Boasting as a Fool

A sightseeing bus was making the rounds through Washington, D. C., and the driver was pointing out spots of interest. As they passed the Pentagon building, he mentioned that it cost taxpayers millions of dollars and that it took a year and a half to build. A little old woma … More


Talking about one’s own accomplishments can be an awkward experience. Some people had raised question about Paul’s apostleship. Because of this, what Paul is about to do in this passage is contrary to his character. He never had any problem boasting about Christ and telling of His sufferings, but he was always hesitant to speak of his  own painful experience as a servant of the Lord.  However, because the spiritual welfare of a congregation in danger of being led astray is at stake, he feels it is necessary to write about himself and boast in his experiences (v. 16). Paul is not denying the inspiration of his words but instead he is admitting that, by boasting, he was being very unlike the Lord (v. 17). However, he felt that he had to do it to prove his love for the Corinthians and to protect them from those attempting to lead them astray.

Paul seems to be saying, since boasting is the “in thing” in your fellowship, then I will boast (v. 18).  Perhaps he had the principle of Proverbs 26:5 in mind where it says: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” These false teachers did not seem to be ashamed to boast in order to help themselves and to get what they could out of  the church (v. 19). Paul, on the contrary, was boasting  so that  he might help the church (v. 20). Up to this point, the Corinthians thought that Paul’s meekness was weakness, and that these false teachers’ arrogance was power. Paul goes on to say, “If they can brag, so can I, but it is a foolish thing to do” (v. 21).


It is much better for me to seek the praise of God rather than the praise of people.

II Corinthians 11:16-21 (English Standard Version)

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