2 Corinthians 11:5, Paul’s Credentials

But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”

//It’s interesting to examine why Paul considers himself an apostle when he wasn’t one of the Twelve. We don’t know exactly who the “super-apostles” are that Paul references in today’s verse, but it may have had more to do with charisma than credentials. As Paul claims in the next verse, “I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge!”

So, Paul embarks on a challenge to show himself worthy of apostleship, too. Appearing rather embarrassed about the whole episode, he stoops to bragging: “Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.” And what did Paul boast about? Why did he think himself worthy? Here is the basis of his three-fold argument:

[1] In the second half of 2 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul lists his sufferings as an apostle: imprisonments, floggings, stoning, shipwrecks.

[2] In the first part of chapter 12, Paul says “I must go on boasting … I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.” So he tells of the day he was caught up to paradise, hearing there inexpressible things which he dare not (or cannot) mention.

[3] In order to keep Paul from becoming conceited about his special revelation, God gave him a thorn in his flesh. There is considerable speculation between scholars about just what Paul’s “thorn” was, but it seems to have been obvious to his readers, or he would not have mentioned it among his credentials. (This leads me to believe that the trendy idea of Paul’s “thorn” being a homosexual tendency is way off base).

Finished with his three-fold argument, Paul again insists in verse 12:11 that he is not in the least inferior to the super-apostles.

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