What does 2 Corinthians 11:9 mean?
ESV: And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
NIV: And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.
NASB: and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brothers came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
CSB: When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, since the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way.
NLT: And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be.
KJV: And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
Verse Commentary:
As a travelling missionary, Paul often refers to the regions in which he works rather than to specific towns. In this verse, he mentions the region of Macedonia, in northern Greece. This would have included the towns of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, where the Christians were quite poor. In order to avoid being a burden to the Corinthians—the region of Achaia—while working with them, Paul humbled himself by receiving contributions from these hurting churches. That's how committed he was to the principle of never taking money from people he was trying to reach with the gospel of Jesus.

Paul may have been mocked by the false apostles in Corinth for this principle. Or, for doing the manual labor of making tents to support himself when he first came to Corinth. Some of the Corinthians themselves may have resented Paul's stubborn refusal to take money from them when he was willing to take it from less wealthy churches. His motivation was important, though: to never cloud the message that God's grace and forgiveness were free gifts to those who trusted in Christ.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 11:1–15 includes Paul's unmasking of the false apostles in Corinth. They are like the serpent in the garden tempting Eve. Or, they resemble a man trying to seduce a betrothed woman away from her promised husband. They disguise themselves as servants of righteousness as Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Paul is a spiritual father who must protect the Corinthians from deceptions like a false Christ and a false spirit. Paul doubles down on his commitment not to take funds from the Corinthians for his own needs, simply to prove how he is different from the false apostles.
Chapter Summary:
Second Corinthians 11 compares the believers in Corinth to a betrothed bride. It also pictures them as Eve facing temptation from the snake in the garden in Genesis 3. Paul's job as their spiritual father is to protect them from the lies of false apostles. These deceivers disguise themselves as servants of righteousness in the same way that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Paul is shocked the Corinthians put up with such harsh treatment from these men. He sarcastically pretends to brag about himself as the false teachers do about themselves. Instead, he boasts mostly about the ways he has endured suffering in his service to Christ.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 11 follows Paul's warning in the previous chapter. There, he vowed to be as bold as needed when he comes to see them in person. He describes himself as a protective spiritual father trying to save the Corinthians from the deceptions of the false apostles to teach a false gospel about a false Jesus. He is shocked the Corinthians put up with their harsh treatment and says he has decided to foolishly boast in order to compete with the false apostles. His boasting about his service to Christ, though, is mostly a long list of all the ways he has suffered for Christ. That theme continues into chapter 12, where Paul explains just how much his suffering has improved his walk with Christ.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:11:45 PM
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