2 Corinthians 11:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 11:21, NIV: To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! Whatever anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about.

2 Corinthians 11:21, ESV: To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that.

2 Corinthians 11:21, KJV: I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

2 Corinthians 11:21, NASB: To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold—I am speaking in foolishness—I too am bold.

2 Corinthians 11:21, NLT: I'm ashamed to say that we've been too 'weak' to do that! But whatever they dare to boast about--I'm talking like a fool again--I dare to boast about it, too.

2 Corinthians 11:21, CSB: I say this to our shame: We have been too weak for that!But in whatever anyone dares to boast--I am talking foolishly--I also dare:

What does 2 Corinthians 11:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Previous verses described what the Corinthians had been putting up with from Paul's opponents in Corinth. The false apostles, pretending to represent Christ, had been demonstrating their strength by treating the Corinthians with great disrespect. They had been ordering the Corinthians around, consuming their supplies, taking advantage of them in every way, acting superior, and even striking those who got out of line. Apparently, the Corinthians had received all of this as evidence that the false teachers were strong, superior, and wise.

Paul continues to be sarcastic in this verse, saying that he and his associates were too weak to treat the Corinthians in this way. He mockingly says he is ashamed of this. In truth, Paul had lived among the Corinthians in a Christlike way. He had refused to take any money from them, working to support himself and living off the donations of churches in other towns. He had suffered and sacrificed for their good and lived with them in humility and servanthood. Since Paul represented Christ, he could not live in any other way.

It seems the Corinthians did not respect Paul's humility and servant leadership, however, preferring instead the strong, abusive leadership more common in their culture.

Paul now implies that he has had enough. He is going to satirize the sinfully boastful attitudes of the false apostles in Corinth to show that he is as good as they are. He can't quite do it with a straight face, however. He feels the need to keep clarifying that he is speaking as a fool would speak and not as a representative of Christ.