I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the One we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the One you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things.2 Corinthians 11:1-5
A little more foolishness. But the only foolishness we have had so far is on the part of the Corinthians or the “Super Apostles”. Yes exactly, Paul is about to embark on some “foolishness” of his own. They have been boasting of their prowess. They have been talking down the “inferior” Paul and talking themselves up. They have been challenging Paul’s authority and the quality of his teaching while teaching heresy themselves. They have been corrupting the Corinthians with their foolishness, jealousy and deceit and yet the Corinthians put up with it. So ok Paul says, let’s play this a different way. You seem to be susceptible to foolishness so let’s have a little more. Mine. Let me argue for a moment using their strategies.
Paul is now beginning a section where he argues using the “Super apostles” strategies. Effectively he is saying you put up with this stuff from them. Well let me try this to use the same approach and turn it back on them. This is not foolishness in reality. He is trying to make the Corinthians wake up and see what the super-apostles are doing. So Paul turns the tables on them by using the same tactics. Some I have read challenge why foolish things should have been added to Scripture and considered part of the Canon? How is that Paul can say, “Let me be foolish . . .” and for that to be considered the Word of God. Because he is being all things to all men so that he might in the end win some. In one sense God came down from heaven to be one of us. The great condescension. So Paul is condescending or descending to their level. That seems to be what the Corinthians understand. So effectively he says, “Ok let me talk to you in ways you understand then.” Let me be foolish like them, you seem to understand that.
They are jealous, I will be jealous with God’s jealousy if that will help you see the truth. You are being deceived and corrupted just like Eve was, so let’s work on that level for a moment. Let’s deal in deceit and cunning. You put up with that from them. They can preach an entirely different gospel to you and you swallow it “hook, line and sinker”. You don’t even discern that they are coming to you with an entirely different spirit. I am not inferior to them at all. Paul then attempts to expose their tricks and subtlety by using a different method – theirs. In verses to come he will boast. They have been boasting and the Corinthians put up with it. They swallow it all. So let’s try from that perspective Paul says. In what follows for the next few Gems you have to realise that Paul is talking “tongue in cheek”. He is “being a super-apostle” in order to get through to the Corinthians. Put up with him for a while and attempt to read between the lines and understand his strategy. It is not that he is deliberately talking nonsense and boasting in ways he shouldn’t. If that were the case why would it ever have been included in Scripture. There ought to be huge debate over these sections as to why they should be included in the Canon of Scripture where Paul is clearly crazy.
Haven’t you ever used this same strategy with your kids, your class mates, even your business associates when they seem to have lost the plot? You argue from their point of view to help them see how stupid it really is. We do that with children to help them to see, realise the foolishness and protest when we use the same tactics. That is exactly what Paul is doing here. More foolishness to come.
And yet a little more foolishness (but with some hidden wisdom between the lines):
A person who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.Anon
Don’t argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.Anon
[Editor’s note: Paul’s foolishness provides me with a chance to get rid of some of these quips]
Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.Anon