Key Verse: “I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:15 NLT)

11-13 Well, now I’ve done it! I’ve made a complete fool of myself by going on like this. But it’s not all my fault; you put me up to it. You should have been doing this for me, sticking up for me and commending me instead of making me do it for myself. You know from personal experience that even if I’m a nobody, a nothing, I wasn’t second-rate compared to those big-shot apostles you’re so taken with. All the signs that mark a true apostle were in evidence while I was with you through both good times and bad: signs of portent, signs of wonder, signs of power. Did you get less of me or of God than any of the other churches? The only thing you got less of was less responsibility for my upkeep. Well, I’m sorry. Forgive me for depriving you.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 12:13)

Paul explained that the only ting he did in the other churches that he didn’t do in Corinth was to become a burden – to ask the believers to feed and house him. 

When he said, “Forgive me for this wrong,” he was clearly being sarcastic. 

He actually did more for the Corinthians than for any other church, but still they misunderstood him. 

14-15 Everything is in readiness now for this, my third visit to you. But don’t worry about it; you won’t have to put yourselves out. I’ll be no more of a bother to you this time than on the other visits. I have no interest in what you have—only in you. Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. I’d be most happy to empty my pockets, even mortgage my life, for your good. So how does it happen that the more I love you, the less I’m loved?

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 12:14)

Paul had founded the church in Corinth on his first visit there (Acts 18:1). 

He subsequently made a second visit (2 Corinthians 2:1)

He was planning what would be his third visit also (see also 2 Corinthians 13:1).

Paul explained that, as before, he didn’t want to be paid, fed, or housed; he only wanted the believers to be nourished with the spiritual food he would feed them. 

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 12:11-15)

Paul was not merely revealing his feelings; he was defending his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Paul was hurt that the church in Corinth doubted and questioned him, so he defended himself for the cause of the Good News, not to satisfy his ego. 

When you are “put on trial,” do you think only about saving your reputation or are you more concerned about what people will think about Christ?

16-18 And why is it that I keep coming across these whiffs of gossip about how my self-support was a front behind which I worked an elaborate scam? Where’s the evidence? Did I cheat or trick you through anyone I sent? I asked Titus to visit, and sent some brothers along. Did they swindle you out of anything? And haven’t we always been just as aboveboard, just as honest?

19 I hope you don’t think that all along we’ve been making our defense before you, the jury. You’re not the jury; God is the jury—God revealed in Christ—and we make our case before him. And we’ve gone to all the trouble of supporting ourselves so that we won’t be in the way or get in the way of your growing up.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 12:16-19)

Although Paul asked nothing of the Corinthian believers, so doubters were still saying that Paul must have been sneaky and made money from them somehow. 

But Paul again explained that everything he did for the believers was for their edification, not to enrich himself. 

20-21 I do admit that I have fears that when I come you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you, and in frustration with each other everything will fall to pieces—quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam. I don’t look forward to a second humiliation by God among you, compounded by hot tears over that crowd that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways, who refuse to turn away from the pigsty of evil, sexual disorder, and indecency in which they wallow.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 12:20-21)

After reading this catalog of sins, it is hard to believe that these are the people that Paul said possessed great gifts and excelled as leaders (2 Corinthians 8:7).

Paul feared that the practices of wicked Corinth had invaded the congregation. 

He wrote sternly, hoping that they would straighten out their lives before he arrived. 

We must live differently from unbelievers, not letting society dictate how we are to treat others. 

Don’t let culture influence your behavior.