Verse 1 – Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly – and indeed you do bear with me.
Folly in boasting. The idea here seems to be boasting is generally foolish, and not to be indulged in, but tolerate him just a little.
Verse 2 – For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Paul had taught the Corinthians to prepare themselves for the Redeemer, Christ, as a virgin bride is presented to the bridegroom.
Verse 3 – But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupt from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The Corinthians sincere devotion to Christ was being threatened by false teachers. Just as Eve lost her focus by listening to the serpent, we too can get side-tracked with our devotion.
Verse 4 – For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.
Every preacher, teacher, or prophet, has to be proven by God’s Holy Word. Scripture is your authoritative guide. If they contradict God’s Word, they are false teachers. There is no other Messiah but One – Jesus Christ! People get led astray because they don’t know the Original!
Verse 5 – For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.
Paul had given them proof in the miracles which he had performed and the abundance of labor in teaching them, and didn’t want false teachers getting their affection that they should have for him. Paul had also proven to them that he was sent by God.
Verse 6 – Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.
Paul was a brilliant thinker, but was not good at public-speaking. Evidently, these false teachers were great public speakers, because they were getting the Corinthian’s attention enough to question Paul’s authority.
Verse 7 – Did I commit sin in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?
The false preachers may have suggested that Paul was an amateur because he didn’t charge for his preaching.
Verse 8 – I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.
Jesus Himself, taught that those who minister for God should be supported by the people to whom they minister. But Paul thought that by asking support in Corinth, it might be misunderstood, so he supported himself.
Verse 9 – And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what was lacking to me the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
Verse 10 – As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
Verse 11 – Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!
Verse 12 – But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.
In other words: Paul will continue to preach at no charge, which was a contrast between him and the false teachers.
Verse 13 – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
They pretend to be apostles, but they had no divine commission from God.
Verse 14 – And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Verse 15 – Therefore it is no great thing is his (Satan’s) ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
I don’t know why false teachers, false prophets, and false preachers think that they can pretend to be speaking the gospel and really are doing it to get rich. They think that their motives will escape God in the Day of Judgment. It won’t!
Verse 16 – I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me a fool, that I also may boast a little.
Verse 17 – What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
Verse 18 – Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.
Verse 19 – For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!
Paul was being sarcastic.
Verse 20 – For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.
You bear patiently with people who impose on you in every way, and those who are constantly defrauding you, though you claim to be so wise.
Verse 21 – To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold – I speak foolishly – I am bold also.
Verse 22 – Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
Verse 23 – Are they ministers of Christ? – I speak as a fool – I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.
Paul presented his credentials to contradict the charges that the false teachers were making against him.
Verse 24 – From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
Verse 25 – Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
Paul was sacrificing his life to bring them the gospel, something the false teachers would never do.
Verse 26 – in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
Verse 27 – in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness –
Verse 28 – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
Verse 29 – Who is weak, and I not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
Paul was identifying with the converts.
Verse 30 – If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
Verse 31 – The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
Verse 32 – In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to apprehend me;
Verse 33 – but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
Paul wanted the Corinthians and all who read this letter to know what he endured in order to bring the gospel. We may not ever go hungry, get beat, or thrown in prison for preaching the gospel, but we will be mocked and ridiculed. Can you handle it?