Boast in the Lord (2 Corinthians 11)

by Sep 26, 2022

“If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 11:30)

What do you like to brag about? Do you like sharing about your child’s accomplishments, your spouse makes you feel loved, or your most recent job promotion or exciting vacation? What would you do if you hear someone brag about something untrue, or worse, something that denies the gospel?

Today’s devotion on 2 Corinthians 11 allows us to ponder on a question we may have thought of while reading the chapter—why does Paul brag, or more specifically, why does Paul boast?

While writing this letter, Paul has had enough of false apostles, or “super-apostles,” and their improper boasting of “another Jesus” that deceives believers. He has already begun mentioning what proper boasting is in 2 Corinthians 10, to “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (10:17). Yet, as he continues writing in chapter 11, Paul switches to a tone of “foolishness,” that is, proper boasting in the Lord. He does this in verses 1 to 15 by calling out the super-apostles. On the other hand, Paul sees himself as not inferior to the “super-apostles,” and considers himself knowledgeable. Paul is not boasting in himself, but he is boasting in the Lord because he loves the Corinthians (v. 10-11). 

Paul then begins “boasting” in his weakness, a “necessary” kind of boasting (v. 30). Again, Paul is not boasting in himself, but he is boasting in the Lord. We’ll learn in the following chapter that Jesus tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Paul then tells the Corinthians, “Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me” (12:9). Proper boasting isn’t about Paul or his weaknesses. It isn’t about us or our changing circumstances. Proper boasting always points to Jesus.

Therefore, we too can boast in our weaknesses. While we are weak, the Lord is our strength (Ps. 18:2, 27:1, 28:8, 62:2, 73:26; Is. 40:29). If we must boast about anything, let’s boast in our weaknesses, which is Christ’s glory.