In this article I argue that in 2 Corinthians 10-13, in addition to defending his ministry, Paul uses his personal example to teach the Corinthian congregation that power and weakness cohere in Christian life and leadership. Moreover, I contend that Paul bases his manner of holding together power and weakness not on a foundation unique to his apostleship but instead on the far broader foundation of believers’ participation in the crucified and risen Christ. Therefore, Paul’s words can speak beyond his own ministry, instructing the Corinthians for a life of genuine participation in Christ. Investigating the aims and basis of Paul’s self-references will clarify that his “I” targets the lives of the Corinthian believers.
Journal of Biblical Literature
Volume 131, Number 2, 2012
The article is a thorough revision of a chapter from my Ph.D. dissertation at Duke University. It’s also based on a presentation I gave at the Society of Biblical Literature in New Orleans in November of 2009. I’m thankful to Richard Hays, Kavin Rowe, and Suzanne Henderson for their comments on earlier drafts, in addition to comments from the 2 Corinthians group of the SBL.