John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. I wish ye would bear - So does he pave the way for what might otherwise have given offence. With my folly - Of commending myself; which to many may appear folly; and really would be so, were it not on this occasion absolutely necessary.
Verse 2. For - The cause of his seeming folly is expressed in this and the following verse; the cause why they should bear with him, 2 Corinthians 11:4.
Verse 3. But I fear - Love is full of these fears. Lest as the serpent - A most apposite comparison. Deceived Eve - Simple, ignorant of evil. By his subtilty - Which is in the highest degree dangerous to such a disposition. So your minds - We might therefore be tempted, even if there were no sin in us. Might be corrupted - Losing their virginal purity. From the simplicity that is in Christ - That simplicity which is lovingly intent on him alone, seeking no other person or thing.
Verse 4. If indeed - Any could show you another Saviour, a more powerful Spirit, a better gospel. Ye might well bear with him -But this is impossible.
Verse 6. If I am unskilful in speech - If I speak in a plain, unadorned way, like an unlearned person. So the Greek word properly signifies.
Verse 7. Have I committed an offence - Will any turn this into an objection? In humbling myself - To work at my trade. That ye might be exalted - To be children of God.
Verse 8. I spoiled other churches - I, as it were, took the spoils of them: it is a military term. Taking wages (or pay, another military word) of them - When I came to you at first. And when I was present with you, and wanted - My work not quite supplying my necessities. I was chargeable to no man - Of Corinth.
Verse 9. For - I choose to receive help from the poor Macedonians, rather than the rich Corinthians! Were the poor in all ages more generous than the rich?
Verse 10. This my boasting shall not be stopped - For I will receive nothing from you.
Verse 11. Do I refuse to receive anything of you, because I love you not? God knoweth that is not the case.
Verse 12. Who desire any occasion - To censure me. That wherein they boast, they may be found even as we - They boasted of being "burdensome to no man." But it was a vain boast in them, though not in the apostle.
Verse 14. Satan himself is transformed - Uses to transform himself; to put on the fairest appearances.
Verse 15. Therefore it is no great, no strange, thing; whose end, notwithstanding all their disguises, shall be according to their works.
Verse 16. I say again - He premises a new apology to this new commendation of himself. Let no man think me a fool - Let none think I do this without the utmost necessity. But if any do think me foolish herein, yet bear with my folly.
Verse 17. I speak not after the Lord - Not by an express command from him; though still under the direction of his Spirit. But as it were foolishly - In such a manner as many may think foolish.
Verse 18. After the flesh - That is, in external things.
Verse 19. Being wise - A beautiful irony.
Verse 20. For ye suffer - Not only the folly, but the gross abuses, of those false apostles. If a man enslave you - Lord it over you in the most arbitrary manner. If he devour you -By his exorbitant demands; not - withstanding his boast of not being burdensome. If he take from you - By open violence. If he exalt himself - By the most unbounded self-commendation. If he smite you on the face - (A very possible case,) under pretence of divine zeal.
Verse 21. I speak with regard to reproach, as though we had been weak - I say, "Bear with me," even on supposition that the weakness be real which they reproach me with.
Verse 22. Are they Hebrews, Israelites, the seed of Abraham -These were the heads on which they boasted.
Verse 23. I am more so than they. In deaths often -Surrounding me in the most dreadful forms.
Verse 24. Five times I received from the Jews forty stripes save one - Which was the utmost that the law allowed. With the Romans he sometimes pleaded his privilege as a Roman; but from the Jews he suffered all things.
Verse 25. Thrice I have been shipwrecked - Before his voyage to Rome. In the deep - Probably floating on some part of the vessel.
Verse 27. In cold and nakedness - Having no place where to lay my head; no convenient raiment to cover me; yet appearing before noble-men, governors, kings; and not being ashamed.
Verse 28. Beside the things which are from without - Which I suffer on the account of others; namely, the care of all the churches - A more modest expression than if he had said, the care of the whole church. All - Even those I have not seen in the flesh. St. Peter himself could not have said this in so strong a sense.
Verse 29. Who - So he had not only the care of the churches, but of every person therein. Is weak, and I am not weak - By sympathy, as well as by condescension. Who is offended -Hindered in, or turned out of, the good way. And I burn not - Being pained as though I had fire in my bosom.
Verse 30. I will glory of the things that concern my infirmities - Of what shows my weakness, rather than my strength.
Verse 32. The governor under Aretas - King of Arabia and Syria of which Damascus was a chief city, willing to oblige the Jews, kept the city - Setting guards at all the gates day and night.
Verse 33. Through a window - Of an house which stood on the city wall.
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