2 Corinthians 11:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

New Living Translation
Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.

English Standard Version
Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.

Berean Study Bible
Are they servants of Christ? I am speaking like I am out of my mind, but I am so much more: in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death.

Berean Literal Bible
Are they servants of Christ? I speak as being beside myself, I too above measure: more abundantly in labors, more abundantly in imprisonments, in beatings above measure, in deaths often.

New American Standard Bible
Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.

King James Bible
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Are they servants of Christ? I'm talking like a madman--I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times.

International Standard Version
Are they the Messiah's servants? I am insane to talk like this, but I am a far better one! I have been involved in far greater efforts, far more imprisonments, countless beatings, and have faced death more than once.

NET Bible
Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times.

New Heart English Bible
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
If they are Ministers of The Messiah, in stupidity I say that I am greater than they, in more toil than they, with more wounds than they, in chains more than they, in death many times.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Are they Christ's servants? It's insane to say it, but I'm a far better one. I've done much more work, been in prison many more times, been beaten more severely, and have faced death more often.

New American Standard 1977
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more, in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.

King James 2000 Bible
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes beyond measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.

American King James Version
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

American Standard Version
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft.

Douay-Rheims Bible
They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise): I am more; in many more labours, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

Darby Bible Translation
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as being beside myself) I above measure [so]; in labours exceedingly abundant, in stripes to excess, in prisons exceedingly abundant, in deaths oft.

English Revised Version
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labours more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft.

Webster's Bible Translation
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.

Weymouth New Testament
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if I were out of my mind.)

World English Bible
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

Young's Literal Translation
ministrants of Christ are they? -- as beside myself I speak -- I more; in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths many times;
Study Bible
Paul's Suffering and Service
22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? I am speaking like I am out of my mind, but I am so much more: in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.…
Cross References
Jeremiah 36:5
Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, "I am restricted; I cannot go into the house of the LORD.

Acts 9:16
I will show him how much he must suffer for My name."

Acts 16:23
And after striking them with many blows, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to guard them securely.

Romans 8:36
As it is written: "For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

1 Corinthians 3:5
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role.

1 Corinthians 4:9
For it seems to me that God has displayed us apostles at the end of the procession, like prisoners appointed for death. We have become a spectacle to the whole world, to angels as well as to men.

1 Corinthians 4:11
To this very hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2 Corinthians 3:6
And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 6:4
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships, and calamities;
Treasury of Scripture

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

ministers.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of …

2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in …

1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, …

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards …

1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow …

1 Timothy 4:6 If you put the brothers in remembrance of these things, you shall …

I am.

2 Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very most chief apostles.

2 Corinthians 12:11,12 I am become a fool in glorying; you have compelled me: for I ought …

in labours.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed …

Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which …

in stripes.

2 Corinthians 11:24,25 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one…

2 Corinthians 6:4,5 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in …

Acts 9:16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

in prison.

Acts 9:16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Acts 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, …

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying that bonds …

Acts 21:11 And when he was come to us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his …

Acts 24:26,27 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that …

Acts 25:14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause …

Acts 27:1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered …

Acts 28:16,30 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to …

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk …

Ephesians 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, …

Philippians 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in …

2 Timothy 1:8,16 Be not you therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of …

2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even to bonds; but the …

Philemon 1:9 Yet for love's sake I rather beseech you, being such an one as Paul …

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling …

in deaths.

2 Corinthians 1:9,10 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not …

2 Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, …

2 Corinthians 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as …

Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who …

1 Corinthians 15:30-32 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour…

Philippians 2:17 Yes, and if I be offered on the sacrifice and service of your faith, …

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which …

(23) Are they ministers of Christ?--It is obvious that this title was claimed by the rival teachers in some special sense. They were "ministers of Christ" in a nearer and a higher sense than others. This again falls in with all that has been said as to the nature and pretensions of those who said, "I am of Christ." (See Notes on 2Corinthians 10:7; 1Corinthians 1:12.)

I speak as a fool.--The form of the Greek verb is slightly varied, and means, more emphatically than before, I speak as one who is insane; I speak deliriously. In this instance, as before, we must believe that the Apostle is using, in a tone of indignant irony, the very words of insult which had been recklessly flung at him.

In labours . . .--All that follows up to 2Corinthians 11:28, inclusive, is a proof of his claim to call himself a minister of Christ. The word "labours" is, of course, too vague to admit of more than a general comparison with the picture of his life presented in the Acts of the Apostles. The more specific statements show us that the writer of that book tends to understate rather than exaggerate the labours and sufferings of the Apostle. It tells us, up to this time, only of one imprisonment, at Philippi (Acts 16:23), and leaves us to conjecture where and under what circumstances we are to look for the others. In the "deaths oft," we trace an echo of the "sentence of death," the "dying daily" (see Notes on 2Corinthians 1:9; 2Corinthians 4:10); but the words probably include dangers to life of other kinds as well as those arising from bodily disease.

Verse 23. - I speak as a fool. Not merely as before aphron, but paraphronon," I speak as a madman." It is downright insanity on my part to enter into this contest of rival egotism. The verb does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament; the substantive is used of "downright infatuation" in 2 Peter 2:16. I am more. I may claim to be something beyond an ordinary servant of Christ (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:5). This is the "frantic" boast which he proceeds to justify in a fragment of biography which must ever be accounted as the most remarkable and unique in the world's history. And when St. Paul lived the life was, as Dean Stanley says, "hitherto without precedent in the history of the world." No subsequent life of saint or martyr has ever surpassed St. Paul's, as here sketched, in self-devotion; and no previous life even remotely resembled it. The figure of the Christian missionary was, until then, unknown. In labours more abundant; literally, more abundantly. The best comment is 1 Corinthians 15:10. In stripes above measure. The expression is partly explained in the next verse. In prisons. St. Clement of Rome says that St. Paul was imprisoned seven times. The only imprisonment up to this date recorded in the Acts is that at Philippi (Acts 16:23). The imprisonments in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Rome all took place later. He says later," The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds and imprisonment await me" (Acts 20:23). In deaths oft. He alludes to the incessant opposition, peril, and anguish which make him say in 1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die daily" (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:11; Romans 8:36). With the whole passage we may compare 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5. Are they ministers of Christ?.... The apostle could have answered to this question that they were not, being neither sent by Christ, nor preachers of him, and who sought their own things and not his, being false apostles, and deceitful workers; but he chose not to litigate this point with them, and by a rhetorical concession allows it; and replies,

I speak as a fool; that is, he might be thought to speak as such an one, for what he afterwards says; and if he was, he must be content, he could not help it, there was a necessity for it, to stop the mouths of these vain boasters:

I am more; that is, more a minister of Christ than they, more manifestly so than they were; yea, he was more than an ordinary minister of Christ, he was an apostle, the apostle of the Gentiles, and laboured and suffered more than even the rest of the true apostles of Christ, and therefore must be greatly superior to the false ones:

in labours more abundant; in taking fatiguing journeys, preaching the Gospel constantly, administering ordinances, working with his own hands, &c.

in stripes above measure; which were cruelly and unmercifully inflicted on him by his enemies, and which he afterwards mentions:

in prisons more frequent; as at Philippi, and so after this at Jerusalem, and Rome, and perhaps in other places, though not recorded; Clemens Romanus says (h), that he was seven times in bonds:

in deaths oft; that is, frequently in danger of death, in such afflictions and evils as threatened with death, and therefore are so called; see 2 Corinthians 1:8.

(h) In Epist. ad Corinth, i. p. 14. Ed. Oxon. 1669. 23. I speak as a fool—rather, as Greek, "I speak as if beside myself"; stronger than "as a fool."

I am more—namely, in respect to the credentials and manifestations of my ministry, more faithful and self-denying; and richer in tokens of God's recognition of my ministry. Old authorities read the order thus, "In prisons above measures, in stripes more abundantly" (English Version, less accurately, "more frequent"). Ac 16:23-40 records one case of his imprisonment with stripes. Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians] describes him as having suffered bonds seven times.

in death oft—(2Co 4:10; Ac 9:23; 13:50; 14:5, 6, 19; 17:5, 13).11:22-33 The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.
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Alphabetical: I again am and Are as beaten been Christ Christ-I danger death exposed far flogged frequently harder have I if imprisonments in insane-I labors like mind more much my number of often out prison servants severely so speak talk they this times to without worked

NT Letters: 2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I speak (2 Cor. 2C iiC 2Cor ii cor iicor) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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