Are they ministers of Christ?
&c.] The apostle could have answered to this question that they were not, being neither sent by Christ, nor preachers of him, and who sought their own things and not his, being false apostles, and deceitful workers; but he chose not to litigate this point with them, and by a rhetorical concession allows it; and replies,
I speak as a fool;
that is, he might be thought to speak as such an one, for what he afterwards says; and if he was, he must be content, he could not help it, there was a necessity for it, to stop the mouths of these vain boasters:
I am more;
that is, more a minister of Christ than they, more manifestly so than they were; yea, he was more than an ordinary minister of Christ, he was an apostle, the apostle of the Gentiles, and laboured and suffered more than even the rest of the true apostles of Christ, and therefore must be greatly superior to the false ones:
in labours more abundant;
in taking fatiguing journeys, preaching the Gospel constantly, administering ordinances, working with his own hands
in stripes above measure;
which were cruelly and unmercifully inflicted on him by his enemies, and which he afterwards mentions:
in prisons more frequent;
as at Philippi, and so after this at Jerusalem, and Rome, and perhaps in other places, though not recorded; Clemens Romanus says F8, that he was seven times in bonds:
in deaths oft;
that is, frequently in danger of death, in such afflictions and evils as threatened with death, and therefore are so called; see ( 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 ) .
F8 In Epist. ad Corinth, i. p. 14. Ed. Oxon. 1669.