II Corinthians 12:11-18

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 12:11-21

PAUL'S CONCERN FOR THE CORINTHIANS

INTRODUCTION:

One of the reasons the Apostle Paul wrote the Corinthian believers was that some had been making slanderous innuendoes and false charges against him as an apostle. Unfortunately, it became necessary to answer those falsely accusing him and making innuendoes against him because of the confusion it was causing in the church in Corinth and because there are always those who seemingly want to believe the worst.

An innuendo is an indirect remark or reference which usually implies something derogatory. It is an insinuation, a hint. It is not a direct accusation, but it is sometimes more damaging than a direct accusation. How did Paul answer these false charges and innuendoes? By opening up the lines of communication and telling them the truth. This would expose those that were false and that were sowing discord among the Corinthians against Paul.

You do know where innuendoes and false accusations got started, don't you? In Genesis 3:1-5 .

Genesis 3:1-5 - 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

We are not ignorant of Satan's devices. He tries to turn your children against you. He tries to turn husbands and wives against each other. He tries to turn pupils and teachers against each other. He even tries to turn pastors and congregations against each other. He's been doing it for years. We must know the truth, and we must be aware of his devices.

In II Corinthians 12:11-21 we see Paul's concern for the Corinthians and his handling of innuendoes which were made against him.

I. THREE INNUENDOS ALREADY SEEN - II Corinthians 10:1-2 , 10

There are three innuendos we have already seen.

II Corinthians 10:1-2 - (1) Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: (2) But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

II Corinthians 10:10 - For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

1. Paul is really not what he claims to be.

2. Paul is base in presence but bold in absence.

3. Paul lives according to the flesh.

II. PAUL'S FIRST ANSWER - 12:11-13

1. In nothing is Paul behind the very chiefest apostles.

II Corinthians 12:11-13 - (11) I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. (12) Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (13) For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

According to verse 11, Paul had been forced by the Corinthian believers to become a fool in boasting. By contrast, they should have commended him because he was far superior to these false apostles even if he were nothing.

I am become is I have become, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It suggests that Paul had experienced a change, having become something he had not been previously.

What Paul had become is a fool, i.e. a foolish person or an ignorant person. It might instead be understood as foolish or ignorant, i.e. I have become foolish, or I have become ignorant.

In glorying may be used to describe fool and be understood in the sense of I have become a bragging fool, I have become a boasting fool, or I have become a prideful fool. It may instead be used to describe am become and be understood in the sense of I have become a fool by boasting or I have become a fool by means of boasting.

Ye have compelled me is you compelled me or you forced me; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. They left Paul with no choice in the matter. They forced him to boast in his own ministry.

For is understood in the sense of because. It introduces the cause or reason he was forced to become a fool in boasting: I ought to have been commended of you.

I ought suggests that they owed Paul something or they were indebted to Paul for something.

What Paul was owed was to have been commended of you, which suggests being presented by you, being introduced by you, or being recommended by you to others.

Another for introduces the cause or reason Paul ought to have been commended by the Corinthian believers and is again understood in the sense of because.

In nothing am I behind suggests that Paul is not lower in status (i.e. not less than or not inferior) in any respect.

The group to which Paul is not in any respect inferior is described as the very chiefest apostles. Regarding this group Paul previously said in II Corinthians 11:5 , For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. Paul is referring to some who had come to Corinth after he had left Corinth for Ephesus and who had sought to build up their own reputation by destroying his. They were not really apostles at all.

In comparing himself with them, Paul describes them as the very chiefest apostles. It suggests that they were excelling or surpassing him as an apostle. They evidently thought very highly of themselves, and Paul is referring to them sarcastically.

Though is even if or even though and introduces the condition in a conditional statement. The structure of this condition indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true. The condition is though I be nothing. The conclusion of this condition is in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles. Ordinarily the condition is stated before the conclusion. In this verse, however, in order to emphasize its conclusion, the order is reversed.

I be nothing is I am nothing. Paul's meaning is that even though he himself is absolutely nothing, he is still superior to the very chiefest apostles, who are less than nothing.

2. Paul worked the signs of an apostle among them.

II Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

In verse 12 Paul indicates one reason he was superior to the very chiefest apostles is that he worked the signs of an apostle; but the false apostles were unable to work miracles.

Truly, which is understood in the sense of indeed, is intended to call attention to the statement Paul makes in verse 12.

The signs of an apostle refers to the wonders or mighty deeds which Paul was able to perform, thus showing that he was truly an apostle. The apostles were given the ability to work miracles in order to confirm or demonstrate that their message was from God.

In particular, signs are miracles. Signs is used in this same sense in John 20:30-31 .

John 20:30-31 - (30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

(31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Were wrought is were achieved, were accomplished, or were done.

Among you indicates that Paul performed these signs in the presence of the Corinthians.

In all patience is in all endurance, in all fortitude, in all steadfastness, or in all perseverance. Patience speaks of a capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty.

In signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds indicates the nature of the signs of an apostle which Paul performed in Corinth. Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds all refer to miracles.

Signs is the same term used in the beginning of this verse in the phrase the signs of an apostle.

Wonders suggests things that astound because of transcendent association. It means that they go beyond what is normal, and it is understood in the sense of prodigies, portents, or omens. It is always plural in New Testament literature.

Mighty deeds is literally powers. They suggest deeds that exhibit ability to function powerfully and are understood in the sense of deeds of power, miracles, or wonders.

3. Paul deliberately chose not to be burdensome to the Corinthians.

II Corinthians 12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

In verse 13 Paul facetiously states that the only way the church at Corinth was inferior to other churches is that he had not been burdensome to them by charging them for his services. With tongue in cheek, he asks them to forgive him.

For introduces a clarification of Paul's line of reasoning and is understood in the sense of now or you see.

What is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches? is, What is the thing in which you were inferior to the other churches?

Wherein ye were inferior suggests (the thing in) which you were made to feel less important in the sense of (the thing in) which you were treated worse.

To the other churches suggests to an inferiority greater than the rest of the churches. The other churches had not received better treatment than the Corinthian church.

Except is unless.

It be that I myself was not burdensome to you suggests (it be) that I myself did not burden you or (it be) that I myself was not a burden to you.

Forgive me this wrong is intended to entreat the Corinthian believers to excuse his not being burdensome to them.

This wrong is this wrongdoing or this injustice. Paul is speaking ironically or facetiously. Paul really did them no injustice or wrong.

III. A FOURTH INNUENDO - 12:14A

4. All Paul is after is our money.

(14a) Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you. . . .

In verse 14 Paul announces his intention to return again to Corinth and advises them that he will not accept compensation for his services.

Behold is look or see and is used to introduce something which is important.

The third time suggests that there have been two previous times. The first time would have been when he first arrived in Corinth and proclaimed the gospel in Acts 18 . The second time is referred to in II Corinthians 2:1 , which would have been a sad, sorrowful, or unhappy visit.

II Corinthians 2:1 - But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

Apparently, he had come to them in heaviness, but this visit is not the same as his first visit to Corinth when he proclaimed the gospel there for eighteen months. Nothing is really known of this visit other than that it was a visit in heaviness.

I am ready suggests I am willing; and what Paul is ready or willing to do is to come to you.

And I will not be burdensome to you is the same terminology found in verse 13 and again in verse 16, meaning, I will not burden you or, I will not be a burden to you.

IV. PAUL'S SECOND ANSWER - 12:14B-15

1. I seek not your possessions, but I seek you.

II Corinthians 12:14 b-15 - (14b) . . . For I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. (15) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

For I seek not yours is because I am not seeking (i.e. desiring to obtain or trying to possess) yours (i.e. your things).

But introduces an statement in emphatic contrast to I seek not yours. What Paul is seeking is you, i.e. you Corinthian believers.

For introduces a cause or reason Paul is seeking the Corinthian believers rather than their possessions and is understood in the sense of because.

The children is a general term for one's offspring.

Ought not suggests are not obligated.

What the children are not obligated to do is to lay up for the parents, which suggests to store up for the parents, to gather for the parents, or to save for the parents.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the children ought not to lay up for the parents.

Instead, it is the parents who ought to lay up for the children. Paul pictures himself in this illustration as the parent and the Corinthian believers as the children. He wants to come to Corinth to be helpful to them as his spiritual children, not in order to profit from them.

2. I will gladly spend and be spent for you.

II Corinthians 12:15 a - And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you. . . .

In verse 15 Paul announces that he will gladly give himself on behalf of the Corinthian believers but laments the fact that it appears like the more he loves them, the less they love him.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you suggests that Paul will set up or pay out material or physical resources in the sense of spend or spend freely. He is announcing his intent to continue to support himself financially.

Very gladly suggests that he will be pleased to do something.

And be spent is an intensified form of the word translated I will . . . spend.

And be spent for you is used figuratively in the sense of and sacrifice my life on behalf of your souls or and sacrifice my life for the sake of your souls, where souls is used as a part representing the whole, i.e. their souls representing the Corinthian believers themselves.

3. The more I love you, the less I am loved.

II Corinthians 12:15 b - . . . though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

Though is even though or even if and is used to introduce a conditional statement. The condition is though the more abundantly I love you, and the conclusion is the less I be loved. The structure of the condition indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true. However, it may or may not actually be true; but Paul was apparently impressed that it may have been true.

Though the more abundantly I love you indicates concession. It is understood in the sense of even if, although I love you more or even if, although loving you more.

The less I be loved is I am loved less.

V. A FIFTH INNUENDO - 12:16

5. Paul is tricky. He deceived the Corinthians.

II Corinthians 12:16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.

Verse 16 suggests something else Paul's enemies had accused him of doing: he was clever and took advantage of them.

But be it so but let it be.

I did not burden you is, I was not a burden to you.

Nevertheless introduces a strong contrast and is understood in the sense of but.

Being crafty is because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) I was clever (or sly). Paul is speaking facetiously and was quoting what people were saying about him.

I caught you with guile implies I took you into my possession in the sense of I took you, I acquired you, or I seized you.

With guile suggests through craft and underhanded methods in the sense of with deceit, through cunning, or through treachery and implies with trickery. It is something Paul's enemies had apparently accused him of doing.

The insinuation was that Paul was tricking them into giving money for the poor saints in Jerusalem but that he was the one who would profit from this collection.

VI. PAUL'S THIRD ANSWER - 12:17-18

I made no gain by any of those whom I sent.

II Corinthians 12:17-18 - (17) Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? (18) I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

In verse 17 Paul asks a question by which he indicates that he did not take advantage of the Corinthian believers by any of the helpers he sent them. The structure of the question indicates that the expected answer to this question is, No.

Did I make a gain of you is, Did I take advantage of (i.e. exploit, outwit, defraud, or cheat) you? The question with the negative answer suggests, I did not make a gain of (take advantage of, exploit, outwit, defraud, or cheat) you, did I? No, I did not.

By any of them whom I sent to you is literally, Any of whom I have sent to you, through him (I did not make a gain of you, did I? No). He did not make a gain by any of them.

Whom I have sent unto you suggests that Paul had sent several co-workers to help the church in Corinth, but he did not use any of them to exploit the church.

II Corinthians 12:18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

In verse 18 Paul mentions two persons whom he had sent to Corinth and indicates that he had not taken advantage of the Corinthians through them.

I desired Titus suggests I requested Titus, I implored Titus, or I entreated Titus.

And with him (i.e. and with Titus) I sent a brother. It is not clear who this brother is.

The structure of did Titus make a gain of you? indicates that this question also expects a negative answer. It is Titus did not make a gain of you, did he? The implied answer is, No, he did not.

Make a gain of you is take advantage of you (i.e. exploit you, defraud you, or cheat you in anything (i.e. in any respect).

Walked we not in the same spirit? expects a positive answer. It is understood in the sense of, We walked in the same spirit, did we not? Yes, we did.

We refers to Paul and Titus.

Walked when used figuratively, as in this verse, means lived or conducted our lives.

In the same spirit may be understood as referring to the Holy Spirit Who directed both Paul and Titus; or it may refer to Paul's and Titus' disposition or attitude of mind, suggesting that they both supported themselves, taking nothing from the Corinthian believers for support.

Walked we not in the same steps? also expects a yes answer. Walked we not?, where we refers to Paul and Titus, suggests, We walked, did we not? Yes, we did.

In the same steps is in the same footprints or in the same footsteps. It suggests that Paul and Titus both conducted themselves in precisely the same way.