Let's humor Paul for a minute while he gets a little crazy.
See, Paul is jealous. That's right. He's like a father who promised that his daughter would marry one guy (Jesus) and now she's off sneaking around with some other Jesus. This one probably has all kinds of creepy tattoos. And a nose ring. Basically, it's a dad's nightmare.
Even though Paul said he not a huge bragger, we're going have to bear with him here while he does a little bragging. He doesn't like it, but these false apostles have forced his hand. Tell it, Paul!
No Apostle Support for Him
Paul thinks he's pretty great when compared to the "super-apostles" (ah, sarcasm! Good one, Paul!).
He may not be a fancy public speaker like these guys, but Paul knows his stuff. After all, he learned it from God.
Apparently, some of these false apostles have been circulating rumors that if Paul were a real apostle, he would accept a salary from the Corinthians. Instead, Paul continues to work as a craftsman (he was a tent-maker) and accepts support from other Christians (like his friends in Macedonia), but not Corinth. What gives?
Paul tells them it's not because he doesn't love them. It's because he does—so much! He even draws little hearts around their names in his apostolic notebook.
But yeah, when Paul came to visit, he didn't take money from them for his personal support. He didn't want to be a burden. He just brought them the good news of Christ Jesus free of charge. Is that a problem, Corinthians?
Paul accuses the false apostles of being in league with Satan. Whoa, these guys aren't just wrong. They're flat out evil.
Not Suffering in Silence
Does all this bragging make Paul seem a little foolish? Well then fine. Paul is cool with that… even though he knows how ridiculous this all sounds.
Besides, the Corinthians love fools. They listen to them talk all day… and even get convinced by some of their stupid arguments. We're looking at you, false apostles.
If these guys want to have a brag-off, then let's go.
Are these guys Jewish? Well, Paul is, too!
Are they serving Jesus? Well, guess what? Paul is, too! ("I am talking like a madman," he says.)
Plus, if we're gonna compare apples to apples here, Paul has the far more impressive credentials:
He is constantly in danger wherever he goes. Wow, people do not like Paul.
On top of this, he's been sleep-deprived, hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked. And he's constantly freaking out about what's going on in various churches. Corinthians, you're not helping Paul's poor nerves.
See, unlike the false apostles, Paul doesn't brag about all the amazing things he can do or the fancy speeches he gives. Paul brags about the bad stuff he's been through. Now that's dedication.