unimpaired and inviolable. This they cannot do, unless they are actuated by the dispositions of the Bridegroom, so that every one of them may be as much concerned for the purity of the Church, as a husband is for the chastity of his wife. Away then with coldness and indolence in this matter, for one that is cold 799799     “Quiconque est froid et lasche;” — “Whoever is cold and indolent.” will never be qualified for this office. Let them, however, in the mean time, take care, not to pursue their own interest rather than that of Christ, that they may not intrude themselves into his place, lest while they give themselves out as his paranymphs, 800800     “Paranymphos;” — “Friends of the bridegroom.” The reader will find the office and duties of paranymph detailed at considerable length by Dr. Adam Clarke, when commenting on John 3:29Ed. they turn out to be in reality adulterers, by alluring the bride to love themselves.

To present you as a chaste virgin. We are married to Christ, on no other condition than that we bring virginity as our dowry, and preserve it entire, so as to be free from all corruption. Hence it is the duty of ministers of the gospel to purify our souls, that they may be chaste virgins to Christ; otherwise they accomplish nothing. Now we may understand it as meaning, that they individually present themselves as chaste virgins to Christ, or that the minister presents the whole of the people, and brings them forward into Christ’s presence. I approve rather of the second interpretation. Hence I have given a different rendering from Erasmus. 801801     The rendering of Erasmus, as stated by Beza, (who, like Calvin, disapproves of it,) is “ut exhiberctis;” — “that ye may present.” — Ed.


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