2 Corinthians 12:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 12:15, NIV: So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?

2 Corinthians 12:15, ESV: I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

2 Corinthians 12:15, KJV: And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

2 Corinthians 12:15, NASB: I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

2 Corinthians 12:15, NLT: I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

2 Corinthians 12:15, CSB: I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

What does 2 Corinthians 12:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This is a beautiful statement about what Paul saw as his purpose in life. He planted the church in Corinth and led many of them to faith in Christ. As a result, he thought of himself as a "spiritual father" to them. He wrote that he would not take money from them for his personal needs (2 Corinthians 12:14), because parents ought to provide for their small children, not the other way around.

Paul would gladly "spend and be spent for [their] souls." Paul saw his life as a resource belonging to God, available to be used up or distributed in order to save and nourish the souls of others. It was more than a mission, though. Paul gladly did so because he loved the Corinthians. He had genuine affection for them.

He acknowledges this is a sticking point between them. Perhaps the false apostles accused Paul of not being a legitimate apostle because he refused payment from the people he served, as they surely did. Paul asks the Corinthians if they love him less because he expresses his love by refusing to take money. He may also be wondering if their failure to stick up for him to the false apostles meant that they loved him less (2 Corinthians 12:11).