New American Standard Bible
To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold-- I speak in foolishness-- I am just as bold myself.
King James Bible
I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
Darby Bible Translation
I speak as to dishonour, as though we had been weak; but wherein any one is daring, (I speak in folly,) I also am daring.
World English Bible
I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet however any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.
Young's Literal Translation
in reference to dishonour I speak, how that we were weak, and in whatever any one is bold -- in foolishness I say it -- I also am bold.
2 Corinthians 11:21 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
I speak as concerning reproach - I speak of disgrace. That is, says Rosenmuller, "I speak of your disgrace, or, as others prefer it, of the disgrace of the false apostles." Doddridge regards it as a question. "Do I speak this by way of dishonor, from an envious desire to derogate from my superiors so as to bring them down to my own level?" But to me it seems that Paul refers to what he had been admitting respecting himself - to what he had evinced in rudeness of speech 2 Corinthians 11:6, and to his not having urged his claims to the support which an apostle had a right to receive - to things, in short, which they esteemed to be disgraceful or reproachful. And his idea, it seems to me, is this: "I have been speaking of reproach or disgrace as if I was weak, that is, as if I was disposed to admit as true all that has been said of me as reproachful or disgraceful; all that has been said of my lack of qualifications for the office, of my lack of talent, or elevated rank, or honorable birth, etc. I have not pressed my claims, but have been reasoning as if all this were true - as if all that was honorable in birth and elevated in rank belonged to them - all that is mean and unworthy pertained to me. But it is not so. Whatever they have I have. Whatever they can boast of, I can boast of in a more eminent degree. Whatever advantage there is in birth is mine; and I can tell of toils, and trials, and sufferings in the apostolic office which far surpass theirs." Paul proceeds, therefore, to a full statement of his advantages of birth and of his labors in the cause of the Redeemer.
As though we had been weak - As if I had no claims to urge; as if I had no just cause of boldness, but must submit to this reproach.
Howbeit - (δέ de). But. The sense is, if anyone is disposed to boast, I am ready for him. I can tell also of things that have as high claims to confidence as they can. If they are disposed to go into a comparison on the points which qualify a man for the office of an apostle, I am ready to compare myself with them.
Whereinsoever - (ἐν ᾧ en hō. In what. Whatever they have to boast of I am prepared also to show that I am equal to them. Be it pertaining to birth, rank, education, labors, they will find that I do not shrink from the comparison.
Any is bold - (τις τολμᾷ tis tolma). Anyone who dares to boast; anyone who is bold.
I speak foolishly - Remember now that I speak as a fool. I have been charged with this folly. Just now keep that in mind; and do not forget that it is only a fool who is speaking. Just recollect that I have no claims to public confidence; that I am destitute of all pretensions to the apostolic office; that I am given to a vain parade and ostentation, and to boasting of what does not belong to me, and when you recollect this let me tell my story. The whole passage is ironical in the highest degree. The sense is, "It is doubtless all nonsense and folly for a man to boast who has only the qualifications which I have. But there is a great deal of wisdom in their boasting who have so much more elevated endowments for the apostolic office."
I am bold also - I can meet them on their own ground, and speak of qualifications not inferior to theirs.
LibraryLetter ii (A. D. 1126) to the Monk Adam
To the Monk Adam  1. If you remain yet in that spirit of charity which I either knew or believed to be with you formerly, you would certainly feel the condemnation with which charity must regard the scandal which you have given to the weak. For charity would not offend charity, nor scorn when it feels itself offended. For it cannot deny itself, nor be divided against itself. Its function is rather to draw together things divided; and it is far from dividing those that are joined. Now, if that …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Of this Weakness of His, He Saith in Another Place...
That the Ruler Should be a Near Neighbour to Every one in Compassion, and Exalted Above all in Contemplation.
Laboring under Difficulties
2 Corinthians 6:8
by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;
2 Corinthians 10:2
I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.
2 Corinthians 10:10
For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible."
2 Corinthians 11:1
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.
2 Corinthians 11:17
What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
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