2 Corinthians 11:30
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) If I must needs glory . . .—The words form a transition to the narratives that follow. The question, “Who is weak and I am not weak?” has suggested the thought of the weakness and infirmity of various kinds with which his enemies reproached him. He will glory—here also with a touch of grave irony—in these and will leave his rivals to find what ground for boasting they can in what they call their strength. He is confident that his weak points are stronger than their strong ones.

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.If I must needs glory - It is unpleasant for me to boast, but circumstances have compelled me. But since I am compelled, I will not boast of my rank, or talents, but of that which is regarded by some as an infirmity.

Mine infirmities - Greek, "The things of my weakness." The word here used is derived from the same word which is rendered weak," in 2 Corinthians 11:29. He intends doubtless to refer here to what had preceded in his enumeration of the trials which he had endured. He had spoken of sufferings. He had endured much. He had also spoken of that tenderness of feeling which prompted him to sympathize so deeply when others suffered. He admitted that he often wept, and trembled, and glowed with strong feelings on occasions which perhaps to many would not seem to call for such strong emotions, and which they might be disposed to set down as a weakness or infirmity. This might especially be the case among the Greeks, where many philosophers, as the Stoics, were disposed to regard all sympathetic feeling, and all sensitiveness to suffering as an infirmity. But Paul admitted that he was disposed to glory in this alone. He gloried that he had sneered so much; that he had endured so many trials on account of Christianity, and that he had a mind that was capable of feeling for others and of entering into their, sorrows and trials. Well might he do this, for there is no more lovely feature in the mind of a virtuous man, and there is no more lovely influence of Christianity than this, that it teaches us to "bear a brother's woes," and to sympathize in all the sorrows and joys of others. Philosophy and infidelity may be dissocial, cheerless, cold; but it is not so with Christianity. Philosophy may snap asunder all the cords which bind us to the living world, but Christianity strengthens these cords; cold and cheerless atheism and scepticism may teach us to look with unconcern on a suffering world, but it is the glory of Christianity that it teaches us to feel an interest in the weal or woe of the obscurest man that lives, to rejoice in his joy, and to weep in his sorrows.

30. glory of … infirmities—A striking contrast! Glorying or boasting of what others make matter of shame, namely, infirmities; for instance, his humbling mode of escape in a basket (2Co 11:33). A character utterly incompatible with that of an enthusiast (compare 2Co 12:5, 9, 10). The apostle here calleth the things which he had suffered for the gospel, and the propagation of it, his infirmities; and saith, that he chose those things to glory in. He would not glory of the divers tongues with which he spake, nor of the miracles which he had wrought; but being by the ill tongues of his adversaries put upon glorying, he chose to glory of what he had suffered for God. For as the mighty power of Christ was seen in supporting him, and carrying him through so many hazards and difficulties; so these things, probably, were such as his adversaries could not much glory in. Besides, that these things had not that natural tendency to lift up his mind above its due measures, as gifts had, which sometimes puff up (as the apostle saith concerning knowledge); and also these were things which flesh and blood commonly starleth at, and flieth from: that his gifts and miraculous operations spake the power of God in him, and the kindness of God to him, in enabling him to such effects, rather than any goodness in himself; but his patient bearing the cross spake in him great measures of faith, patience, and self-denial, and love to God; and so really were greater and truer causes of boasting, than those things could be. If I must needs glory.... The apostle signifies that glorying was not agreeable to him; he was not fond of it, it was a subject he did not delight to dwell upon; what he had done was by force, and through necessity; he was compelled to it by the boasts of the false apostles: and since he must needs glory in order to stop their mouths;

will glory says he, of things which concern mine infirmities; meaning not his sins, for these cause shame; but his afflictions and sufferings for Christ, under which he was supported, and from which he was delivered by the power of Christ; and that was the reason he chose to glory of them; for though they rendered him mean and despicable in the eyes of the world, yet his bearing them with so much patience, courage, and pleasure, and his many singular deliverances out of them, served greatly to illustrate the power and grace of Christ, and at the same time proved him to be a true and faithful minister of the Gospel; to whom so much honour was vouchsafed, as to suffer shame for the name of Christ, and to be so singularly marked out by him, as the object of his favour, love, and care.

{10} If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

(10) He turns that against the adversaries which they objected against him: as if he should say, They allege my calamities to take away my authority from me: but if I would boast myself, I could use no better argument. And God himself is my witness that I am not making up or forging anything.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 11:30. Result of the previous passage—from 2 Corinthians 11:23 onward[346] in proof of that ὑπὲρ ἐγώ in 2 Corinthians 11:23—put, however, asyndetically (without οὖν), as is often the case with the result after a lengthened chain of thoughts (Dissen, ad Pind. Exc. II. de asynd. p. 278); an asyndeton summing up (Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 284, ed. 3). If I must boast (as is the given case in confronting my enemies), I will boast in that which concerns my weakness (my sufferings, conflicts, and endurances, which exhibit my weakness), and thus practise quite another καυχᾶσθαι[347] than that of my opponents, who boast in their power and strength. In this ΤᾺ Τ. ἈΣΘ. Μ. ΚΑΥΧ. there lies a holy oxymoron. To refer it to the ἈΣΘΕΝΕῖΝ in 2 Corinthians 11:29 either alone (Rückert) or inclusively (de Wette), is inadmissible, partly because that ἀσθενεῖν was a partaking in the weakness of others, partly because the future is to be referred to what is meant only to follow. And it does actually follow; hence we must not, with Wieseler (on Gal. p. 596), generalize the future into the expression of a maxim, whereby a reference to the past is facilitated. So also in the main Hofman.

καυχᾶσθαι, with accusative, as 2 Corinthians 9:2.

[346] Everything in this outburst, from ver. 23 onward, presented him, in fact, as the servant of Christ attested by much suffering. Thus, if he must make boast, he wishes to boast in nothing else than his weakness. And this καυχᾶσθαι is then, after an assurance of his truthfulness (ver. 31), actually begun by him (ver. 32) in concrete historical form.

[347] Chrys. exclaims: Οὖτος ἀποστολικὸς χαρακτήρ, διὰ τούτων ὑφαίνεται εὐαγγέλιον.2 Corinthians 11:30. εἰ καυχᾶσθαι κ.τ.λ.: if I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my weakness (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9), such as are the perils and indignities which he has recounted in the preceding verses.30. If I must needs glory] See note on ch. 2 Corinthians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:12.

I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 13:9. If St Paul turns aside for a few moments to boast ‘according to the flesh,’ his thoughts soon flow back into a channel more customary to one who has been ‘created anew’ in Christ. He is obliged to boast somewhat. But it has become more natural to him to boast of those things which to the natural man (see 2 Corinthians 11:21) are weakness.2 Corinthians 11:30. Εἰ) if, i.e. since.—τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μου καυχήσομαι, I will glory of the things, which concern my infirmities) an admirable oxymoron; 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, for infirmity and glorying are antithetic terms.Verse 30. - If I must needs. If boasting is forced on me as a moral necessity (δεῖ). The things which concern mine infirmities. After all, St. Paul cannot keep up even for a few verses anything which can be regarded as "boasting after the flesh" (ver. 18). Practically his boasting has been only of those afflictions which to others might sound like a record of disgraces, but which left on him the marks of the Lord Jesus. His hairbreadth escapes were to him, as Bossuet said of the wounds of the Prince of Conde, "marks of the protection of Heaven." The things which concern mine infirmities (τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μοῦ)

He will be attested as a true apostle by the sufferings which show his weakness, which make him contemptible in his adversaries' eyes, and not by the strength of which his opponents boast.

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