2 Corinthians 12:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 12:11, NIV: I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the 'super-apostles,' even though I am nothing.

2 Corinthians 12:11, ESV: I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.

2 Corinthians 12:11, KJV: 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.

2 Corinthians 12:11, NASB: I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, since I was in no respect inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.

2 Corinthians 12:11, NLT: You have made me act like a fool--boasting like this. You ought to be writing commendations for me, for I am not at all inferior to these 'super apostles,' even though I am nothing at all.

2 Corinthians 12:11, CSB: I have been a fool; you forced it on me. You ought to have commended me, since I am not in any way inferior to those "super-apostles," even though I am nothing.

What does 2 Corinthians 12:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Corinthians have apparently been captivated by a group of false apostles that have come among them. These deceptive teachers have been talking Paul down while talking themselves up, and it may have been working. They were likely impressive speakers with fancy-sounding arguments and perhaps colorful stories of supernatural experiences. The problem was they were teaching a false gospel, leading the Corinthian believers away from true devotion to Christ.

Part of Paul's response has been to sarcastically brag about himself, mocking the way his critics boast about themselves. Even so, his boasting has been mostly focused on his weakness and suffering for Christ. Paul now declares that he has been a fool to go even that far. Paul is so committed to maintaining Christlike humility that it pained him to defend himself by calling out his obvious qualifications as an apostle of Jesus.

He also sounds hurt on a personal level. He blames the Corinthians for forcing him to respond this way. They knew him, after all. He had founded the church and led many of them to faith in Christ. They should have praised him to the false apostles. They should have stuck up for him when the deceivers put him down. They should have known the truth: that Paul is not spiritually inferior to these men. He sarcastically refers to his critics as the "super-apostles" because of how impressive they make themselves out to be.

Paul adds that he is nothing, in himself, and yet is still not inferior to these deceptive teachers. This is a backhanded way of saying that, because the lying ones are not in Christ, they are less than nothing.