2 Corinthians 11:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 11:8, NIV: I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.

2 Corinthians 11:8, ESV: I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.

2 Corinthians 11:8, KJV: I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

2 Corinthians 11:8, NASB: I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you;

2 Corinthians 11:8, NLT: I 'robbed' other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost.

2 Corinthians 11:8, CSB: I robbed other churches by taking pay from them to minister to you.

What does 2 Corinthians 11:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues to write with a bit of sarcasm to make his point: accusations made against him by false apostles don't add up. In the previous verse, he asked if he committed a sin by refusing to take money from the Corinthians while presenting the gospel. He described his choice as humbling himself in order to exalt them. That is, he worked with his hands and accepted donations from other churches in order to help them participate in the glory of God through faith in Christ.

Now he describes his willingness to receive donations from other churches to support his work in Corinth as "robbing" those churches. In keeping with the sarcasm of the passage, Paul does not literally mean he stole anything from anyone or that he did anything inappropriate. Instead, he is showing that it was not he alone who suffered and sacrificed for their good. Other churches also contributed to their service by giving what was needed to Paul.

This may have been humbling in a cultural sense. Most travelling speakers and philosophers were supported by the donations of those to whom they gave their presentations. Others may have had a few, wealthy benefactors who funded them. The point of Paul's speaking and teaching, though, was not to make a living for himself. It was to do God's work in leading unbelievers to faith in Christ. Since taking money from those unbelievers may have raised questions about Paul's motives and the truthfulness of his message, he refused to do so.