2 Corinthians 11:6 MEANING

2 Corinthians 11:6
(6) But though I be rude in speech.--The word for "rude" is the same as that translated as "unlearned" in 1 Corinthians 14:23-24. This, then, had also been said of him by some at Corinth. It might seem at first as if the contemptuous criticism was likely to have come from the Hellenic or paganising party of culture, who despised the Apostle because he was without the polish and eloquence of the rhetoric in which they delighted. The context, however, makes it clear that the opponents now under the lash are the Judaising teachers, the "apostles-extraordinary." They apparently affected to despise him because he had abandoned, or had never mastered, the subtleties of Rabbinic casuistry, the wild allegories of Rabbinic interpretation. "He talks," we hear them saying, "of others as 'laymen,' or 'unlearned.' What right has he so to speak who is practically but a 'layman' himself? How can a man who is cutting and stitching all day be a 'doctor of the law'? Ne sutor ultra crepidam." Side by side with the recognition of the dignity of labour in some Jewish proverbs (such, e.g., as that the father who did not teach his son to work taught him to be a thief), there was among the later Rabbis something like the feeling of an aristocracy of scholarship. Even the Son of Sirach, after describing the work of the ploughman and the carpenter and the potter, excludes them from the higher life of wisdom. "They shall not be sought for in public counsel . . . they cannot declare justice and judgment; and they shall not be found where parables are spoken" (Ecclesiasticus 38:33). The word for "rude" was probably used as the equivalent for the Hebrew term by which the Pharisees held up the working classes to contempt as "the people of the earth."

But we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.--The readings vary, some of the better MSS. giving the active form of the verb, having made (it) manifest in everything among all men. The apparent awkwardness of having a transitive verb without an object probably led to the substitution of the passive participle.

Verse 6. - Rude in speech; literally, a laic in discourse; see 2 Corinthians 10:10 and 1 Corinthians 2:13; and, for the word idiotes, a private person, and so "one who is untrained," as contrasted with a professor, see the only other places where it occurs in the New Testament (Acts 4:13; 1 Corinthians 14:16, 23, 24). St. Paul did not profess to have the trained oratorical skill of Apollos. His eloquence, dependent on conviction and emotion, followed none of the rules of art. Yet not in knowledge. Spiritual knowledge was a primary requisite of an apostle, and St. Paul did claim to possess this (Ephesians 3:3, 4). We have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. This would be an appeal to the transparent openness and sincerity of all his dealings, as in 2 Corinthians 4:20 and 2 Cor 12:12; but the best reading seems to be the active participle, phanerosantes (א, B, F, G), not the passive, phanerothentes. The rendering will then be, In everything making it (my knowledge) manifest among all men towards you.

11:5-15 It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.But though I be rude in speech,.... Which might be objected to him, setting himself upon a level with men so famous for their diction, and elegance of style; and to this he answers, not by owning he was so, but granting it to be so; for the Apostle Paul was not an unlearned man, an idiot in speech, unskilful in language, his writings testify the contrary; he did not indeed, in his public ministry, dress his sermons with the flowers of rhetoric, or adorn his discourses with the words of human wisdom, with bombast, and great swelling words of vanity; he chose a plainer and easier style, more accommodated to the vulgar, to the capacities of the people he was concerned with; for he had not to do with philosophers and senators, but with the common people chiefly; with persons of every sex, age, and condition of life: in this sense indeed he acted as an idiot, a plebeian, a private person; he used a popular style, or, as the Jews say of several of their Rabbins (s), he , "preached", or explained "in the common language" of people; which the common people used, and not the learned, and to which reference may be had here: but though he wisely pursued this method, as being most likely to be useful,

yet he was

not rude

in knowledge, or unskilful in the mysteries of the Gospel; he was well learned in the knowledge of Christ, and in the doctrines of grace, as all his discourses, sermons, and letters testified; and however negligent he might be thought to be of his style, and take no pains or care about the elegance of his language, but rather studied a plain and popular diction, yet he was always careful to convey profitable and useful knowledge to the souls of men; and thought his discourses might not be fraught with all the beauties of oratory, and enticing words of man's wisdom, they were full of spiritual knowledge, and showed him to have a large understanding of divine things, for the truth of which he appeals to the Corinthians:

but we have been thoroughly manifest among you in all things; his faith and doctrine, as well as manner of life, were well known unto them; he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God unto them: his knowledge in the mystery of Christ's person and grace, and in all the parts of the everlasting Gospel, was no secret to them; he had used no artful methods to hide himself, or conceal the truth; but by manifestation of it, had commended himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God; and by observing this, as he had witnesses now among them of the truth of it, so he strikes at the hypocrisy and deceitful methods the false teachers took to cover themselves, their practices, and principles.

(s) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 104. 1.

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