II Cor. 11:1-33
The circumstances that Paul found himself in were very distasteful to him. He was a modest and humble individual. It was necessary for him to speak of his accomplishments in a boastful manner to show his superiority to the false teachers at Corinth. He directed his remarks not only to those false teachers, but also to the ones whom they were misleading.
Paul showed himself as the bridegroom’s (Jesus’) friend who had arranged the marriage of the bride (Corinthian church) to her husband. He feared that as the serpent (Satan) had deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, these false teachers were leading the bride to be unfaithful to her bridegroom. They were teaching Jesus, but they were corrupting the message (possibly holding to the Law of Moses). Since they knew what he meant, he did not state specific details of this false teaching.
The detractors of Paul had used the fact that he did not receive financial support from the Corinthians to indicate that he was not worthy as an apostle. He stated that he indeed was not at all inferior to these “most eminent apostles.” When he was at Corinth, other churches had supported him to keep him from being a burden to them. He had also engaged with Aquila and Priscilla in his trade as a tent maker.
Paul called his critics false apostles. They were pretending to teach the things pertaining to Christ, but instead they were deceitful workers. They were transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. (We need to be aware that Satan uses men today to teach unsound doctrines that are foreign to those that are found in the Scriptures. Each of us must compare what our preachers and teachers proclaim with what is written in the Bible.)
It was not Paul’s nature to be boastful, but in order to show the foolishness of the false teachers, he made some direct comparisons between them and himself.
The Jews were proud of their heritage. Paul had the same Jewish ancestry. Not only did he match them in that respect, he exceeded them in the things that he had suffered as an apostle.
Paul listed labors, beatings, prisons, near death events, stoning, and shipwrecks. There were numerous other perils that he had faced. In addition to these physical hardships, he was constantly concerned about the welfare of the churches that he had established. When a church suffered, he suffered with them mentally. These persecutions had followed Paul from the very beginning of his Christian life when he was let down the outside wall of the city in a basket to escape from the governor of Damascus.